Winter Is Coming

Mon 11/3/2008

Well, we had our first snow last week. Yeah... in OCTOBER. It didn't stick or anything, and it has since warmed up again, but it sure is getting cold at night, and it seems like winter won't be too far off for White River Junction.

But, as some of you might know, the title of this blog entry is not talking about the weather. They are the words of House Stark, from The Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin. I had these books recommended to me by fellow gag-cartoonist Karen Sneider a while back, and I recently used my Audible.com subscription to get the AudioBooks, which are really incredible.

It is a fantasy story, with an expansive world populated by dozens of "houses" which each have their own sigil, colors, house words and traditions. Each chapter follows one character, of which there are HUNDREDS, and then the next chapter jumps to someone else. So these books are long. Like 40 hours of Audio each. And they are read by the british actor Roy Dotrice who does a fantastic job.

So I finished the third book, and I couldn't wait to download the fourth book and dive back into the story! But then a real tragedy seeped through my headphones... A NEW READER :(

If you don't listen to AudioBooks, than this might not make sense, but this new reader is basically RUINING this series for me. I've spent over A HUNDRED HOURS with these characters, as interpreted by Dotrice, and suddenly this new guy is mispronouncing names, making serious characters goofy, switching around accents that have been established for different houses, etc. etc. etc. It really makes me angry!!!

I can only assume that there was some sort of time crunch to get the AudioBook out on time. Because it would seem to me, if you were coming in to record the audio for the FOURTH book of a series, you would do a little research as to what you are reading! And I'm sure one could argue that the reader is "bringing his own interpretation" to the characters, but I just think this far into the series, that is totally inappropriate.

This reminds me of when Michael Gambon tragically replaced Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies. Gambon's Dumbledore comes running into rooms shouting at people, gesticulating, or he'll snap a rude remark at the students, things that DUMBLEDORE WOULD NEVER DO. I know it sounds INSANE, but I feel like Gambon has never read the Harry Potter books (WHICH IT SEEMS LIKE YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE IN THE MOVIES) because I can't imagine ANY actor making the choices he does with the character after having known Dumbledore through reading the books. Especially in THOSE movies where EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER is played by the same actors. It would have been so much better if Gambon had swallowed his pride a bit, and played Harris's Dumbledore - to keep things consistent.

Anyways, the point is, I'm really sad about this book. (And from reading some of the Audible listener comments, many others are too!) Instead of getting lost in the world, I'm cringing at mispronunciations and rolling my eyes at bad over-acting. I'm learning that a mediocre book can be made great by an excellent reader, and an awesome book can be brought low by a bad reader.

Well, I've got a whole jumble of stuff to blog about... Maybe I'll break it all up into individual posts. How about A Blog A Day this week, to kick off November? Huh? Hah!

5 comments on this entry

Man, I feel your pain. Although when I was listening to the Dark Tower books from Audible, they changed narrators in the middle, and the second guy was better. Although that's because the first guy was in a tragic motorcycle accident, which sucks.

Not to go on about Audible, BUT if you're like me and have never been able to read Confederacy of Dunces, the guy I have reading it (I forgot his name) is the most hysterical reader of all time. So good.

I wonder if you could listen to my Audible tracks, because of the proprietary thing? I've probably got like 30 books or so, which is crazy (especially at their prices). I want Lord of the Rings, but all they have is the dramatised version. Not for the kid.

Thanks for the tip Dustin, I might give Confederacy of Dunces a chance! I also use AudioBooks to get through a lot of stuff I can't manage to read on the page (Dickens, Melville, etc.)

Yeah, we can't share tracks (they are authorized for your account) but you should sign up for a subscription, you save so much money! It's only like $15 a month, which you can usually use on a $40 book (which is marked down from $60!)

Alec Nov03

Oh, I've got a subscription, that's the problem! It's so pricey. I usually can't find anything to listen to, because the idea of listening to something that I would enjoy READING is too weird. Especially if I'm inking anyway--stuff like fantasy or whatever is best, where you don't have to hear all the words. I find that most of the time I end up getting books I've enjoyed reading multiple times, like Catch-22. Although Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything was pretty great--a really good reader.

I bought the first two of these books on your recommendation and like them so far. I'm going to read a little each night before bed.

Similar to this series that I also liked was Terry Brooks, Sword of Shanarra. I also liked some of Dennis McKiernan - Silver Call Duology and The Iron Tower Trilogy. The rest of his -- not so much.

Have you ever listened or read to Terry Pratchett? I would describe his work as "Monty Python meets Lord of the Rings". The best ones are Monstrous Regiment and The Amazing Maurice and the Educated Rodents. Very silly at first glance, but full of jabs of social satire.

Thanks for the book suggestions Andy. I will definitely check those out!

Alec Nov09

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