Game of Thrones Dilemma: The Show Spoiling the Books

george rr martin in westeros

The 5th Season of Game of Thrones starts today!, but it’s not all good news. I can’t think of one example where a television adaption overtakes the original work, but that’s exactly what we’re getting. There’s no way, none!, that A Dream of Spring, the final installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, comes out before the final season of Game of Thrones. Not watching the show isn’t an option either because unless you live in a pineapple under the sea there’s no way it would be possible to avoid spoilers to a show this popular. Especially considering it’ll take at least 4 years for Martin to get that final book out, if we’re lucky!, after the show ends. If you have read all the books and are worried about the show ending keep reading, but show-only watchers shouldn’t read further, there are spoilers in here. Enjoy knowing that us book readers will be in the same boat as you soon.

Just a heads up, no Bran or Hodor at all this season. I mean there wasn’t really anything more the show could do, except maybe tell the story of the Knight of the Laughing Tree!, but we’re pretty much on equal footing between book Bran and show Bran. Unless they do a montage of Bran learning how to warg into trees, which is just Bran sitting down with his eyes white, but with awesome music.

He published the 5th book at the end of the first season of Thrones. The show was a hit, but it probably gave him more distractions to write the following books than encourage him to finish writing before the show ended.
George RR – “50 years from now, nobody is going to care how frequently the books came out, they will care if the books are as good as they can possibly be.”
This is his legacy and when he dies, hopefully many many years down the road, he wants this to be seen as a masterpiece. But I will remember! 50 years from now I’ll be sure to tell everyone how good his books are, but also how long it took for Martin to write them. These are quotes taken from a George RR Martin interview.

Having The Winds of Winter published before season 6 of Thrones airs next spring “has been important to me all along,” says the best-selling New Mexico author. “I wish it was out now. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish. But I canceled two convention appearances, I’m turning down a lot more interviews—anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done.”

I’m optimistic about George RR finishing Winds of Winter before the 6th season of Game of Thrones, he basically has a year to finish the book. George RR promised his fans in the epilogue of A Feast of Crows that A Dance with Dragons would come out in a year…it took him 6 years. I know Martin is optimistic for the book to be finished before the sixth season, but accounting for Hofstadter’s law, it’ll probably take longer than he expects. I mean he’s repeatedly said there’s no chance we get Winds in 2015, does adding 4 extra months sound like enough time to finish the book in 2016? This article goes into way more detail on Martin’s writing process and reading it has me convinced a 2016 release is likely, but that doesn’t mean it’ll come out before the 6th Season…

“I was red hot on the book and I put it aside for six months” he says. I should have just gone on from there because I was so into it and it was moving so fast then. But I didn’t because I had to switch gears into the editing phase and then the book tour. The iron does cool off, for me especially.”

I understand how taxing it can be to write amazing material that fans are begging to get published, it’s pretty much what I do here… He lost his momentum and I’d bet all of King Midas’s silver that if he didn’t take that break we’d be unwrapping Winds of Winter come Christmas 2015. But he did take a break and now readers are in this awkward position. That’s just the 6th book though, there’s no chance the final book comes out before the final season. I’m grateful for the show, I love the show, I wouldn’t have started reading these wonderful books if it weren’t for the show, but George RR kind of screwed over his readers, especially the ones that have been with the series since 1996.


Show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss insist that they want 7 seasons, but if HBO has any say I’m expecting 8 seasons. They managed to turn A Storm of Swords into 2 seasons, they can stretch the show for an extra season. An extra season still wouldn’t be enough time for Martin to finish his final book though. They know Martin’s ending and are steering the ship there, yes the journey will be different, but the end will be pretty much be the same. That makes the show potentially dangerous for dedicated book readers. It kind of sucks that I don’t have the choice between reading the ending or watching the ending, but like many others, I don’t have that choice.

I love all the fan theories and speculating with other fans what will come next, but now if fans really want to speculate on the upcoming books they’ll have to analyze the show…weird. Season 5 will start to divert more from the books just like season 4 started noticeably diverting from the books, like having the Night King turning a baby into a White Walker.

When the Harry Potter movies came out, I didn’t care nearly as much about them than the books. I knew how everything ended and I spent most of the movie noticing the changes. I was scared to see Deathly Hallows Part 2 because it felt like the series ending again, it was heartbreaking. But this is a totally different experience!  If the Harry Potter movies came out before the books and spoiled the ending to Harry Potter for me, a book series that sculpted my childhood, I’d be furious. And that’s what I’m guessing book readers that started reading before the show came out would feel. That would feel horrible.

After coming away so impressed with what HBO produced, my thirst and curiosity for what would happen next lead me to the written series. There’s no way I’m not going to be able to resist watching the show, even knowing by Season 7 it’ll be mostly new territory. Rereading the A Song of Ice and Fire series was just as enjoyable the second time around, I noticed details that I overlooked initially, but it was far less suspenseful.

