Saturday, 27 December 2014

Game of Thrones: It’s a Novel, a Show, and Now It’s... Overkill. Oh, I’m Sorry, I Meant Graphic Novel!

A Review By: Amelia

You’ve read the books. You’ve watched the hit series on HBO. Now acclaimed novelist Daniel Abraham and illustrator Tommy Patterson bring George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy masterwork A Game of Thrones to majestic new life in the pages of this full-color graphic novel. So goes the opening of every synopsis I could find, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s good enough for me. I mean, we all already know about the plot and characters and the overworld of Westeros and the only thing you really need to know about the graphic novel’s overview is that it follows the books super closely and not the HBO series which deviates from the original books greatly.

The original author of A Song of Ice and Fire series is George R.R. Martin. The adaptors of the novels into comic book form are Daniel Abraham and Tommy Patterson. Abraham is an American sci-fi and fantasy writer whose short stories have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. He’s been nominated for the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award. He collaborates with George R.R. Martin because they both live in New Mexico! Patterson is... well, a comic artist. That was all I could find on him. That and he worked on Farscape comics as well. That’s it. I guess I’ll leave it at that!

From what I’ve seen so far (which is the first three volumes as yet have more to be published) the graphic novels are sticking very close to the books. Of course they’re not as detailed as the books and some things are cut out or rushed through but I understand that–the novels are huge, other mediums don’t have as much time or space in which to explore it all fully. In regards to the characters and their development, with visuals being the medium in a graphic novel instead of words, an artist/writer should be able to convey all the necessary details through the pictures. However, the art style is such that hardly anything is conveyed through the pictures (in regard to the characters) and it still relays heavily on large chunks of text ripped straight from the novel. It’s kind of a cheap stunt if you ask me. The characters come off as stinted in their development and blank and vapid. It’s such a shame considering how amazing Martin made his characters in the books!

Now, to speak more on the art style of Game of Thrones it is a realistic one
(it’s not blocky or angular) and it’s drawn to make the characters look like people in a real landscape. However, I’ve found the bodies and faces to be off. The women are drawn to be sexy and appealing without certain things being taken into account. Take Catelyn Stark as an example. She’s given birth to five children, one of which is fourteen years old, and she’s drawn with her breasts big and firm (so not happening after breast feeding five children) and her face is smooth and wrinkle free like that of a teenager when she’s surely approaching middle age if not already there. It’s all done to make her more appealing to look at instead of staying true to the character that’s written about in the books. It’s standard practice in the comic book but it’ll take you right out of the story and get you thinking about how it wasn’t right she (and mostly every other character) is drawn that way! The facial expressions are also really very poor as every character only ever makes one of two faces: smiling or frowning. There’s no in between. And none of this even covers the colouring which is too bright for my liking. It’s fine for the warmer climates to be bright, but why is Winterfell so shiny? It just doesn’t fit.

The main complaint that I (and most other people on the internet according to what I read) have about Game of Thrones the Graphic Novel are that it’s not adding anything to the mythology of A Song of Fire and Ice. It’s just uninspired art with text tugged straight from the novels slapped on top of it. Although I should point out that I’m fine with the text straight from the novels, overall, it’s the art style kills this adaption for me. It doesn’t work around the story with its bright colours and cutesie faces!

My final thoughts on Game of Thrones the Graphic Novel are to avoid it unless you are George R.R. Martin’s biggest fan in all the universe. The graphic novels can stand alone away from the HBO show and the novels, but they are by far the weakest adaption of Martin’s massive fantasy epic.

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