Gaz0680

If you were the Showrunner of GoT........

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Posted (edited)

How do you think you would have run the storyline and characters compared to how Benioff and Weiss have done it?

What plot threads would you have done similarly? Which would you have drastically altered?

Would you have included characters D&D cut out or cut characters they included?

What existing characters would you have altered or focused on other personality traits/abilities they have in addition to or besides what D&D showed?

 

Edited by Gaz0680

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Posted (edited)

I cannot imagine the amount of work and tough decision making that they must put in, so while I am generally pretty annoyed at how the show has abandoned all reason and logic I still have to give them some credit for their work.

I'd like to give a list of grievances and plot holes, but rather than go that route I'll just hit the general plot stuff.

1.  No battle of the bastards or build up to it.  S6 for Jon and Sansa was pretty much a repeat of S5 for Stannis.  If the Boltons are to be defeated, let Stannis do it then give him his own planned end.

2.  Include the Manderlys.

3.  Get rid of Quaithe if she is not really important.

4.  Have Shae be more true to book Shae in her motives.

5.  No Lady Stoneheart - this was a good choice.

6.  Add a Aeron/Victarion composite character (warrior priest) for Euron to antagonize and send on the mission to Dany.  Keep Asha and Theon as Stannis' prisoners.  No repeat of the thing where Theon slips into Reek repeatedly.  Introduce Euron in S5.  Introduce Victarion in S2.

7.  Cut the fArya plot entirely - don't give it to Sansa.  Ramsay being a sadistic fuck should be reason enough for Stannis to take Winterfell and for Jon to be motivated to fight for it too.

8.  Keep Aegon away.  As upsetting as it is, after Varys helps save Tyrion have him just stay safely in Essos, never to return.

9.  No Dorne after Oberyn.  They can be mentioned as having declared for Daenerys in S7 if she needs an army.

10.  Jaime goes to the riverlands in S5.  In S6 he doesn't do much around Kings Landing.

Edited by Lucius Lovejoy
Dorne

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I'm the rare bird that thinks they should have cut even more from the original storyline in favor of more time with key characters. For instance, I would have cut Dorne and the Ironborn out completely. I'm assuming here that we're talking about a 10-episode season. If they could have done more episodes, then that's a different story. 

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Taking on the job of adapting a series of books with such a massive volume of information and many character POVs within it is a tough job. And to be fair to D&D, while they were working off the books, they were doing a damn good job of it. Yes, some actors didn't fit their characters and there were some minor changes that I didn't agree with, but overall, I was pleased with the job they did.

Since they ran out of source material, it is hard to deny things haven't gone downhill, particularly with the direction of characters like Tyrion, Varys and Littlefinger, who the showrunners seem to have no idea how to write plot for without GRRM feeding them the information in the books. But I watch the show with my mum and my girlfriend, and I am the only one out of us who has read the books. They never really have any grievances with what is happening. They can sometimes get confused or forget something that happened that is referenced to from seasons before (Sansa's letter to Robb that was discovered in Ep5 is an example), but aside from stuff like that, which I can refresh them on, they love it. My girlfriend and I have watched many TV series together and this is her favourite of the lot. I wouldn't even go as far to say that GOT is my favourite ever TV show we have watched, so that says a lot.

But they are able to love it because they watch it and don't really think about it that much. They enjoy it for what it is. They get annoyed, of course, that Tyrion isn't the character he once was, but they don't really mind because they watch it without the shackles of their own hopes and expectations for what is going to happen. They accept the logistical problems, such as how Jon can be in Dragonstone one scene and at the Wall the next. They accept that things will happen and they don't feel the need to question why. I try my best to watch it like that, not constantly judging it, because the more you think about it, the more you will see holes and flaws, and the more you will turn yourself to disliking a story that you once loved.

For me, though, the two qualms above all else that I do have are the following:

Stannis premature death. None of us truly believe Stannis is going to last right through the books, but he is still alive and kicking and I do believe there is a lot more in store for him.

