Monday, August 07, 2017

On hating to love a show

Some five odd years ago, I asked Twitter, that fount of all wisdom, whether I should read the Game of Thrones books, or start watching the show. The show was in its first or second season, and the general consensus at the time was that I should read the books, and so I did.

I often say I have a love-hate relationship with the books. There is SO MUCH that annoys me tremendously about them. There is a ridiculous amount of seemingly unnecessary violence, which is not something I tend to enjoy in literature. There is misogyny and mistreatment of women on practically every page, and anyone who tries to bring up the old argument about how "that's how medieval times were" can just stop now - if the kind of language and curses expressed by people can be updated to reflect the 21st century, so can other things.

And yet, I plodded through all five books, even if the cast of characters had grown so much that I was constantly flipping to the glossary at the end to try and remember who's who. But I plodded through them, whimpering at various stages thanks to GRRM's insistence on killing off practically any character I started growing even slightly fond off. I plodded through, mainly because, dammit, you want to know what happens.

When I finished the fifth book, the next book was expected to release that fall. But it kept getting pushed, and pushed, and pushed, till I'm very sure it's never coming out at all. And meanwhile the show kept going.

I never wanted to watch the show, even though everyone said it was SO GREAT. I can barely read violent stuff in books, why on earth would I want to watch them depicted on the screen? And since this is a show that is talked about pretty constantly, I've pretty much known what the show is doing even without watching. And reading about things the show changed from the books, which more often than not sounded like they had just made things more unnecessarily cruel, did not make me want to watch the show.

But then in the last couple of years, the show has clearly overtaken the books. And while I still held out, thinking maybe the next to books would come out eventually, that just seems stupid at this point. So in the last few weeks, I've been talking to friends who do watch the show, and asking which season I should start from.

Almost without fail, the answer has been, well, why wouldn't you start from the beginning? Because, well, I don't want to. I'm already going to be doing this very grudgingly, my interest in watching TV has gone down dramatically in recent months (which is a topic for another day), there is already SO MUCH TV that one must apparently watch, and I only really wanted to start watching from where the show really starts diverging from the books, and then keep going. And based on that, the consensus seemed to be that Season 4 would be a good starting point, and I figured I'll plan on that.

But then.

I was travelling for work last week, and needed to go through a gazillion decks to prepare for a call the next morning. I was flipping through channels on the television to have something play in the background, and the most recent episode was playing as I came to HBO. And for some reason, I let it stay on that channel.

By the end of that hour, I knew I was going to have to start my binge watch sooner rather than later.

And then.

Last night, I happened to go online soon after the latest episode must have played. And twitter had clearly watched, and gone berserk. So I decided to watch the episode.


I spent the next hour gasping practically every five minutes. And now I can't decide if I just start my binge watch tonight and keep going till I'm up to date, or if I just watch this season as it happens and then do my binge watch, or do a combination of both, or WHAT.


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