We’re a little less than a week out from the season four finale of Game of Thrones, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty exhausted. See, I’m one of those nerds who read the books before I watched the show, and my brain is getting tired trying to keep track of all the ways that the plots are diverging.
Let me just say — this isn’t me being pissed that things are different between the books and the show. The books are massively long and complicated, full of twists and turns and hundreds of characters, some of whom we meet for five pages and never see again, and others who we know for five hundred, only to have them die, so I understand there’s a lot of material to paw through and streamline.
I get all that. What’s a little more worrisome for me is when actual relationships are changed, because then things get a little fuzzy in my brainholes. I’m trying to trust the producers to know what they’re doing in the long run, but the rate at which they’re tying things together makes me nervous that they’re gonna run out of material, as I’ve said before. I’m all for scampering through material that George R. R. Martin slogged through — as long as it doesn’t turn into a sprint.
I like these books, and I like this show, and I want as much of both as possible, y’know? And for as much as I know the show needs to get a move on in order to keep using the same characters for the children, I also selfishly want them to stay back behind the books. Partly so I’m guaranteed more seasons of the show while George takes his sweet-ass time writing, but also so the show can have the rich, colorful benefits of his elaborate, (albeit long-winded) story-telling.
But yeah, watching this season has kind of felt like standing behind someone in line for a water fountain as they’re gulping it down and thinking, ‘save some for the fishes!’ It’s only season four, but things are being wrapped up at a rate that makes me feel the show is gathering itself together to surge ahead of the book. Here are a few examples of relationships that have accelerated much more quickly in the show than they ever did in the books:
- Jon and his brother Bran allllmost interact at Craster’s Keep before Bran chooses not to reveal himself, whereas in the book, Bran has zero overlap with any of his siblings once he’s out in the world with the Reeds. In fact, Sam doesn’t even tell Jon that Bran is alive because it would threaten his safety.
- There’s a flirtation between Grey Worm and Missandei that never appeared in the books.
- First of all, there’s no Marillion the singer for Littlefinger to blame for the murder of Lysa, so he has to say that she jumped to her death, a detail that Sansa supports even more fully than he intended or expected revealing her true identity to the nobles of Vale. She does it not to ensure her own safety, but to protect Littlefinger, which takes their relationship to a place we haven’t reached yet in the books.
- Instead of being on a wild goose chase and not knowing whether Arya is alive or dead, Brienne runs into Hot Pie, a character who vanishes without a trace in the books, but who in the show is able to point Brienne on the right track.
- Even though they never meet in the book, Ygritte and Gilly have a little moment when the former saves the latter’s life during the destruction of Mole Town.
- As if the sibling-on-sibling bang-fest in front of their dead son wasn’t disturbing enough, the show elected to make that sex scene between Cersei and Jaime into a rape. Yiiiiiikes.
If I’m being honest, now that I see it written out like that, I’m actually on board with pretty much everything except turning that scene into a rape. Every character change beside that one seems to have been done in support of the book if not a word-for-word replica of it.
I think I’m just overreacting to things moving quickly because I want this show to go on for a million years and never leave me. But also I don’t want the kids to be replaced. And I want the next book to be out yesterday. And I can tell you right now that there’s a lot I’m expecting to get crammed into next week’s episode, and I want everything to get its due! (This is all about me, guys.)