Note: This post contains no spoilers.
So the massively-awaited Season 6 of Game of Thrones is now moving ahead of the books. I suppose I knew this would happen eventually. And HBO can’t just wait around for the books to hit the shelves, can they?
Winds of Winter should ideally have been out before the show aired (and yes, I’ve read GRRM’s blog post and kinda empathize with his situation). But the truth of the matter is simply this. I’ve never ever seen a film/TV show without reading the book first. Wut? Yea, that’s me. A book is always a bigger attachment/commitment and I’d want absolutely nothing to spoil it for me. If it were up to me, I’d banish book blurbs altogether!!
Now I don’t know how much of the books the TV show is gonna spoil. But I don’t have a choice, do I? I can’t just wait around for the books pretending the TV show doesn’t exist. The interwebz these days are so chock-full of spoilers at every damn bend that it’d be an effort in futility to even consider that option. And for better or for worse, I know that the TV show and the books have diverged to a point that a lot of stories are just never gonna be the same in both. Yes, the crucial arcs – Jon Snow, Daenerys and Bran (!) might possibly have some semblance in both forms but pretty much everything else is up in the air.
But let’s pause for a moment and try to assess what GRRM is trying to achieve here. I think it wouldn’t be too wrong to assume he has in quite some ways written himself into a corner. Probably not in terms of how he envisions to end it. But the journey there. As a fantasy writer, it’s quite admirable that he set out to break as many conventions and clichés as was humanly possible. Like, killing off main characters in much the same way you would swat house-flies? It was mind-boggling at first. But now I’m almost unflinched. “That’s one more person down,” I simply say to myself. With this in mind, and also considering the fact that there are so fewer important people actually left right now, using death as a surprise/twist has more or less reached its saturation point. And they won’t be able to do that without inciting a bunch of fans anyway.
And then you have people who are dead in the TV show but not in the books and vice-versa. Keeping track of all this is gonna be one pain in the ass but of course there are always mad fans (I’m crazy, not mad) who’d do that job for you. The reason I refused to watch the TV show for a very long time had indeed been for the simple fact that once I realized the show was doing things differently from the written material, I just couldn’t wrap my head around two different realities of the same story.
GRRM may well be one of the best contemporary epic-fantasy writers we have today and he started something that knocked the world’s socks off. And maybe he takes five years to write a book, granted these are not your everyday fiction. I just…just wish he’d finish it with as much aplomb as he started them. The last thing I want to happen is to lose interest in this series. Because if I’m being honest, we’ve been on a dwindle ever since the third book.
So it’s time to pick up the reins again and show us what you got, George. Also, please don’t die.