HBO debuted its fantasy epic Game of Thrones in 2011, adapting the first book in author George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series of novels. The show was a huge success, igniting a passionate following that has continued over the last decade to make it one of the most popular shows on television. Before the show earned fans, the books were already favorites in the fantasy world, with the TV show opting to make various tweaks to the source material in both major and minor ways. While Martin might not always support the idea of these tweaks, he understands why the series is forced to make changes.
"Well, yeah — of course you have an emotional reaction," Martin shared with Rolling Stone about the series' deviations from his narrative. "I mean, would I prefer they do it exactly the way I did it? Sure. But I’ve been on the other side of it, too. I’ve adapted work by other people, and I didn’t do it exactly the way they did it, so …."
Martin is still working on writing the novel series, with 2016's Season Six marking the first time that the TV show surpassed the events of the books, making both viewers and readers unaware of what would happen next. The author notes that it was his writing pace that largely impacted the TV series, but that both narratives are deviations on the same premise.
"Some of the deviation, of course, is because I’ve been so slow with these books," the author admitted. "I really should’ve finished this thing four years ago — and if I had, maybe it would be telling a different story here. It’s two variations of the same story, or a similar story, and you get that whenever anything is adapted. The analogy I’ve often used is, to ask how many children did [Gone with the Wind's] Scarlett O’Hara have? Do you know the answer to that?"
He continued, "Three children in the book, one by each husband. She had one child in the movie. And in real life, of course, Scarlett O’Hara had no children, because she never existed. Margaret Mitchell made her up. The book is there. You can pick it up and read Mitchell’s version of it, or you can see the movie and see David Selznick’s version of it. I think they’re both true to the spirit of the work, and hopefully that’s also true of Game of Thrones on one hand, and A Song of Ice and Fire on the other hand."
The final season of Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
Are you glad the series makes changes from Martin's original narrative? Let us know in the comments below!
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