Daniel Abraham’s adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones is beautifully and vividly illustrated by Tommy Patterson throughout the graphic novel’s 240 full color glossy pages. This interpretation of the first title* in the hugely popular fantasy series includes an introduction by Martin where the author expounds his love of the graphic novel (or comic book, as he prefers) format, and his hesitation to attempt a film or other translation of the book. Martin’s involvement in the project is evident in the graphic novel’s close attention to detail and rigid adherence to the original print format’s storyline.
A combination of full page panels and multiple panel pages, the graphic novel relies heavily on dialogue between the series’ many characters, and less on thought bubbles or descriptor text boxes. As Martin explains in the preface, part of his skepticism to creating a graphic novel format of A Game of Thrones was how the print format’s heavy reliance on internal monologues would translate. In this sense, the graphic novel fails to fully capture the inner turmoil being experienced by the book’s characters. The illustrations help to convey the overall feeling of the book, though at times lack true grittiness and melancholy that is found throughout the print version.
Another criticism of the graphic novel is its portrayal of the book’s female characters, though this is nothing new to the format (read: full bust, small waist, luxurious hair, doe eyes). For instance, in the original print book Daenerys is a thirteen year old girl, however she is pictured in the graphic novel as a fully developed woman, more often in the nude than clothed. Catelyn Stark too is shown au naturale, and looks much (much) younger than she is described in the original book. While there are instances of nudity, including some full frontal shots of female characters, there are not any explicit sex scenes; (more soft-core than hard, to be blunt). Readers who have watched the HBO series will find that the graphic novel is far less, well, graphic, than the show.
A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Volume One also contains some post-script, behind-the-scenes/the-making-of pages, which will appeal to those who are interested in the creative process and construction of graphic novels. The graphic novel will also appeal to readers who are interested in the Song of Ice and Fire series, but who may not be ready to commit to the length of the print format.
Overall, readers who are familiar with the series will undoubtedly find discrepancies between the graphic novel and the print format, but having read both I appreciate this interpretation and look forward to the continuance of the series. I have not, however, read many graphic novels, and hence cannot claim to be an expert in the format. I will continue to read graphic novels, both stand-alones and series.
*Volume One covers roughly one-third of the original print format. Volume Two is scheduled for release on June, 2013. I will definitely be reading the second installment.