The omission of Young Griff. I just felt that story-wise, tension-wise and the problems his inclusion would cause for Daenerys would make for a far more interesting and worthy rival than Cersei Lannister, who really shouldn't have the throne in the first place.

Both these things bother me, as I think the writers killed off Stannis and omitted Aegon due to favouritism shown to Cersei, and when a bias is shown to a character or actor/actress, it usually sets up disaster for storylines because plot points end up being forced or lacking of sense, all with the purpose to push a favoured character forwards.

If I was being the producing of the show, Cersei would have been long gone and Aegon would be sitting on the Iron Throne. A scenario that not only makes a lot more sense but also gives more room for an interesting situation when Daenerys does decide to finally go for King's Landing.

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Something I thought of recently that I think would have worked really well would have been to present parallel story lines in the past. These wouldn't be flashbacks, but more along the lines of how Godfather 2 did it. Probably, I would start well before Robert's Rebellion, when Brandon, Ned, Lyanna, and Benjen were all kids. You could do something like the equivalent of 2-3 episodes per season and slowly tell the story of all of the events leading up to Lyanna running away with Rhaegar. In the books, we have the benefit of dialog and stories about that time, which help us fill in the gaps as readers. But show watchers don't get this stuff. 

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Posted (edited)

I would reduce the screentime of Ramsay drastically.  Too tedious and repetitive.

I would boost Catelyn's importance, as in the book, and keep Lady Stoneheart.

Less Hound.

Tyrion would be more grey.  Keep his killing of the bard in King's Landing (wasn't he turned into soup?).

Less Shae (actress was horrible) and keep her more in tune with book Shae--ambitious.

Keep Dorne, but rely more on intrigue rather than whips and spears and poison boobies.

Cut Aegon (good call).

Allow Cersei to be more overtly wicked and sensual, as in the book.  The Ice Princess thing gets tiring after a while.

I agree with the above poster about Sansa/Stannis/Winterfell.  Season 5 and 6 seemed repetitive.  Have Stannis wipe out Ramsay, then meet his end in some way.  No Sansa in Winterfell.

Include the Ironborn, but keep them to a low number of scenes per year, just like Dorne.  5 or 6 each year.  They should be there on the perimeter.

Less Sam.  Way way way less Sam.  Possibly kill him off.

Edited by Mister Stoneheart

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I don't think I can do this in this space. However, in short, I think they should have cut more and be more careful with the pacing. Many nations like Dorne could have easily been "in" the series as topics in dialoque.

The main difference I think is to be more faithful with the characters. Although, to be fair, Ser Jorah for example is far better in the show, much because Iain Glenn and not writing - but still. I think what I hate most is Jaime not having his arc. I really like where he is going with the books. Amazingly interesting character.

Also Arya's misadventures were for the most part boring as f. Not that I don't like Arya, on the contrary, but watching her sweeping floors and selling oysters for what seemed like 12 seasons.. ugh.

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Oh, man, this is a great question. To give D&D their credit, they have been taking on a tremendous job of adapting a huge, beloved book series into a TV show, and that's no easy feat. If I had to chose some things to change, they would be:

  1. As other posters have mentioned, have Stannis defeat the Boltons in season five, only to then meet his end, possibly due to a battle wound. This could be paralleled with Jon's death in the same episode. Mel would sacrifice Shireen at the beginning of season six in hopes of resurrecting Stannis. . . only to instead bring back Jon Snow. Have Jon Snow actually be somewhat changed by his death.
  2. Have Sansa's season five arc be her trying to manipulate Littlefinger the way she did in the first two episodes -- acting clever and flirtatious, but also showing signs of a deep-set discomfort  at his advances. By the end of the season, have her escape with Brienne and Pod to the Wall, where she would then take on Alys Karstark's arc -- marrying a Thenn (preferably one that isn't a mindless cannibal) in order to escape creepy uncle Pedofinger, instead of being sold to goddamn Ramsay Bolton.
  3. Keep Val in the show. Not necessarily as a love interest, but rather as a mother figure. Karsi was depicted this way in Hardhome, and fans loved it.
  4. Keep the political intrigue past season four. 
  5. Have Loras and Margaery arrested for something more severe than being gay. In the books, Cersei considers framing the two for committing incest, and I think that would have been an ironic twist for the show. 
  6. No Dorne after season four. Have Myrcella return to King's Landing only to meet her end a few episodes later.
  7. Show the rift between Jaime and Cersei, and have Jaime spend most of season five in the Riverlands.
  8. Cut back on Arya's Braavosi scenes. We don't need to see a dozen scenes of her sweeping and being hit with a stick to get the gist.
  9. Handle Jorah's betrayal differently (perhaps ax it altogether) and have Tryion be less of a Daenerys fanboy. Have him be more skeptical of whether or not a dragon queen invading Westeros is a good idea.
  10. Introduce Euron earlier on. 

