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A Game of Thrones, The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
by George R.R. Martin, adapted by Daniel Abraham, art by Tommy Patterson
Bantam Books, 240 pages

A Game of Thrones, The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin was born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended Northwestern University, graduating with degrees in journalism. Martin refused active service: instead he served with VISTA, in Cook County, Illinois. In addition to his writing credits, Martin has served as Story Editor for Twilight Zone, and as Executive Story Consultant, Producer and Co-Supervising Producer for Beauty and the Beast, both on CBS. He also was Executive Producer for Doorways on CBS. At 21, he made his first pro sale to the magazine, Galaxy. Martin now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

George R.R. Martin Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Fort Freak
SF Site Review: A Dance with Dragons
SF Site Review: Suicide Kings
SF Site Review: Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance
SF Site Review: Busted Flush
SF Site Review: Inside Straight
SF Site Review: Dreamsongs
SF Site Review: The Armageddon Rag
SF Site Review: A Game of Thrones
SF Site Review: The Hedge Knight
SF Site Review: Windhaven
SF Site Review: A Storm of Swords
SF Site Interview: George R.R. Martin
SF Site Review: A Clash of Kings
SF Site Review: A Game of Thrones

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

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Following on the heels of the popularity of the HBO series, Game of Thrones madness continues with yet another adaptation of Martin's masterpiece. This time it is in graphic novel format. I am not certain I am the most qualified person in the world to comment on the strength or weaknesses of a graphic novel as compared to other graphic novels, but I can give you my opinion based on what I know of Martin's story and how it translates to the world of comics. (Yes, I will often refer to a graphic novel as a comic in the article, no insult intended)

Previously, I have read and greatly enjoyed both of Martin's graphic novels The Hedge Knight I and II. They too are set in Westeros, but are only referenced vaguely in A Song of Ice and Fire as part of the richly detailed history of the world in which Martin has created. Unfortunately, A Game of Thrones in comic form does suffer more than I would like from this particular affliction. It is not exactly "lost in translation," but trying to recapture the magic in this format is one tall task and the author gave it one hell of a try, but sadly they missed the bullseye.

Since I am so familiar with Martin's work I had little trouble "filling in the blanks" however, had I been unacquainted with his work I would have to surmise that this graphic novel wouldn't be enough to capture the brilliance of Martin's vision and, unfortunately, it could never be an adequate substitute for the book. It is simply impossible to duplicate the emotional depth and the witty dialogue of a master writer like George R.R. Martin in graphic novel format, even when the adaptation is done by an author as talented as the Hugo and Nebula award nominee Daniel Abraham. This is just a fact of life and one of the limitations of the format and not a criticism of Abraham by any means. In all fairness, it's like trying to put Moby Dick into comic form (a feat which has been attempted quite unsuccessfully several times, by the way). There is only so much you can do with it while trying to keep the comic to a manageable length. I couldn't help but feel the A Game of Thrones graphic novel was more of an outline of the story, rather than the story itself. Let's put it this way. If I had to give a summation for a class on the A Game of Thrones, The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 content of A Game of Thrones and it was due in an hour and a half, I would read the graphic novel. If I had 12 hours, I would watch HBO's show and if I had a week I would read the novel and my grades would be C, B, A respectively.

As far as the illustrations are concerned, I found them to be extraordinarily well done. (click on image at left for a larger view). Tommy Patterson is obviously a very talented artist and does each frame a good deal of justice as illustrated in the included example. He obviously put a lot of thought into each character he drew. For example, it would have been easy to simply draw an illustrated version of Peter Dinklage as Tyrion; instead Patterson uses his own vision based on Martin's description to draw his version of Tyrion. I feel in most cases if one were to compare Patterson's vision to HBO's casting choices one would see two distinctly different versions of the characters, a credit to Patterson and the creators of the graphic novel.

Lastly, I felt another very nice touch to this graphic novel was the inclusion of an appendix concerning the creative process that went into crafting the final product. After reading through the content, it's clear that the collaboration between Patterson's illustrations and Abraham's writing were all very well thought out and deftly executed. However, the bottom line is the graphic novel version of A Game of Thrones is a well written and beautifully illustrated piece of work, but can by no means be taken as a substitute for the novels or even the HBO series. Instead, A Game of Thrones GN can serve as a very nice companion piece to George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.

Copyright © 2012 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best.


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