Tyler Cowen on Game of Thrones

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Tyler Cowen plays overrated-underrated in his recent Vox interview, and this one surprised me:

Game of Thrones
I’ve never watched the TV show, but I tried to read the book and found that it’s way too much effort for what you’re getting in return. So I have to say it’s overrated.

I’m not surprised that he didn’t like the books, or that he never watched the shows, but too much effort?


  1. James James says:

    If it’s not very good, then any effort is too much effort.

  2. Steve Johnson says:

    Too much effort is about right.

    There’s not much payoff, the prose is bad, the food descriptions are insufferable and very very long. The more you read of it the more you realize that the author simply isn’t providing you with key pieces of the puzzle – he drops hints instead. Unfortunately the hints are interspersed throughout a bunch of huge, rambling novels which are obviously written by a sugar addicted fat guy (seriously, the food descriptions are disgusting – every single dish is described as as sugary as 21st century American chain restaurant food). The audience sees things through the eyes of certain characters but, of course, isn’t told what those characters know that’s relevant to the central mysteries – even when the perspective character knows. Yes, it’s a solvable puzzle but “not worth the effort” sums it up well.

  3. Dan Kurt says:

    Just visited my son for a week. He had on loan the second season of Game of Thrones which we watched 7 episodes. I had not seen any of the TV series before but did read with protracted, painful effort the first three Martin books–I am a voracious reader and have been since I was fourteen. The first three books were painful, really.

    My opinion of the experience: Game of Thrones should be retitled Swords and Sex, or Long Swords and Small Breasts, or Daenerys has Bleached hair, Arya Stark IS a boy, Sansa Stark is as dumb as a post, and Jon Snow knows nothing and learns nothing.

  4. Bruce says:

    Martin used to write SF short stories about sensitive guys who sat around being sensitive about their sensitive ex-girlfriend, who he thought was really sensitive too until she left him for some guy who can fuck. Spoiler warning: she comes back for his help, his help isn’t enough and she dies, and then he kills himself. After a bunch of short stories like this Martin wrote a whole book, The Dying of the Light. Then his boys came down or something and he wrote a good vampire book, a good sentimental 60s survivor rock and roll book, and a good space opera series. Instead of having characters be sensitive whenever he got bored, he started doing awful things to the nice characters whenever he got bored. I think it was a fashion change in writing workshops.

    So now he’s cashed in with this big Wars of the Roses fantasy series, and he’s bored, and he knows he’s overdone the nasty things to nice characters thing. What to do, what to do? He might have the Starks sit around being sensitive. Never seen the series; I think that might work for a change-up.

    Or he might do something good. He had real SF chops for a while in the early 90s.

  5. Bomag says:

    I think it was a fashion change in writing workshops.

    Made me laugh.

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