Game of Thrones: A Reader’s Dilemma (No Spoilers)

A great season four of Game of Thrones has come to an end and this meme is relevant again.

that-awkward-moment-when-you-finish-a-tv-show

But life has to go on; and allow the gaping hole left by this magnificent show’s absence to be filled by other magnificent, addictive shows, games and/or movies. Ahem … anyways, moving on.

Having read all five books of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) series by George R. R. Martin last year, I thought this season would mainly be expectation-based i.e. ‘How are they going to show this?’, ‘I hope they do justice to his death’, ‘Please, please don’t cut that character out!’ etc. But the show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have made changes to the show that got me (and many other book readers) thinking about a lot of things.

Dan Weiss and David Benioff: The show runners

Dan Weiss and David Benioff: The show runners

As an insurance policy for HBO against anything happening to GRRM (may the Seven, the Old Gods, the Drowned God and the Lord of Light keep him safe), the show runners know how the series is going to end. GRRM has mentioned in a couple of interviews that while they do know the ending, they’re not privy to all of the subtle plot twists and events that take us there. Hell, even he doesn’t know some of them yet! Now why should that bother me? Well, any changes they make in the show, any characters they cut out have readers thinking on the lines of ‘Wait, so this guy ultimately dies? Why did GRRM write so much about him for the last couple of books?!’ This is how the show has subtly started spoiling the books.

It gets worse. In the interest of producing great television material (and I agree with their choices most of the time), David and Dan have realigned some of the story-lines in the books. In fact, some of the story arcs feel more clean and polished than the books. But that has become an issue because GRRM does not give equal page time to all the characters. As a result, a certain character’s story arc on the show (end of season four) has already reached the fifth book! Everything they show about this character in season five is likely to be a book spoiler.

THIS. NOW! Please? :-(

THIS. NOW! Please? 😦

Readers have already been dealing with the fact that many of their favorite scenes and characters will be cut in the process of adapting for television. But now there is a bigger, more serious conflict brewing. In many ASOIAF fan sites, forums and sub-reddits, fans have said they will stop watching the show if it catches up to, and surpasses, the books. Well, that’s not going to happen. Due to the show’s immense popularity, people who plan to watch an episode within twenty four hours of the first airing can’t manage avoiding spoilers! So it is going to be a tough call for book readers who want to stick to the story told by GRRM. I envy people who are just following the show, constantly getting blown away by one of the best television productions of our time, blissfully oblivious to the amazing characters and scenes they are missing out on.

A solution to this? Learning magic to somehow make GRRM write the last couple of books ASAP! Based on how he announced the completion of the fifth book (A Dance With Dragons), I am sincerely hoping to see more dead King Kongs soon.

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