Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Have a Fever and the Only Cure is More Peter Dinklage

I know I'm a little behind with posts, and the only excuse I have is that I've been frantically trying to finish a number of books for the two book clubs I'm in. However, that is a bad excuse. There is no excuse for not writing a post about Game of Thrones.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to watch Game of Thrones without having read the books. I wonder if I get bored with certain scenes because I know what will happen and I'm so amped up for how this season ends that I don't care about all the stuff that comes before. But then I remember watching the first two seasons of True Blood, not having read the books, and constantly thinking about reading the books. So, I guess I can't win.

I have a love/hate relationship with adaptations. So far I have felt mostly love for Game of Thrones. I love all of the differences in the television show. I love puzzling out the why of those changes and thinking through the ramifications of them through the series. I also know that there's a lot of nerd rage about these changes, but I haven't found a single one that threatens the integrity of either the book or television series.
I would like a Hodor chapter in Winds of Winter.
The book series is a lovely, sprawling mess. I love getting lost in twisting side and back stories that have very little to do with major plot lines. However, these side stories enrich the plot as opposed to moving it forward. Before the series started, I had wondered if the creative team would use flashbacks, and now I'm glad they didn't. Books can get away with those tangents where television can't. For the sake of quality, a visual adaptation needs to condense it's written original. There have been a few examples of this so far, the most significant ones being the fact that both the Jamie/Brienne and Theon storylines have started a lot sooner than in the books.

If the television show had followed the books, Jamie would not have shown up in the second season. Theon would go missing for at least two seasons and Tyrion for one. Would you watch an entire season that did not have Peter Dinklage in it? Would you? No - there would be rioting in the streets.

As for nerd rage over added scenes, like this most recent one where Margery Tyrell strokes King Joffrey's crossbow, so much of what happens in the books is internal. Characters can't walk around on the show voicing their every thought and feeling in the form of bad soliloquy. These added scenes (along with the inclusion of Ros the Whore who is not in the books and acts a naked sounding board for other characters) serve to give insight into a character's thoughts and motives in a way better fitted to television.

I have faith that the television adaptation is going to tighten up the series without changing the story. I'm one of a handful of people who is not mad at George R.R. Martin for taking his time as a writer. I trust him. I trust his writing and I trust that his involvement with the show will guarantee continued quality. I didn't used to feel this way. I used to get angry with GRRM for taking so long, but I had the opportunity to meet him in 2010. He gave a talk and discussed just how hard it was to keep the lovely mess of these books lovely. His greatest fear is writing an ending that sucks. I understand that. So, now, I will leave you with this picture, and the question: how do you feel about book adaptations?

He said I was creepy for liking Littlefinger.