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mushroomshirt

How did you "discover" ASOIAF?

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I was wondering about the folks on this board and how everyone "discovered" GRRM's ASOIAF books.  I know a lot of people got into the books from the show, if you did, I'm curious about how the show led you to the books and what you think of the two different media.  If you an old timer and were here before the show (let's face it you are at least 30), how did you hear about the books before it was a pop cultural phenomenon?

For myself, I remember reading in a magazine (!?! what the hell are those !?!) - Entertainment Weekly - the review of A Dance with Dragons.  I remember they mentioned it was a fantasy series that had a dwarf that was an actual human dwarf (and not a Tolkeinesqe dwarf).  I also remember they said there was lots of sex and violence.  I remember it being a pretty positive review.  After that I downloaded a kindle sample and sat on it for a while.  I think I actually read it around the time the HBO show premiered or a little before.  The sample stopped right after Bran's fall & I was hooked.

I imagine that this topic has been started before - couldn't find it though.  If anyone has a link to a similar topic please post!  Thanks!

Edited by mushroomshirt
edited because: I can't spell - or make acronyms

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2 and something years ago. I knew that GOT existed and had a general disdain for it, a disdain that spread to the books thinking it was all just glorified T&A. A friend of mine however who had read the book kept trying to make me read them and eventually when we were both a bit drunk he bet the equivalent of 10$ that if I read the first one I would like it. A bet I'm happy to say I lost. Eventually out curiosity I also saw the abomination, wish that I hadn't.

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8 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Eventually out curiosity I also saw the abomination, wish that I hadn't.

I had a similar experience.  My wife knew I loved the books and bought me seasons 1 and 2 as a present.  I liked season 1 but had to stop mid-way through season 2.  I just couldn't handle the differences from the books.  (aside: my wife watched the first episode with me and was horrified at the Dany / Drogo rape scene.  She would never watch again after that.  I tried to tell her that's not how it was in the books, but to this day she talks about how misogynistic the whole thing is.  She doesn't distinguish between the books and the show).

I did see the red wedding episode when I was traveling (hotels always have HBO for some reason).  I'm very glad I didn't watch more than that.

Funny enough I really enjoyed watching Elio and Linda's (and later only Linda's) reviews of the TV show.  It was super entertaining to see Linda just fire away at the show with both barrels while Elio tried and tried to keep things positive.  Eventually of course Elio couldn't handle it anymore and had to hand the videos over to Linda solo.

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36 minutes ago, PrettyLittlePsycho said:

After my brand new 56k modem finished loading the page

Heh, heh, heh. You might be nearly as old as me...

That said, I'd heard about George RR's series for years, and marvelled at the suddenly vastly increased attendance at the local sf con by - imagine it! - young people. I'd been watching the "usual suspects" continue to get greyer and (ahem) more weighty over the years, not to mention turning up in the "In Memorium" section of the progrem. But now, one could no longer get into George's readings unless one waited in line for hours. And their fantastic costumes!  (Which, believe me, look better on the young and fit...) The teevie show had gotten underway and had obviously created lots of new fans. Clearly, something was going on.

Finally, one day, while searching for a lightweight paperback book to give to a friend who was traveling to Iceland (Journey to the Centre of the Earth, of course), I picked up a used copy of Game of Thrones for myself, even though I'm not a fan of fantasy.

And could not put it down.

Edited by zandru
expand a little

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The first GRRM book I read was The Armageddon Rag, bc I saw it's cover and I needed to read it (sometimes you should judge books by the cover, in fact it's what covers are for). A few years later (like 2013 I think) a friend of mine gifted me AGOT and when I saw it was the same author I lost my shit. After I finished AGOT I tried to read a lot of GRRM's other works and I watched the first two seasons of the show. Fell in love with most of it. 

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I had heard about the books before the show. I remember seeing them in the bookstore I used to buy my books in at the mall when i was a teen - maybe around 2008. I remember picking up AGOT and reading the back synopsis and flipping through it. I have no ideia how, because the synopsis doesn't really say it, but the only two things I knew about the books were: 1) dragons return and so does magic, and 2) it was 'rated r' lol. And that didn't appeal to me. Or rather, it did, but they weren't the kind of books I used to read back then.

Anyway, I discovered they made an adaptation when the first season aired but I didn't watch it then. I decided to give the books a try, so I read them consecutively, starting in January 2012. Then I watched the first season and the following seasons live until season 5.

I also remember lurking around here back in 2013 or so. The user I remember the most was Apple Martini. Idk why I remember them specifically but yeah. And tze (?), as well.

Edited by Lady Anna

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I read the books before watching the show.  I stopped watching and did not see all of the last season.  As the popularity of the story gained GRRM his celebrity status, more books started coming out.  I bought all of them.  

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15 minutes ago, Dalinar said:

Watched the first three seasons of GoT and got hooked and wanted to read the source material. 

I'm curious of what you thought about the differences between the show and the books.  Did they bother you or were you able to keep the two versions separate in your head?

Edited by mushroomshirt
punctuation and grammar problems

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I had a bad couple of years resulting in some complicated grief.  A wonderful old friend encouraged me to read the series to get me more interested in fantasy, so she pointed out the mysteries in ASOIAF to me.  That was back in '13 and I did not watch to show until Season 5.   Really wish I hadn't.   She quit watching that season I think, so she isn't spoiled on anything.  Would have been better to join her in solidarity.   

