Feologild

Is it easier to enjoy the show if you have not read the books?

40 posts in this topic

In my humble opinion, you would be better off watching the show before reading the books. The books I would consider the full, pure experience which requires greater investment, but reaps greater rewards as the books, by nature of the medium, are larger in scale, more in-depth and more fleshed out. The show is a more stripped and "dumbed" down version to make it more accessible. This means, if you read the books before watching the show, you will be aware of the show's omissions and "liberties" it takes with the books and this can be detrimental to experiencing the show.

Think of it as experiencing an authentic dish vs a non-authentic one - the authentic dish (the books) requires more effort and preparation, but gives you the "real deal". This does not mean that the non-authentic dish (the show) is gross and can't be enjoyed, but after having the authentic version....well you get the point.

I've been a reader of the novels since 2005 and the only reason I watch the show is because I can't wait for GRRM to finish the books and I want to see how the story ends. But I believe I would speak for most other fellow readers when I say the show is a sore disappointment compared to the novels, especially after S4.

Edited by Skyrazer

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I watched the first two season before reading the books.

If I were you, id just start with the books.

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I watched the first two seasons first then read the books in between two and three then continued watching the show.

For me the books helped me enjoy the show more because i had much more context and understanding of what was going on and I never thought of the books as perfect, particularly the last two. 

But i think it comes down to mindset and how you think about it. I enjoy the show a lot. But for me I recognize that the show is an adaptation, can enjoy it on its own terms and when I think how good it is or not I don’t compare it to the books but just compare it to other tv shows. 

Just don’t take it too seriously. Its just a tv show. Plenty of other people are able to enjoy it. 

Edited by jcmontea

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Depends. I read the five books before the show came out. Since then I have reread the books after the sixth season. 

I personally am a book reader though, I much prefer reading vs. watching a show. So I am biased and would say you get a lot more out of the books and shouldn't let the show spoil the big moments for you. But, if you're more of a TV person, then the opposite would probably be true.

Also, the books are going to go into a lot more detail and a lot of other plot lines that may, or may not, be important. But some plot lines I find very interesting aren't in the show, and that's sad to me.

Lastly, (sorry, writing this as I think it), I think the show purposely tries to sway your opinion one way, and the books do it less. This might just be a "me thing" but for me the show went out of its way to tell me Stannis was a "bad guy" and when reading the books, I never got that impression. Also, Tyrion is much more likable in the show than I thought he was in the books. Finally, the show wanted me to like Danny really bad, I really felt they were shoving that down my throat, and the books just kinda pushed her on me as someone I should like (and ironically ended up hating her in the books and show, though for two different reasons).

2 hours ago, Skyrazer said:

I've been a reader of the novels since 2005 and the only reason I watch the show is because I can't wait for GRRM to finish the books and I want to see how the story ends. But I believe I would speak for most other fellow readers when I say the show is a sore disappointment compared to the novels, especially after S4.

Also, agree with this 100%. I just want to know the ending because I am convinced GRRM will never finish the books. And yes, the first four seasons, spot on, love watching it. Season 5 had it's alright moments but definitely started to decline. Everything after is just explosions and dick jokes, but I still try to enjoy it for what it is now, just not as much as I used to sadly :( 

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Admittedly, I did not start watching the show or reading the books until around the time S4 was going out live. So, I staggered catching up on the show by reading the books.

I purposely refused to watch the 1st season before I had re-read A Game of Thrones. (I had read it a few years before and never got around to reading the rest as I started uni.) Then, I read the other books before continuing with each respective season based on it. So, A Clash of Kings before S2, A Storm of Swords before S3 and 4. By that point I was caught up with the series, so I read Feast & Dance during the S4-5 off-season.

 (lol) Then I audiobooked them, and then did the ‘A Feast for Dragons’ order later.

Frankly, do what you would prefer. The books are very long, dense and if you aren’t a big reader then you might want to watch the show at least until S4 to really see how much they changed between the two mediums. I wasn’t desperate to watch episode after episode of the show so I didn’t mind reading the books in order to bridge between seasons before I caught up. If you are comfortable with big reads, then I would start with the books or, at the very least, read each corresponding book to each series like I did.

Edited by Faera

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I know some people watch the show, and when they try to read the books, they get confused. It was kind of the opposite for me. I read the books first, and there were many times when I thought that if I hadn’t, I would be SO confused. So for me, reading the books definitely helped me enjoy the show more easily.

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8 hours ago, Red Tiger said:

I watched the first two season before reading the books.

If I were you, id just start with the books.

Oh i have seen the show well i have not watched my season 7 DVD yet.

I did start on the books but i did not care to read about a 13 or 14 year old having sex.  So i stopped reading it

 

I enjoy the show. My question is more about if you have read the books are you less likely to enjoy the show.

Edited by Feologild

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10 minutes ago, Feologild said:

Oh i have seen the show well i have not watched my season 7 DVD yet.

I did start on the books but i did not care to read about a 13 or 14 year old having sex.  So i stopped reading it

 

I enjoy the show. My question is more about if you have read the books are you less likely to enjoy the show.

Impossible to really say.

My guess would be that the people that enjoy the show who read the books is probably less than the percentage who enjoy the show who did not read the books. 

But who knows. Without the data being collected in a rigourous way very easy for small vocal communities such as this one to have an outsized influence due to availability bias.

i think what can be said without a doubt is people on this forum tend to like the show less than the population at large. 

