Monday, April 16, 2012

Game of Thrones' second season

Last night I saw the third episode in this second season of Game of Thrones on HBO. Having now read all five of the books, since the end of the first season of the show, I can state unequivocally that those involved in the production of the series have done a terrific job of translating it to the screen. With its huge number of characters that are important to the story, not to mention the many varied locations where the action takes place, it would seem to me to be an absolutely daunting task and yet they've passed the test with flying colors.

My understanding of the books and of the television series has been deepened recently by the book that I'm currently reading, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman. Indeed, The Game of Thrones could easily have been set in the Europe of the 14th century with its constant wars, its religious conflicts and schisms, the intermarrying for political reasons of the great families of the time, the utter brutishness of the lives of the poor who made up the vast majority of the population, and, of course, the scheming and betrayals of the kings and those who would be kings. I'm about two-thirds of the way through Tuchman's long and information-filled book and I'm finding it hard to put down.

Comparing Tuchman's book to George R.R. Martin's series of books about the fictional world of Westeros is proof once again that truth really is stranger than fiction and it makes this reader wonder if perhaps Martin read Tuchman's book that was first published back in 1978 and if it might have given him the germ of an idea for his created world.  If so, there's still plenty of  material there for the two more books planned in his series.

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