Unabashed Book Snobbery: GoT's 10 Worst Adaptational Decisions
Spoilers only through GoT S4.
Anonymous said: I recently discover your blog and I’m in love with it, I’m in full reading of all your posts! But at the risk of repeating something that someone you have already ask for you… I cannot resist the curiosity! Especially after your magnificent poll, cause I like how critical you are with Game of Thrones so… What would you say are the 10 worst decisions committed so far? Scenes, plots or characters. (btw, sorry, my english sucks)
Well, anon, at first when I saw this I smiled, jotted down a knee-jerk bulleted list, and sent it over to a friend of mine who also happens to be critical of the show. Then she and I began talking about it further, and suddenly it became a Google Doc with mini essays. The following is a collaboration between myself and the wonderfully talented Dornish enthusiast theculturalvacuum.
To quickly preface, we are not the types of people who will criticize every minor change when a book is being adapted to the visual medium. Even with GoT, there are times we even kind of like changes. But the fact is, with this series, we have very good reasons for our book snobbery. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D) have, over time, demonstrated to us that they have a very limited understanding of the characterizations and themes at play in a series that is about so much more than twists and gasps. In the case of LOTR, it was clear that Peter Jackson, despite his changes, understood Tolkien’s vision. From our perspective, while D&D may know plot-wise where ASOIAF will end up, what they are giving us is a story that relies on overused tropes and trite interpretations, which ultimately misses “the point.”
So without further ado, the 10 worst adaptational changes, from least awful to most:
10. Masturbatory original dialogues:
Back when Season 1 was in production, D&D found themselves short in terms of run-time. It was a low-budget operation back then, so they added a lot of scenes of just two or three characters talking in one room as a way to pad their show. Originally, these scenes were thought of as the shining stars of the series (Varys vs. Littlefinger being almost like a spy vs. spy). Then they turned into…
loras on the books:I am going to join Kingsguard so I will not be forced to marry anyone. I am going to a suicide mission in Dragonstone because the love of my life is gone and when the sun has set, no candle can replace it.
Can Loras please get some action this season? And by “action” I don’t mean him having hot pokey sex with homosexual prostitute boys. I mean ACTION in the way that we get to see what a great worrier he is. Like, he’s gay. We know, we get it, we appreciate it, but he’s not just a stereotype. Let’s not make it just about a gay guy who happens to know how to use a sword. How about they portray him as the brave, kind-hearted, strong, loyal, and talented knight that he is, who also happens to be gay. Being gay is a part of Loras, but it is not all that defines him.
Upset right now that one of my shows (Vikings) is giving me a glorious m/m love story but without crossing the line into sex, while another (GoT) is being generous with the m/m sex, but gutting an equally intense love story in the process. (Can’t say more without book spoilers, but this is not a Loras that seems likely to Do the Thing he’s supposed to do in this part of the story.)
What is SO threatening to people about the combo of m/m sex AND love that we never get to see both? It seems like we’re supposed to write off queer men as sex obsessed and incapable of deep love, or else write off deep m/m love as something without even a tiny hint of sexuality. Ugh. Tired of it.
I remember when me and my sister were discussing A Song of Ice and Fire and how annoyed we were that Game of Thrones had made Loras a sassy gay stereoptype, and I was like, “Loras is basically a jock, Renly was the one interested in fine fabrics, canonically.”