So, we're three weeks away from the third season of HBO's fantasy drama, "Game of Thrones" based on the "A Song of Ice and Fire Series" by George R.R. Martin.
|Even as we speak Martin is busy killing off your favorite character.|
And I am filled with a sense of dread, not because I think the show stinks (I don't. I think they've done some things incredibly well) but because the material in the third book is so strong that it's almost inconceivable to me that it will translate as well as, say, season one did. Rather than get into details, I've decided to reflect on what have been the best and worst aspects of the translation from book to show to date IMHO.
Just to get them out of the way first, I'll start with the five biggest misfires.
5. Where are my draaaaaaaaaagonssssss!
|No one is at their most flattering with their mouth wide open.|
In all fairness to the producers, Dany's story as written in "A Clash of Kings" doesn't translate to television. At all. They HAD to invent something for her to do. There really wasn't any other choice. And the decision to have someone attempt to steal her dragons seems on the surface to be a pretty good idea. However, the execution of this story left something to be desired.
And by "something" I mean anything of interest. Multiple episodes of anyone shouting at people ineffectually is unappealing, but put in the hands of an actor just a year out of drama school and you get instant internet meme.
|The Internet, where snark happens.|
4. Pardon me while I twirl my mustache in a villainous way. (The sad state of one Petyr Baelish)
In the books no one plays the game better than Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. He acts unpredictably, sometimes even making moves that appear to be against his own best interest to keep his political enemies off guard. An argument can be made that he is the smartest player in the Game of Thrones in the book. He comes from nothing and while the end game isn't here yet, to date no one has improved their position more.
And in the television show he is a cartoonish clod who seems to get off on revealing things he really shouldn't to people that he could never trust.
|"Hello, prospective employees at my bordello. Please allow me to reveal to you my life story and motivations whilst you fondle each other. Something about you just says 'trustworthy.'"|
|"A knife's edge isn't what I had in mind when I behaved in such an absurdly stupid manner. Seriously, why haven't I been killed off already"|
3. Asha becomes Yara
In retrospect this could easily be number five on the list. It really isn't significant. I know it. I KNOW it. Yet it really bites at my craw.
Okay, you have two characters. One is a minor character introduced in season/book one named, Osha.
|Played by Tonks after months of not bathing.|
So, the producers changed her name in the show to Yara to avoid confusion. You know what? That doesn't really seem like a bad idea. But questions keep on bursting in thought bubbles against my cranium.
? - If it's a problem that Asha sounds too much like Osha, how is it not a problem that Yara sounds too much like Arya?
? - Shouldn't the minor character's name be changed if such a thing needed to be done? It's not like they didn't have a list of character names from the series prior to season one.
? - Did they even mention Osha's name in season one?
? - Do you think we won't be able to tell them apart? I know many different people named Mike. How do I tell them apart? Well, they aren't TWINS. And, you know, context. It's not like they are ever in a scene together.
|She looks like she's washed her hair in the past ten years. She must be Asha.|
2. That would make me really, really sad. Thankfully I know nothing about it.
This is not going to be a "bash the Robb storyline in season two" complaint. Yeah it wasn't great. Maybe I prefer the Westerling story. But the hot nurse thing doesn't bother me in and of itself.
What does bother me is that both Robb and Catelyn's decisions in season two are arguably the MOST significant decision that take place in terms of long-term impact and the major impetus for both of those decisions is completely removed.
You see, in book two both Robb and Catelyn are rocked to the core by the revelation that Bran and Rickon (their brothers and sons, respectively) have been murdered.
|And their bodies displayed publicly in a gross and degrading manner.|
In plot terms, this change means nothing. Robb broke his alliance. Catelyn set Jaime Lannister free. But if you care at all about character and motivations, this is incredibly galling.
I can't think about this anymore. It upsets me too much. So I guess I have to change the subject to something that upsets me more...
1. Everything that happens north of the Wall in season two.
No story was altered to lesser effect than Jon's story north of the Wall. From the Lord Commander's needless, "Who am I? WHO AM I?" ramble...
|The answer to which, I can only assume, is Hamish's Dad from Braveheart.|
...to the mystery of the disappearing horses...
|Everyone got their horse? Good. Now keep your eye on them. These damned things will disappear faster than Tyrion in a Dornish bordello if you aren't careful.|
|I warned you! I WARNED you!!!|
|"What?" Ygritte asked incredulously but erotically. "They don't let you have sexual innuendo at the wall? Then you've come to the right person."|
...to almost everything else....
|Yeah, I see you. And, yeah, you see me. And, sure, me and my zombie army buddies have come to kill every last one of you fellas. But I'm not going to kill you. Why? Well, I've always had a secret soft spot for fatties.|