Serendipity in the form of Accursed Kings

The Iron King

Not so very long ago I received an unsolicited novel with the above picture but with different text: ‘The original Game of Thrones; George R.R. Martin.’  Although it was more recently received than other books in my notorious TBR pile, this novel mysteriously worked its way to the top of my pile.  I’m not biased, no, not at all.  If GRRM gives a shout out to a historical fiction account of the Kings of France  in the early 14th century, I’m not going to prejudice my reading order and read GRRM’s shout out first.  No.

Yes.

Whatever.

I read the book.  In very short order.  You haven’t seen my review yet because the book isn’t due to be published until January 2013, so my review is scheduled for 1 January 2013.

So.  Why am I writing this?  Well, funny you should ask that…

I very rarely watch live to air TV.  I hate missing episodes, I loathe commercials, especially programs being cut to fit more commercials in, and even more than that I loathe hubby ranting about Battlestar Galactica being all about Gaius’ sexual relationship with Seven, sans very little other stuff because in Adelaide most of the rest of the story WAS CUT FOR MORE ADS.

Seriously.

Most guys might like that stuff, but HE ranted.  And got aggro BECAUSE I WANTED TO WATCH THE ONLY SF ON TV which was being mangled by the commercial station.

But today hasn’t been a good day.  For reasons I won’t go into, after dinner hubby was assembling my new exercise bike.  Did I mention that my old exercise bike, a Pro Forma stationary bike, was defective right from the start and only got worse really quickly?  Instead of returning to the local gym with its poorly maintained equipment and unreliable classes, we decided to purchase a new exercise bike to go with my yoga DVDs.  Yadda, yadda.

The point is, hubby was assembling the bike.  I wasn’t watching something we’d agreed upon, nor was I playing a game with him.  I was at a loose end & suffering from a bit of eyestrain after reading so much today, so I cruised the TV channels, a VERY RARE event.  First of all I caught the last half hour of Ritchie Rich, a movie I’d never seen before.  And which I will never watch again.  After that I was just flicking through the aerial TV guide when I saw…

THE ACCURSED KINGS.

That’s right.  The Accursed Kings is the name of the series of which The Iron King is the first novel.  It was on SBS so I figured there was a better than even chance this was the REAL DEAL.  (Note: Maurice Druon was a really famous French guy and the Iron King was largely about the court of France.)

I caught the recap before the episode properly began.  Gerard Depardieu played Jacques de Molay, the head of the Templars.  The episode I saw covered the last portion of the Iron King and, after about half an hour, launched into the next novel, the Strangled Queen.

This was like mainlining a Game of Thrones substitute in more ways than one.  Not only is it a matter of noting the similarities to Game of Thrones‘ storyline (HE’s the male version of HER except…) but also both books have been cut to fit the time allowed.  A user review on IMDB for The Accursed Kings says,

Why did they remake the 1972 series? Basically, because they could. The original series was and probably still is the best and most literate TV series ever made on this planet. The producers of this remake kept, for the most part, the very same dialogs, which is a very good thing, but have also shortened and simplified them (a.k.a. dumbing down), which robs the characters of their individuality and turns them into soap opera nimrods…’

This user review is well worth reading in its entirety and has inspired me to seek out a copy of the 1972 version if at all possible.  I think I’d still like to own a copy of the remake regardless as some of the performances were good, in spite of coping with subtitles.  Also ever since Green Card but especially since the Asterix live action movies, I’ll watch Gerard Depardieu for the sake of it, as long as the movie is bearable.

So.  This is a heads up for all you GoT fans out there.  The book.  The TV series.  GETCHOR GoT SUBSTITUE NOW.  It’s shorter than GoT, with fewer characters, so it’s a good read for those who have decided they can’t cope with GRRM’s multitudes or the epic length.  Seriously, the Iron King is less than 300 pages from memory – although my copy is an uncorrected manuscript, not a retail copy, I don’t think it’ll magically grow into a doorstopper in the next couple of months.

Especially as the author’s dead.  He’s not going to be adding to the story, making it longer.

Also – SERIES FINISHED, PEOPLE.  It just has to be translated.  EPIC WIN.