Being an avid fantasy reader, I’m a big fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series written by George R.R. Martin. These are the novels which inspired the Game of Thrones TV series, which is currently on it’s fifth season (scheduled to start airing on the 12th of April). The TV series has garnered millions of fans all over the world and is clearly a hit for HBO – but some book fans have voiced their displeasure regarding the adaptation of certain storylines and characters from the books to TV, as some changes have been made. Now I’m here to voice my own opinion on the matter.
Important: The text below will contain spoilers for the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Do not read the rest if you’re planning to read the books.
ASoIaF vs GoT
The novels which the TV series is based on are very large, containing a cast of hundreds of different characters and dozens of intersecting storylines. The books follow the points of view of several important characters in the story, some from the same family and others completely unknown to each other from all over the world. What you have to remember is that a book has no budget or limitations on the amount of characters, stories and events that can occur within it, since all of it is in your imagination.
HBO on the other hand has very real limitations in the form of time, money and manpower it can spend to make a good series. It is understandable if some of the fluff is cut from the story, and many times it’s even necessary to combine multiple characters into one, but are they doing it right?
It was a big blow to me when Lady Stoneheart was left out of season 4 as she was one of the most surprising and interesting things that happened in the third book. Her reveal gave me happy and sad at the same time, while also giving me some hope for the future.
But here’s the thing, since the book series isn’t finished yet, we have no idea what GRRM has in store for her character. Maybe she’ll do big things in the future which will have major consequences to the overall plot, or maybe she’ll do nothing or be killed, and her story will stop there. If it is the latter, then are we really missing a whole lot? I think not. While her reveal in the books was fantastic, I can understand if they cut her from the series because her story isn’t really all that important, the creators of the show do know the books end, after all.
The Greyjoy brothers Euron, Victarion and Aeron also seem to be cut from the series, and this is a big disappointment for book fans since these characters are among some of the fan favorites, especially Victarion. As we know, Victarion is currently sailing to Meereen with a fleet of around 80 ships, to supposedly marry Daenerys and conquer Westeros together.
But what if the only reason for Victarion is to delivery ships to Dany? This is another case similar to the Stoneheart one, the show creaters know the ending to the books, so if they think the Greyjoys aren’t needed for a good ending, Daenerys will probably get her ships from somewhere else – saving them a lot of budget which they can use for something else.
Season 5 & Beyond
There are already many changes to season 5 that we know about, furthering the gap from the books to TV even more. Jaime Lannister, for instance, is not going to the Riverlands as he’s supposed to, instead he’s going to Dorne. This change probably has to do with removing Lady Stoneheart, since the last time we saw Jaime in the books he was on his way to her with Brienne.
Aegon and Jon Connington also appear to be left out of the story, though I’m not a hundred percent sure of this since the season hasn’t started yet, it’s safe to say that they have. Tyrion appears to be going straight to Meereen without much hassle in between and Varys’ motives seem to be less interesting than in the books since he flat out says he and Illyrio are supporting Dany.
To me, the books are canon and I will always prefer them to the TV series, but I’ll continue watching anyway as I still enjoy the show and avoiding spoilers would be nearly impossible, given the fact that the series will reach the end of the story before the books.