'It Is Known: An Analysis of Thrones, Vol. II' - Book Review

 

It Is Known II“… pleasing folks like us – the uber-fans who know the books inside and out – is a monumental task in and of itself.  Changes (are) something viewers unfamiliar with the books will have no idea about. Casual readers of the books may not pick up on all these subtleties, either. We of the "uber" are another breed, though. Not only do we pick up on the changes, but we scrutinize them. We question them.

We evaluate them. We deconstruct them. Once in a blue moon, we might even approve of them. But, above all else, we always, always, always discuss them.”

 -Doug Cohen, Page 62


Marc Kleinhenz is back with his gang of Ice-and-Fireheads for another volume of deep and insightful commentary that will not only serve to enlighten their readers, but will also send the casual Game Of Thrones viewer scurrying to buy the books to see what else they are missing out on.

Following the same format as Volume I, this volume gathers together all of his reviews of the second season of HBO’s monumental series and places it in context within the scope of George R.R. Martin’s original source material.


Part I – Primers and Introductions:

Opening the books, a primer that encapsulates several centuries of backstory and a brief encapsulation of the first season that serves as both a refresher of what has past and an appetizer for what it to come.


Part II – An Analysis of Thrones:

Culled from his ongoing reviews published on CoronaComingAttractions.com, each review follows a similar format, giving a brief synopsis of the episode and some strong first impressions, then delves into the differences between the novel and the episode. Based on the second book of the ongoing A Song of Ice and Fire series, Season Two draws primarily from A Clash of Kings (ACOK) for its inspirations, but isn’t afraid to dip into later books for material.  And, if you want to know what those differences are, Kleinholz is your “Go-To” guy on all matters Westeros, identifying changes and edits with wit and passion.


Part III – Anatomy of a Throne:

Part III gathers a series of deeper examinations (originally published in ComicRelated.com) of the material, identifying a key scene in each episode and comparing it, in depth, to its original source.   Drawing from a variety of moods and storylines, it goes into more detail on the specific scene than the overall reviews.


Part IV: The Roundtable Discussions:

Here we come to the meat of the book. In seeking to collect other opinions, Kleinhenz has gathered a star-studded ASOIAF fans and scholars for a series of roundtable discussion of the series during the airing and after the finale.  Included are John Jasmin (co-founder and editor of TowerOfTheHand.com), Amin Javadi (co-host of A Podcast of Ice and Fire), Marko Strbac (webmaster of GameOfThrones.org), David Barr Kirtley (author and writer at Wired Magazine), Maureen Ryan (TV critic for Huffington Post), Elio Garcia (co-founder and editor of westeros.org) and Doug Cohen (writer and former editor at Realms of Fantasy magazine).

These are the discussions taking place in numerous households and GoT forums across the planet, but since you won’t get a chance to sit with a group this accomplished yourself, this is the next best thing to being there.  Pages and pages are devoted to details and story arcs that last moments or span volumes.

But, what is most interesting is not the minutiae of which they seemingly have instant access to, it's the interesting, almost self-effacing quality they have while parsing it out.  This is such an obviously accomplished group, and they take great effort to point out that the show is intended to bridge two worlds, the casual viewer and the “uber-fan” mentioned by Cohen.  Anyone attempting this can only suffer in comparison to some degree.  But, bearing that in mind, this is not the slam-fest it could have become in lesser hands, but is instead a thoughtful and very perspective-conscious analysis of the problems and successes endured by the production team in bringing Martin’s epic work to life.

Already looking forward to the season three collections.

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 December 2018 21:03

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