A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Vol 2 Review

I am a relative latecomer to the Game of Thrones fandom. I didn’t start watching the HBO series until it was in its third season. Having made it through to the rather gruesome Season 3 finale, I await Season 4 with great anticipation. For fans wanting to get their hands on all things Game of Thrones, Random House is releasing a graphic novel based on the series, and I recently had the chance to review Volume  2.

Back Cover Blurb

Now, in the second volume, the sweeping action moves from the icy north, where the bastard Jon Snow seeks to carve out a place for himself among bitter outcasts and hardened criminals sworn to service upon the Wall . . . to the decadent south and the capital city of King’s Landing, where Jon’s father, Lord Eddard Stark, serves as the Hand of King Robert Baratheon amid a nest of courtly vipers . . . to the barbarian lands across the Narrow Sea, where the young princess Daenerys Targaryen has found the unexpected in her forced marriage to the Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo: love-and with it, for the first time in her life, power.

The Review

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume 2 is a hardcover compilation of the bimonthly Game of Thrones comic releases. The actual cover is plain white with the title in shiny green letters on the spine. The dust cover design is a bit more interesting with the outline of a raven in green superimposed on Patterson’s pencil art, but it isn’t exactly flashy. The pages inside, however, are vibrantly colored.

Volume 2 contains Issues 7 through 12 as well as “The Making of A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume 2” and a sneak preview of Issue 13 (cover art plus six pages of uncolored line art). Editor Anne Groell provides most of the commentary for “The Making of A Game of Thrones,” which explains the process by which five pages from Martin’s novel got turned into the Hand’s Tourney depicted in Issue 9.

In addition to Patterson’s illustrations, Volume 2 includes each issue’s cover art by Mike S. Miller and two illustrations of Jon Snow at The Wall by Michael Komark. Komark’s art, which look more like paintings than comic book art, are dramatic and breathtaking. Miller’s cover illustrations aren’t quite as captivating, but they do a satisfactory job of setting the mood for the pages to follow. However, Patterson’s art, although beautifully colored, isn’t exactly a feast for the eyes. Action scenes come off as stiff and clumsy, and facial expressions are overdone. I should note that some of Patterson’s characters, like Tyrion, are similar to their TV counterparts while others, like Theon and Lysa, look completely different.

This volume’s narrative begins with dwarf Tyrion Lannister’s visit to The Wall and ends with his demand for trial by combat in the Vale. Not having read the original novels, I can’t make any comparisons to them, but the graphic novel and TV show follow the same general storyline. The two mainly differ in the details they focus on. For instance, Abraham uses several pages to introduce the overweight Black Brother Samwell Tarly, providing a clear picture of the circumstances that forced him into the Night’s Watch. While the TV show relied on brief sweeping visuals to convey the scope of Lysa’s Vale and the Eyrie, the graphic novel follows Cat as she rides through her sister’s territory and makes the long, treacherous climb to the mountaintop castle at night. Game of Thrones has a mind bogglingly huge cast, but Abraham’s storytelling allows you to absorb and get a much better grasp of the characters than the show did.

Speaking of the show, the TV creators always seemed to push the limits of how gratuitous they could get with violence and sex. Patterson’s not nearly as gruesome when it comes to hacking and slashing. Victims definitely bleed and fall, but he doesn’t show guts spilling onto the ground in painstaking detail. As for sex, Volume 2 contains none although there are several nipples poking around.

In Summary

Abraham does an excellent job of presenting the complex plot and characters in his adaption of A Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, the artwork isn’t quite at the same level. Given how visually stunning the TV adaption was, the graphic novel may disappoint fans of the HBO series. The graphic novel, however, isn’t nearly as gratuitous when it comes to sex and violence, which may appeal to those captivated by Martin’s story but would rather not watch disembowelments in gory detail.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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