As an avid, and long time, fan of the R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice - the twists, turns and epic moments in the HBO Game of Thrones television series do not shock like they do for viewers.
I picked up my first copy of A Game of Thrones around the time of Aidan's birth in 1999. I was immediately hooked. I say first copy because up to the start of the television series in 2010, I must have purchased twenty copies at used bookstores to pass onto friends. I wanted to share and validate my passion for the series.
Fortunately there was two books in the series at that time, A Clash of Kings had been released in 1998. I was barely finished it when book three, A Storm of Swords was released in 2000. The wait for the fourth instalment was as arduous as crossing the Summer Sea. A Feast Of Crows arrived in 2005 and A Dance with Dragons in 2015. Five years later we are still waiting for Martin to finish the next instalment, the Winds of Winter.
The books are great - Martin is a master storyteller, the unabridged series is full of painstaking details - a labour of love to produce and read. Book Seven, the finale is entitled A Dream Of Spring. Martin says he knows how the series will wrap up.
When my friends started watching the series - cold - uninitiated - and addicted, I got a real kick out of their reactions to Ned's beheading, the Battle at Blackwater, Joffreys poisoning and the The Red Wedding. Once again last night, TV's best show delivered another epic and unforgettable season finale that stunned audiences.
Frankly, I have only watched a few key episodes over the past five years. However, this season, the writers have have taken liberties to put the show on a different track. It is for very practical reasons, the massive books weave a tale that is difficult to translate to the screen - mostly because of the timelines. Viewers have a much more condensed cast of characters and events to follow.
I am starting to think that the viewers are getting the last laugh, they do not have to try and recall, unscramble and follow the myriad of characters, storylines and a narrative that has spun out of control. The show has been pulling together plots and strands much better than the books.
With the conclusion of Season Five, book readers and viewers are more or less on the same page. There is no more tiptoeing around spoilers. Will A Dream Of Spring come before the television series wraps up in 2017?
It is doubtful. I am going to really dislike watching the conclusion of this story as opposed to reading it.