Today, HBO's A Game of Thrones gets that shout-out from me.
I read the 4 books that are currently out a few years ago--my husband (then just boyfriend) highly recommended them. I knew nothing about the series, had never heard of them. All I was going on was the fact that he adored them, and I thought I'd give them a shot because he so strongly suggested it.
Now, a little bit of info about me, I'm not a huge fantasy person. I'm pretty picky with my fantasy. I love my classic movies like Willow and The Dark Crystal, and I adore classic fantasy books like Lord of the Rings (also a great movie adaptation). But rarely will I finish a fantasy book, much less stick with a series.
Well, I find that a lot of fantasy has a lack of character-building, or characters that are so hard to relate to because I can't even pronounce their name, etc. Many fantasy novels have incredible worlds and imaginative plots, but the character thing tends to be missing for me in your run-of-the-mill sword and sorcery books.
A Game of Thrones, however, had me enthralled from the first chapter and mainly because of its characters.
Author George R.R. Martin creates a gigantic cast of 3-dimensional characters, a vivid world that is believable yet with ever-increasing elements of magic, and he also spins a plot that will constantly make you go, "WTF??" because he is absolutely unpredictable.
And I love that. Give me unpredictable over canned formula any day!
This story is Fan-Damn-Tastic.
So naturally I had high expectations for the HBO show...
I am so nit-picky when it comes to turning my favorite books into shows. I will sit through the movie/show and gripe about how "That wasn't in the book!" or "Her hair wasn't that color in the book!" or "Why'd they have to change that? They could've kept it like the book!"
I am saying no such thing when watching A Game of Thrones. I merely sit, mesmerized, and so thankful that it IS so true to the original story.
One of the things I was kind of iffy on in the beginning, though, was the character Jamie Lannister:
In the first book especially, Jamie is a golden, pretty boy who is also a genuine asshole. The Jamie they picked for the show just somehow wasn't pretty enough for me. Good-looking, yes, but I was thinking very blond shoulder-length hair, model-like features, piercing blue eyes, that sort of thing. So I was sort of pouting over that.
But damn it, after watching the first few episodes, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is doing a perfect job playing him. No, he doesn't quite have the look I would've pictured, but I hate to admit it: he is still doing great. As is everyone else. Everyone in this show is amazing. And that is something I just don't SAY very often!
So if you haven't read the books, go out and get book 1-4. Martin promises to have the 5th book released soon (I've been waiting for years for it), but I'm telling you, you will just get hooked, even if you're not into fantasy. And then once you've read the books, check out the show so you can compare how it relates to the novels. ((Warning: books and show are HIGHLY sexual and mature in themes, so this one isn't for kids, folks!))