Weirdly, fantasy fiction doesn’t usually appeal. That doesn’t make sense, since I loved Harry Potter and Discworld and Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and pretty much every make-believe piece of fluff I’ve ever read, but I just have absolutely no interest in this sort of thing. I only picked it up because of the TV series, which I’ve never even seen.
Having a hit TV show gives it an air of respectability. It’s alright to like it, even if you don’t like that sort of thing – quite aside from the fact that I loved Greg Keyes’ similar Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone.
I haven’t finished A Game of Thrones – I’m not even halfway through – but I’m unlikely to finish it before I put this blog to bed at the end of this month.
I’m about to put myself to bed, too, having been laid up over the weekend with some horrid stomach bug. I’m going to lie in bed and read this, far too distracted by its drama and intrigue to worry about why I don’t like this sort of thing when I evidently love this sort of thing.
It’s basically Rome in a Skyrim setting. Half shock-gasp royal court conniving and the other half visceral blood-letting. Or, as my colleague put it, “The first episode is almost literally nothing but shagging and beheadings,” as she offered to lend me the box set.
Its fantasy is Conan-ishly low key, with the emphasis squarely on the squabbling factions. Sean Bean’s character, Ned, might be the star of this otherwise ensemble piece, but it’s the youngsters I’m drawn to – sweet Arya, sad Jon Snow and vulnerable Daenerys. I even skipped to the end just to check she’d be OK.
I was surprised by how far The Hunger Games got under my skin, but more delighted still to pick up another epic saga and have it bury itself deeper still. I can’t quite look forward to my long commute home, but A Game of Thrones makes me hate it a whole lot less.