Our top ten reasons why Game of Thrones fans should read the books is completely spoiler free. We don’t give up details about any of the seasons in the show or how they relate to the details in the A Song of Ice and Fire books.
Top 10 Reasons Game of Thrones Fans Should Read the Books
Like a lot of people, I started watching the show Game of Thrones before I had even heard of the books. In truth I would have probably never read the books if it wasn’t for the show because Fantasy, other than The Lord of the Rings, just wasn’t my thing. I started watching Game of Thrones when Season 2 was going on because a friend said to me that he didn’t think he would like when he heard what is was about, but once he started watching he couldn’t stop. I started binging at that point and ended up catching up before the Season 2 finale aired, watching the first 19 episodes in like 6 or 7 days. Ever since I have existed in this continual waiting period for the next episode so I decided to pick up the books to read during the downtime.This is what I learned, and this is why Game of Thrones fans should read the books.
This will be a short video on why I think everyone who likes the show should read the Song of Ice and Fire series, and it will be as spoiler free as possible. I tried not to include anything that gives away story lines regardless of where you are in the show so unlike a lot of my other videos you don’t have to be caught up to watch. I tried to go beyond the most obvious reasons like reading is good for you, and that the books are better because I think we all know those things to be true. There might be some exceptions to the rule, but I can’t think of anything that was based on a popular book that was better than actually reading the book itself. With all that said let’s look at the top ten reasons Game of Thrones fans should read the books.
Our Top Ten Reasons Game of Thrones Fans Should Read the Books
- Now is the perfect time – Since we know that Season 7 is delayed, that it will be a shorter with only 7 episodes, and Season 8, the series’ final season will be shorter still, now is the time to start reading. Remember the show has basically already moved past most of the story lines from the books so you won’t be spoiling anything. If you are caught up in the show you don’t have to worry about ruining the ending, in fact it will actually happen in the show before the last book will come out.
- It doesn’t ruin the show – For me the books only made the show more interesting. There were things that didn’t quite add up that immediately made sense in the books. If you’re worried that reading the books might take the fun out of watching the show I just can’t see how that would happen. There is a faction of hardcore book readers who freak out about the show and sort of live to bash it, but if you are already a fan it’s easy to view them as two different things. As mentioned the books are better as is almost only the case, but the show is actually really good at some things too. Everything you like about the show is in the books, and you get everything else that is on this list as a bonus.
- Point of view chapters – The first thing I noticed that I really liked about the Song of Ice and Fire books compared to the TV Show Game of Thrones was that the chapters are all written from the point of view of different characters. For example, you have Bran, Tyrion, Ned, Catelyn, Danaerys chapters and so on. Instead of an all knowing narrator who tells us what’s going on we hear the story from the different character’s perspectives, and we hear their thoughts along the way.
- More characters – As the Game of Thrones TV show goes on and reaches its series finale the showrunners have had to cut some storytelling corners. This is understandable so I am not going to whine about it, but one of the things that happens is that they choose to merge story lines together. So a character we see on the show might be based on two or three from the books which is not as good for obvious reasons. If you think the characters are interesting on the show, trust me they are just as cool and there are a lot more of them in the books. Plus, beyond the characters you don’t know the ones you do are so much more complex in the books. Some of my favorite characters from the books are barely in the show, or not in it at all.
- History – The first thing I realized when I went back to re-watch the shows after reading the books was just how much I didn’t understand the historical significance of anything that was going on. Now, you might think this is a fantasy show that is entirely made so that doesn’t matter, but that’s what is really insane – the history of Westeros itself goes back 8000 years. There is an insane amount of references to an event, or a character from the past that drives what’s going on at the moment, and the history is expertly woven into everything. There is even a giant book called the World of Ice and Fire that outlines most everything that happened in this world before the events of the other books and TV show. George RR Martin pulls a lot from real world history as well so at times the books almost read like historical fiction. Think about house histories with sigils and words, lines of succession for centuries of rulers, and detailed maps for most of a planet.
- Scale – Game of Thrones probably has one of the largest budgets of any TV show in history at this point, and they do a really good job with it. Even so there are so many things that they have to leave out. Budget constraints will always lose out to your own imagination, and the scale of this world George RR Martin built is massive.
- Theories – Since we get the story from the point of view of different characters who themselves have incomplete information, we end up with a lot to try to figure out. A lot of the big mysteries can be solved with the information provided, and there is a huge culture of people who break every little detail down on westeros.org, youtube, and reddit. The amount of different theories that grow up around the stories in the books, and what might happen in the next one is so huge I can’t even think of anything to compare it to.
- Plots, Magic, and Religion – These are three items that just don’t come off as well in the show. In the books the bad guys have reasons for what they do, and the depth of their plotting is much more interesting in the books. This goes for magic and religion as well. Remember that magic actually is a part of the world the story is set in and just like our world different cultures have created their religions to help them understand why things are the way that they are. Super hard not to get spoilery here so will have to leave it at that.
- Dreams – Dreams play a big part in the Song of Ice and Fire, and a lot of the main characters have them. Again it’s hard not to spoil the books here so I won’t get too far into it. I’ll just say that if you ever wondered what your own dreams or a dream a friend told you about meant – then well go start reading the books now.
- George RR Martin – Obviously it all starts and ends with George RR Martin so of course he would be the top reason on the list. Westeros and the World of Ice and Fire wouldn’t exist without him, and all the other things on the list are what he gave us. His writing is legitimately good and presented in a way that you have to keep going or can’t wait to get back to it, and the character creation is on par with any of my favorite authors. I think what he does well is makes great characters that exist in the grey area between good and bad. The characters live in a fantasy universe that is a lot like the medieval world but that have strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, flaws, and struggles just like we do. No one is 100% good and it’s likely that no one is truly pure evil either. The characters we like for heroes aren’t always safe, or guaranteed to win out at the end. There’s also a really good chance that what drives the story is a commentary that is bigger than just who ends up sitting on the Iron Throne.
Game of Thrones Fans Should Read the Books, Just Do It!
So I hope that gives you something to think about if you’ve been on the fence about reading the books. These are my top reasons why Game of Thrones fans should read the books, but there really are so many reasons that I can’t mention because of spoilers. I guess it wouldn’t be right to not look at some of the reasons why you might not want to read the books. The only real one is that it is an investment of time. Right now only 5 of the books out of the planned 7 have been released and it is already almost 4 times as long as The Lord of the Rings. None of these are books you read in a day or two, but I never found myself wanting that time back. They are easy to find in audiobook form too so if reading isn’t your thing or you have a long commute to work each day that is always an option.
Let me know in the comments if you have been thinking about reading them and haven’t taken the plunge. Do you have other ideas on why Game of Thrones fans should read the books? If you are like me and started reading them after you got into the show did you have a similar experience? If you want to talk about major plots points or characters that you like better in the books that’s fine just add a spoiler tag so that we don’t ruin them for anyone while nerding out.
Please like this video if you found it interesting, and subscribe to my channel for more Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire videos. Thanks for watching, I will talk to you soon.