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57 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

 

  1. Keep Val in the show. Not necessarily as a love interest, but rather as a mother figure. Karsi was depicted this way in Hardhome, and fans loved it.
  2. Cut back on Arya's Braavosi scenes. We don't need to see a dozen scenes of her sweeping and being hit with a stick to get the gist. 

We agreed on a lot already but these two in particular I wish I had added to my list!

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I think the choices they made are more-or-less the right ones, it's just the execution that's lacking.

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For me personally, I think the show was a reasonable adaptation up until midway through season 4, although still too many unnecessary scenes for my liking which didnt advance plot or characters. 

From Season 5 on, show has pretty much been pure fanfic with little making sense from a narrative or characterisation perspective. 

I would have:

*Cut Aegon plot completely, just as D&D did. That I feel was a good move. I also would have cut or reduced plot threads related to Aegon, such as Dorne. I wouldnt have introduced the Sand Snakes at all and would never have sent Jaime and Bronn there. I would likely have kept Ellaria as the face of Dorne though but in a minor role (similar to how Grey Worm is face of Unsullied, Tormund of Wildlings, etc) and had her join Dany.

*Shown Jaime's and Cersei's relationship breaking down much sooner (likely Season 4).

*Show Arya making clearer, more pronounced progress in her training in Braavos (season 5) and learning a wider range of skills (not just combat based) from Jaqen as well as the Waif and have her fight with the Waif still happen, but have Arya beat her in a clearer and more believable way. 

Have her arrive in Westeros and kill Walder Frey in premiere of Season 7.

*Have Ser Barristan alive and advising Dany through to Season 6 after having revealed some more pertinent information to her, then killed him off end of S6/start of S7 shortly after Tyrion arrives.

*Keep Sansa in Vale longer with LF and learning a lot from him. Dont send her to WF and certainly dont marry her to Ramsay. It would have been better to see her married to the young Lord of the Vale (Robin Arryn) after Lysa died and see her learn how to manipulate him to do what she wants and also gradually learn how to best LF at own game. 

Id make loads of other changes, but will expand more later.

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I would have planned out all 7 seasons before I began making the show.  I would have also kept all the characters from the books, even if they didn't appear on the show.  For example, cutting the Tyrell brothers, Arianne, the Greyjoy brothers, Jeyne Poole, Aegon etc. only messed up the story.

I would also tell the actor I cast as Theon, that he would be missing in season 3, but would return in season 4.  Ramsey would have been cast in season 2 as Reek.  

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On ‎13‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 10:13 AM, Gaz0680 said:

How do you think you would have run the storyline and characters compared to how Benioff and Weiss have done it?

What plot threads would you have done similarly? Which would you have drastically altered?

Would you have included characters D&D cut out or cut characters they included?

What existing characters would you have altered or focused on other personality traits/abilities they have in addition to or besides what D&D showed?

 

It's a very difficult job with the source material only going to halfway through.  I'd have almost certainly cut out (or killed off) more characters though.  But good TV isn't the same as a good book and I doubt the showrunners would change much themselves given how insanely popular the show has become.  Even now they are off the source material the show is as popular as ever, if not more so!

