So, as some of you might know, a certain TV show is coming back for its seventh season. And that's all well and fine for the fans of HBO's Game of Thrones. But for the fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, there are a lot of mixed feelings right now. There's excitement that we get to see all our favorite Westerosi again. There's fear, because the show is so darn far ahead of the books, and it's going to be spoiler city. And, of course, there's all-consuming anger, because when is GRRM going to finish The Winds of Winter? If you, too, are feeling a lot of feelings about a fictional world full of dragons and snow zombies, here are a few more struggles all GoT book fans will understand.
(Beware of SPOILERS for books one through five, and The World of Ice & Fire, because we're not messing around here.)
No disrespect to the TV-show-exclusive fans, or to the rare fan who is completely at piece with both versions of the story. There's room in this world for fans of every kind. But if you've sunk several hundred hours of your life into reading all the books, you know a very specific struggle:
1. When everyone gets the name of the series wrong
Every book fan has had to stoop to calling the series the "Game of Thrones books," (proof: the title of this article) so people actually know what we're talking about. But let's be clear: the book series is called A Song of Ice and Fire. The TV series is called Game of Thrones. The first book in the series is called A Game of Thrones. Get it right, people.
2. Trying to talk to the TV show fans
At first, you're both geeking out over your shared interest. But all too soon, you find yourself explaining that the show cut Lady Stoneheart, and that Sansa doesn't actually marry Ramsay, and that Dornish politics are completely different in the book, and then you've confused and alienated all of your show-watching friends.
3. When the TV show kills/ruins your fave character
We all know that adaptations are going to have to change a few things here and there...but why is there no Lady Stoneheart?? Why is Jojen already dead? Why is Varys on team Daenerys? It's tough when the HBO gods decide to kill or completely rewrite your favorite characters. Or when the show just straight up doesn't include your favorite characters. Arianne Martell fans know what I'm talking about.
4. When GRRM kills/ruins your fave character
Then again, we can't blame HBO for all of those character deaths. GRRM has no mercy. I mean... remember when Ned Stark was the series protagonist and then he died at the end of book one? We love A Song of Ice and Fire for all of its twists and intricate plotting, but we also hate to see our faves constantly getting stabbed and beheaded. I just hope that GRRM know that if he comes for Tyrion, we're coming for him.
5. Keeping all those names in your head at once
So. Many. Names. Daenarys alone has one mouthful of a last name (Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons). GRRM is fond of using the same name for multiple characters, and of calling back minor characters from minor subplots to play major roles. Not to mention all the characters who go by nicknames, titles, and aliases. You need all those family trees in the back of the book just to keep your sanity intact.
6. Knowing more about fictional history than you do about real history
Why do I know that the followers of the blind god Boash left the Valyrian Freehold and founded the Free City of Lorath on the coast of the Shivering Sea? Why is that information that I have in my brain? I have only the haziest idea of why World War I happened or when the Mayflower landed, but useless trivia about Westeros and its neighboring city-states is embedded in my mind forever.
7. Feeling for a character who’s objectively evil
GRRM loves to add dimension to even the nastiest of characters. Like, objectively we know that Jaime is sleeping with his sister and once pushed a seven-year-old boy out of a window... but he's grown so much since then! As far as incestuous murderers go, he's one of the good ones.
8. Freaking out over mysteries that GRRM will never reveal
What is that black oily stone? What's really going down in Asshai? What's across the Sunset Sea? What was the Doom of Valyria? What's up with the glass candles? Who is Coldhands? What happened to Tyrion's wife? JUST TELL US ALREADY, GEORGE.
9. When no one else has read the books
Look, reading these books is a big commitment. But when no one else you know has read them, it gets lonely out there. How can you talk about your Young Griff theories when no one else knows who the hell Young Griff is??
10. When you can’t warn the characters of imminent danger
Sometimes it's a total surprise when a character bites the dust, but other times you can see it coming from miles away, because you have way more information than the characters do. That's when it becomes tempting to scream and hurl your book at the wall. Especially when you know that Brienne is about to take Jaime to meet Lady Stoneheart, or when anyone at all is going to a wedding.
11. When GRRM goes a WHOLE BOOK without Dany, Jon, or Tyrion
Seriously, what was up with A Feast for Crows? No Dany, Jon, or Tyrion chapters for an entire book? Um? No thank you? Let's be real, as much as we love the other characters, no one's coming to the party for Samwell Tarly alone.
12. When every freaking POV character is a Greyjoy
Yeah, I like Asha Greyjoy too, but enough already with so many Greyjoy chapters. Asha, Theon, Victarion, and Aeron are all point of view characters and it just...feels like a lot of Greyjoy. Several helpings of Greyjoy. More Greyjoy than anyone really wanted.
13. Not knowing who’s alive or dead
The rule of thumb is pretty much this: if someone gets beheaded in a chapter, they're permanently dead. Like Ned. I think. Otherwise...all bets are off, and boy does GRRM like to tease us with character death fake-outs whenever he possibly can. Not to mention all of our cool zombie/Frankensteined friends, like Catelyn Stark or the mysterious "new" knight, Robert Strong. It seems like in Westeros, death is more of a loose suggestion.
14. WAITING FOR WINDS OF WINTER
Of course, all of these struggles pale in comparison to the constant, endless torture of waiting for The Winds of Winter to FINALLY come out. CAN WINTER PLEASE JUST COME ALREADY?