There are very few times when I actually say this, (actually, I don't think I've ever
said this) but...the...TV series is... *mrmph!*
The TV series is better than the book.
I can't believe I just said that.
That's how I feel, though. It was only through the power of Peter Dinklage that I was able to force myself to keep reading.
The book is full of such wonderful descriptive lines, such as:
In those days, the smell of leather and blood had clung to him like perfume.
Now it was perfume that clung to him like perfume, and he had a girth to match his height.
There were times - not many, but a few - when Jon Snow was glad he was a bastard.
...despite every single Stark POV before the first Jon chapter establishing the fact that he was a bastard. For a good quarter of the book or so, it was Jon's only distinguishing character trait. Even descriptions of how he looked were only mentioned to point out the fact that he didn't look like Lady Stark like his brothers or Sanza, because he wasn't her son.
While the cast of perspectives includes something like ten different characters, there are really three main plots going on: the drama between the Starks and Lannisters in King's Landing, the coming winter at the Wall, and the Targaryen rise back to power in the east.
Of the three, I enjoyed the Wall bits best. Because who doesn't love medieval ice zombies?
The sheer amount of descriptions in this book weighed it down. 800+ pages are usually nothing for me. I can finish that in one good, uninterrupted 8 hour stint. But everything - every person, every place, every action - no matter whether they're integral to the plot, or just mentioned once - was described, in great detail. The story started to drown in the details after a while.
I suppose at least, by the end, I knew who absolutely everything and everyone was. (Although even if I didn't, I'm sure the book would stop to remind me, as with the final Arya chapter when Yolen was brought back as an active character.)
A Game of Thrones didn't feel much like a fantasy - it felt much more like a political drama.
But the thing is, while it wasn't a *bad* book, there are better options available.
Want an epic fantasy that's more realistic than it is fantastic, that has an insanely large cast of characters to follow?
- [b:The Great Hunt|233649|The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time, #2)|Robert Jordan|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404042457s/233649.jpg|1574475], by Robert Jordan. (The Wheel of Time series.)
Want a dark fantasy that's driven by political drama, that has no real "good" guys, and is chock full of death?
- [b:A Dance of Cloaks|9601799|A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance, #1)|David Dalglish|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1343442956s/9601799.jpg|13783035], by David Dalglish. (The Shadowdance Trilogy.)
Also, I would be remiss as both a book and video game nerd if I didn't mention that there's a Minecraft Westeros project.