Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writers: George R.R. MARTIN, Daniel ABRAHAM
Artist: Tommy PATTERSON
Colourists: Sandra MOLINA, Ivan NUNES
Letter: Marshall DILLON
Game of Thrones #23 focuses its story on three of the major plays in the series rather than spread itself too thin and thus we’re only shown snippets of Bran’s, Tyrion’s, and Daenrys’ stories. The main theme of the three tales seems to be “loss” although the individual reactions are wildly different. Bran is dealing with the recent loss of his mobility and turns to his dreams over his maester for guidance. Tyrion and his family are dealing to the capture of the Lanister poster boy Jamie and resort to a radical shake up of family affairs. Daenerys, faced with the potential loss of much of her new found happiness, turns to a much darker force for assistance.
The art is very static with not much flow between panels and even the few action shots to be found in Game of Thrones #23 are wooden and uninteresting. While the characters in Game of Thrones #23 are not just carbon copies of their TV counterparts it is hard to frame this in a wholly positive light. Tyrion has none of Peter Dinklage’s charm or beauty and is depicted as being the quite an ugly man much like he was in the novels. In this case we can see how the character design aids the telling of his story of outcast in a manner much more faithful to the original text. Daenerys on the other hand is actually less like her book counterpart than in the TV show, in this comic she is drawn to be a rather buxom young woman rather than the 14 year old girl she is meant to be in the books. In this case we can see how the character design aids the sales of this comic to the few horny readers who have yet to find out porn exists. The artist does some good work depicting the difference between stories being told and dreams, and the “real” world which provides a nice break in style but in neither do the pages hold the reader’s attention or draw the eye.
The failings of Game of Thrones #23 cannot be solely rested on the shoulders of the artist however as the content is also found to be rather lacking. The stories feel very basic and the reader is not drawn to any of the characters; it feels more like the SparkNotes to the series rather than the full fleshed out tale. Despite a couple of distracting thought boxes we are given little to no insight into the characters thoughts and feelings and instead we are left reading rather dry dialogues between fairly vapid characters. Given that the hallmark of George R. R. Martin’s original series was the complex interplay of characters and their motivations when these are removed from equation we are left with a very disappointing husk of the much beloved story. Rather than trying to break up the monotony of various conversations with action or panoramic shots of the various interesting locations of Westeros, Game of Thrones #23 seems to relish in keeping its characters talking round tables or in tents with little to no movement.
Given that the comic is often trying to reduce 3 or 4 chapters of GRRM’s epic tale into a 31 pages of a comic it is no wonder that after finishing Game of Thrones #23 there is an overwhelming sense of disappointment. There is a pervasive feeling that the whole venture in rather futile as the comic is too empty to act as a replacement for the HBO show while managing to be less engaging than the source material (itself not winning many prizes for accessibility). There is an argument that comic adaptions should be judged as a standalone medium and not simply as a comparison to others. In the case of Game of Thrones #23 however even the most objective and forgiving reader would struggle to find positives.