So I just read the three page review of Game of thrones from the New York Times Magazine. This is a separate review from the incendiary one from the New york Times proper.
The basic gist of this article is that the Game of thrones is too bleak. And could do with a bit of optimism thrown in. Maybe some levity that dosen't involve raunch of jokes about bloodshed. I'd say this is a fair complaint from what I remember of the part of the book I read.
I'm willing to be supportive of the Show for the same reason I was supportive of Legend of the Seeker, Your Highness, Eragon, and a whole host of other Fantasy films and shows. I want more, and I want better. So I better support what we get. Or the next Peter Jackson might not get so lucky. But that dosen't change my opinions of George R.R. Martin's opus.
It's still a gritty, bleak, dark series of novels that leave very very little room for the more noble aspects of the human spirit. Chances are anyone who exhibits them is swept down upon like white on rice in a snowstorm and swiftly eliminated. Martin has crafted a world in which nobility, altruism, and the like are vices at best, and weakness at worst. His enemies are the Self. Rather than the standard Fantasy of having the enemies be the Other. Martin's kingdoms operate the same way a cancer ridden body does.. systems failing and feeding on each other in a confused morass of decay. He simply localizes the problems. It turns your neighbor into the Other.
That's not to say it dosen't happen. You can see it endlessly repeated in a whole host of nation-states on a nearly daily basis all over the world just by turning on the nightly news. It happened constantly in the TV show which Game of Thrones is endlessly compared too.. The Sopranos. A show which, I didn't like. It glamorized criminals. None of them were shown having to pay societies price for their malediction of their end of the social contract. If anything they were shown to be 'Just like everyone else'.. except that they murder and steal to get what they want.. while the rest of us slave away.
I just hope thats not how I feel after watching Game of Thrones. I want to like it. I want to support it in the hopes we get more Fantasy programs. But I have to have characters to like, that I'm sure will survive till the end, or it won't be worth bothering with. It's always darkest before the dawn, etc. But I'm left wondering if Martin intends to include the Dawn in his books. Certainly no shortage of his imitators show no inclination to include anything of the sort.
So this brings us to the other edge of what is as always a double edged sword. If it does well, it won't be doing well "because its a fantasy" but because its bleak and bloody and shows lots of tits. And we can no doubt look forward to adaptions of even bleaker and more bloody books into series.
I suppose I should console myself with the fact we are apparently going to get a Discworld Television show.. At least I can always count on Pratchett to make me laugh. Even if I can't count on anyone else to inspire me.