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.


  1. It's probably one of the best book adaptations ever; in many ways, it improves on the books. Granted, there are times you want to read a 6 page description of a banquet, but that sort of thing does NOT adapt. You can have maybe a 5 second visual of food, and then people better start eating it, having meaningful conversation, and, if you're lucky, poisoning Joffrey.

    The Hunger Games comes to mind as a movie that was beautifully faithful to the book. It's all about the spirit of the thing, the script writer's understanding of the heart of the story, rather than the actual events, which is why the scenes added to the movie work so well. (And also explains why I turned off Despereux 4 minutes into the film.)

  2. I also liked the Hunger Games adaptation. Nearly everyone who I know who hated it, screamed and cried over the fact that Katniss gets the Mockingjay pin at the Hob instead of from Madge. Really? *That* is why the adaptation sucks? Madge is ultimately a throwaway character, no matter how much you might like her. Strong Belwas is also a throwaway character in GoT. I like him a lot in the books but he would serve no purpose on the show.

    I was bored out of my skull when I went to see The Hobbit. That film (those films) are a perfect example of why a visual adaptation shouldn't match the book word for word, image for image. The movie was pretty, but how many drawn out scenes of the New Zealand countryside did we need? How many visuals of short bearded people walking in a line? The only time I want to see excessive imagery of short bearded people is if Peter Dinklage is involved.

  3. I think I'm pretty good at totally separating a book from an adaptation when viewing or reading if it goes from film to book. Each one should be seen as its own thing. Though the only times I think were the adaptations were a hundred times better than the original are Last Of The Mochicans and M*A*S*H.