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Editing the show to be more faithful to the books

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Because I'm bored and have too much time on my hands, I thought I'd do a little experiment by editing the HBO series so that it's more faithful to the books. Basically I cut out any scenes that weren't in the books and re-order scenes so they occur in the same order as the PoV chapters. I'm pretty strict - if the scene doesn't contain the PoV character, I cut it, even if I actually like the scene. So far it's been incredibly easy for season 1, since almost every scene is based on a scene from the book, sometimes even verbatim. Seasons 2 and 3 shouldn't be too difficult either, although I'm expecting a bit more trouble with season 4, and season 5 with be very difficult, perhaps even impossible. D&D's ignorance and/or dislike of Feast and Dance is well known and meant that their "adaptation" of those books was.... imperfect.... to put it mildly. Still, I'll try to salvage what I can out of it, for completionists' sake. 

But my question is - as someone that stopped watching the show in season 5 - is there any book material beyond season 5? I recently watched on YouTube the scene where Jaime meets the Blackfish at Riverrun, which is apparently from season 6, but from everything I've read about the show, that seems to have been the only Feast/Dance hold-over, because of D&D's decision to invent the atrocious Jaime-Dorne storyline in season 5. Is that correct?

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Posted (edited)

To answer your last question, other than the siege of Riverrun by Jaime (which happens in a very different context in the books), the following events in season 6 are vaguely based on the books:

  •  Balon (who in the show is the winner of the War of the Five Kings) dies.
  • A kind of Kingsmoot takes place, which Euron wins after he boasts that he killed his brother and is therefore a kinslayer. Euron also promises to have sex with Cersei.
  • Yara and Theon also attended the Kingsmoot in the show, but flee to Meereen after their loss. Euron loudly shouted that he plans to kill them both. The idea of the Greyjoys going to Meereen may be very vaguely based on Victarion heading for Daenerys.
  • Elements of Varys' speech in the epilogue of A Dance with Dragons is spoken in the show by Qyburn. Qyburn kills Pycelle (a Lannister loyalist) using his Little Birds because he plans to install Cersei Lannister on the Iron Throne.
  • Doran's "Vengeance, justice, fire and flood" speech is also in the show, but is spoken in the show by Ellaria and Varys to Olenna. Doran was already dead in the show at this point; he was killed by Ellaria in the first episode because he is considered too weak to rule.
  • There is some battle for Meereen of Daenerys' troops against the slave traders, but of course it is not at all comparable to what happens/will happen in the books.
  • Samwell arrives in Oldtown in season 6. But you're not going to see characters from the books like Alleras, Leo Tyrell and Marwyn. Oldtown in the show, I think, is only populated by characters who don't exist in the books (and Jorah, in season 7)
  • The play from the Mercy chapter (TWOW), which is also shown in season 6, is technically the closest thing to the books.... But the context surrounding it is not at all comparable, as always.

Well, there are scenes and dialogues from the books in season 6, but in a very different context which is often inappropriate. For someone who has read the books, it is really insulting how the dialogue from the books was incorporated into the show. It's absurd. 

 

Edited by $erPounce

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4 hours ago, WhatAnArtist! said:

Because I'm bored and have too much time on my hands, I thought I'd do a little experiment by editing the HBO series so that it's more faithful to the books. Basically I cut out any scenes that weren't in the books and re-order scenes so they occur in the same order as the PoV chapters. I'm pretty strict - if the scene doesn't contain the PoV character, I cut it, even if I actually like the scene. So far it's been incredibly easy for season 1, since almost every scene is based on a scene from the book, sometimes even verbatim. Seasons 2 and 3 shouldn't be too difficult either, although I'm expecting a bit more trouble with season 4, and season 5 with be very difficult, perhaps even impossible. D&D's ignorance and/or dislike of Feast and Dance is well known and meant that their "adaptation" of those books was.... imperfect.... to put it mildly. Still, I'll try to salvage what I can out of it, for completionists' sake. 

But my question is - as someone that stopped watching the show in season 5 - is there any book material beyond season 5? I recently watched on YouTube the scene where Jaime meets the Blackfish at Riverrun, which is apparently from season 6, but from everything I've read about the show, that seems to have been the only Feast/Dance hold-over, because of D&D's decision to invent the atrocious Jaime-Dorne storyline in season 5. Is that correct?

Honestly, if you're talking about re-editing the show so as to make it more faithful to show, I'll save you the trouble by saying this.

You have to completely rewrite seasons 5-8. There's no re-editing or re-ordering; it's all rewriting.

