Why I Stopped Reading “Game of Thrones”

The new season of Game of Thrones is almost upon us and I can’t wait! As April approaches, I remember how I kept saying “I’m going to read all the books before this season begins!”. It was an honest desire and I foolishly thought that I could keep it. Spoiler alert, I didn’t and let me tell you why…

Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to avoid spoilers, thank you INTERNET. I have somehow managed to avoid finding out how House ends (no spoilers, please). I read what happens in Lost, but my memory is awful and I’ve already forgotten, saving all my theories for the Lost marathon I will one day sit through. I read the Hannibal books when I was 14, but I can barely remember what they are about (Hannibal is a vegan, right?), so watching Hannibal still feels exciting. The wonderful thing about Lord of the Rings (yeah, there’s only one wonderful thing….), was that I had already read the books before watching the movies, the same happened with The Hobbit.

My beautiful cousin Anastasia has introduced me to many shows (Gilmore Girls, True Blood etc). One day, some years ago, I decided to give in to her countless emails that kept pushing me to watch this new show that looks and feels like Lord of the Rings. I decided to give it a go and I was hooked. The show was barely out of its first season, it was phenomenal, the opening theme was catchy as hell, and I was glad to have found a new show to obsess over. When I found out that the show was based on a book series, I decided to read the books. I read the first book, loved it, but didn’t have the time to start the second book. “It’s okay” I thought to myself, “it’s a busy semester…”. Almost three years later, and now with no academic obligations whatsoever, I excitedly picked up the first book and started reading it again, this time fully intending to go through all five books.

Halfway through the second book I stopped reading. Something didn’t feel right! “Is it the paperback? Have I gotten so used to my Kindle that it is now impossible to read an actual book?” I asked myself while dramatically resting my chin on my right hand. Was my love for Martin’s fictional world lost? Nope, I had just named my newly rescued dog Arya (Arya Stark to be precise), I still loved this particular mythology. And then it hit me: the pleasure of reading was actually lost! I already knew all the huge spoilers thanks to the show. Reading the books felt like an obligation, something I had to sit through if I wanted to be a good fan. I made the brave decision to simply store the books away and wait for the show to be over.

I sometimes wish the books were awful, then I could say “at least the show is better!” and mentally delete the possibility of ever reading the books. The books, however, are good, they are extremely well-written and offer a better understanding of Westeros. I am not the kind of reader who obsessively keeps track of all the differences between the book and the movie/series adaptations. I approach both as individual works of art and I respect the creative decisions made by people who actually know what they’re doing and are paid to do so. I want to read the books and I want to enjoy them, that’s why I’ll stay away from them until the show is over. I will approach them with the same curiosity I had when I heard the opening theme of the show for the very first time, hoping that Ned Stark never dies, the Red Wedding never happens and Viserys remains crown-less…

 

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