Gaming | Film | TV
Gaming | Film | TV

Game of Thrones: Why you shouldn’t read the books

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Wildly different from the show and (obviously) full of spoilers, George R R Martin’s books should be avoided

Remember that feeling of absolute and utter shock you had when you first watched the Red Wedding? That powerful kick to the heart, blood freezing in your veins, the inability to wait five minutes before tweeting “#OMFGREDWEDDING” so hard that you broke the internet? If your answer is “no”, then you’d probably read the books beforehand. Don’t get me wrong – reading is great. We all love to read. But, if you’re one of those people who experienced GRRM’s ASOIAF before it got HBO’d, thanks for nothing. You didn’t warn us of the perils; if anything, you actively encouraged us to join you.

I, as someone who read all five books between seasons three and four, am now a man devoid of Game of Thrones pleasures

“Oh, the books are much better,” you cried, lying through your teeth. “You don’t get the full experience just watching the show,” you spluttered, fabricating things with your mouth. “You should read them,” you suggested, knowing you were condemning us to Hell, via the process of forming different sounds with your lips and tongue. There is nothing better about the Game of Thrones books. There’s just, well, more of it. Mainly descriptions of random squires’ chainmail undergussets, and some badly worded shagging.

And if you started off with the show and then read the books afterwards, it’s ALL WRONG. Tyrion isn’t in any way as handsome or sexy as Peter Dinklage, Theon’s sister has a totally different name, and it’s full of characters who don’t even exist. Go for the audiobooks and you’re even more confused. Roy Dotrice doesn’t know how to pronounce anyone’s names, and he seems to think the Lannisters are from Wales. If you’re a fan of the show and are thinking about reading the books, don’t. They’re not even good. They’re just sort of perversely compelling, like rubbernecking a traffic accident. A traffic accident where you notice the details of everyone’s clothes, and someone is having clumsy menstrual sex with a close relative a few feet away from a corpse.

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game of thrones lena headey

I, as someone who read all five books between seasons three and four, am now a man devoid of Game of Thrones pleasures. I know everything that’s going to happen. No more shocks for me, or for you, if you were equally foolish to listen to The Readers. We should have known from the beginning. Remember when Ned Stark got his [SPOILER] [SPOILERED] off, in season one, episode nine? You were distraught, flabbergasted, heartbr[SPOILER]en. Not your Book Friends. No, all they were was smug. And, if we’d been paying proper attention, we might have noticed that, behind the veneer of smugness, they were dead inside. Reading ahead had taken their very souls.

Game of Thrones might be the only adaptation where readers are silently praying for a massive detour from the original text

Game of Thrones might be the only book-to-screen adaptation where we the readers are silently praying for the show runners to take a massive detour from the original text, just so we can have something vaguely resembling fun. There is hope that, considering the diverging timelines of the latter books, something just like that could happen. Not yet, though. It’s depressingly clear that tonight’s episode is the one where [SPOILER] fights The [SPOILER] and they both [SPOILER].

And next week is episode nine, so that’s got to be when [SPOILER] finds [SPOILER] in [SPOILER]’s quarters, so he [SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER]s him on the [SPOILER]. Oh, and in episode ten, [SPOILER] is bound to show up, even though she [SPOILER] at the end of [SPOILER]. There will be no surprises for us. At the moment, the only thing unpredictable about Game of Thrones is trying to guess what fucking accent Aidan Gillen is going to use each week, and even then it’s only a choice between ‘pirate’, ‘vaguely Irish’, and ‘vaguely Irish pirate’.


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All images: HBO


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