Game of Thrones

Ah, Christmas morning. It was beginning to look like a green Christmas, until the day of, when the snow begun falling and resting outside. It would provide for a brief afternoon of testing my snowman making skills (which are poor, as it turns out) and my patience as I spend an inordinate amount of time with family. But there was a special gift under the tree this year: the Kindle. We had bought one for my dad earlier that year for his birthday, and he promptly fell in love with it. I tried reading a few pages and gave it my seal of approval - it was really my first experience with e-ink in any form, aside from the screen savers on the display models in stores, which I would never fully trust. Everyone at work was getting them too - not necessarily the Kindle, but other models - and they all got nothing but praise. It was time for me to take the plunge, and there it was.

Setting up the Kindle was a breeze and quite convenient. I had to look up my crazy password, and once I had that I punched my information in and I was surfing the Kindle store in no time, through the wireless at my parents house. The Kindle I have has no keyboard, and I don't miss it. I'm thinking that it's the lifetime of punching in initials and names on video game displays that makes the process a breeze, but the rare time that I do use the keyboard are just that: rare. Why take up all that real estate and weight of a hardware keyboard when I don't use it 99% of the time? Not to mention that search engines are scary-smart these days and just know what you want: if I type in game on the Kindle store, it knows I want either the Game of Thrones series or the Hunger Games. Likewise, just punching in martin is going to bring up the author. In any event, I eagerly wanted to read something, so I purchased A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. The reason I'm excited for this book is because of the television series, which is no doubt why so many people are getting into it now.

Purchasing the book was too easy, click the buy option and you literally have bought it, only being given the option to quickly reverse your decision immediately afterword, so it's really a two click system, which is fine by me. But you definitely don't want to leave this device unlocked around people you don't trust: they can rake up quite a few dollars on your Amazon account. In any event, I started reading the book and couldn't stop for quite some time. When I was reaching around 50% of the novel though, I began to doubt my resolve.

The primary reason: the show is exactly like the book, which is pretty rare for any adaptation, and something I never expected. Literally, the scenes in the show mirrored the book, and it was quite easy to play it all out in my head. So when I reached the halfway point I begun to wonder if it was worth finishing, after all, I had seen the show already. Well, I put the book away for a bit, reading tiny bits here and there. Last weekend I would go all out and blast through the last half in a few days. It got that good. It also varied a bit from the show, or perhaps my memory was getting a bit fuzzy. The show was quite addictive and gripping: the book is no different. And after taking in both, you have to wonder if Martin wrote the book with an adaptation in mind, or else we can thank HBO and its staff for recognizing great material and doing a bang-up job bringing it to the small screen. It makes me happy that they didn't try and compress them into movies released every four years or so.

Now it's time for the second season to start, and I find myself with a small dilemma: read the second novel first or watch the show, then read the book afterward. Not an easy decision, and I think I've already come to the solution: take a break from reading A Game of Thrones and take in something else instead - something a bit shorter, then, when the show is over read the second book. After that I can't guarantee I would wait for the third: the game is on, and I look forward to reading the entire series on the Kindle (and perhaps buy a nice hardcover set of the books, if ever a deal comes up).