Why The Book, Again, Is Always Better – Game of Thrones on HBO

I don’t think I’ve mentioned on this blog how much I love A Song of Ice and Fire, the series of books by George R. R. Martin which is now in its second season as a series on HBO called Game of Thrones (from the title of the first book of the series).  I love them.  I’m currently reading A Feast for Crows, the fourth in the someday-to-be seven? book series. So far, the third book, A Storm of Swords, is my favorite.  Incredible!

George R. R. Martin (I love that he has two R’s as middle initials) is a wonderful storyteller and a master of weaving so many characters and stories together.  Sometimes I feel lost in names, but generally I know who is who, which I think is so important (and telling of his mastery) when you’re reading books that are over 1000 pages each and span the stories of countless families, knights, brotherhoods, outlaws, religions, and creatures.  Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, which is effective because “there are always two sides to every story.”  This is one reason that I actually like the incestuous Jaime Lannister!  Of course, my favorite characters are Arya Stark, Jon Snow, and the hilarious Tyrion Lannister.  Also, I hope when Martin is finished with A Song of Ice and Fire, he’ll write a prequel all about the Targaryens.  Anyone?

We recently added HBO back to our Directv package just to watch Game of Thrones.  Each season follows each book, and Peter Dinklage is amazing as Tyrion, bringing his humor to life.  I’m a little disappointed in the scenes that strayed from my imagination, but that’s ok.  I would have imagined Harrenhal differently, and they do take some poetic licenses with additional footage.  I’m far enough ahead that I almost ruin what happens in the third book for my husband (who has lost interest, mainly because of what I’m about to say).

I appreciate when shows and movies are true to the book.  Game of Thrones does that for the most part – I really do think it is a good show.  For all its strengths, it makes me uncomfortable at times.  The gratuitous sex scenes are not tasteful, nor are they true to the book.  Yes, there is sex in the book.  It isn’t as detailed, but it is there.  I’m sure people in Westeros had just as much sex as any other civilization.  And, I understand that George R. R. Martin is a consultant/producer of the series and has a say in the product.  BUT, was it really necessary for Littlefinger (who owns a brothel, true) to have a conversation while two women are practicing for their clients?  Was the peephole scene necessary?  It just makes Westeros seem like a den of iniquity and cheapens the entire series.  The books are about heroism, political intrigue, war, tragedy, loyalty, honor, power, and strength overall – that’s why I love them.

The scene that pretty much makes me want to cancel HBO and just reread the books was the scene (non-existent in the book) when Tyrion ordered some prostitutes for Joffrey, his 13 year old nephew (also the “King”).  The scene, while showing that Joffrey is sadistic, was entirely unnecessary.  No one likes Joffrey.  HBO didn’t need to embellish how unlikeable Joffrey is.  Winter is coming for little Joffrey Baratheon.  I just don’t know what that says about our own civilization, that in order for a show to be popular it must have “X amount” of sex.  If people can’t follow a show because of the complex storyline, perhaps they just shouldn’t watch the show.  Leave the good stuff to those who’ll appreciate it.  Leave the sex to Cinemax.

And, I’ll leave you with this.


4 thoughts on “Why The Book, Again, Is Always Better – Game of Thrones on HBO

    • Don’t get me wrong, the HBO series is good. It just feels cheaper, you know? Unnecessary, really, prudish as that might seem. I was quite excited to see everyone come to life on screen during the first season, and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut while I watched with my husband, who hasn’t read the books. You should watch it! But it’s not for kids!

      • the peephole scene laughs at the viewer just as much as the writers can. Bet they’re frontloading the sex/violence porn

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