I was so far behind the curve it would be frightening if it bothered me, so own up everyone who kept hearing the name Jon Snow and wondered what was so special about the man who reads the news on Channel 4??
This joke must have been going on for years now that I know, but I just couldn't see what all the fuss was about...was it the ties maybe.
Slowly I paid a little more attention and was reliably informed by the Tinker that there was another Jon Snow and this was the world of A Game of Thrones. He loved the books, read them all on his Kindle and would scurry off to watch another episode on TV.
Anyway fast forward and here I am walking round saying 'Winter is coming,' and pondering the journeys of the Dothraki, and just how cold it really is on the Wall with the Night Watch, and whether Nell would be friends with Nymeria the Direwolf or would there be trouble over the tennis ball.
I had sent for the DVDs from Lovefilm thinking that perhaps Bookhound and I would sit and watch and fight our way into the party that is Game of Thrones, but they came and sat there and were eventually returned unwatched, neither of us in the mood for catching up on a TV series on a summer's evening.
Then the Happy Campers had both read Book One for a book group, and neither of them seemed to be complaining about it too much.
And so, with the quilt still far from completion and having finished listening to A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, half of Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety before needing a break from it and had that very false start with two hours of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (soporific narration, I was bored) I plumped for A Game of Thrones...just to see what all the fuss was about.
If there is one genre I have avoided it has to be fantasy on the assumption that is it 'wasn't my thing at all, ' probably not very well-written or something, but now I think about it the 'assumption' and its basis is all a bit vague, I can find no valid reason for it at all given that I've hardly read any.
And now here I am completely addicted. It has been like opening a door and stepping into an astonishingly exciting new and parallel world.
And as I listened to Game of Thrones I sensed a great raft of historical fusion of everything bar the kitchen sink, and a bit of background reading (not difficult to find online) filled in the gaps for me...
The War of the Roses...the Houses of Lannister and Stark could easily be those of Lancaster and York
Hadrian's Wall...the Great Wall that protects the territory..
Viking marauders...the Ironborn
Mongolian hordes...the Dothraki
Greek fire... Wildfire
And the world was ever thus with its themes of power and treachery, love, loyalty and fealty, trust and betrayal and the ever-present threat of who-knows-what so I am completely immersed in the world of Winterfell and King's Landing...and finally I meet the other Jon Snow, the bastard child of Lord Eddard 'Ned' Stark.
But, and it's a VERY BIG BUT...I am being read to by Roy Dotrice and I wonder whether reading the books for myself would have cast quite the same spell of enchantment.
If you have read them I would be interested to know your thoughts.
In the first book actor Roy Dotrice, now aged ninety-two, voices two hundred and forty-four characters, every one different, every one recognisable and every one superbly done. A Place of Greater Safety, after maybe six hours of listening, was leaving me confused, each time I listened I was completely lost and had to rewind, maybe because the voices weren't different enough, I'm not sure.
Not so with The Game of Thrones. I am right back into the action the minute I start listening and in little doubt about whether I am hearing King Robert Baratheon or Tyrion Lannister speak. This audio is a mega-achievement for Roy Dotrice and I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you are in the mood for something different.
SPOILER ALERT...I keep Bookhound updated too...
'Well the King's just been gored from groin to chest by a wild boar...'
'Looks like it, though plenty to eat for the funeral feast...the boar not the king's entrails that is.'
'And you know Queen Thingy...well those aren't the King's children at all, those are the children of her twin brother.'
'Looks like it. I mean they are Lanisters masquerading as Baratheons, and of course one of them is betrothed to a Stark daughter and of course Eddard Stark is now running the show...it's going to be carnage...and then there's the Dothraki riding around and she's got a horse called The Silver ...which I suppose is to stop us all getting her confused with the Lone Ranger now I think about it...'
And so it goes on.
And jumping into this fantasy feels like a mega-achievement for me too. It's good to know that I am not as set in my reading or listening ways as I might seem; that an occasional foray into another world holds such delights as The Other Jon Snow and a compelling, skilfully-written and brilliantly narrated story that grips and engrosses.
And the whole series entitled A Song of Ice and Fire would seem to be endless.
A Game of Thrones,
A Clash of Kings,
A Storm of Swords Part One: Steel and Snow,
A Storm of Swords Part Two: Blood and Gold,
A Feast for Crows,
A Dance with Dragons.
If I don't run out of steam I may be away with Roy Dotrice and the Starks and the Lannisters for some time.
No more spoilers please but does anyone else want to talk A Game of Thrones...
Is it worth reading as well as listening...
And what about watching, would the DVDs be a good investment of time...
And what about other fantasy series...any recommends or is this definitely not your thing...
And dare I go there too...