As a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin, I view the HBO series Game of Thrones as both a blessing and a curse.
The TV show is a blessing because it helps to fill the Westeros void as we wait . . . and wait . . . and wait for Martin to finish the next installment in the series of epic books. It’s a curse because the course of the TV show is, increasingly, veering away from the established plot lines of the books. The variances are both large and small. Unless you have a complete recall of what happened in A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons — something I cannot claim — you can’t even identify all of them.
There is no way that a TV show could possibly present all of the plot lines in Martin’s vast landscape of characters. I can understand the Game of Thrones producers taking shortcuts in the storytelling and lopping out characters — like, apparently, the tale of the Iron Islands and Greyjoy clan and the post-death Cat Stark. Even so, this year the TV show is treading on increasingly thin ice (and fire). Sansa Stark back at Winterfell and betrothed to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton? What the hell? Jamie Lannister off to Dorne on a half-assed mission to retrieve his daughter? Sir Barristan the Bold killed, and maybe Grey Worm, too? And where is Bran Stark, anyway?
I still enjoy the TV show, because it is well done and the Martin-inspired tapestry is so rich. But increasingly I view it as an alternative history of Westeros, the Wall, and the rest of the world, a tantalizing kind of “what if” approach to the characters we’ve come to enjoy while we all bide our time waiting for the release of the next book — which will tell the true story. And when will that be? Only George R.R. Martin knows for sure.