anjelabug and I have been reading A Song of Ice and Fire since the first novel, A Game of Thrones, came out many years ago. I remember picking up the third book in New Zealand in 2005, since it was published while we were on vacation.
As a result, we were really looking forward to the show before it even came out, especially with Sean Bean cast as Eddard Stark. And by and large the show has been excellent; it's certainly the best TV adaptation of a fantasy novel/series ever. The casting has been very good (I have no idea how they were so fortunate as to cast so many good child actors), and it's been mostly faithful to the novels -- certainly faithful enough that for most of the series we book-readers have known what's going to happen, usually well enough to be watching our non-book-reading friends with great amusement when we know that some catastrophe is about to befall a main character.
And do they ever. Martin certainly doesn't shy away from killing his characters.
I like the complexity of the storyline, and the way the background and history is slowly unveiled as we go along. I like the variety of the viewpoints, and how events can turn even some of the most evil characters into sympathetic ones as the story progresses -- though they seldom manage to outrun the things they've done. And mostly I just really enjoy reading about some of the very interesting people Martin's come up with -- both major characters like Arya and Tyrion and minor ones like Varys the Spider (who has some very interesting commentary on the nature of power.)
It has its faults, too. For one, Martin's decision to split the last two books by character instead of chronology resulted in a lot of "filler" chapters for some characters in which not much happened. This was a change from previous books where in almost every chapter you were sad to see it end and the viewpoint change. Regarding the HBO show and the changes made to adapt the books to the screen, I think that the inability to see what's in the main characters' heads makes some of the plots not work as well, and I question how the producers of the show could possibly have read A Song of Ice and Fire and decided it needed more rape in it. Some of the changes also seem kind of random -- renaming certain characters, merging others, etc. -- and I'm not sure why they made them since it would have been no more difficult to just film the scenes as written, and sometimes these are going to cause problems along the line (i.e. early changes to a "minor" character might end up a problem if Martin makes that character more important later, which he's done before.)
All in all, though, it's a very enjoyable show and with the squad of nerds I have as friends has led to a ton of interesting conversations.
This entry was originally posted at http://fishsupreme.dreamwidth.org/70871.h