Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Winter is Coming. Grab Your Skis.

This weekend, I’m losing my favorite secret to the world.

Not that I can really consider a New York Times bestseller -- and one of the best-loved fantasy novels of all time -- my secret. But for years it’s felt that way. I first read A Game of Thrones in hardback when I was working part time at a Super Crown books (anybody remember those?). Back then, the cover still looked like this:

First Edition Hardcover

Nobody recommended it to me. I didn’t read any reviews beforehand. I just saw it hit the shelf, bought a copy, and read it.

This isn't a review, but A Game of Thrones is a fantastic book in every sense of the word. The characters are round, real, incredible. The world is tangible, the plot complex and riveting. Even standing incomplete at four books, it begins the best fantasy series of modern times (with apologies to Masters Jordan and Sanderson).

Over the years, I hooked more friends, family, and random bystanders than I had a right to. Had I wanted to pursue a career dealing drugs, I’d have had great job-related experience to put on my resume.

“Hey, buddy. Are you literate? Here. Take this book. You’ll LOVE it. Trust me.”

Never mind that you may hate me before you’re halfway through, when you learn Martin doesn’t pull any punches with his characters. Never mind that the series isn’t finished, and you’ll soon be waiting with shaky hands for your next fix like the rest of us. By then it will be too late. You’ll be addicted like me.

With every new installment, the series has grown in popularity – due in some part to fanatics like me, but mainly because the books are just plain good. A secret like this just doesn’t keep. These days, the only fantasy lovers who haven’t read it are probably cut off from the world by a 700-foot wall of ice. And now, with the premier of Game of Thrones on HBO this Sunday, every wildling with a TV and cable will know about it. And love it.

The HBO rendition should be distilled awesome.
The whole thing feels like stumbling on the perfect little secluded spot in the mountains. Tall trees. Amazing, snow-covered vistas. A perfect little stream with clear water running over round stones. And not a soul knows about it but you (not even the White Walkers.) Over the years you keep coming back to bask in the scenery, in the peace and quiet. You invite all your closest friends to come see, feeling smug as they marvel the same way you did. It’s your spot.

And now it’s being turned into a ski resort.

Don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait to see this story come alive on film. I’ve been counting down the days till April 17th for longer than is healthy for any normal, well-adjusted person. Or for me.

But some part of me is going to miss that secret little hideaway to share. Looks like it’s time to find a new one. In the mean time, sign me up for a lift ticket!


  1. I'm so excited! It's going to be brilliant, I think. I might pass out when I see Khal Drogo...or drool, slip, fall, hit my head, and then pass out, but it's all good ;)

  2. I actually skipped this post because I haven't read A Game of Thrones yet, I'm saving it as a reward for finishing my WIP :) I won't let anything spoil it! Everyone I know has been going on about it for sooo long. When I've read it I'll be back :3

  3. @John - Pretty much a spoiler-free post, so feel free to dig in!

    @Rhiannon - So are you wearing a bandage on your head this morning?

    I thought episode one hit it out of the park. Can't wait for more!