Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel by GRR Martin, adapted by D Abraham, art by T Patterson

I've been wanting to read George R.R. Martin's acclaimed series, A Song of Ice and Fire, but have been daunted by its length. The five books together are over 4,000 pages long. That's why I was pleased to see a graphic novel adaptation of the first book, A Game of Thrones. I hoped to get a feel for the original work through the creative collaboration of Daniel Abraham and Tommy Patterson.

Result? Unsatisfactory. I enjoyed the epic scope and the multiple narrative threads. There are interesting relationships between different sets of siblings. Individuals are changed by power and circumstance.

Patterson's full colour art, however, is unappealing. It's hard to tell who is who because many faces are similar. (And similarly unattractive, distorted.) Narrative boxes are in saturated colours that don't allow enough contrast to easily read the black text. The men bulge with muscles. A giant of a groom is three times the size of his bride. The women are shown naked as often as possible, bathing and dressing as well as during sex. It put me in mind of the erotica in John Norman's Chronicles of Gor. Examples include a female attendant who has both hands on a young woman's waspish waist, supposedly assisting her into a bath; an outdoor sex scene where both participants are aware that everyone in the tents around them are watching; and an orgy scene in a brothel (traversed in order to get to a woman hiding for safety on an upper floor).

I'm not planning to read beyond volume 1 of the adaptation. The original books, however, still interest me. And the television series as well, perhaps.

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