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12 hours ago, bloodsteel bitterraven said:

I would have planned out all 7 seasons before I began making the show.  I would have also kept all the characters from the books, even if they didn't appear on the show.  For example, cutting the Tyrell brothers, Arianne, the Greyjoy brothers, Jeyne Poole, Aegon etc. only messed up the story.

I would also tell the actor I cast as Theon, that he would be missing in season 3, but would return in season 4.  Ramsey would have been cast in season 2 as Reek.  

And you'd have had an unlimited pot of money?

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4 hours ago, Ser Gareth said:

And you'd have had an unlimited pot of money?

You wouldn't need an unlimited pot of money to plan out the general main story arcs for the whole show rather than one season at a time. You could write the specific and review later, but there should be a general overview and description of each character done first so the characterisation is fairly consistent and the plot lines interesting and make sense.

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On 8/16/2017 at 4:33 AM, Gaz0680 said:

For me personally, I think the show was a reasonable adaptation up until midway through season 4, although still too many unnecessary scenes for my liking which didnt advance plot or characters. 

From Season 5 on, show has pretty much been pure fanfic with little making sense from a narrative or characterisation perspective. 

I would have:

*Cut Aegon plot completely, just as D&D did. That I feel was a good move. I also would have cut or reduced plot threads related to Aegon, such as Dorne. I wouldnt have introduced the Sand Snakes at all and would never have sent Jaime and Bronn there. I would likely have kept Ellaria as the face of Dorne though but in a minor role (similar to how Grey Worm is face of Unsullied, Tormund of Wildlings, etc) and had her join Dany.

*Shown Jaime's and Cersei's relationship breaking down much sooner (likely Season 4).

*Show Arya making clearer, more pronounced progress in her training in Braavos (season 5) and learning a wider range of skills (not just combat based) from Jaqen as well as the Waif and have her fight with the Waif still happen, but have Arya beat her in a clearer and more believable way. 

Have her arrive in Westeros and kill Walder Frey in premiere of Season 7.

*Have Ser Barristan alive and advising Dany through to Season 6 after having revealed some more pertinent information to her, then killed him off end of S6/start of S7 shortly after Tyrion arrives.

*Keep Sansa in Vale longer with LF and learning a lot from him. Dont send her to WF and certainly dont marry her to Ramsay. It would have been better to see her married to the young Lord of the Vale (Robin Arryn) after Lysa died and see her learn how to manipulate him to do what she wants and also gradually learn how to best LF at own game. 

Id make loads of other changes, but will expand more later.

:bowdown:

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9 hours ago, Gaz0680 said:

You wouldn't need an unlimited pot of money to plan out the general main story arcs for the whole show rather than one season at a time. You could write the specific and review later, but there should be a general overview and description of each character done first so the characterisation is fairly consistent and the plot lines interesting and make sense.

But that couldn't be done because the series the show is based on wasn't finished.  Also you can't pay actors a high salary to be on hiatus for a year.

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D&D have been crippled by a couple of poor early decisions and its led to the decline in the quality of the show:

- Deciding to rigidly follow the structure and elements of the book. This would have been great, and was great for a few seasons, had the series of books been completed, and they could release about 15 seasons of the show.

-Starting the show and just assuming GRRM would be close to finishing his books by the time they got to the final seasons.

So you either are in the lucky situation where GRRM has finished the books and then you start and make choices based on those, or you plan on 8 seasons at the beginning and build the show from there. That of course would never have happened, the first few seasons of the show would never have been as good as they were had D&D been planning on 8 seasons from the beginning.

If I was to start again now I'd have to:

- Cut out most of the characters and locations. Leaving only the Starks, Lannisters, Dany and Jon as major characters to build the show around. That means certainly no Dorne. The ironborn don't really need to exist ( you can do Theons betrayal but it would need to isolated from the Ironborn) Most of the eastern cities can go. Those nations can be mentioned in discussions, but no need to be shown. Joff

- Replace Ramsey Bolton with Joffery somehow. You can keep Sansa around to be tortured and tormented in Kings Landing the whole time, there she learns court intrigue from Cercei as a way to survive.

