I’ve been talking about A Song of Ice and Fire as long as I’ve been blogging. I purchased the first book as a paperback in December of 1998 because of the cover and some blurbs from authors that I found credible (Tad Williams?). In 2000 I ordered the British edition of A Storm of Swords because it came out earlier than the US one by a few months. So in a little over three years I read the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire. Over 15 years later we’ve gotten through the next two books!
Back when I read Usenet I recall someone observing that there was something like Egwene’s rule in the Wheel of Time novels of Robert Jordan. Basically as the series progressed Egwene and her entourage moved toward the White Tower of the Aes Sedai at slower and slower pace, so that it was as if Jordan was trying to illustrate Zeno’s Paradox in his plotting often(I stopped reading after book six). I hate saying this, but Martin may have out done Jordan in that his books four and five had less narrative progress (Martin’s characters and world-building exhibit much more verisimilitude, so I cut him some slack; Jordan admitted that all the primary female characters in his books were extrapolations of his wife). Instead of a gradual exponential decay A Song of Ice and Fire crashed after 2000.
And now we have the television shows, to the point where I almost wrote A Game of Thrones to label the series, as the show is named after the first book, though its narrative arc covers the whole series. Yesterday George R. R. Martin explained on a blog entry that his books were going to definitely be outpaced by the HBO series. For years there were those of us who read the books who ignored the television series, or at most laughed and rolled our eyes as people who watched the HBO depiction without prior exposure were shocked, appalled, and amazed. Sean Bean’s Eddard Stark will always be Boromir to me! Martin confirms now that the shoe is on the other foot. But, he does note that the show and books will diverge in many ways. Because the television series will go first I can not but now wonder if it will influence the trajectory of the books (e.g., Martin might consciously or unconsciously deviate from the HBO series in future installments in ways he might not have otherwise done so). Honestly the whole situation strikes me as worthy of a short story, as it’s really unprecedented. Books are turned into television shows or films. Or, shows or films are novelized. What is going to happen now is a synthetic hybrid process.