Read Game of Thrones, Already!

As a firm believer in the read-the-book-before-you-watch-the-movie mantra, I feel it is my duty to step in and address the millions who watch HBO’s Game of Thrones. Yes, the TV show rocks. But, so do the books. I realize that I may be a bit unusual in the fact that the sheer mass of story that George R.R. Martin has produced is exciting to me rather than daunting, but regardless, this is one series that is definitely worth it. Here are my top reasons why TV viewers should pick up a book or five.

1. You get to mock other TV viewers.

When the mind-blowing Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones aired this spring, social media was abuzz with outrage and shock. This marked a clear separation from those who had read the books and those who had not. This also brought to my attention the sheer volume of viewers of the TV show that have not read the books, and I’d say it’s a vast majority. But here’s the thing: if you’ve read the books, you get your shock and distressing emotions out of the way when you reach that point in the book. Then, you can anticipate these events and laugh at other people’s reactions when they occur in the TV show. And you get to ridicule all of the people who complain when the episode is spoiled for them before they get a chance to watch it because guess what? The first Game of Thrones book was published in 1996. It’s already been spoiled, folks.

2. Dragons are better in your head.

As someone who read the books before the TV show, I can with complete confidence say that the world of Westeros and its surrounding kingdoms is far, far better when left to the imagination. Really, when you watch the TV show before reading the books, you are robbing your imagination of a great creative pursuit. It’s absolutely thrilling to get caught up in an alternate universe when you’re creating the imagery yourself. It’s still pretty cool to get swept away by the TV show, but it’s a little less magical.

3. You get to cast the characters.

Any book-turned-movie/TV show gets all kinds of crap for casting its main roles. For me, the HBO series did an awful job with Jon Snow. I’m sure that actor is a great guy and super talented and all that jazz, but every time his storyline starts during an episode I just get mad all over again. “That’s not what Jon Snow should look like!” I yell at the TV. I’m sure many book lovers pictured exactly that hairy guy when they read the chapters of Jon Snow, and that’s perfectly alright. Because when you read the book, you’re in charge. So if in your mind Robb Stark looks like Ryan Gosling or Cersei Lannister bears a striking resemblance to Keira Knightley, it’s up to you.

4. The show will make WAY more sense.

I honestly don’t get how people who haven’t read the books can even comprehend what is going on in the TV show most of the time. Even when watching episodes that cover chapters in the book that aren’t fresh in my mind, I struggle to keep up with what’s happening. If you read the books, keeping track of which characters are which, where in the fictional world you are, and what the heck is happening is made way way easier. Not only that, but you’ll get far more insight into the characters and little nuances that the show writers had to take out.

5. It will help with withdrawal.

Now that the latest season has wrapped up, many are having Game of Thrones withdrawals. If you find yourself in this situation, the books will definitely help to fill that void.

6. They are just really good books. And books are good for you.

Reading is good for you. Reading makes you smarter. Watching TV does not make you smarter. Go read a book!