Friday, April 22, 2016

Why I Won’t Be Watching Game of Thrones Anymore

It’s simple, really.

I love the books.

I read almost all of the novels before the series started, so my emotional involvement and loyalty is to the written words.  And make no mistake:  I love those books.  They are deeply detailed and yet always moving, with interesting characters and some fantastic ideas and action.  But I probably don’t need to tell you this because you’ve at least followed the show, if not read the books for yourself.  You know.  You understand.  This is great stuff.  And for four seasons, the TV show kicked ass.  But along came Season Five and my dilemma began.

They started deviating from the books, and not just a little, not like in previous seasons.  No, they deviated a lot.  That whole Sansa arc was not in the books.  Which is fine, I suppose, but it was garbage, for the most part.  I won’t get into deep detail about why it bothered me except to offer this:  they were basically repeating her relationship with Joffrey.  That’s not character development, that’s treading water. 

And then there was the skipping over of the Tyrion story almost entirely.  In the novel Dance of Dragons, he had a long, arduous arc, a tale that detailed his attempts at redemption for committing patricide (even if the old bastard Lannister had it coming, and then some).  Tyrion suffered; he drank himself into a stupor, was humiliated over and over again, and found his already lowly station in life diminished further.  He fought and struggled and by the end of the book found some sort of peace, I think.  Not on the show.  He drinks some, feels sorry for himself, and next thing you know he’s meeting the Dragon Queen (never happened in the book).  Ugh.

Which brings me to the new season.  From this point on, it’s going to be all new material, not based on the books, as far as I can tell.  They’ve already caught up and now they’re moving forward, essentially spoiling what is to come in the books.  I’ve heard the “same ending, different paths” argument, and that’s fine for most people.  Not for me.  I want the books.  I want the real story.  I don’t want the TV one.  And I most certainly don’t want the ending of the series spoiled for me by a television show that is supposed to be an adaptation of the books.

Has there ever been a TV show or movie that spoils the ending of the actual fictional work it’s based on, before the actual fictional work is completed?  I’ve racked my brains and can’t think of one, which means we’re pretty much entering into virgin territory here.  And while I find the conundrum interesting, I come back again to how I feel about all of it.

I want my ending by the book.

And even though everyone I know that has read the books has given up on ever getting another installment (“The last book will come out twenty years from now, written by someone else, if we’re lucky” they say), I have not.  It may be foolish, but I want what Martin writes, not what Martin tells a staff of TV writers to write. 

So I will wait.  Even though it is foolish.  Even though everything will still be spoiled for me, anyway (remember how readers of the books kept the whole Red Wedding thing a secret for three years, not spoiling a damned thing; I don’t think the favor will be returned). 

I will wait.

Because I love the books.

And to everyone else:  enjoy the show!  Just keep your mouths shut around me, please.