In my great grief, this world gave me something entirely new and rare and wonderful to put my attention to.  I have learned so much from so many and true to task have come to love great fantasy.  

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Credit where credit is due: it was HBO that got me interested.  I caught the show when season 2 had just started, and they were running marathons of season-1 episodes, so I got to see a lot of it in a short time. And those early seasons were pretty faithful to the books. 

Eventually I went to a store, picked up a paperback, and started flipping through it, reading small pieces here and there.  I quickly found some stretches of dialog that I recognized, so I bought it ... and here I am, eight years and eight books later.

The show deviated badly from the books in later seasons.  But it was always well produced and well acted; and I think the characters' personalities were preserved, even though the plot was mangled.   I'm sure the show brought in a lot of new readers besides me.

In seasons 3 and 4, I was able to forgive the changes to the story line; they seemed reasonable in light of the need to simplify the plot for a TV show.  But at the end of season 5, when they (the writers, that is, not the characters) killed Ser Barristan, I was pissed.  I'll admit that I continued to watch the series, but only to enjoy the acting, beautiful locations, etc. The plot was basically fan fiction at that point..  

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From the show. I think it was after season 4 or 5. I was reading how there are very big differences between the show and the book, and wanted to check it out for myself. Ended up getting hooked on the books, got through the the audiobooks very quickly, still relisten to my favorite parts frequently while waiting for WoW. Also the other materials such as Dunc and Egg, the world book, and fire and blood.

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2 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

I had a bad couple of years resulting in some complicated grief.  A wonderful old friend encouraged me to read the series to get me more interested in fantasy, so she pointed out the mysteries in ASOIAF to me.  That was back in '13 and I did not watch to show until Season 5.   Really wish I hadn't.   She quit watching that season I think, so she isn't spoiled on anything.  Would have been better to join her in solidarity.   

In my great grief, this world gave me something entirely new and rare and wonderful to put my attention to.  I have learned so much from so many and true to task have come to love great fantasy.  

Wow I'm really sorry to hear that.  I suppose it is good that there is art out there like ASOIAF out there that can help people get through dark times.  But it's sad to hear about your bad years.  I hope things are better for you now.

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Bad years weren't the point.  It is how you hear a song or what catches your eye in a painting.   ASOIAF is a head painting and long beautiful song.   As a pretty anti fantasy reader perhaps this interjection into my consciousness couldn't have been made in other circumstances.   I appreciate your kind words and didn't tell the story to bring you down.   This silly wonderful amazing disgusting mind boggling mystery/horror/historical fiction/fan boy reference bank fantasy has brought a great deal to many.   I am grateful to have been introduced to the experiences of reading with a group, arguing over medieval family values and debating the possibilities of blood magic.  Maybe it's unusual to happen a person in such a grey area and bring such color to their life.  I've chatted with writers and musicians and poets and teachers and scientists, historians and fools here all because of a fabulous story.  My existence has been added to.  

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If you still remember your teens AFTER SWEET 16 (I'm still not out of 18) and were a proud nerdy geek/ geeky nerd, you'll connect with my story of how I picked up ASOIAF/GoT.

 

GoT started in HBO on 17th April 2011 IIRC, but I came to know about it only after reading the books (circa 2017/18)

The abomination was truly abominable, but the books kept me hooked. I have never felt so immersed in such a fantasy fictional world, not even JRRT's or JKR's.

There were books fairs every year at our school (still are, exception this year bcoz of the damn stupid virus) and ASOIAF was available in a box with all the books (not the companion novels, but main 5 books).

5 boys (not me, ALLINONE box was above my pocket money budget and I never bought single books that were/are part of a series) pooled their money and bought it, because it was the trending topic due to the series and its morbidly fascinating sex and violence then. But I was blissfully ignorant about the existence of an HBO series. 

In the end, only I finished the series and all the companion books too. The wannabe popular nerds moved on to something else while I borrowed and finished the series.

 

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From a school friend who bought lots of books and SF/fantasy magazines. About 19 years ago he came to me with an issue of "Fenix" including reprinted "Path of the dragon" (several dany chapters put togerher) and told me I just had to read it. I found it similar to the Witcher (which was just finished) in some aspects, thought it is like same subgenre/league... but much more addictive! 

 

 

Edited by broken one

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9 hours ago, mushroomshirt said:

I'm curious of what you thought about the differences between the show and the books.  Did they bother you or were you able to keep the two versions separate in your head?

No, I didn't bother at all. First of all, I have never seen such a faithfull adaption of a book as Season 1 in my entire life. 90% of the dialoges were 1:1 straight from the book. The additional scenes, that weren't in the book such as the Tywin/Jamie or Robert/Cersei scene were even the best scenes in the series and much better than what GRRM has written. The Jamie/Tywin scene is now even taught in writing classes as an example how to introduce a character properly (Tywin in this example). The writing was godlike and Season 4 was the culmination. But even, if something is not a faithfull adaptation, I don't care as much, as long as the story that is being told, the writing, the acting, the directing, the cinematorgraphy, the music and so on are good.

I am not a book purist. Most people don't seem to understand that books and television are two completely different mediums, and thus are not comparable. What works in the books, does not work on the screen. Best exampple: Exposition. Necessary in a book, the biggest sin on screen. So, I just laugh, when I read those angry comments from book readers, that we are now blessed to read via the glorious Internet. 

Season 7 and 8 on the other hand...Well, I think there is no need to talk about that. All that has to be said, has been said. Here book and show readers don't disagree :). 

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