It’s been a week since the finale of Game of Thrones season 5 aired, so I hope you’re all caught up by now, but in case you’re not; SPOILER WARNING!! I’m going to discuss the contents of the Game of Thrones TV show and the Song of Ice and Fire books, so be warned 🙂
There’s always been criticism towards the show, but I feel like this season there was more than ever. I’d love to put in my two pennies worth on this and let you know what I think.
The most important problem here, I think, is that Game of Thrones is an adaptation from books. As always when a book gets made into a movie, there are certain compromises that need to be made. Books are usually way longer than a movie or show can be, so it’s inevitable for some characters to get cut and some events to get skipped. But although it’s disappointing when your favourite character never appears (Tom Bombadil in the Fellowship of the Ring) or favourite scene never happenes (Department of Mysteries in the Order of the Phoenix), I fully understand that this is necessary and needs to be done in order to make a good book into a good movie. And that’s the whole point.
Books and movies are two completely different media, with their own sets of rules. Making the visual adaptation exactly the same as the book is simply impossible. With that in mind, let’s get more specific.
I feel like the first two/three seasons were incredibly true to the books. I was extremely surprised by how well it was done and how little of the story was left out. But as the story continues, it starts branching out. There are loads and loads of characters and they all have their own story. In fact, I feel like by the end of book 3 it spiraled out of control a little bit and the world had become too large to handle. They ended up splitting the story into two books then, book 4 and 5 which cover the same time span but different characters. This leaves a lot more room for character development, and there’s a lot of that in the last two books.
The first two seasons of the show are so great, because they closely follow all events from the books. As there are fewer events in the later books, there is simply less for the show to cover. I caught myself being slightly disappointed by some scenes which I was excited for in season 5, because they are incredibly significant for the characters and their development, and in the show they just become “happenings”.
Biggest example of this is Cersei’s walk of shame. Reading it was fundamental for how I feel about Cersei; the scene makes her human and relatable and vulnerable. It shows that she’s a mother first and foremost and that she acknowledges that and there’s just a lot going on inside her head at that moment. In the show, although the scene was acted out wonderfully and I don’t think they could’ve done it any better, this gets lost. All we see is Cersei’s shame and pain, but it’s very topical compared to what you read in the books.
Danaeres’ flight also felt different in the show than it did in the books; in the show it was “whoa, cool!”, but in the books I feel like there was more time to consider what this means and how special the event is.
As there aren’t as many “cool” events in the last two books, I feel like they went through them very quickly in the show. And since all the other material in the books is pretty much characters traveling and thinking a lot, they had to start adding stuff into the show. I understand that you can only add character’s thoughts and emotions in to a certain extent (through dialogue, for example), but I was a little disappointed by the things they did add. I feel like they’re overcompensating, taking it further and further, to add shock upon shock. Some events were pointless when it comes to the storyline and purely there to add some nudity, violence and shock value to the show. Game of Thrones has always had a lot of nudity and violence, as have the books, but this time I feel like they’re just piling it up to make sure people keep watching through the less interesting developments in the story. I personally don’t think that’s necessary.
I didn’t really like what they did to the Sand Snakes, they were very strong characters in the book, but in the show I just found them violent and obnoxious. I don’t really get why they left them in, but not the Greyjoys. The Sand Snakes’ purpose in this season was obviously to get to Myrcella (who’s still very much alive in the books), so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
I did like how they altered Tyrion’s story. I enjoyed his stay with the freakshow in the book and I liked the insight that that gave us into the Slaver’s Bay culture, but it wasn’t necessary for the story and the show cut to the core. I like the interaction between Tyrion and Danaerys and I’m excited to see how that will develop, although I’m a bit bummed that this kind of gives away the end of Aegon’s story.
Characters that are dead on the show are alive in the books, and some characters that are dead in the books are still alive on the show. Sansa is Jeyne who is Arya who is noone, and so much else has been changed that I’ve decided to enjoy the books and the show as two separate things. They aren’t the same and they can’t be the same because a show can’t be a book. The two are headed towards the same outcome but the roads are bound to be very different. I’m eagerly waiting for Winds of Winter and I’ll be watching the sixth season when it comes out too, with no expectations.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!