The greatest fear of the book readers of A Song and Ice and Fire has finally been confirmed–the show, Game of Thrones, will be spoiling the books. For years, readers of the series have known what was going to happen and generally looked forward to seeing their favorite characters come to life on the small screen. But for the first time, book readers and show watchers will be in the same boat. Season 5 still has some ground to cover in A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, but judging from the trailers, set pictures and cast interviews, this season is bound to be a little unnerving for book readers as it deviates very far from the books. It is no secret that I was late in joining the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire fandom. I didn’t start watching until season 2 and I didn’t read until after the season 3 finale. Like many of you, I watched the show and loved it. It was amazing to me. I LOVED the characters and the stories and devoured each episode. But as soon as I picked up a book and began to read, I felt as if I had been cheated. I felt that HBO and D&D had wronged me. And they had wronged you all by omitting small details and characters and the experiences of the characters in the book that actually MAKE the story. The show creators David Benihoff and D.B. Weiss, affectionately known as D&D, have claimed that the endings will be the same. Really? The same? I highly doubt that. There is no way that they can “be the same.”
How can the ending be the same if the characters do not follow the same path in the show as they do in the books? The very core of what makes this world so real and so fascinating is because of the trials and tribulations that each character goes through. Let’s explore a few so I can make this clear.
Jaime Lannister: Now, we all know that Jaime is going to Dorne this season and book readers have been screaming “but Riverrun! Blackfish!” for months. But what we are all missing out on is the interaction between Lancel and Jaime. It is through Lancel that Jaime FINALLY begins to realize how manipulative Cersei truly has been. And that Tyrion was telling the truth about Cersei sleeping with Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack. Now Jaime can begin to remove himself from her clutches! When Jaime burned the letter, I was ecstatic! Finally Jaime UNDERSTAAANDS!!! But how can this happen if he is in Dorne? Much like when HBO decided to have Jaime present for the death of Joffrey. Keep in mind that Cersei screamed at Jaime that he was “supposed to be there” to protect their son and this causes tension between the two. Jaime is once again in the wrong place, doing the wrong stuff and it is altering his character and not for the better.
Tyrion: After Tyrion kills his Tywin and escapes with the help of Varys, he doesn’t just pop out of a box and meet up with Daenerys and act as her consort! There’s a pretty awesome voyage down the Rhoyne that happens in A Dance with Dragons that has been completely omitted along with the people that Tyrion meets along the way. And what of Tyrion’s relationship with Penny? Penny helps Tyrion become a better person. For once in his heathenish little life he feels compassion for another person! Truly, though Tyrion’s character has been whitewashed beyond all comprehension and is such a fan favorite, that he needn’t have an arc or some sort of redemption.
I was recently told not to be upset because “all roads lead to Rome”. Maybe hundreds of years ago, but not now. Just because the ending of the story is the same, the path will not be. Instead of seeing the story of Young Griff and Arianne Martell play out on screen, we are only left to wonder if they are actually important. What if Young Griff REALLY is who he says he is? What if that silly little Kingsmoot really did mean something? Surely that will change the outcome of the story, no? I certainly think so.
The depth and breadth of A Song of Ice and Fire is one that HBO cannot bring to life. The story is too rich. The details too acute and purposeful. The world is too vast and amazing. But what HBO can do and should do is at least TRY to give the show watcher a glimpse of what makes the world that George R.R. Martin created so magical and so REAL. What they should do is try to stay as close to the books as possible. The unnecessary changes don’t enhance the show-they hurt it. The addition of made up characters and excessive nudity and flashy fight scenes aren’t what A Song of Ice and Fire is about. It cheapens the story. It makes a mockery of the story. It RUINS the story. GRRM has said himself that he doesn’t understand the big deal about spoilers and for those of you that have been invested in this series for decades (like Lord Angry) I imagine it feels like a slap in the face or a punch in the gut. To invest your time and feelings and energy into a story that will ultimately be told through a multibillion dollar regime instead of by the original creator? Yes, I know that it’s partly Martin’s fault because he has been dragging his heels on writing, but come on.
The ending cannot and will not be the same because the STORY being told is not the same. Just because GRRM has told D&D that Stannis will slip on a banana peel and die and that Dany will conquor with fire and blood blah blah doesnt mean that if that happens that it is the same story. It simply is not the same. The watered down and sexed up version that HBO is feeding us is not what we should be forced to watch. This version is not what we the loyal book readers deserve. For those of us that have invested so much in this series, I cannot help but feel sad. So that being said, season 5 will be the last season I watch Game of Thrones. I will be removing myself from the fandom and all social media if need be in order to keep myself from being spoiled. And for those of you saying it’s impossible, no it’s not. I have literally no clue how the Sopranos, Friends, Breaking Bad, The Wire etc ended. Literally no idea. So it’s possible to keep from spoiling. I implore you all to do the same. I implore you to want better for the story that you’ve invested so much time in and care so much about. I want the Song of Ice and Fire to be revealed as the creator intended. I want the GRRM ending, not the HBO ending. And you should want it too.