Skip

Game of Thrones - TV show vs. books
June 28, 2011 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Game of Thrones filter: I recently finished watching the first season of the HBO show (and enjoyed it very much). Is it possible to read the eponymous first book in the series without giving away any spoilers for what might happen in the second season of the TV show? That is to say, is season one coterminous with book one?

I know that there are were some scenes in season one which appeared nowhere in the book, and I'm also told that there's all sorts of background stuff in the book which didn't appear on the TV show. But is there anything meaningfully spoiler-ific in the book that didn't appear on the show?

I realize the definition of "spoiler" in this context is a bit tricky. But if the extra material in book one is along the lines of "so-and-so happens to be such-and-such's father," then I'm fine with that. But if it's more like, "There was an epic battle in the first book we never saw on the show but which they're probably saving for the second season," then I'd probably want to avoid the book.

Oh, and please don't give any actual spoilers away in this thread! :) Thanks so much.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
They end in the same place. You would be fine to read it. But you won't stop, I promise.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:23 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah. I just read the book right before plowing through the season, and they end up at the same place. You'll just get more background from the book. It will be basically impossible to start the next book though!
posted by grapesaresour at 11:25 AM on June 28, 2011


I started reading the first book not long after the first HBO episode. Spoilers or not, I recommend reading the book.

The show mirrors the book pretty closely. I've not read any spoilerish text yet. Having not finished the book, I don't know if they are coterminous or not. Reading along in the book I was able to grasp the history and relationship much more easily.

I'm told that the second book focuses on "a Sorceress".
posted by humboldt32 at 11:25 AM on June 28, 2011


Book one covers Season 1. While there may be stuff in the book that has yet to be covered in the series, it's more like details than plot points, all of which have been depicted in the series.
posted by inturnaround at 11:25 AM on June 28, 2011


I just finished concurrently watching and reading the first season / book and started the second book. I don't think you'll spoil the 2nd season at all by reading the first book but there were actually a couple tiny things in the 1st season of the show that were actually at the beginning of the 2nd book. Not meaningful spoilers though.
posted by ghharr at 11:26 AM on June 28, 2011


Yes, Book 1 covers Season 1 very closely and it's a great book. I really enjoyed it and am now reading Book 2.
posted by whoaali at 11:26 AM on June 28, 2011


It will be basically impossible to start the next book though!

Uh, I meant not start. Impossible to not start. Jeez.

posted by grapesaresour at 11:28 AM on June 28, 2011


I'm told that the second book focuses on "a Sorceress".

No book focuses on any one character. There are many POV chapters, more in each book, though book 4 & 5 are so full of POVs that he split them. So you were misinformed.

I think you're going about this the wrong way though. The show makes things explicit that the book only hints at. As good as the show is, the books will stand the test of time as some of the best fantastical fiction.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of the major plot points in the first book were covered by the show.
posted by scrump at 11:30 AM on June 28, 2011


There are some scenes from the show that are borrowed from later books, some important details that the show hasn't covered, but nothing major in the first book that will spoil you on season 2.

And you will likely dive right into the second book after finishing the first one, and so if you're really dead set against spoiling season 2 be aware this will be a huge temptation.
posted by lilac girl at 11:33 AM on June 28, 2011


While there may be stuff in the book that has yet to be covered in the series, it's more like details than plot points, all of which have been depicted in the series.

With one moderate exception. In the first book, we get a flashback that complicates Ned's history. Plenty of readers, myself included, think that what we learn from it will have major implications down the line.

The show's writers opted to omit that part, which means that if they choose to develop that storyline, they'll have to fit the information from the flashback into a future season. That's the only meaningful way I can think of in which the book might "spoil" the show.
posted by Iridic at 11:42 AM on June 28, 2011


Do consider everyone's advice about not stopping once you start. After episode 9 I just had to know what happened next and picked up the first book. Since then I've finished the first four books. I was sorely disappointed when I discovered that the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, isn't to be released until July 12th. :(
posted by trueluk at 11:43 AM on June 28, 2011


I was sorely disappointed when I discovered that the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, isn't to be released until July 12th. :(

You do know it took six YEARS for book 4 and now five years for book 5...?
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:44 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the word "focuses" was poorly chosen. It was not my word.

Anyway, I treat the show as spoiler to the book, not the other way around.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:48 AM on June 28, 2011


You do know it took six YEARS for book 4 and now five years for book 5...?

Actually it took five years for book 4 and now six years for book 5.

But everyone else is right, OP, the book won't spoil future episodes of the series with the one possible exception noted by Iridic.
posted by Justinian at 11:49 AM on June 28, 2011


Iridic, no one else has mentioned this issue before (either in this thread or in offline conversations I've had). Without giving anything away, how "moderate" is this "complication"?

On preview: I see Justinian mentions it as well. Is there a way to convey the importance of this flashback without actually giving its contents or meaning away?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:52 AM on June 28, 2011


You do know it took six YEARS for book 4 and now five years for book 5...?

If only it took that long to read them as well.
posted by trueluk at 11:53 AM on June 28, 2011


I would read the book(s) for sure! The show does follow pretty closely, but the book gives so many details. What people are thinking, why they act the way they do, etc etc.

Once you start you won't put them
Down.

I'm on book 4 but not reading it, because my husband is waiting for 5. I don't want to be stuck waiting for him to finish!
posted by Sweetmag at 11:55 AM on June 28, 2011


Without giving anything away, how "moderate" is this "complication"?

It adjusts our assumptions regarding the motivations of at least two characters (one of them long dead and only briefly mentioned during the show) and raises interesting possibilities about the parentage of another.
posted by Iridic at 12:13 PM on June 28, 2011


But to be fair, the implication of that scene is only clear if you start questioning the parentage of that character anyways, otherwise you are likely to pass over the scene in question as being yet another example of the... strong character of the person in question.

