How I Prepared for Game of Thrones Season 4

I find myself in a strange position on the eve of HBO’s mega-hit fantasy series Game of Thrones’ fourth season. I tried as long as humanly possible to not jump feet first into the world of Westeros… Sure I liked the show and watched it every week without fail, and yeah I might’ve picked up a t-shirt or two along the way, but all-in-all I’ve fought the urge to pick up the books or play any games or spend hours looking into the early history of the First Men and how they lived in harmony with the Children of the Forest until the Andals came and conquered the seven kingdoms… Oops…Game-of-Thrones-Mondo-poster-1

Shit, there I go. I lay all blame on the broad shoulders of George R R Martin.

So yes, in the dark hours of this last winter, I picked up Game of Thrones, the first book in the series. It was just sitting there waiting for me to pick it up… And then I couldn’t put it down. Of course. I don’t know what I was expecting, I don’t think I had any expectations, but now I see why the show is what it is to so many people. You see, I didn’t WANT to read the books. I have a complicated relationship with adaptations thanks to my undying love for Stephen King. I realize that some things are just better left on the page.

Well, I couldn’t wait any longer… And now I’m paying the price… Story of my life. Now I’m well into A Clash of Kings, and ready to start watching the second half of Storm of Swords… The part of the books that season 4 is based. I don’t mind. I’ve resigned myself to my fate as quickly as I could.

What can I say? I’m hooked…

882475_497649860299011_407630296_oThe books are amazing, his writing is brilliant, and I don’t care if I’m on a runaway train headed for a head-on collision at the end of the line. You see, I’m not a fan of waiting. Patience is a virtue, that sometimes just eludes me… Plus like I said, I’ve been through this once before, and I used to feel a little burned by the way The Dark Tower wrapped up. I remember waiting, wondering, lamenting every story that came out instead of… It was horrible. I stopped reading King for years because he just wouldn’t sit down and write the damn ending. Then when it came I was overjoyed at the prospect of an ending, until it was over. I love the ending of The Dark Tower. It wasn’t at all what I imagined, and that’s the point.

I’m a writer, while not necessarily a big-shot published so-and-so, I still understand the pain of writer’s block. Just ask the novels I’ve been letting collect dust for well over a year now… Inspiration is a tricky thing, and nothing feels more wrong than forcing writing… But in the end, if it’s a person’s job, and there are millions of people out there waiting with bated breath, hanging on every Google News alert for misinterpreted signs of your next book, I might be a little more motivated to lock myself away in my mansion and force myself to wrap shit up.

Martin has been writing The Winds of Winter for awhile now, and still has one more book to go before the series is over- A Dream of Spring. The internet is flooded with reports of the show ending before the books do, what will happen if the show catches up to the books, if Martin doesn’t publish fast enough… All the speculation, all the pressure… It’s got to be rough.

At the same time, it’s the best part of the series. The End. How much fun is it to write all the stuff you’ve been building up to? THE BEST! Maybe that’s just wishful thinking though.kings_landing

**SPOILERISH**

As HBO’s visual version of Westeros prepares to return in a few weeks, many are wondering how last season’s Red Wedding can possibly be topped? I myself, have never had my heart and stomach wrenched by a television show more than when Walder Frey’s men viciously stabbed Robb Stark’s pregnant bride in the stomach over and over again as arrows rained down from above, washing away any hope of a Stark family reunion with a tidal wave of blood. When Michelle Fairley screamed at the end of that episode… That sound will echo in my memory forever…stark-household-game-of-thrones-19599011-1280-720

Anyone who has read the books or has succumb to the pull of the internet knows that there are some MAJOR deaths coming up this season as well… I don’t want to say anything, mainly because I don’t know details, but I do know that the North will never forget, and the Lannister family is about to get a little smaller…

Now that the oldest, most noble house in Westeros has been brought to its knees by the usurping Lannister clan, the political climate in the capital is about to get even muddier. John Snow is back at Castle Black, destined for leadership, and Stannis Baratheon is headed North to help defend against the coming tide of Wildlings. Arya Stark is on the run with The Hound, headed for the Eastern shore and a trip across the Narrow Sea, while her sister Sansa has been married off to Tyrion Lannister- possibly the only man in Westeros who can still save the “kingdom” if his freaky family would just step aside and let him. The psychoboy King Joffery is set to go toe-to-toe with grandpappy Lannister as the powerful Tyrell family cements itself to a doomed house.

With Bran Stark and his gang of merry Wargsters headed into the white beyond the wall in search of the Children of the Forest, can the parapalegic boy find the three-eyed raven and save the world? Meanwhile the recently eunuch’ed Theon Greyjoy, aka Reek, is held captive by the traitor Roose Bolton’s bastard son Ramsey… And let’s not forget our favorite Mother of Dragons across the sea. Daenerys builds her armies as her ancestors did before her, all the while her three dragons grow bigger and bigger, and far less easy to control…

GOT1Never turn your back on a Targaryen with a dragon.

This season is the build-up to Martin’s Dance with Dragons/Feast of Crows experiment, in which he originally set out to skip the story ahead five years, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen and instead basically cut one giant book in two. Dance and Crows take place at the same time, and each one covers the events on different sides of the narrow sea. It will be interesting to see how the writers on HBO’s show choose to blend the books together over the coming seasons.

That on top of Martin’s hints that the series might wrap up with a big-screen finale due to the effects-heavy needs of the climax- and fans are champing at the bit for both new episodes and the new book that “should” be out late this year or early next. Either way, as long as HBO takes its time, there’s still a lot of story left to cover before the show catches up… And if he can get Winds of Winter out soon, or even better, write them both at the same time, then fans of Game of Thrones should have nothing to fear.

Winter is no longer coming, Winter is here…

 

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