Having now made it through season two of HBO’s rendition of Game of Thrones I find myself inspired. I read the first book of the series, A Song of Fire and Ice, I am unsure if I want to read the second book. HBO has done such a great job of rendering the story to the screen, it’s hard to say that it would be any better to read the book. With season three coming in March, I’m not sure if I’d enjoy reading or watching it first. Even worse, do I even need to read the books since the series does such a good job of retelling the story? If you haven’t seen it, the series is that good. This may be one of the rare times where a movie may cut into book sales (though I tend to doubt it) because the quality is so high.
For the first time ever as a writer I’m contemplating writing a fantasy series. This began two years back, even before I got drawn into the kingdom of Westeros I started my Dungeons & Dragons campaign world back when I purchased my white book set (first edition). Each time I start anew, the universe I’m writing has begun to evolve. With influences like Katherine Kurtz and now George R. R. Martin, I am envisioning a final stage of the evolution – into a series of novels. Just documenting the lead characters and factions have already taken up dozens of pages. A year ago I began to cull my notes into an organized fashion – which is usually a precursor for me to undertake writing a book. I did it almost unconsciously, even before I began a GoT addict. Watching the series has begun to inspire me though.
As a writer – do I really want to go there?
The appeal of George R. R. Martin’s kingdom of Westeros is that it has been highly defined. The complete history of the characters for generations is mapped out. The history of the world is well defined. There are characters we love, and those we hate (Joffrey - let's be honest, he's not even lovable to his mother by the end of season 2). There is the hint to true history, The War of the Roses (Lancaster’s vs. York’s) being reflected in the Lannister’s vs. the Starks. The word is rich but not overpowering. Seemingly minor characters rise to the forefront. Politics trumps swordplay. Major characters can and are killed. Each character has a journey they follow as they evolve (or devolve).
As I stare at my author’s notes and concepts I know I would not be doing a Game of Throne’s knock-off. My story is very different, but no matter what, people will draw parallels. Martin has set a new standard for such fantasy book series. People have incredible expectations now for such series. And undertaking it would not be a short journey, it would take years to craft this story the right way.
As a writer, I'm always tackling new genres. Fantasy doesn't scare me. Living up to the expectations of readers does.
Yet despite this the lure of penning a massive fantasy series has a lot of appeal. What are your thoughts?