So I just read the first book of the Fire and Ice series (Game of Thrones), and am not going to read any more. In fact, I pulled a “24″ on it. This is a reference to what I did with the series “24″ – a series I liked, in many ways. At the time of watching “24″, I got stressed out with the kid-kidnapping scenes (as a parent, this sort of thing bothers me way more than when I wasn’t), and the entire scenario was just too stressful! I felt I couldn’t continue, but I also couldn’t not continue because I needed closure. So, I decided to watch the last episode of that season, ruining all of the surprises, and then I had closure and could put it down.
With Game of Thrones, I liked the narrative, but the world wasn’t compelling to me. I thought there was too much going on at once, so there seemed like too little direction. I don’t really care about this king overthrowing that king, etc… I like a personal story, or message. I want the story to be going somewhere, and after 600+ pages it just wasn’t. I could imagine the story in Game of Thrones just going on and on, and not caring much for the outcome (especially when the only people you care about in the story seem to have a short shelf life). So, realizing this, I didn’t want to put the effort in to read through all of the rest of the novels, but I also wanted closure. So, I decided to read all the plot summaries for the other four books – summaries which actually supported my initial assessment of the story not really going anywhere in particular, but a lot of stuff happening.
I am trying to think of what I like, and why. So I liked Lord of the Rings, which if you recall you get the big story arc within the first couple chapters, and then add to it as you go along. However, the characters are always trying to accomplish something. Win or lose, at least it is clear what the outcomes could be. Babylon 5, the big story arc is introduced mid-season 1, and then added to from the end of season 1 to the peak in the middle-to-late season 3. There were a number of compelling mini-arcs here, and mysteries, which allowed you to get into the characters in the beginning, and also to tie the seasons together. Battlestar Gallactica only had mini-arcs, and no big arc. Within each mini-arc it was very good. Overall, it fell a bit flat because there wasn’t anything tying it together. Harry Potter was excellent, much of which due to an interesting world.
So, Game of Thrones didn’t fit the type of fiction I like, even though the narrative itself was quite interesting and well written. What would I like? Not sure. Not sure what the pattern is with what I like, and what I don’t. This is probably why I generally read non-fiction.