A Game of Thrones

A Game of ThronesToday, I finished reading A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I first heard about A Game of Thrones last year, when my mom mentioned that a coworker of hers had really enjoyed it. Fantasy is my favorite reading genre, so I made a mental note to look into the book later. Over the next few weeks or so, though, it seemed as though I was hearing about A Game of Thrones everywhere (probably largely due to the HBO TV series, which premiered in April 2011). After hearing so much praise for the book (and the TV series), I decided I had to read it… so in January, I began to read the 807-page novel.

It wasn’t long before I was hooked. At first, I was overwhelmed by the number of characters. I started to sketch out a tree to keep track of all of the characters, their titles and nicknames, and their relationships with each other… and then I discovered the appendix, which already contained that information. Whoops! 😛 Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of the eight main characters and I really enjoyed how the story bounced back and forth between their perspectives.

Excited to watch the TV series, I checked Netflix this weekend and was disappointed to see that it wasn’t available. I tried Hulu, but it just directed me to HBO’s website. The episodes were available on HBO’s site, but only for certain HBO cable subscribers. Ugh. So I tried Amazon.com next, hoping that the episodes would be available in Amazon’s Instant Video store. Nope. Hmph. I gave up and figured I’d just get it on Blu-Ray and wait for it to come in the mail… but I couldn’t even do that! It’s not going to be released on DVD/Blu-Ray until March 6. NOOOO! And then, yesterday, The Oatmeal released a new comic, I tried to watch Game of Thrones and this is what happened, that expressed the very same frustration I had this weekend. At the end of the comic, he ended up torrenting the season because he couldn’t watch it through any legitimate methods.

With all of the technology available at our fingertips, I think it’s time for publishing companies to get on board and realize that people want to do the right thing, but making it a hassle for them to do so is just turning them to piracy. :/

Netflix

It was announced last night that Netflix is going to be splitting into two companies: Netflix (online video streaming) and Qwikster (DVD rentals by mail). This, of course, comes shortly after Netflix raised their prices on the two services. Needless to say, it seems as though Netflix customers are not happy with these changes.

Nick and I have been Netflix customers since 2005 (Nick since 2002). We had initially been paying for 3 DVDs out at a time (+ streaming). After prices rose a while back, we dropped two 2 DVDs at a time (+ streaming). With the new pricing structure, we cut back to 1 DVD at a time + unlimited streaming ($18/month for Blu-ray) and now we’re considering going down to just unlimited streaming ($8/month). We had been really happy with Netflix, but it seems like the company is going off track now and it’s encouraging customers to look into alternatives. :-/

It’s also pretty funny that the Twitter @Qwikster account is controlled by some foul-mouthed guy with a pot-smoking Elmo avatar. You’d think Netflix would’ve looked into that before the announcement, because now it’s getting all sorts of attention. 😛