On GAME OF THRONES, spoilers, and THE WALKING DEAD

gameIt’s been all over the news lately: this will be the season where the TV version of Game of Thrones finally laps the books, or at the very least it’s going to catch them this season and next season will have to be all-new stuff.  George R.R. Martin, famous for being a slow writer (and note: I’m not complaining, at least not with an intent to be taken seriously by anyone) simply cannot keep up with the speed of broadcast TV, and there is absolutely no way that he’s going to be able to get two books written before the show hits the plotlines of the sixth and seventh books.

Those of us who had read the book when it came out fifteen goddamn years ago snickered at the poor saps who didn’t know what was coming when the Red Wedding happened.  Now, it seems, the tables have turned, and the TV people get to know the ending of the saga before, or at least at the same time as, the folks who have been reading the books.

My relationship to A Song of Ice and Fire is complicated, guys.  I’m almost compulsive in my need to complain every time someone mentions these books around me; I think Game of Thrones is one of the best works of fantasy literature ever written, and I think that the series has gotten asymptotically worse with every book that has been published since then.  They became actively bad with the publication of A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons was execrable.  At this point I may not even read The Winds of Winter.  If I do, it will be a hate-read.  I don’t even want to contemplate what the seventh book might be like.

Nonetheless!  A suggestion:

TV people!  Finish this season following the books as carefully as you always have (which is to say as carefully as you need to; the books and show, which I don’t watch regularly, have already diverged on a number of points) and then once you are clear of the published books, never speak to George R.R. Martin again about how the show should go.  Send him his checks, and end the series however you want.

George R. R. Martin!  Dance, naked and gleeful, upon the huge pile of money you have made off this show, and then write whatever the hell you want.  Don’t watch the show anymore; you can Netflix it when you’re done with the books.  Do not collaborate with these people and do not tell them your ending.  (Note: I am aware he already has.  He’s not listening to me anyway so I’m going to ignore this aspect of reality.)

Make the show and the books entirely separate cultural artifacts at this point.  We’re big folk; we can handle it.  Both of you, end the series however the hell you want, and don’t talk to each other about how you’re going to do it.  

Yes, this will lead to two wildly different endings. That is the point.

As evidence that this will work, I present to you The Walking Dead.  One of the show’s great strengths as a reader of the comics is the way that they gleefully remix everything that the comics do, sprinkling in a heavy dose of their own stuff, introducing brand-new characters, killing off people the books kept alive, and keeping alive folk who have been dead in the comics for years.  The Walking Dead TV show is the best adaptation of a story across media that I have ever seen.  Period.  Point-blank.  And part of the reason for that is that I never have any idea what’s coming next even if I’ve read the comics until they’ve fallen apart.  It is awesome.

Listen to me, Hollywood people and writer much more famous and powerful than me.  Stop talking to each other.  Right now.  Go do your own thing.  Both stories will be better for it.

Published by

Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

6 thoughts on “On GAME OF THRONES, spoilers, and THE WALKING DEAD

  1. I’m just disappointed that, as a book reader, I will no longer get to be smug. That smugness was SO GREAT, it was like 10% of my enjoyment of the show.

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  2. Reblogged this on Randomness and commented:
    How do we take this? The greatest internet wars ever waged have been between the people who read the books and those that just watch the shows. Now we are all on the same page I wonder if the will be peace in the fandom?

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  3. Man! When my son read an article to me about GoT going rogue from the books I wondered how it would all play out. I absolutely agree with you. That’s the best solution for everyone. I’ve loved the TV series, but had to make myself not squirm when it departed from the books. Still wondering if I want to finish reading the series. I hated the way the last two books he’s written were divided. It was a horrendous effort. Now I have to re-read the damn things side-by-side before the next one, IF I decide I have the energy!

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  4. Curious, I didn’t find too much difference in the way GM wrote any of the books. I read them all in one holiday period and to my ears the tone, pace and style of the narrative in each tome are the same. What I did notice was GM’s loss of invention at times, where parts of my reading became hard going because the plot and ideas failed to excite. (I think he ran out of ideas). At least the description of food never drops. GM likes his food. Frankly, I thought the series rather meh at first and they only improved after I had read the first book. Then I kept getting jumpy because of the divergence. Now I’m aghast and am finding the differences all too much. Because it’s alike enough for me to get annoyed at the changes. So I guess I’m glad that the tv series will lap the books because I need something to be new and different. The whole show bugs me too much now.

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  5. I was just watching my own video and it occurred to me that I saw this on my phone earlier and did not like or comment (the phone is screwy that way). Anyhoo. You are right and this is what all parties should do.

    This might be your best post yet, Snowpiercer and #Blogwanking notwithstanding!

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