Last year, everybody was raving about the new Game of Thrones TV series, calling it J.R.R. Tolkien, but subtle. So I picked up the first book from George R.R. Martin (yes, R.R.) and read it. Dishier than Tolkien, to be sure: lots of sex in that book. Easier to read than Tolkien? You bet: no six-stanza poems breaking up the incessant action. But subtle? Oh, come on: it’s basically a soap opera with swords and heaving bosoms and dragons.
I don’t have television reception at home so I haven’t seen the show, but I’m on the road right now and ran across the season opener for the show on HBO. Friends have been telling me I really need to see this TV show for the past year, and here was my chance, so I watched it, expecting something special. But my reaction was the same: oh, look, a soap opera. With swords. And dragons. And heaving bosoms (reserved for minute 40, when we’d be otherwise bored).
And yet, the newspapers are suddenly all chatty about Game of Thrones again. CNN placed GoT on its culture calendar. So maybe I’m missing something. Do you think I’m missing something? Can somebody tell me what the big deal is with Game of Thrones? Why are so many people excited about it? Is there something delicious and delectable about the books or the show that I just can’t see? Or is all that the result of calculated media hype?