When the Show and Book Collide and Why Writers Have to Let It Happen
Most people like watching Game of Thrones – even those who haven’t read the book. Those who have read the book have great expectation that the show will be similar to the ones they read from the book. However, don’t get your hopes high because anything can happen in the world of entertainment and showbiz. Don’t be too surprised if the plots experience a drastic deviation from the books. Keep in mind, though, that some of the information in this article may contain spoilers that can reveal the stories. So if you haven’t watched the show, it is better that you stop reading.
There are definitely huge deviations in Game of Thrones season 5, where the major plots are experiencing huge differences from the ones on the book. Even the most important plots, events, and characters are experiencing major changes, causing disturbances between different fans of the books and the show. You may want to complain to the writer, thinking that they are responsible for the changes, but they DO have reasons to do it all.
Bryan Cogman, the producer of the show, admits that there are challenges for adopting the stories from the book to the show. The decision is quite dilemmatic, actually. No writers want to change the course of the story or the plots because it will add their workloads. The process isn’t as easy as people think; in fact, everything is quite complicated. They have to break the story, deal with each character and decide each of their storylines, and then they have to blend everything so the episodes are logical and continuous – without breaking the main content of the story from the book. As if their job weren’t complicated enough, things will still change once the film is in the editing room.
All writers and producers of the show understand the strength of the book “A Song of Ice and Fire”, but sometimes the show requires it. Starting from season 5, they start having the difficulty to resist the urge for expansion and finding new ways to contract everything. Sometimes they have to not only cut off the storylines, but also repurposing the already existing characters – sometimes removing and introducing new ones – which is definitely not the easiest job in the world. For instance, when they decided to bring Jaqen H’ghar for the House of Black and White to be Arya’s teacher (it is called the Kindly Man in the book), they have set different courses for the story and have created dramatic changes. Or when they have to change the plot where Sansa is engaged to Ramsay, instead of the lord in the north, in her attempts to avenge her family’s misery and suffering.
Cogman says that sometimes they feel that it is natural to bring some of the characters into the plots – the principle is applicable when they have to remove some of the characters too. They are a true fan of Martin’s world and ideas, but they also have to trust their instinct to let things happening in the most natural way – in the entertainment world, that it. Martin won’t be writing the scripts anymore as he is focusing on his book, but he still reads the outline on a yearly basis and gives his opinions.
The point is that they can’t truly be faithful to Martin’s version (from the book, that is), but they try to stay truthful to the main source and come up with the most natural lines that are logical and loved by all the fans.