Now I've never been a big fantasy fan (shock, horror, I know) but I just didn't see the appeal. It was a whole genre that just left me feeling a little confused.
Magic? Fairies? Flying horses?
I wanted something a bit more realistic. A world of possibilities. Any possibility. Good or bad.
I want glimpses into the future, whether its grim and gritty or glorified and great and I want characters who were flawed and real and oh so human. Give me a world of spaceships and aliens and wormholes rather than worlds populated with elves and dragons and dwarves.
I have, of course, tried to get into fantasy. Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Raymond Feist, I've read them all at various stages with little success and when the Lord of the Rings movies came out it seemed like a good idea to try reading the books, after all so many people raved about how good they were. Perhaps if I read them, I too would finally understand the appeal of all things magical.
Sad to say I only managed to get half way through the first one before I tossed it across the room. I just didn't get it.
Then Game of Thrones came along.
This was fantasy?
Betrayal, bloodshed, murder and mayhem. How could I have not known about this. It was like Lord of the Rings meets the Sopranos with hefty dash of The Tudors and Spooks thrown in.
I was hooked.
This is a series that has it all. There's death and political intrigue and family feuds and well... more deaths. It's violent and sexual and raw and not for everyone, but for those who prefer their fantasy with a lot more grit and realism then this is a series for you.
In the world of Game of Thrones the magic takes second stage to the characters and what wonderful characters there are; from the sharp tongued dwarf to the bastard son who is torn between family and duty to the psychotic son of a fallen king, these are characters that you love to hate or just plain love. It is the characters that drive the story and for me that's a major part of it's appeal.
This is a world where good men can die from doing the honourable thing and bad guys can get ahead through lies and manipulation. It's about survival at all costs. As George R. R. Martin so aptly puts it.