April 12th approaches now, nearer every day, and with it comes season five of Game of Thrones. Are we all excited? Have we all re-watched the previous seasons and re-read the books to prime ourselves for its imminent arrival? No? Okay, so that must just be me.
What seems to be the most discussed thing this time around though, is the ever expanding list of differences between the screen and page versions of G.R.R.Martin’s Westeros. While there have already been changes between book and script, the Red Wedding for example (as if that wasn’t bloody enough), this time around we are warned to be on our toes for more shocks and more deaths that we may not be expecting, at least if we take the books as a template for what is to come.
Reactions seem to have been mixed. Already there have been a series of quiet rages each time there are wide variances, though these are usually drowned out by the shocked and enthralled exclamations of the viewers who didn’t know what was coming. But is it really something we should be so concerned with? Do the differences really matter all that much?
It’s been asked before, every time there has been a high profile screen adaptation of a book, and while there are any number of possible responses with pro’s and con’s on both sides, I personally have to say, no. It doesn’t bother me much at all. It brings back an element of suspense that would be lacking in a word for word translation, and breathes life into an otherwise static image of a world.
Besides, it has worked before. In the recent Hobbit films there were huge deviances from the source material, with inspiration taken from the book and the appendices of the Lord of the Rings, as well as straight from the air surrounding Peter Jackson’s tousled head it seems. It didn’t hurt the films at the box office, and even as a die-hard fan of both the book and film series I like each of them because I accept them as separate works in their own right. The scene between Thranduil and Legolas at the end is a bit like nails on a blackboard but, overall, I can live with it because whatever missteps an adaptation makes cannot diminish the books, and vice versa.
So I look forward to the new GoT series. I’ll allow the river of hype to wash me away in a torrent of TV spots and trailers. What I’m not going to do is worry about trivial changes, despite the rantings of my inner pedant. And now I’m going to go and watch the trailer. Again.