There is no more passionate fanbase than the ‘Song Of Ice And Fire’ fanbase which rears its ugly head following the airing of every episode of ‘Game Of Thrones’, especially so after the Season 4 finale. However, I think that the changes made were smart! Here’s why.
The Season 4 finale of Game Of Thrones — “The Children” — was pretty controversial for fans of George R.R. Martin‘s Song Of Ice And Fire series. There were a number of changes made from the books — and while yes, OK, granted; one or two concerns are more legitimate than others — but I think that they were the best choices that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss could have made for the TV series. Do you agree?
‘Game Of Thrones’: Changes From Book To Screen
There were quite a few changes made from book to screen, so let’s go through them point-by-point:
1. Bran Stark’s Storyline
Purists are upset by the fact that Bran Stark’s storyline has been sped up so much in the Game Of Thrones series, and I literally cannot understand why. ASoIaF readers can try and tell me all they want that they thought Bran Stark’s endless, snowdrift-ridden storyline was interesting, but I won’t believe them.
That said, it would have been awful to see Bran being pulled around on a sled for two more season — it’s simply not interesting television. By accelerating Bran’s storyline in the TV series to the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, viewers not only avoid being bored to tears, but has anyone considered that we may move ahead of A Dance With Dragons? That we might see never-before-read plot? How can ASoIaF diehards not be pumped about that?
2. Brienne & Arya’s Meeting
One of the best moments of the finale was Brienne and Arya’s meeting. Finally, it seemed like Brienne might fulfill part of her vow to Catelyn to protect her daughters, and the two had a heartwarming moment while they talked about being girls with swords. Arya’s father didn’t want her to learn, and Brienne’s basically gave up on her ever being a “proper” lady and taught her himself. Brienne is an oddity, and she knows it, but there’s no shame in it — Arya’s open curiosity was proof of that.
Later, after Brienne’s fight with the Hound, it was pretty thematic for Brienne’s journey so far that nothing was even accomplished. Arya hid from her and instead opted to watch Sandor suffer, to steal his silver, and to make her merry way across the Narrow Sea to Braavos. Indeed, Brienne helped in driving Arya even further away from her supposed protection.
3. Brienne’s Meeting With The Hound & Their Subsequent Fight
Brienne’s meeting with the Hound was also changed from the books, and for the better. In the books, they had never met, and Brienne was under the mistaken impression that the Hound was traveling with Sansa. In the GoT finale, they meet and fight for Arya — who, by the way, has no interest in being fought over — and the character moments for the Hound were even better than the viciously entertaining fight that followed.
Sandor had obviously taken a liking to his young charge, refusing to hand her over to Brienne who wields a Lannister sword, telling her that there is no “safety” for Arya — “Where the f***’s that? Her aunt in the Eyrie is dead. Her mother’s dead. Her father’s dead. Her brother’s dead. Winterfell is a pile of rubble. There’s no safety, you dumb b****. You don’t know that by now, you’re the wrong one to watch over her.” Before he died, he was able to show the audience that he was not purely a villain, and it gave his slow (presumed) death even greater impact.
Many are upset that Brienne could have overpowered Sandor, but she was as vicious a fighter as he — it was not an honorable duel. Furthermore, Sandor was still weak from the wound in his neck which The Biter gave him and which Sandor would not let Arya cauterize with fire.
It was great to see Brienne have one little victory, even if Arya had disappeared, and the Hound’s number was almost up, anyway. She’s a fantastic character, and Gwendoline Christie has really brought her to life. In Storm of Swords, the Hound simply succumbed to his wound from his battle with Polliver and The Tickler (in the show, he was attacked by The Biter). Why not Brienne? Besides, nothing was better than seeing Sandor die at the hand of a woman he had called a “dumb b****” moments prior. Suck it.
4. No Lady Stoneheart
OK, so this one was kind of a bummer, I’ll admit. It would have been great to see Lady Stoneheart in her quest for vengeance in the final moments of the finale. More on that here, but spoilers are abound!
5. Jaime Lannister’s Lack Of Confession To Tyrion
In Storm of Swords, when Jaime releases Tyrion, he can’t let him go without a confession. When Tyrion was young, he secretly married a girl named Tysha; Jaime told him afterward that Tysha was a whore he had hired. Tywin then had the girl raped by his soldiers and then by Tyrion to teach him a lesson about whores, and was promptly run off by Tywin. Tyrion was heartbroken. Well, in SoS, Jaime confesses that Tysha had genuinely loved him, and that she wasn’t a whore — she really was the crofter’s daughter she claimed to be. This led Tyrion, incensed, to falsely confess to Joffrey’s murder, just to see Jaime hurt.
However, this conversation never happened in the finale, and it can be argued that it was a good thing. While it was certainly a dramatic moment in the books, it left Tyrion utterly without friends in Westeros. By having the ever more sympathetic Jaime on his side, it means that there might be a chance for Tyrion to return from across the Narrow Sea once the dust settles and Cersei (the only Lannister who still wants Tyrion dead) is put away.
6. Cersei’s Confession To Tywin
Finally, in “The Children,” Cersei confessed her most closely-held indiscretions to Tywin — that Tommen, Joffrey and Myrcella are actually Jaime and Cersei’s children, and that the Lannister legacy is a lie. It never happened in the books, but it was fabulous to watch onscreen.
Not only was Tywin’s death utterly undignified, but so, too, were the moments leading up to it. First, he found out that, for all his machinations, Tommen didn’t actually belong on the throne. Later, Shae — a whore — was found in his bed, totally invalidating everything he’s ever said to Tyrion not only about Shae, but about Tyrion’s propensity for ladies of the night in general. Death-by-crossbow-while-pooping was totally what Tywin deserved.
So, HollywoodLifers, do you agree that the changes made from book to screen were mostly positive? Keep in mind that we are dealing with two different media, and each has their own unique responsibility to its audience. Would any of you really want a direct book-to-screen translation? What other changes were made that you want to talk about? (There were a couple more — can you spot ’em?) Are you a purist? What are your reasons for liking or disliking any changes? Let me know!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner