I shall speak primarily of the books rather than the world famous TV series. I read George RR Martin's masterpiece a couple of years ago. At that time, I had just started reading fantasy and Game of Thrones was the very first realistic gritty series I read. It was unparalleled, at that time with my limited reading experience, to kill off one of the most prominent protagonists Ned Stark in the very first book. In the books, wars followed Stark's death and in no amount of time I completed 3 books. I managed to scrap through the 4th book and then I wanted to hit myself in the head when I read the fifth book. I am no way discrediting the books, they were amazing, the stories were something that I can never even conjure with all of my imagination. However they were terribly slow. The fifth book for me was the worst in terms of plot twist with the introduction of a new Targaryen boy who just started a war on the Seven Kingdoms. It didn't make sense to me, and I was not the only one to think that.

However, soon the TV series was aired and fans were born. People everywhere extolled it as the greatest fantasy series of all time. The same people who have hardly read fantasy, could hardly understand that the overall speed of the books and series is excruciatingly slow. I on the other hand only saw a couple of seasons of the series and stopped. I realized that while the books were great, the TV series suffered in aspects like improper character arcs, too many fillers. Books were gory, millions died and thousands were assaulted but the TV show: nude scenes, blood and killings seemed more like plot fillers rather than plot turners.

I kept on reading different books in the same genre: Military fantasy. Black Company, First Law trilogy, Magician, Gentlemen Bastards, Mistborn trilogy and the very best, according to me, Malazan book of the Fallen series. The last is something which I feel is truly epic: Gods battling each other, humans being controlled by Gods, Gods being manipulated by the same humans, multiple species each with different Gods, rituals and beliefs. It is also slow, the 10 book series is not for amateur readers as the plot is vastly convoluted. I am reading the series the second time and only now am I able to understand and appreciate the knotted plot that the author has spun. However, the plot is not the only thing that makes Malazan great: it is the characters. Heroes walking with honor, people without honor and everybody in between. The commoners, the traumatized and the helpless. The books give significant time for a reader to fall in love with every character, to understand their sense of humor and then suddenly, kill them. However unlike George RR Martin's books, here the characters' death affects the readers. The books makes you feel like a minuscule bystander in the vast game of thrones (there are too many thrones in this series) and pulls your heartstrings with every moment. This is EPIC. Creating a world with such great characters, attacking the notions of loyalty, full of consequences of every choice made by the characters, the series is like someone put a mirror in front of everything you believed in and suddenly that belief falls apart.

The other books I named are no less great, and again I know the impossible task of creating a world with imagination. Black Company deals with mercenaries hired by an evil Empress, who is not so evil at the end only besieged by her own enemies. Gentlemen Bastards for their very powerful and lovely characters and beautiful story. I can go on and on.

Objectively, A song of Ice & Fire suffers however due to the fact that it is not yet finished while the other books I listed have finished. A story cannot be completely assessed until and unless there is an end and maybe that is why the series doesn't look as great to me yet. However, I find it really simple: on comparison the series is great. But it is surely not the best, and the TV series fan boy constantly exclaiming its awesomeness is really kind of irritating now.

Image credits: Google

Published by Mayur Wadhwani