When Game of Thrones first launched in 2011, I was thrilled to be a “reader”. As a recovering English major, I love having a different version of a story go around in my head when I experience a new movie or TV show, and most of my excitement for the series comes from George RR Martin’s dense translation of sublime fantasy. into a mainstream HBO series.
More than a decade later, and three years after A Song of Ice and Fire reached its (controversial) finish on television as one of the most successful shows of all time, HBO is counting on a spinoff series. Dragon’s House to take back magic; it adapts Martin’s Targaryen family history, Fire & Blood. And ever since I wrote about Game of Thrones From the perspective of someone who reads books for the AV Club and has even written a book on the show, Polygon contacted me to ask what readers should know about the source material. Dragon’s Housereleased in August.
There’s only one problem: I haven’t read it yet Fire & Blood. And the request made me realize something I was too scared to put into words: I don’t want to read Fire & Blood. And I’m officially submitting my proposal that we together resist the pressure to read an 800-page book to follow when the spin-off hits theaters later this summer.
Maybe it’s just me, but being a “reader” in Game of Thrones‘Running is exhausting. At first, it feels both fun and productive. Our knowledge of the books has helped us adapt to other viewers with the sheer volume of characters and depth in Martin’s world-building, and track changes to the story. allows for meaningful pieces of analysis about story tuning and complaining about werewolf absences, two of my favorite pastimes. It may seem silly to the outside observer that there are different ratings for “experts” and “newbies” on the internet, but it makes for a truly fascinating insight into the film adaptation, and I enjoy both writing and reading about it.
But as time went on, and the show drifted further and further away from the book’s story, we’ve delved so deeply into Lady Stoneheart for ourselves that the ability to just watch and enjoy the show as we please has gotten out of hand. . And as the series progresses through the books, we can’t find ourselves, grappling with the specter of Martin’s unfinished volumes, and treating the final season as something more than a rendition of Martin’s. a purple monkey about his intended ending. Being a book reader becomes a burden, and I envy people who might get angry online about the finale just as a reaction to a TV show and not A Whole Thing About The Books.
This is one of the reasons I ignore Fire & Blood when it comes out in 2018, though I may not be alone in this; it is written as a history in the world of the Targaryen family as told by Archmaester Gyldayn of the Citadel, and Martin himself goes to great lengths to insist that this is “not a novel”, instead collecting various parts of “imaginary history” come together into what he jokingly calls “GRRMarillion” in a nod to Tolkien’s Middle-earth history. This distinction means it’s easy to set it aside for a rainy day, and even if it’s published as source material for Dragon’s House, I didn’t feel a strong urge to jump out and read it; this is not another character-driven narrative but rather a record of historical events, providing a more limited insight into how the show will approach the stories within.
And still my time as a “reader” created this sense of shame like Dragon’s House got closer to becoming a reality, although my resistance was only growing. As actors began to be cast in different roles, I watched the news alerts from Westeros.org arrive via my Twitter feed and realized that I wasn’t thrilled to watch it and the other casts. Other fan sites like Winter is Coming reacting to casting news like it was in 2009. It’s clear to me that having an opinion as to whether Matt Smith would have picked such a good role is completely unappealing and I fear the day is certain. I’ll stand by and watch the show in my newsletter.
But why should any of us feel like we need to spend our beach days this summer mulling over what some reviews call “destructible” and “a decent homework assignment?” interesting but often boring”? Honestly, I don’t know that I would even agree with these reviews if I had read the book; The idea of real-world history sounds fine to me in the synopsis. But after the discussion around Game of Thrones becoming entangled in one’s relationship with books, I don’t want to re-enter those lectures just because some combination of the internet content engine and an innate desire to hold power are clinging to me .
And so while I have no doubt that someone will explain why you should read it Fire & Blood prior to Dragon’s House, I stand before you to suggest that we should fight this framework. Read it or don’t read it, but we need to normalize our exclusion from this story, even if it puts me in the dilemma of discouraging reading and advocating the value of lack of understanding.
Although, it’s not ignorance, really. When Game of Thrones Launched, the book’s readers provide a guide to a dense world of which most viewers understand nothing. But for anyone who has watched that show for eight seasons, the world of Dragon’s House Not a complete mystery. Even the casual viewer understands the basic features of House Targaryen, and those of us who have read the books have many frames of reference from which to choose new names and find new ones. sugar in this older version of Westeros. In other words, we have enough context to simply treat this as we would any spin-off: more than we invest in, with the promise of a mix of familiarity and familiarity. and carefully constructed novelty.
And honestly, Dragon’s House there was enough to solve without putting the book into the equation. After a bankrupt pilot from Jane Goldman starred by Naomi Watts, this is HBO’s second crack in the making of its prequel. Game of Thrones, and there’s a lot going on considering how the final season of that show disrupted momentum both onscreen with ratings and offscreen with licensing and business. Will greater creative continuity through director and co-hosts Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan J. Condal help the show regain the essence of what it did Thrones a culture juggler in a way that failed pilots didn’t? Is this particular a spin-off – of Condal – chosen because it is the best, or because it has the word “dragon” in the title and captures the most recognizable points of the franchise? The setting that created the show provides more than enough story to feel like it’s unnecessary to add “Does Emma D’Arcy capture the essence of *insert character names that I’ll learn to spell in August by reading her IMDB page *? into the mixture.
As a person myself, I have no ill will towards the reader. I wouldn’t grudge anyone to shell out $10 for a mass market paperback Fire & Blood and read it at the beach, on your way back to the office, or turn off your Zoom while working from home. I have no doubt that readers will write valuable and valuable insights that will help new and seasoned viewers alike as the story is told and I really hope it does. will enrich their experience.
But I officially declare that I will not be among them, and that we should give ourselves the freedom to enjoy – or not enjoy! – experience this story again, just with our current relationship with Game of Thrones to guide us. Dragon’s House is a reset button for HBO’s biggest franchise and we should be willing to use it as a reset button for our experience having invested so much in it on the internet.
https://www.polygon.com/23057740/read-fire-blood-house-of-the-dragon Do you need to read Fire & Blood to understand House of the Dragon?