Monday, April 2, 2012

“Beginning” of the Week #8

Yesterday’s premier of Season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones was as good as expected. This season is based on A Clash of Kings, George R.R. Martin’s second novel in his epic A Song of Ice and Fire series. Last night’s episode stayed true to some of the novel’s memorable early scenes, even if the show rearranged their order somewhat. The novel’s prologue, for example, which involves Stannis Baratheon and the red priestess Melisandre of Asshai, was moved to the middle of the episode in favor of an opening scene from the second chapter concerning Sansa Stark and King Joffrey’s Name Day celebration. Meanwhile, the novel’s first chapter, involving Ayra Stark, was only hinted at in the episode’s closing image.

I can’t argue with the decision to open with the Name Day scene as it reintroduced us to familiar characters, including Tyrion Lannister, who is played by the Emmy Award winning actor Peter Dinklage. Yet because my Monday series focuses on the “beginning” of a novel, Joffrey’s Name Day will have to wait. So without further ado, this week’s “beginning” features the opening passage from the prologue of A Clash of Kings:
The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky.
The maester stood on the windswept balcony outside his chambers. It was here the ravens came, after long flight. Their droppings speckled the gargoyles that rose twelve feet tall on either side of him, a hellhound and a wyvern, two of the thousand that brooded over the walls of the ancient fortress. When first he came to Dragonstone, the army of stone grotesques had made him uneasy, but as the years passed he had grown used to them. Now he thought of them as old friends. The three of them watched the sky together with foreboding.  
The measter did not believe in omens. And yet ... old as we was, Cressen had never seen a comet half so bright, nor yet that color, that terrible color, the color of blood and flame and sunsets. He wondered if his gargoyles had ever seen its like. They had been here so much longer than he had, and would still be here long after he was gone. If stone tongues could speak ... 
– George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

I think I prefer this opening to last week’s “beginning” from A Game of Thrones. But let me know what you think, either of this beginning or the opening of Season 2 of Game of Thrones.

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