This blog is no stranger to the books to TV and movies adaptions with the Alice Through the Looking Glass film being previewed on this site. And whilst the Alice franchise may offer an overflowing supply of whimsical psychedelic weirdness, if you're looking to visit a more visceral fantasy world, then the hit TV series Game of Thrones should provide us all with more than enough swords, castles and chaos.
I first saw the TV show a couple of years ago and was gradually sucked into its richly complex storyline, enjoyably pompous characters, and the appealing use of strong female characters that gave it the edge over most other fantasy offerings.
The show has since become a huge global hit and is now the subject of computer games, elaborate merchandise and even betting sites. But what really made the television series so compelling was the weaving of political intrigues that led me to check out the series creator George R. R. Martin's original books – A Song of Ice and Fire. There are so far five books in the series, with a sixth apparently being painstakingly written at the moment.
Whilst they may not offer quite as much visceral power as the excellently-acted TV shows, the books offer an unparalleled glimpse into the minds of the lead characters. You can really get to grips with the many layers of intrigue behind this darkly-constructed fantasy world in the books, and each chapter's powerful use of cliffhangers made the novels very hard to put down.
But there's an interesting development in that the TV shows have just about caught the books up, and already there have been a few spoilers that have affected many a fan's enjoyment of the original fiction.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's tried to avoid any external sources affecting my reading, as sites like Betway have cleverly added to the thrill of the story by asking fans 'What do you think to these odds on who'll be killed off next?' and such questions form a big part of the enjoyment of these fantasy novels.
The fact that betting sites now feature odds on the fate of characters in the fantasy series alongside sports betting options and even the outcomes of presidential elections signifies just how powerful this series is as a cultural institution.
Although many have stated that the novels offer a somewhat two-dimensional approach to characterisation, the forces of good and evil in the novels never become too clearly defined and that's why Game of Thrones is clearly the one to beat in the booming fantasy world.