Shame on me!
As someone who usually reads the book before watching the movie or program, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve gone straight to video where Game of Thrones is concerned. The fiction series by George R. R. Martin is actually titled A Song of Fire and Ice and there are currently copies of several installments on the McHuston shelves.
I’ve read Martin stories in the past and have enjoyed them. He’s been writing a long time, and has covered a lot of territory, but has settled of late in the fantasy genre. A Song of Fire and Ice is set in medieval times and centers on struggles between rulers of the “Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.”
One of the problems I have with reading fantasy material is the language. Tolkien invented not only languages, but dialects as well, to accommodate the beings in his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Here is an excerpt from a different author, as an example:
“I am Ghashai,” said the leader. “I speak for the Atkhorakha, the People of the Weeping Towers, now that Ukku is no more.”
When author Chris Pierson penned that passage for Volume III of the Taladas Trilogy, no doubt he had a pronunciation rolling around in his head. For me, there are some questions. Is the leader called Guh-ha-ash-eye-ee? Or maybe just Gash-ee. Gush-eye, perhaps. The entity that is no more: is that You-cue, Uck-oo, Yuke-cuh? Uck-kuh-you, maybe?
In a well-written story, I find I make my own version and stick with it, or simply jump over the invented name or word. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had a lot of Swedish towns and references, but I waded through and enjoyed that series.
I haven’t cracked open A Song of Fire and Ice. For one thing, my copies have been new, and if I read them they suddenly become used. But after watching two seasons of the television version I may have to tackle the series while awaiting season three.
There are seven separate kingdoms in the series, represented by that many families and more. At least in the book version, it’s possible to refer back to see what name is associated with what Royal House. Doing that with the video is a little hit and miss.
But I do like that Martin has tagged some of his characters with simple monikers like “Ned Stark.”
That one, at least, is easy to read and remember.