So, I haven’t talked about the A Game of Thrones TV series here since last September when there still wasn’t a show to watch and chat about.
I’ve been enjoying it a lot and I haven’t minded some differences between the show and the novels, because so far they’ve kept the important parts of the narrative there. The cast is great. The actors playing hate-inducing characters are doing a great job, as are the ones playing the characters I love. I always imagined Eddard looking like Viggo Mortensen and I thought I wouldn’t like Sean Bean in the part, but it turned out he’s doing great.
If there’s one universe in which I haven’t been able to pick just one favourite character, it’s George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The complexity of the characters is such that it became impossible not to like one detail or another from several of them.
No differently from the novels, to me the most interesting characters are Tyrion for his wits and his particular views on life, Daenerys for growing into who she truly is, Arya who reminds me so much of how I was at that age – a tomboy who didn’t behave very well, and to a point, Jon Snow, the outcast who hasn’t quite found his place yet. Eddard is also interesting, being honorable and idealist, but I’ve been finding him less appealing in the show than he was in the novel.
One thing that makes me enjoy the show more is, strangely enough, that I forgot a lot of details of the story. I read the first novel about eight or nine years ago, and the important parts of the plot and characters remained in my memory, but the little details keep coming back as ‘surprises’ when I’m watching the show.
The opening. I loved the theme and the CGI. Kind of steampunky and not something I’d expect in a fantasy show, but maybe that’s why it works marvelously. They got me at ‘clockwork’.
Still about A Song of Ice and Fire and George R. R. Martin:
The good news: There’s going to be a season 2 (not actual ‘news’ – it’s been known since the first episode ratings came out)
The bad news: The first season ends on June 26th and I’m sure we’ll have a long wait ahead of us.
The great news: George R. R. Martin is coming back to Portugal, on April 2012, according to his site. I hope to be able to go see him like last time he was here, and hear what he has to say about all the craziness that’s now surrounding this universe. It’ll also be a chance to get the new, hardcover, versions of the first three novels I got for my birthday last year autographed. And also, A Dance With Dragons which is coming this year, of course.
The Lisbon Book Fair (LFB) is the largest literary event here in Portugal, both in attendance and in size. Keeping alive my annual tradition, I went there a couple of times last week.
During the week it was very easy to browse around, check out books, and so forth. On Saturday, though, it was very crowded to the point where in some sections we couldn’t even see the books being sold properly. The very high attendance this weekend was, most likely, a combination of people attracted by good weather, and people who skipped the Fair last weekend due to intense rain and went there this one instead.
This leads me to mention that I think the Fair should shifted to a couple of weeks after the current dates, to at least attempt to dodge the rainy weather that characterizes April. I realize that part of the point is to (maybe?) allow students to get exam support books before their exam season, but classes typically go on until the end of May or start of June, and getting those specific books in mid-May still seems like adequate timing.
On one hand, I enjoy seeing the Book Fair so populated, but on the other hand, going through that many people isn’t my ideal setting for open air book browsing.
There are a lot of events with authors from different publishers, which I believe make the Fair even more interesting for attendees. It’s a chance to meet some authors, to get books autographed, and sometimes to watch some interesting debates.
I went there on Saturday in part for the ‘Batalha’ by David Soares, illustrated by Daniel Silvestre da Silva pre-launch event. The four different cover colours were a pleasent surprise (you can see them at the author’s site, in a photo by Gisela Monteiro), as was the design of the cover itself. I’ll have to read it later, because kitten is currently reading it.
Price-wise, I found several nice deals in the used books stands (lots of Marion Zimmer Bradley in one of them), and also in the other stands, with buy X books-get 1 book free promotions, and end of stock books at lower prices. We got the novels and graphic novel I mentioned on my previous post, and between lower prices and offers, each item cost 10 euros in average. Not bad, for brand-new books.
Literature aside, the Lisbon Book Fair is also known as the place were you eat farturas, churros (*), popcorn, sweet cotton, icecream, hotdogs and other… let’s call them ‘culinary delicacies’. All of this while browsing for books in open air, of course. That part of the LBF tradition remains unchanged, and I could swear there were more food stands than in previous years.
All things considered, it’s still one of the events I most like to attend, and I reccommend doing at least one trip there.
(*) Footnote, since I didn’t find an exact, correct translation to English for both those terms:
Farturas – Closest translation is ‘fritters’, but not like the search for fritters means. These are farturas: fried pastry covered in sugar and cinnamon.
Churros – similar to farturas, but smaller, and can have a variety of fillings, ranging from chocolate to strawberry cream. Pics here. More traditional churros are plain, and to be dipped in hot chocolate. But that’s at home.
Books we got at the Lisbon Book Fair.
‘Pride of Baghdad’ by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
‘Moon Called’ by Patricia Briggs
‘Assassin’s Quest’ (part II – here it’s divided in two books) by Robin Hobb
‘Batalha’ by David Soares, illustrated by Daniel Silvestre da Silva (available on a pre-launch event)