by Sara N.
Do you remember the first time you read George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones and were swept away by the brutal and fully alive world the book created? You weren't sure at first that you could keep up with such a huge cast of characters, but you kept reading, even as the strange names kept accumulating and the family trees of the huge cast of characters kept twisting together in impossible-to-recall ways. You almost gave up a couple of times but all of a sudden -- was it after the second Bran point-of-view chapter? -- the book had you by the throat, and you couldn't stop reading.
Do you remember racing to the bookstore to pick up the second book? While you were there, you decided to grab the third and fourth books, too. You were pretty sure you were going to devour them all, so why bother with additional trips back to pick up the subsequent installments? And as you read, you marveled at the way the good guys made bad or downright evil decisions, and the bad guys all of a sudden had recognizable and sympathetic motives and emotions. And even if the fourth book meandered a bit more than you would've liked, you marveled at the immensity of Martin's imagination and his gift for creating characters who could be living, breathing humans.
And do you remember hearing that HBO might be interested in creating a television show based on the books? Oh, the excitement! You scoured the internet for information about producers, writers, directors. You discussed your dream cast with your fellow fans, either in person or online, and you savored the suggestions, whether they were brilliant or far-fetched. When the cast was announced, you engaged in more debate. That nose? That brown hair? How old are those children? And in the end, you decided, more than being able to live with it, you were excited. (And OK, maybe you're still a little sad that Elizabeth Banks didn't get to play Cersei. Seriously, she would've been brilliant.) Then you held your breath to wait for HBO to decide whether they'd pick up the show for a full season. And they did. And then you couldn't wait to see how this would all look on your TV screen.
Remember how, as you counted down the months for the premiere date, you savored every official publicity shot, every leaked set photo, every trailer that HBO trotted out? And then, in the middle of this anticipation and speculation and excruciating waiting, you heard another amazing piece of news: The fifth book had a release date! You'd slake you thirst for Westeros with the television show and then continue the feast on July 12 when A Dance with Dragons is finally released.
Remember how you were practically quivering with anticipation in the final week before the premiere, and nothing -- not even snide, small-minded reviewers -- could diminish the frenzied pitch of your geeky excitement?
Yeah, I remember all of that, too.
It's finally here, people! Meet me in the comment section to let me know what you think of the pilot episode after it airs tonight at 9 EST/8 CST on HBO.