You may not even realize the implications if you read it, so, read without fear.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:23 PM on June 28, 2011


Without giving anything away, how "moderate" is this "complication"?

In addition to what Iridic and flibbertigibbet said...we as devoted readers of the series are not really sure what importance needs to be given to that issue, since the rest of the books aren't out. I wouldn't worry about that particular spoiler, if I were you.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:24 PM on June 28, 2011


It adds some depth to some of the conversations in season 1, but as the issue isn't really resolved in the books to date, IMO, it does not spoil future viewing so much as raise more questions. It makes the story a bit more complex and adds another layer to some of the interactions you've seen thus far.
posted by bonehead at 12:30 PM on June 28, 2011


People are making a good point. The scene in question doesn't necessarily spoil anything, it just opens up interesting avenues of speculation which are not present in the TV show.
posted by Justinian at 12:32 PM on June 28, 2011


But is there anything meaningfully spoiler-ific in the book that didn't appear on the show?

No, there isn't. The events of the first book and Season 1 correspond to each other pretty well.

Martin uses both foreshadowing of future events and flashbacks to previous events, but in quite a subtle way: often references which you don't understand at first only become clear in later books.

The main danger of reading the first book is that you'll immediately want to go on to the next book.
posted by russilwvong at 12:32 PM on June 28, 2011


I'd suggest that any further discussion of "the scene in question" go to MetaCooler, specifically the "rampant speculation" section.
posted by russilwvong at 12:33 PM on June 28, 2011


The entire show is much more explicit (leading, I don't mean sexually) than the books. We go from "Help me dress before battle" to a scene of blowjobs and plotting. Or we don't know WHO is talking in one scene in the book but in the show they are clearly seen.

Also that particular scene everyone is talking about is my favorite in the entire series.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:35 PM on June 28, 2011


The show makes things explicit that the book only hints at.

This is a point worth emphasizing. Martin is a much more subtle, indirect writer than the TV show. The scene between Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell is much, much more explicit in the show than in the books, for example. People were still arguing about whether they were just friends or more prior to the show.
posted by bonehead at 12:40 PM on June 28, 2011


This is a point worth emphasizing. Martin is a much more subtle, indirect writer than the TV show. The scene between Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell is much, much more explicit in the show than in the books, for example.

From reading the book I totally missed this (although I did read it on a very long and exhausting plane ride so that may have something to do with it) and actually wondered whether this was just added to the show.
posted by whoaali at 1:09 PM on June 28, 2011


I'm of the opposite opinion. You've gotten a huge spoiler already ... a spoiler for the book. Mind you that I collect books like kids collect baseball cards, so if the book got turned later into a movie/tv show/broadway musical/whatever, I read the book first (or mentally consider the book to be the true version, in cases like Jurassic Park where I saw the movie first).

Just read the books. You're not spoilering yourself for anything. Plus, they're pretty good (once you get over most of your favorite characters DYING all the time, which you should know isn't much of a spoiler since you've gone through S1 already). And it's fun to point out the differences, once you have something to compare to.

Always read the books. People don't read enough these days if you ask me. ):
posted by Heretical at 3:55 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you've seen season one, is it ok to start at book two, or would it be best to go back to the start and slog through the first book even though it's been spoilered to death by having watched the show?
posted by empatterson at 2:12 AM on July 3, 2011


empatterson, I think it's your choice but would suggest starting at the start. You'll get the backstory that they cut, and you'll get a feel for his voice. You can skim parts that are pure plot.
(plus, you're gonna be reading a few thousands pages anyways, why not read them all?)
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:14 PM on July 3, 2011


I really enjoy the first book, even though I'd already watch 3/4 of the season when I started it and had read more than a few spoilers on wikipedia.
posted by whoaali at 2:40 PM on July 3, 2011


I read the first book and concur* that there are no spoilers in the book for future seasons of the TV show. If anything, the reverse might very minorly be true, as the final episode of season 1 bleeds past the end of book 1 in a couple of small moments that are evidently "table settlers" for season 2. (Ghharr mentions this above.)

Despite being carefully on the lookout, I did not catch the "spoiler" first mentioned by Iridic. Indeed, I had to ask Iridic via memail. A more careful reader than I might have caught it, but I still think it's very subtle and barely constitutes a spoiler. (And I say this as someone who is fanatically anti-spoiler.)

One (very personal) point where I differed from several commenters here was that I was not tempted to read further. I thought the book was good, but I preferred the TV show and would rather wait to watch the plot unfold on the small screen.

* There is one issue which I think the book is rather explicit about but which the show is vaguer about, though it's really more a matter of taste and not a plot spoiler. I will put it into rot13 to protect future newcomers.

V srry gung gur GI fubj vf zhpu zber nzovthbhf nobhg jurgure qentbaf rire npghnyyl rkvfgrq, qrfpevovat gurz zber nf perngherf bs yrtraq abg frra va gur zrzbel bs zna. (Naq ner gubfr gehyl qentba fxhyyf Nevn jnaqref vagb? Be whfg fgnghnel? Jr pna'g xabj.) Jr qba'g rire yrnea gung gurl ner gehyl erny hagvy gur svany fprar bs gur svany rcvfbqr. Ohg va gur obbx, qentbaf ner zhpu zber rfgnoyvfurq nf snpgf, fvapr Glevba Ynaavfgre ernqf n uvfgbel juvpu qbphzragf gurve hfr va pbadhrevat Jrfgrebf ol gur Gnetnelnaf. V cersreerq gur fubj'f nzovthvgl, fvapr vg znqr gung svany fprar jvgu jvgu Qnrarelf nyy gur zber fubpxvat.

posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:52 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Our local credit union offers ...   |  Developmental psychology books... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post