A Triumph of the Characterization

A Triumph of the Characterization

Lest you doubt the complete artistic and commercial success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which has a real case for being the best translation from SF/F book to film yet performed, this clip of an utterly devastated fan of Lord Eddard Stark, albeit one who clearly never read the books, should serve as compelling evidence to the contrary. Every author and filmmaker should be amazed by the accomplishment of George R.R. Martin, the HBO producers, and Sean Bean in generating such strong feelings about the fate of a fictional character. It also demonstrates that the fantasy genre, when done right, has the potential to go well beyond its expected markets. Warning: extremely strong language.

A more appreciative, if equally shocked response, can be found at Grantland, as Andy Greenwald explains how Game of Thrones has gone where no television series has dared to go before.

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Bill Ward

I love this — for a storyteller to reach this level of emotional investment is to achieve ‘mission accomplished’ status.

Sarah Avery

And isn’t this how we all felt when we read that chapter in the first book? Okay, my profanity repertoire was a little different, but I recall swearing like a New Jerseyan.

My father-in-law recalls his devastation when Hemingway died, and how he tried to walk off the news, hardly noticing where he went. He was a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, and next time he looked up, he was in Harlem, by a front stoop where an elderly black woman sat weeping. “Are you all right?” asked my father-in-law.

“Mr. Hemingway died,” she said.

Good stories go everywhere.


Yes, it’s shocking the first time it happens. I was shocked and hooked at the same time.

But then Martin did it again and again and again, and after a number of repetitions, it stopped being great writing and became simply irritating. When he killed off Eddard Stark’s son (can’t remember the name), I stopped reading the series. I had no emotional investment left in the books, and hence no real interest in finding out what happened.

If I want random death and failure, I’ll read history. JMO.

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