Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Game-changer

I've mentioned here before that I am a Game of Thrones fan, both of George R.R. Martin's books A Song of Ice and Fire series and of the HBO series. When a book, especially long and extremely complicated books like Martin's, get adapted for the screen, there are bound to be changes. Plot lines are compressed and combined. Disparate characters are combined, their names sometimes changed. Some things get left out. Some things get added.

Although the first season of Game of Thrones on television adhered pretty closely to the storyline presented in the first book, this second season has been another matter. While the action on the screen has stayed fairly true to the spirit of book two, A Clash of Kings, important changes have been made that will only be evident to readers of the book. Some of them are disconcerting at least to some readers. Me, for example.

The scriptwriters have changed the stories of Arya, Jon, Robb, and Daenerys (not to mention Bran and Theon) in subtle and not so subtle ways. Arya, in particular, has been made cupbearer to Tywin Lannister, and this week they had Lord Baelish turning up to meet with Tywin and seeing Arya at his table. It's unclear whether he recognized her, but this never happened in the book and I'm wondering just how the writers will resolve this relationship and what effect the change might have on the future action of the story that involved characters who seem to have disappeared in the screen version.

Likewise, Jon's assignment with rangers north of the Wall, especially his meeting with Ygritte, was tweaked rather significantly in episode six that aired this week, but these changes will have to be accounted for by further changes in future episodes, as will Robb's meeting with the lady "nurse" in his camp.

But most distressing, in fact downright irritating, to me is the fact that the scriptwriters have Daenerys losing her dragons in Qarth! Again, it never happened in the book and it just seems so wrong. What are they thinking and how do they plan for her to get them back? Because we know that she has to get them back.

So many changes. Yes, the dark spirit of the tale survives intact, but with continual changes, it threatens to become another story altogether and that would not be a good thing.

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