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11 hours ago, $erPounce said:

To answer your last question, other than the siege of Riverrun by Jaime (which happens in a very different context in the books), the following events in season 6 are vaguely based on the books:

  •  Balon (who in the show is the winner of the War of the Five Kings) dies.
  • A kind of Kingsmoot takes place, which Euron wins after he boasts that he killed his brother and is therefore a kinslayer. Euron also promises to have sex with Cersei.
  • Yara and Theon also attended the Kingsmoot in the show, but flee to Meereen after their loss. Euron loudly shouted that he plans to kill them both. The idea of the Greyjoys going to Meereen may be very vaguely based on Victarion heading for Daenerys.
  • Elements of Varys' speech in the epilogue of A Dance with Dragons is spoken in the show by Qyburn. Qyburn kills Pycelle (a Lannister loyalist) using his Little Birds because he plans to install Cersei Lannister on the Iron Throne.
  • Doran's "Vengeance, justice, fire and flood" speech is also in the show, but is spoken in the show by Ellaria and Varys to Olenna. Doran was already dead in the show at this point; he was killed by Ellaria in the first episode because he is considered too weak to rule.
  • There is some battle for Meereen of Daenerys' troops against the slave traders, but of course it is not at all comparable to what happens/will happen in the books.
  • Samwell arrives in Oldtown in season 6. But you're not going to see characters from the books like Alleras, Leo Tyrell and Marwyn. Oldtown in the show, I think, is only populated by characters who don't exist in the books (and Jorah, in season 7)
  • The play from the Mercy chapter (TWOW), which is also shown in season 6, is technically the closest thing to the books.... But the context surrounding it is not at all comparable, as always.

Well, there are scenes and dialogues from the books in season 6, but in a very different context which is often inappropriate. For someone who has read the books, it is really insulting how the dialogue from the books was incorporated into the show. It's absurd. 

 

Wow, that sounds like a complete mess. I'm not even going to bother with any of that except maybe the Jaime/Riverrun stuff. Some of these decisions are just downright bizarre and pointless. Why not just introduce Victarian if they're still going to send Greyjoys to Meereen? Why kill Doran if someone is still going to give his speech and (presumably) use his plans? Why did D&D remove so many important characters from the books? Did they think audiences were too stupid to remember everyone?

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11 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

Honestly, if you're talking about re-editing the show so as to make it more faithful to show, I'll save you the trouble by saying this.

You have to completely rewrite seasons 5-8. There's no re-editing or re-ordering; it's all rewriting.

I agree that the writing becomes abysmally bad, but at the very least the barebones outlines of most of the book storylines are still there for season 5: Jon as Lord Commander, Dany ruling Meereen, Tyrion travelling through Essos, Cersei "ruling" in King's Landing, Theon in Winterfell, Arya training in Braavos, etc. Some are definitely butchered beyond repair, like Sansa, Dorne and the Iron Islands, of course. I guess I'll just have to remove them entirely, if possible (very sadly for Dorne, since I like Alexander Siddig and would have loved keeping him as Doran). 

I'll.... see what I can do. Season 5 will be a nightmare to "fix", but I'm certain that I can at the very least make it marginally better than what we got. Sometimes movies/shows can be improved merely by removing low quality content.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, WhatAnArtist! said:

Wow, that sounds like a complete mess. I'm not even going to bother with any of that except maybe the Jaime/Riverrun stuff. Some of these decisions are just downright bizarre and pointless. Why not just introduce Victarian if they're still going to send Greyjoys to Meereen? Why kill Doran if someone is still going to give his speech and (presumably) use his plans? Why did D&D remove so many important characters from the books? Did they think audiences were too stupid to remember everyone?

If you remove Arianne, fAegon, Lady Stoneheart,  Jon Connington, that leaves a big hole in the tale, that has to be filled.  I can guess that LS’ role in slaughtering the Freys was given to Arya.  However, while the theme of the books is that revenge is empty, in the show it was made glorious.  Arya, not Lord Manderly, baked Walder’s sons in a pie, then fed them to him.  She cuts his throat, and looks like she’s receiving orgasm, as he bleeds to death.  Then she poisons every male Frey.

There must be elements from the last two books that ended up in the last two series.  I’m sure Kings Landing will burn (though I don’t know in what circumstances) ;  the Tyrells will side with Dany;  there will be fighting for the Iron Throne between Dany and her opponents;  there will be a fight against the Others (definitely not resolved by Arya springing out of a tree on the Great Other);  Bran will become king.  I strongly suspect that Tyrion will betray Dany in the end, and that betrayal will be motivated by sexual jealousy (hinted at, in the show).  

The biggest question. I guess, is does Jon kill Dany, at Tyrion’s instigation, and why?  

Edited by SeanF

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11 minutes ago, SeanF said:

I strongly suspect that Tyrion will betray Dany in the end, and that betrayal will be motivated by sexual jealousy (hinted at, in the show)

That would be a very interesting reason, and feel more fitting for how book!Tyrion has developed. Certainly a lot more original than the bland "oh no she's so evil!" reasoning from the show.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, WhatAnArtist! said:

That would be a very interesting reason, and feel more fitting for how book!Tyrion has developed. Certainly a lot more original than the bland "oh no she's so evil!" reasoning from the show.

Book Tyrion is just so malevolent, despite being the author’s favourite.   He’s either Richard III or Iago. I think the only thing that stopped him from raping Sansa is the author seeing it would make him irredeemable in the eyes of most readers.

Edited by SeanF

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think the only thing that stopped him from raping Sansa is the author seeing it would make him irredeemable in the eyes of most readers.

Maybe, but it would still be fairly consistent with Tyrion's personality at that point in the series to not do that. He can't have failed to remember the trauma of what happened to Tysha. I don't think he'd want to inflict a rape on another 13 year old wife of his. One was surely enough. Dance Tyrion definitely would have done it though, no question about it.

