Game of Thrones – On TV

When it comes to any book to screen adaptations, like most readers, I am as precious as you can be. I could talk all night about why books are better than the movies and how I will ALWAYS read the books first, before watching the screen adaptation.

With a series as expansive as ASOIAF, there were bound to be deviations from the plot, however, there’s always that point where, as a reader, you feel cheated or let down. With Game of Thrones, I sort of have a love hate relationship – I love the books and hate that GRRM isn’t writing anymore, similarly, I started off loving the HBO series, and then felt massively let down by the final two seasons.

Why I hated it

Although there was already a mild disappointment simmering below the surface with some of the plot changes and casting decisions, the full blown disappointment only hit when it all started going downhill from Season 7.

One of the reasons I believe for the TV series to take such a drastic downhill turn is because of the lack of source material.

Bear in mind, the massive success of the earlier seasons of GoT is largely down to the fact that the books have a wealth of information. All the writers then probably had to do is adapt the books into a screen play with tweaks along the way. That more or less stopped when GRRM hit a roadblock with his books.

As a result, what we got was a condensed 6 episode final season, with plots that developed and wrapped up before you could say Valar Morghulis!

For starters I’d have loved to see more of Daenerys’ eventual descent into madness, and a more brutal but well deserved death for Cersei.

But if you ask me what my biggest disappointments with the TV series were, then they have to be these – most are where the series deviated from the books, but include a few that still could have been better executed.

  • Daenerys and Viserys having grey blue eyes
    • The Targaryens are renowned for being pale, with silver/platinum hair and purple eyes
  • Robb Stark marrying Talisa
    • Talisa never existed in the books and Robb married Jeyne Westerling. This in fact was premediated by Jamie Lannister and was actually a key to the whole Red Wedding plot.
  • Casting Dario Naharis and then changing Dario Naharis, and both of the Dario’s never resembling the book Dario!
  • Sansa marrying Ramsay Bolton
    • Just a big NOPE! Sansa is nowhere close to Winterfell. She’s still at the Eyrie and Ramsay’s married a Sansa look alike. That was Baelysh’s plan!
  • Daenerys having gorgeous hair
    • While I loved Emilia Clarke’s overall look and aesthetic, I really wished they’d stuck to the books a bit more. Dany comes out of that raging fire unscathed save her hair and then dons a majestic crown for the better part of books 2 & 3 until her hair grows back. It’s just keeping it real!
  • Asha Greyjoy being renamed as Yara Greyjoy – just why?
  • The Long Night (Season 8) being shot mostly in dark with the viewers having no clue what was going on!

Why I Loved It

  • The HBO series still did a good job with translating the books to screen, especially with some of the casting, my favourites being
    • Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
    • Sean Bean as Ned Stark
    • Lena Heady as Cersei Lannister
    • Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Lannister
    • Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
    • Jonathan Pryce as the Sparrow
    • Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo
  • They gave us the Dragons and they did not disappoint!!
  • It gave us some very memorable scenes, most of which I constantly rewatch just to appreciate the filmmaking and aesthetics:
    • Hardhome
    • Battle of the Bastards
    • Blackwater Bay
    • Daenerys Attacking the Lannister Army
    • Cersei Blowing up the Sept
      • A further list of my most memorable moments is here

  • It introduced us to the supremely talented Ramin Dwajdi
    • I had the privilege of watching him perform live at Manchester and that will always remain one of the best moments of my life. Find me one person who says the GoT soundtrack was sub par
    • Click here for one of my favourite tracks
  • We were blessed with memes to last a lifetime! 😀

In Conclusion

Love it or hate it, Game of Thrones ruled our lives for nearly a decade – it was all anyone could talk about, they swept away Emmy’s, we had babies being named Khaleesi, and the GoT fandom is still strong despite the disappointment of season 8.

As a reader, I did enjoy seeing it on screen, and for the larger part David Benioff and DB Weiss did a great job with it.

So if you ask my honest opinion, I’d say this – the books are great and GRRM writes with ruthless passion, borrowing elements from real historic events, building up a world you wish were true. And hence why, the anti climatic final season will still not ruin A Song of Ice and Fire for me. As most fans would agree, I live in eternal hope for the release of Winds of Winter and Dream of Summer. I will probably revisit the entire series once they announce release date for Winds of Winter – and that means I will also re-watch the TV series.

P.S. None of the imagery used in this post is my own.

  • My Read List for this post
    1. This post that outlines all the major character changes in detail
    2. This in-depth review of the last season of Game of Thrones
    3. These two articles by Financial Times and Digital Spy on why Game of Thrones is the greatest TV Shows of our times

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