Game of Thrones for TV

Now that Game of Thrones has ended its third season, I’ve heard a lot of grumbling from people who read the books about the ways in which the series has deviated from its source material. To those who are upset about it, I say, deal with it.

An adaptation of a book is not a recreation of the book, line by line, character by character. It has to be streamlined for dramatic purposes, and characters who are interesting, but not essential to the plot, generally are eliminated. Let’s face it, HBO isn’t producing a Shakespeare play here. It’s trying to bring to life several sprawling 900-plus page novels, filled with characters.

Having written video scripts, I cannot fathom how they condensed the material into three ten hour seasons. Would I like to see more? Of course! I love GOT. I wish it ran at least 16 or 20 episodes, but it doesn’t. So that means, things must be condensed, they would still be in the first book.

I also read the books, and I still have to go back and double check names, but I remember the story. I think David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have done an excellent job in capturing the essence of George R.R. Martin’s story, which can be boiled down to one line, “In the Game of Thrones you win or die.”

I think those who get upset about the changes might do better to take the series as a separate piece from the books. After all, changes were made to The Lord of the Rings, but it didn’t change the essence of the story. The movies worked well because Peter Jackson clearly understood and loved the source material.

The same could be said for Benioff and Weiss and Game of Thrones.