Game of Thrones rewards audience of all types

Television program deviates from books, for better and worse; not all HBO’s fault

DAENERYS TARGARYEN PREPARES her army for attack in the newest season of Game of Thrones . Targaryen represents just one section of the storyline of the series. Some characters battle for the Iron Throne, while others for survival.

Although we’re only halfway through season four of this great show, we are at the end of our school season, so I would be remiss not to mention the hit sensation on all televisions, Game of Thrones. Out of respect to those who want to watch, I’ll be sure not to include spoilers, but honestly, if you haven’t watched the show yet, you are missing something special. There is good reason that the show floods social media every week, and has led to half my friends calling me “Prince Joffrey,” because it’s a great show that everyone can watch. Why is this? Why does my brother, mother, and father all love this show when we can’t even agree where to go out and eat? What is it we love?

Game of Thrones features a wide variety of settings and characters, you’d be hard pressed to find at least one character you love. And it is especially tough loving all those characters, even when they can be at odds with each other. That is the show’s great strength, that you can agree with different ideologies and perspectives even when they are at odds. An example I’ll take early from the show is Tyrion Lannister and Catelyn Stark at the Eyrie. Both are strong characters that we root for, both have good reason to hate each other, but it is tough to see them at odds. The characters’ perspectives is something that transferred well from the books. In the novels, a chapter follows a single character’s perspective, while in the television series, each scene follows a group of characters, with some perspectives not seen in the books. While I enjoy the liberty taken from the series I can’t say all of it is good.

Personally, I didn’t even watch Game of Thrones until season two was released. I heard about the show and decided to forgo viewing the series until I finished the source material. That’s right, I plowed through the first two books before even beginning the show, and I’m happy I did. After starting the show concurrently with my reading of the third book, I realized how easy it was to transition from a book reader to a show viewer, but how difficult it would be to do the opposite. The show is like a straightforward version of the novels, all the red herring foreshadowing and incredibly detailed stories disappear. Mysteries are not allowed, if there is even a hint of who might have committed an act it will be fully shown in the next episode. This isn’t a bad thing, there’s nothing wrong with abridging such an incredibly long series, where there is an issue is in some of the creative license with the shortening. A character cannot even be subtly mentioned as a homosexual, if they’re gay they have to be doing overtly gay acts. If a person has to be tortured, everything has to be much more gruesome than it was in the books. I’m a fan of both the novels and show, but I must say that nuance isn’t the adaptation’s greatest strength, though I can get over that. What I can’t get over is the worst and most impossible to solve problem, the fans.

I pity anyone who hasn’t watched the newest episode or read the books, because trust me, everything important that happened on the newest episode will be posted all over the web. I know many of my friends have been frustrated to see a big pivotal moment being ruined by someone who assumes everyone’s caught up. I feel worse for some of my friends who don’t watch the show, it’s tough to even convince them to see it when they have a short mental list of half the people who have died. It’s impossible to get people to stop posting about the newest episode, so it’s a pretty unwinnable situation, though I think the show stands on its own without the huge plot points. The setting is rich, the dialogue is great, and the characters are powerfully portrayed. If you haven’t seen it yet and you have the willpower to shut off your social media once a week, do so. But, if you are a willing bookworm, and you want to mess with your show watching friends, you won’t be wrong to read the books first.