I’ll also (regular) preface this by stating that, as far as GoT vs. A Song of Ice and Fire goes (that is, the TV show vs. the books), I lean more toward the book side of the divide.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the show. I think it is quite good…bordering on amazing. But it doesn’t live up to the books. If HBO had decided to not be wedded to 10 hour seasons, then maybe the show would rival the books. Sure, 10 hours sounds like a lot of screen time to faithfully replicate the books on screen. But after the first book, the showrunners had to start making choices because they simply could not fit everything from the books into the series.
Maybe you are of the opinion that not everything in the books needs to be in the show…or that some of what is in the books should expressly not be in the show. After all, the two mediums do imply different storytelling decisions. And, it’s not as if such decisions can’t go well. Consider, for instance, the stark difference between the book and film versions of The Lord of the Rings. Both are exceptional but in decidedly different ways. The films, in particular, play to the strengths of a visual, larger than life, medium and still capture some of the quiet contemplation of the books. The books, on the other hand, aren’t all that interested in large, massive battle scenes that play real well on a massive screen but require a certain amount of narrative dexterity that Tolkien wasn’t really interested in.
I’ve always seen the show Game of Thrones as a separate entity from the book series A Song of Ice and Fire. The two are connected, for sure, in many foundational ways, but they are also distinct. Maybe that isn’t a a particularly interesting revelation. But it seems to me that when one is considering a work that resides in multiple media forms simultaneously, one is almost required to state one’s preference (books or tv series, comics or movies, whiskey or gin, etc.). But this declaration really has more to do with some hypothetical “desert island” situation…
If I were stranded on a desert island, which would I prefer to have, the collected books series (in some distant future when George RR Martin has finished it) or the complete box set of the show (also in a distant future where I also have a television, blu-ray player, and electrical outlets, but no way to contact other humans)…and I would go with the books. Again, not because I am taking anything away from the show. I nearly love it. In fact, on further reflection I may one day say I completely love it. But part of what tempers my love for the show is the fact that I unequivocally love the books.
Which brings us to Season 6, which concluded this past Sunday…
OK, so now I’m gong to spoil the shit out of this…you’ve been warned.