TODAY! NO GEORGE, NOThe first season of Game of Thrones and the first book of Game of Thrones, weren’t completely different experiences, but they were different. The show had things the book lacked and vice versa. Winterfell fell short of what I imagined in the show, they could have filmed Mole Town at the same location and I wouldn’t have blinked. In the show I liked Jamie and Ned’s skirmish in the streets. Ned wasn’t nearly as talented with a sword in the books, but I loved how he was even with Jamie before that guard stabbed him in the leg… Robert and Cersei discussing their marriage was a great addition for both characters, Syrio Forel was a million times better in the show than in the books, seriously, that guy was amazing, and Tywin’s introduction while he skinned a deer were all moments I thought the show excelled in. Actually for the most part, the castings have been amazing. The books had the Tower of Joy scene and that was probably my favorite part of the book. The secret about Jon Snow’s parentage was heavily hinted at in the book, but totally glossed over in the show. They were different and I liked both of them, but reading the book after watching the show took away the suspense and made it more of a game of what’s different than me being able to enjoy the story.

The first season was the most faithful to the books, but with every season the show has become more of it’s own. The more changes that happen in the show the more it’ll become a different interpretation. The details, the inner monologues, the foreshadowing, and so many things that make the books amazing that the show can’t reproduce on screen. There are characters killed off in the show that are still alive in the books, I interpret that as that character not having a large enough role in the end or they don’t have much time left to justify continuing their story. I’m still kind of annoyed they killed off Pyp and Grenn, Alliser should have taken down the giant, his role is pretty much done in the books. Those babe assistants that Daenerys had have all been killed off, does she have any Dothraki in her inner circle anymore?  Jorah’s not even with her. They haven’t cast any Ironborn for the show yet and apparently they won’t be casting Quentyn Martell or the Young Griff. That doesn’t make me too hopeful for their future in the books… I’m really not sure if we’re going to ever see Benjen Stark again, in either mediums!

I think book readers that have waited years, decades even, for the books to come out only to be ruined by the show got the short end of the stick, and stabbed a couple times by said stick, but think about it in a positive way, the show definitely helped push the popularity of the books! What an awesome ice breaker in real life! Spoilers will be unavoidable and it feels like a waste to not watch the show live just to be ruined about the story later. In a perfect world the books finished before the show, but Martin made a choice. He chose money and fame over staying faithful to his fans. I don’t really blame him, do you know how much money he’s raking in? George RR’s money makes Tywin Lannister look like a beggar in Flea Bottom. With all that money he has more time to attend gourmet buffets, Santa Claus look alike conventions, and Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament events. I’m going to watch the show, even if it lessens my book experience. Remember it’s just a book, an amazing book, but I’m going to try to enjoy both as different tellings of the same story and I’m going to enjoy the show for what it is because it’s pretty awesome.

Best case scenario he finishes the 6th book before the 6th season and the 7th book follows a short 2 years after the season finale of the show with some new twists.
Worst case scenario George doesn’t want to write the last book because the show ruined the ending! Apparently he’s sick of his seriesthere’s a possibility that he never finishes the final book.  I don’t think I could handle that…

george rr vadar


4 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Dilemma: The Show Spoiling the Books

  1. I’m glad the show is moving forward and becoming of its own. A few pages into the second book and it goes stupid. Martin’s writing is awful – He lacks any unique styles, describes random unnecessary things and he’s bad at describing them. The plot is also out of control and I don’t belive there’s a way out for him. No, I wasn’t impressed with his characters. Jon is a bastard. Tyrion has daddy issues. Bran does nothing. Dany is a teenager in love.

    Maybe, after the show moves forward I’ll hear enough interesting things to consider watching it. Adaptation can do wonders.

      • I’ll mention writers who’s writing is exceptional. Some writers write in a plain style, but still write amazing books (Like Things Fall Apart that I just reviewed. The writing isn’t very unique, but it’s bullshit-free and everything else is amazing):
        Don DeLillo – Very poetic. His books often come off as nonsense, but the prose is great
        Paul Auster – No one details a character’s thoughts like his
        Raymond Carver – The writing makes you feel like you’re right next to the characters.
        Chuck Palahniuk – One of the best authors when it comes to repetition
        Ian McEwan – He’s a master at descriptions. I go homosexual for minimalism, but McEwan is one of the few I let off.

        Martin’s style is pretty generic. There’s no special feature to his langauge. The langauge doesn’t serve any purpose other than tell the story. Palahniuk has an angry tone, Auster a philosophical one in order to emphasize the themes. Martin’s writing is generic ulitarianism that’s sadly has too many words, and thus gets in the way of the story.

      • Thanks for your thorough reply. I’ve seen some of the movie adaptions of Chuck Palahniuk’s work, namely Fight Club and Choke, but I haven’t read any of the writers you listed. I’m looking for more books to read so thanks for the list, I’ll be sure to check out a few of them.

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