I was working over at Mercury Bay Library last week, so I had a nice chance to snoop through their collection (fun fact if you weren’t already aware: your Thames Library card also entitles you to borrow books from Mercury Bay Library and Tairua Library).
And oh, the excitement! As a library staff member I already knew, of course, that Mercury Bay is home to an Adult Graphic Novel collection. But reserving books from the catalogue isn’t quite as thrilling as pulling them from the library shelves yourself.
This was how I discovered the Game of Thrones graphic novel series. Based on the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire (and therefore slightly different from the TV series I’ve been watching on DVD over the last few months), Volume I of this series starts with a White Walker attack on a group of Night’s Watchmen, and follows the story through King Robert’s arrival at Winterfell and as far as Daenerys Targaryen’s pregnancy to Khal Drogo.
If nothing in that last sentence made sense, I’d suggest reading the books or watching the TV series before attacking the graphic novel. While the graphic novel is beautifully nuanced,and an easier read, it’s difficult to fit George R. R. Martin’s convoluted plot lines into a few short pages of comic panels. In saying that, there were several scenes that played out much better in this version than they did in the TV series. Bran’s first encounter with the Three Eyed Raven was particularly good, as was Daenerys’ dream about dragons. There were a lot of neat little background details that helped to make scenes as well – Arya and Jon’s direwolves playing together in the background while Jon and Arya had a heart-to-heart was a nice touch.
What I did find really impressive was the section at the back of the book about how the graphic novel was developed. This part was a step-by -step guide to adapting Westeros into comic book form, from choosing an illustrator to designing some of the key scenes. It was interesting to see how much effort goes into producing a graphic novel.