If you ask anyone who reads fantasy what they felt is the best ongoing fantasy series, chances are they’ll say A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. Or whatever Brandon Sanderson is up to nowadays. Or…well, A Song of Ice and Fire will be a likely candidate, so it counts. Maybe it’s the TV Show, or maybe it’s the complex, nuanced plot and characters.

Or maybe it’s boobs and blood, I dunno.

Point is, people love it. I agree with them…even though it took me a good twenty years to finish the first book.

Now, for the first ten years of A Game of Throne‘s shelf-life, I had an excuse:  I was too young. I was born in ’91, and I think that any reasonable fantasy fan can pardon me for not picking up an eight-hundred page brick when I’m still trying to learn about subtraction.

Even after then, I wasn’t ready. My experiences with fantasy were limited to Harry Potter and The Hobbit. And I fell asleep reading The Hobbit. Until middle school, I hadn’t even read Narnia. The whole seven-part series sat on my bookshelf, waiting for me to discover it. I needed The Golden Compass, Percy Jackson, among other things, first. I needed to watch The Lord of the Rings, needed to play Final Fantasy, long before I could even pick up George RR Martin’s epic.

So, until high school, I had an excuse.

But I still didn’t read it.

It’s not that I was unaware the book existed. I knew full well about that book series. My lurking on forums, TVTropes, and other sites made it impossible to overlook it. However, my high school self was busy with other stuff. I had to spend months hyping over the next Kingdom Hearts game while listening to an endless playlist of Evanescence. Some book about thrones and games people played on them? Nah, not as interesting.

Then the TV Show started.

Dear God…that was when I couldn’t escape it.

Suddenly, Game of Thrones stared at me from all sides. I couldn’t escape it. It wasn’t as simple as just looking at something else. The franchise had grown. I think I knew how kids who didn’t like reading felt when Harry Potter jumped onto screens.

And I lost my chance to be THAT guy who read the books first. Missed opportunities.

I didn’t want to watch the show without reading the books first, but in college I had to read a good thirty books a semester just to pass classes. I had to read Jane Austen’s entire catalog of books. I didn’t have time to add another book–especially a long one–to that list.

The novel sat next to my bed. By the time college ended–much to my roommate’s irritation–I had only gotten a hundred or so pages in.

It took me twenty years after it’s release date, but I finished it. Naturally, three months after finishing it, I’m midway through A Storm of Swords.

If there is a moral to this story, it’s this: READ THE FUCKING BOOKS YOU KNOW ARE FUCKING GOOD REALLY FUCKING EARLY.

…yes. Those fucks need to be given.

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