Movies and TV
6 Ways Game of Thrones Surpasses Its Source Material

TravelerSF | 13 Oct 2015 17:30
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5. Warmer characters

There's no denying that the characters in the Song of Fire and Ice books are interesting and human. However, as the story rolled forward and the world kept hammering them down more and more, sometimes all the way to the grave, I started growing weary of the way they were being shaped. Many of the characters - Arya, Sansa, Cercei, Brienne, Jon and others - were thrown into such dangerous and hostile lives that it was necessary for them to be on their guard all the time, having little to no one to trust and talk to. Very few of the characters had the opportunity to show genuine emotion, having instead to put on a charade or hide their weaknesses, and as time went on they started to feel less like people and more like pawns in the history of Westeros.

Which is fine - A Song of Ice and Fire is definitely a grand story which stretches far beyond its main characters, but I found this approach very tiring. The series had done a good job of introducing us to the relatively warm and happy lives the characters had been living before misery started to rain down on them, but now it was stretching that misery for so long that it was hard to keep caring anymore. Everything kept going down and down, with nothing valuable in sight - no warm moments reminding the reader of just what the characters were fighting for.

"You might be asking: "Isn't the show just a series of miserable events as well?" Well yes, but it takes a more character-centric approach to the story and usually likes to humanize its cast, add warmth to them, and make them more identifiable than in the books. The relationships between the two Stark sisters and their guardians, Arya and The Hound and Sansa and Tyrion for example, are much more pleasant to follow than in the books where Sansa absolutely hated Tyrion, and The Hound was a lot colder to Arya. In contrast to their playful chatter about sheep dung pranks in the show, the books depict Sansa being thoroughly and constantly disgusted by Tyrion's appearance and treacherous family name. And while in the show The Hound claims to "watch over" Arya, such words are never stated in the books, and it is very much up to the reader's interpretation whether The Hound cares more about Arya herself or her prize money.

The show wasn't afraid to throw in some fanservice either, such as Brienne almost blushing in front of Cercei while talking about Jaime. These alterations served as moments of joy in the character's lives to break up the constant grey misery. This in turn made the moments when everything fell apart much more tragic and effective, because the characters had actually lost something precious instead of just sinking deeper into the tragedy that had tried to drown them since the beginning.

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