A GAME OF THRONES: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL VOLUME 4
The fourth installment of this graphic novel adaption deals with roughly the final quarter and notably the dramatic climax of its source material, A Game of Thrones. Tyrion, having escaped the Eyrie, leads a tribe of clansmen to reconvene with his father who is plotting to repel the North. Lord Eddard Stark is wrongfully being held captive in King’s Landing after learning the hard way that there is no honor in politics, whilst his eldest son Robb Stark is leading an army south in response. At the wall, Jon Snow is adjusting to the harsh realities of a life in the Night’s Watch, and across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen, now at the head of a mighty Khalasar, plots her return to Westeros.
Adapting a novel with the sheer breadth and narrative depth of Martin’s was never going to be an easy task but with this concluding volume, Abraham and Patterson have proven worthy. The virulent book vs show debate will rage on forever more but this graphic novel thankfully has elements that will appeal to fighters in either corner of the debate. Tommy Patterson’s character depictions are clearly influenced by the HBO show and this provides familiarity for people alien to books, plus the pace of a paneled comic flows more progressively than an 864 page epic novel.
On the other hand, the artistic freedom of an illustrated series gives the graphic novel an opportunity to stick faithfully to book material and please book purists. We actually get to see the Battle of the Green Fork. Tyrion has his famous heterochromia. Dreams can be illustrated in all their prophetic glory, and the ironic throne is a bloody towering and ominous presence, not just a few swords glued together. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this adaptation lies in its accessibility and appeal to all manner of fans, casual or obsessive.
The artwork throughout is honestly quite striking; a fully realised colour palette means that each page is vibrant and alluring. The only minor issue here is that Tommy Patterson’s art is so vivid that at points it almost negates the grittiness of certain parts of the story. Ultimately though, this proves to be a marginal flaw as the book is thoroughly enjoyable and engaging thanks to its own stylistic propensities. With this concluding chapter, Martin’s series has successfully been executed in a new medium and this reflects both the brilliance of Martin’s tale and the talents of Abraham and Patterson for delivering it. Roll on A Clash of Kings…
INFO: A GAME OF THRONES: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL VOLUME 4 / AUTHOR: GEORGE R.R. MARTIN, DANIEL ABRAHAM / ARTIST: TOMMY PATTERSON / PUBLISHER: HARPER VOYAGER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW