Usually I read books before movies or TV shows are released that are based on them. Not so for Game of Thrones, but that’s maybe a good thing. I just recently finished the first book—four, almost five, TV seasons too late—so it was the show that spoiled pretty much everything in the first book for me. But each new TV season has made a further departure from the books, and the newest season will be no exception. In fact, it will have the greatest departure from the books yet.
Why? Well, I suppose there are couple reasons behind this: 1) In order to keep people watching, readers and non-readers alike, the showrunners need to make some changes. Keep it surprising. Keep it interesting. 2) Season five is nearing the conclusions of several characters’ plot lines for the currently released five books, so the showrunners are forced to make some of their own fabrications or perhaps even conspire with George R.R. Martin to divulge his plans pre-book release so that the story at least remains accurate to the books when they are eventually released.
Obviously, since I haven’t read past book one, I can’t comment on these deviations personally, but here’s what one of the showrunners, David Benioff, had to say on the subject of the TV show spoiling the books:
Luckily, we’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading. And so we’ll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going; there might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on… and that’s what we’re going to do.
So it sounds like a little bit of both: fabrications as well as conversations with Martin. There have already been character deaths in the TV show that haven’t happened (yet) in the books, but it appears as though there will be more.
Well then, why doesn’t George R.R. Martin release The Winds of Winter already?
The short answer is that he wants to. Badly. But even after four years, it’s still not ready. WHY NOT, GEORGE?! Well, firstly, after publishing the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons in 2011, he took six months off, which he admits that from a “writer’s block” standpoint, that was a mistake—meaning that he could have kept up the momentum had he not taken a break. Secondly, with the TV show’s popularity, Martin has done a lot more interviews and convention appearances than when the first few books were published. In fact, Martin has turned down convention appearances (including SDCC) and interviews in order to dedicate more time to finishing The Winds of Winter recently, and he is not screenwriting an episode for season six, which he has done for previous seasons of the HBO show. All to dedicate more time to finishing the sixth book, which he wants (and we want) to see released next year, before the sixth season of the TV show.
But wait—we don’t have to wait to read a little bit from The Winds of Winter!
Because Martin totally released an excerpt last week! I’m not planning on reading it until I’ve read books two through five, but I do know that it’s primarily Sansa-related. Martin uploaded it to his website last Thursday. Check it out!
What do you think about the divergence between the books and the show? Comment below!