01/05/2012. Contributed by Aidan Fortune
pub: Bantam Dell/Random House. 240 page hardback graphic novel. Price: $25.00 (US), $29.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-440-42321-8.
check out website: www.bantamdell.com
Never heard of ‘Game Of Thrones’? Then you really have no business being here. It's been almost impossible to escape George RR Martin's fantasy saga thanks to the recent HBO TV series. The ‘Song Of Ice And Fire’ books have been dominating the fiction book charts of late and fans are clamouring for the latest instalment, whenever that may arrive.
To keep fans sated, a comic adaptation of the first book in the series, ‘Game Of Thrones’, has been published by Bantam Books.
At first, I thought this might have been one adaptation too many. Between the books and the faithful TV series, there didn't seem much point in telling the story again, albeit with pictures. However, it provides an excellent accompaniment to the other media. Find the books a little dense? The comic will distil out the exposition. Think the TV show moves a little too quickly and you keep missing Tyrion Lannister's witty asides? The comic slows it right down to a manageable pace and also allows for easy tracking back that you wouldn't dare with the book.
Don't mistake this graphic novel for a children's reader though. Little is removed from the plot so the trademark backstabbing and incest is present here. It doesn't shy away from nudity neither but doesn't make it garish and obvious.
The character illustrations also give them their own identity separate to the TV show. Ned Stark doesn't look like Sean Bean and so on but they all fit the character descriptions in the novels, even improving on them in the case of Robert Baratheon, who regains a hint of regality that was largely absent from the show.
This first volume covers about half of the ‘A Game of Thrones’ novel so if it plans to continue for the entire series so far, that works out at about fourteen volumes with six issues in each. Given the issues up to now have been released on a monthly basis, it'll take seven years to catch up with the novels. Just in time for Martin to finish 'The Winds Of Winter'.
This volume also contains some author’s notes on the creative process and how the story was transferred to the illustrated page. It provides an interesting insight into the differences between the three mediums along with an opportunity to hear some of Martin’s thoughts on the TV show.
For Martin fans, this is a must-buy, it invokes the spirit of the series without diluting it and for casual ‘Songs Of Ice And Fire’ fans, is a perfect companion to the show or books. All that's missing is a character history appendix at the back but that can easily be rectified in future volumes.
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