- No Stannis. Great character but essentially plot filler.

-Arya escaped Kings Landing and disappears for seasons. Turns up later as a fully fledged FM. No need to show the training, her coming back can be a reveal.

- Obviously no f/Aegon or Lady Stoneheart.

- Joffery still gets murdered and Tyrion gets the blame. I'm sure there is far more that you can do with Tyrion, the book and the show have utterly wasted his character after his fathers death. Have him join Danys court, but again just have him arrive there, no need to do his journey. 

- Dany, I guess you could technically cut out a lot of what she does but at the same time it seems necessary. I personally would write an entirely new plotline for her after she gets her Dragons, no good comes from her just hanging about the way she does.


Its a really difficult idea to get your head around and I'd love to see what GRRM has in store. But my overall point is that to do the story justice in 8 seasons you'd need to COMPLETELY re-write the show. They way they've done it now is a bit of a mess, an enjoyable mess.

 

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Posted (edited)

Generally think of what am I trying to achieve in advance and then plan accordingly so you don't get these time warps GPSing around and teleports all over the place. Also, no 180s for characters just because plot demands it (looking at you Jaime). That being said, I can name a few things that not only bothered me but also wasted valuable screen time on a show with time running out.

1. Cut Sansa Bolton storyline completely, have Ramsey deal with his family (not on a broad daylight though, so Freys stay loyal - not that show bothered with that though). Sansa stays hidden in Vale and rarely, rarely shows up in season 5, possibly only comes up with knights and LF for the battle of the bastards or reinforcing Stannis (depending on whether or not BoB would be included; haven't made up my mind about it). Also, she turn up on few nights before the actual battle, not in the last minute without anyone knowing it. That is just cheap Hollywoodish trick/BS drama.

2. Cut Jaime's Dorne adventure completely and have him go siege Riverrun directly; like in books. Also, his relationship with his sister is on a big test, with turning point of him pissed about her cheating on him with Lancel (possibly Kettlebacks as well; I'd include them as it truly shows how Cersei operates and gets what she wants). Have Jaime strangle her when she blows up Sept and burns thousands. KL slips into chaos afterwards; Danny finds it in ruins "queen of the ashes".

3. With all that valuable time suddenly becoming available, spend more time on character's development and making WW a threat (include horn of winter, have them break through the wall already), possibly make a proper Dorne story or take an easy way out and have it support Danny, just none of that 'bad pussy' stuff with the sand snakes.

4. No one is a hero/they're all mortal/no last minute tricks or high risk escapes that make my eyes roll. You f*ck up, you die, that simple. For example how the hell did Brienne of Tarth in the midst of the battle between Stannis and Boltons found Stannis,slay him and escape unnoticed? Did all the Boltons soldiers freeze in time just for her to move in? I don't think that everyone must get their revenge, sometimes a true tragedy is you being knicked of that. Also, every important character wears plate armor in battle, even Danny on a dragon.

5. Since GRRM hasn't finished the books yet, listen to what he has to say. Listen to his advice/thoughts on changes being made. It is his story after all, no one knows that universe better than him.

Edited by plastic throne

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First and foremost I'd leave out Dorne as a location entirely, it had potential but did not end up working. Send Jaime to the riverlands instead with already existing cast.

There's a telling interview with Alexander siddig somewhere, and he says he was supposed to be in 4 episodes (even partially paid for them) in season 6 but last minute that was changed. That leadsme to think they have to do more on the fly base story skeleton building since season 4/5 and probably waste a lot of time and effort on stories they never ended up using on screen.

In an ideal rewrte I'd almost try and compact season 5/6 into 1 season but I can't think of a good way to make that work. Some of the biggest criticisms I have heard of the show from unsullied is that the individual stories move too slow and there is too much dead weight that ends up going nowhere. Adding stuff to that just wouldn't improve it.

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