Columns > Published on July 5th, 2013

Stop Trying To Make Me Read Game of Thrones (And Yes, I Know That's Not What They're Called)

Above: Daenerys by Phil Noto

I am a Game of Thrones superfan.

I cannot get enough, and it is on track to becoming my favorite television show of all time—right up there with The Wire, The West Wing, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer (and yes, I'm aware that one of those kind of doesn't belong). I love GoT so much, I am in some kind of super mourning now that I have to wait a year for the next season. I wear all black, I eschew sunshine. I look up invented languages on the internet in my spare time, and I even enjoy that stupid Time Warner Cable commercial featuring Drogon because I MISS EVERYTHING SO MUCH.

So you know what comes next of course. The endless and constant refrain from every person I know that I should "read the books."

But here's the incredibly simple reason why I'm not going to do that, and why y'all should stop hassling me:

It's easier for me to find books I love than television I love.

As a result, I am extremely hesitant to give up a near perfect, spoiler-free television watching experience (as Game of Thrones has been) no matter how good the source material may be.

Sure, we're going through a particularly lovely age of television — Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Girls, Veep, The Good Wife, House of Cards (I could go on) — but even in this golden age, it's still infinitely easier for me to find a brilliant book than a brilliant television series. And thus, quite simply, I cannot bear to have my existing Game of Thrones viewing experience taken from me.

I am extremely hesitant to give up a near perfect, spoiler-free television watching experience... no matter how good the source material may be.

Potential spoilers (for the television show only) from here on out.

I'm sure I'd still enjoy it — in fact, I'd probably enjoy it in a whole new way, but it would take away so much of what is utterly brilliant about the viewing experience. Watching the television show blind without any expectations preserves all of the plot developments, surprises, and the utter shock as the show delivers its fatal blows (and the occasional sweet one). While it's an interesting academic and critical experience to watch and speculate how they're going to handle things like cutting off Jamie Lannister's hand or The Red Wedding (gods, THE RED WEDDING...I WILL NEVER RECOVER), it's ultimately much sweeter for me to experience them for the first time in a visual medium.

I feel confident that knowing about these events prior to their execution on television (or them being lost on the cutting room floor) would diminish the purity with which I am viewing the show. At the same time, I also feel confident that reading the books after watching the entire series will still be a fantastic experience. Since the books are naturally more dense and layered, it makes sense to me that I finish experiencing this brilliant television show for what it is — a brilliant television show. And once I have completed that experience, I fully intend to experience the books for what I hope (and somewhat expect) will be a brilliant series of fantasy novels. Doing it in this order allows me to preserve all the best suspense and surprises of the television show and then later delve more deeply into material I already love.

And if I still haven't had enough of the world of George R. R. Martin I can rewatch the show and appreciate it on the more academic and critical level so many of you are enjoying it on now. What got cut and why, was it the right call, what do I REALLY miss, etc. In my estimation these things will only add to the experience. This is in no way intended to bash those of you that read the books before the show came out (you are of course the purest of all fans!) or those of you that chose to read the books once they watched (and loved) the first season of the television show (most of my friends and family).  It's just my own personal take on how I will best enjoy the show and the books...get the most bang for my buck, if you will!

Plus, I have to say, as someone who watched Game of Thrones Season 3 with my boyfriend (who has also not read the books, and like me intends to wait) and three other people who have all read up through at least Book 4, I can honestly say that my boyfriend and I are enjoying the show more. Everyone loves it (I mean, we were all going out of our way to get together on Sundays in one location every week for ten weeks), and mileage of course varies from person to person and episode to episode, but I don't think any of those five people would disagree that my boyfriend and I are pound for pound getting the most enjoyment from the show. And I just can't...I just WON'T lose that. Not when so much TV sucks and there are a billion brilliant books I can (and have yet to) read.

So, in the same way that I respect your decisions to read the books in little pieces before each season, or all at once in a massive binge, y'all need to respect my decision to wait. And please apply this to everyone in your life that you have been hassling to read the books — we're all pretty tired of hearing it, kay?

About the author

Kelly Thompson is the author of two crowdfunded self-published novels. The Girl Who Would be King (2012), was funded at over $26,000, was an Amazon Best Seller, and has been optioned by fancy Hollywood types. Her second novel, Storykiller (2014), was funded at nearly $58,000 and remains in the Top 10 most funded Kickstarter novels of all time. She also wrote and co-created the graphic novel Heart In A Box (2015) for Dark Horse Comics.

Kelly lives in Portland Oregon and writes the comics A-Force, Hawkeye, Jem & The Holograms, Misfits, and Power Rangers: Pink. She's also the writer and co-creator of Mega Princess, a creator-owned middle grade comic book series. Prior to writing comics Kelly created the column She Has No Head! for Comics Should Be Good.

She's currently managed by Susan Solomon-Shapiro of Circle of Confusion.

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