Category Archives: Books

Game of Thrones is Really About Politics

You gotta admit, these Mother Jones Game of Thrones mock-superPAC ads are pretty funny. They reminded me of a theory I had about why the Game of Thrones universe is popular: it may be fantasy but at its core it’s really about politics. Most of the storylines are about the consequences of the choices made by rulers and city leaders.

This series isn’t like other fantasy books where battles are described in detail and all the protagonists turn out okay. No, these books are about flawed characters who make choices with serious, oftentimes damaging, consequences. Instead of just describing the battles, the reader also gets the gruesome aftermath and the horror that comes with it.

It’s just not the same

I’ve been watching HBO’s Game of Thrones since the first episode —and with great enthusiasm. I love the books (I’m currently reading book five) and I love HBO so it should be a match made in heaven. But as I’ve been watching I’ve begun to notice I pay more attention to the differences between the books and the show rather than the actual plotlines. My focus always veers toward why Jeyne Westerling isn’t seducing Robb or that Theon Greyjoy’s sister is named Yara instead of Asha. I think this is a symptom of the limitations of telling a story with as wide a scope as A Song of Ice and Fire on television —even high budget cable like HBO. There’s still only so much that can be included. A lot needs to be sacrificed and compressed meaning that the viewer misses out on a lot.

And for someone like me, who devours every little piece of these books I’m left somewhat disappointed. Not even the superb acting of Peter Dinklage fully distracts me from the fact that he’s way too handsome to be Tyrion.

I hate to say it but the differences between the show and the books may eventually prevent me from watching.