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I don't suppose it matters really

I personally was planning on reading the books once Game of Thrones had completely finished but gave up after season six because I didn't really understand what was going on. Although even though I didn't start reading the books until S6 I did like to go on the internet and research as much book lore and theories as I could. So I suppose even without the books it was always the book lore/history that kept me interested in the show.

However I have a lot of friends who are show only watchers, the don't look for theories or book history and they are perfectly happy with just the show.

But if you're thinking about reading the books the I'd say just read the books and see how you go.

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Personally i found AGOT and the first half of ACOK quite boring having watched the show first. But that's just me

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13 hours ago, Feologild said:

Oh i have seen the show well i have not watched my season 7 DVD yet.

I did start on the books but i did not care to read about a 13 or 14 year old having sex.  So i stopped reading it

 

I enjoy the show. My question is more about if you have read the books are you less likely to enjoy the show.

A tough one to answer. I mean, I saw the show first, that will sort off colour your view on things.

I would think the answer to your question would be "yes", especially when I see what they did to Robb, Catelyn and Stannis' characters.

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I think you need to do either one or the other in full before attempting the other. I don't think it matters which one.

If you love the books you'll still love the show. I rarely say that about any adaptation of any kind, but that's just the way it is with GOT. The casting is fantastic. 

I'd read the books, first, though. There's just so much material and so many little Easter eggs concerning what may or may not happen in this plot or that plot it's just more fun. You really cna re-read them more than once and enjoy everything.

My current phase is to read 3 of the same POV chapters in a row. 

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I was first into the show after resisting it until binging right before S4 started, and then halfway through S5 when it started to suck (right when Jaime/Bronn first encounter the sandsnakes, brienne gives a heartfelt speech about wanting to kill the one true king who saved the nights watch because his usurper younger brother danced with her, said one true king starts to think about roasting his daughter, and Sansa decides to marry Ramsay for revenge) I decided to read the books because I prefer logic and reason.  The show first helped me to better imagine many characters / hear their voices which was nice, though some characters I think of as completely separate.  Really, whether or not you've read the books you'll be able to tell when the show starts to blow due to lack of consistency/coherence, and enjoy it less henceforth.

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On 12/11/2017 at 4:39 PM, Feologild said:

Oh i have seen the show well i have not watched my season 7 DVD yet.

I did start on the books but i did not care to read about a 13 or 14 year old having sex.  So i stopped reading it

 

I enjoy the show. My question is more about if you have read the books are you less likely to enjoy the show.

That's probably impossible to answer. Either you saw the books first or saw the show first and you won't have perspective of the other option. All I can say is, I read the books first, enjoy them greatly. Saw the show later and enjoyed the first four seasons greatly (since they are pretty close to the books), once it started deviating from the books, I didn't like it. Would I still have liked the show as much from season 5 and on if I didn't read the books? Maybe?

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I watched the first four seasons and later read the books. I enjoyed both things. In between season 4 and 5, I read books 4 and 5 and later I found s5 horrible in general. I think I'd not have liked it either (it's the season I dislike the most, even more than s7) but maybe instead of finding it atrocious I'd have found it just bad. Book perspective changes you, but some things are just bad no matter what.

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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On 11/12/2017 at 9:39 PM, Feologild said:

My question is more about if you have read the books are you less likely to enjoy the show.

That's very difficult to answer. All I can say is that I still enjoyed the show and enjoyed talking about it with my colleagues on Monday morning "despite being a book reader".

Moreover, the major issues with the last few seasons (so, S5 onward) are issues that were universal; noticeable to show-only watchers as well as book readers. I work with mostly show-only watchers and very often they will ask me to explain something that they thought was poorly done or didn't make sense because they know I have read the books and are hoping it "made more sense" in the books.

Edited by Faera

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Personally, having watched the show first, I wish I'd read the books first. If I could rewind to not having watched the show (or my near enough state of earlier this year, which was having seen disjointed parts of the show, a while ago, when in the company of show-watchers, but not really having paid close attention or understood), I would read the books first. Yes, when the books are familiar and precious to you, it will be disappointing and frustrating to watch something changed or stripped down play out on screen, but if you watch the show first, a lot of twists and threads from the plot will no longer be surprises or mysteries to enjoy the reward of figuring out for yourself while reading, the way long time readers talk about on these forums.  So, whichever you experience first will spoil the other for you in some way. But the value of what is at risk of being spoiled is not equal, the book experience is so much deeper and richer. And if you're anything like me, you'll be retrospectively disappointed in the changes and omissions made by the HBO adaptation all the same, once you know how it all really goes. Additionally, I haven't helped myself by frequenting these forums, I've even spoiled stuff for myself that the show didn't. All that being said, I am still loving reading the series and appreciating all the carefully crafted details.

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Actually, reading the books first increases the chances of following what's going on in the show, I'd reckon, so it has that plus point going for it. But I don't think I'd have been compelled to embark on 5 huge books famous for having a cast of thousands, as a slow reader whose concentration isn't always excellent and who has other things she's meant to be doing with her evenings, if it wasn't for the show having grabbed my curiosity and lead me to google elements of it, which ended up with reading pages of discussion involving the books and all this amazing sounding extra material I realised I was missing out on and needed to get stuck right into. I'd tell anyone with similar reservations that they are a lot more readable than they might imagine and they shouldn't feel daunted because it will be so engrossing they're unlikely to be able to stop reading long enough to lose track of it all. I'd have to be honest that it does eat a lot of your personal time though, unless you're super fast at reading.

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I personally didn't enjoy the show any less after reading the books. I read them after the second season ended and I love the show even today. I view them as separate entities and enjoy both.

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