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Posted (edited)

So you also ask how to change season 5 to be more true to the books... Well, I'll give the options here. 


Just for your information: George R. R. Martin had thought during the script of The Lion and the Rose that D&D was going to be faithful to the book material. In the script, GRRM was trying to plant the seeds for some of the events from FeastDance. For example, GRRM wanted to introduce Jeyne Poole, Osmund Kettleblack, Penny and Arys Oakheart in that episode, but these plans were scrapped by D&D. GRRM did not know until very late that D&D were not planning to faithfully adapt FeastDance, he had been expecting all along that they would need at least 2-3 seasons to film those books.


Now it's also clear that D&D weren't planning on introducing many new characters in season 5. I can understand that, because the TV series always collided with what was feasible during its production process, both time-wise and financially. It was always unrealistic to expect all the storylines of the books to end up on TV without too many changes. Realize that with FeastDance, the number of characters in the books almost doubles. Also take into account the budget. Those involved in season 5 found that they were already short of cash to introduce, for example, Volantis.

Well, enough explanation, here some proposals for season 5, taking the above into account.

  • Scrap Hardhome, that already frees up a lot more budget for the rest. If D&D really necessarily wanted to show Hardhome on TV, there would be some way in season 6, when Davos passes there to ship to get Rickon from Skagos. Combining these storylines is a possibility.
  • Instead of killing Ros in season 3, D&D could also have planned to make that character a fake Sansa who gets married off to the Boltons. That way there is no need for D&D to introduce Jeyne Poole to the show and Sansa's storyline in the Vale from the books can continue.
  • I would have cast Arianne in the show for season 5 and not Ellaria. The role of Arianne's friends in the Queenmaker plot can be more or less taken over by the Sandsnakes in the show.
  • Instead of sending Jaime along with Bronn to Dorne in the show, I suggest sending Loras Tyrell there. That way the character has a different function in the show than just as a victim. In the show, Cersei would send him there with the intention of weakening the Tyrells. The role of show-Loras in Dorne is combined with that of book-Arys. Loras would be violently injured during the failed Queenmaker plot. Thus you obtain more or less a similar result to what happens to Loras in the books during the siege of Dragonstone.
  • I doubt they would adapt Quentyn's storyline, but it is a possibility to use elements of it. For example, one could more or less combine Quentyn's role with that of the already cast Trystane. Doran could say to Arianne that his betrothal to Myrcella was only feigned. Tystane's betrothal is canceled because the plan was to marry Trystane off to Daenerys (Trystane in the show is older than in the books).
  • The role of Osney/Osmund Kettleblack in the books can be more or less taken over by Bronn in the show. Cersei could easily bribe Bronn to use him in her idiotic plots, with sex and promises of gold. 
  • It is necessary to introduce fAegon and Jon Connington somehow in season 5. Many of the problems with season 6/7/8 of Game of Thrones were caused by the decision to remove fAegon's storyline. 

These were all the ideas that immediately came to mind. To faithfully adapt FeastDance you need at least two seasons anyway, that's for sure.

Edited by $erPounce

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2 hours ago, $erPounce said:

Scrap Hardhome, that already frees up a lot more budget for the rest. If D&D really necessarily wanted to show Hardhome on TV, there would be some way in season 6, when Davos passes there to ship to get Rickon from Skagos. Combining these storylines is a possibility.

I'm still convinced that Hardhome only existed because D&D wanted another cool battle scene. They seemed to operate under the "rule of cool" - if something was cool, they'd do it, even if it was unnecessary in the big picture. 

2 hours ago, $erPounce said:

Instead of killing Ros in season 3, D&D could also have planned to make that character a fake Sansa who gets married off to the Boltons. That way there is no need for D&D to introduce Jeyne Poole to the show and Sansa's storyline in the Vale from the books can continue.

Ros was significantly older than Sansa, even show!Sansa. Ros was, at the very least, in her late 20s, even early 30s. I don't think anyone would realistically believe her to be Sansa. Sansa's real age was well known, especially in the North. I just think this entire situation would have been so much easier by introducing Jeyne Poole. It would only take one or two short scenes, even if it was awkwardly expositional like "Hey this was one of Sansa's friends we captured". Still preferable to what D&D did.

2 hours ago, $erPounce said:

I would have cast Arianne in the show for season 5 and not Ellaria. The role of Arianne's friends in the Queenmaker plot can be more or less taken over by the Sandsnakes in the show.

Omitting Arianne was a truly bizarre decision. They could have just had one less Sand Snake, and created Arianne instead. The Dorne storyline was always going to be important, and they introduced other relevant characters (e.g. Doran, Ellaria, Sand Snakes), I simply cannot comprehend why Arianne was excluded. Areo I can understand, but not Arianne.

2 hours ago, $erPounce said:

Instead of sending Jaime along with Bronn to Dorne in the show, I suggest sending Loras Tyrell there. That way the character has a different function in the show than just as a victim. In the show, Cersei would send him there with the intention of weakening the Tyrells. The role of show-Loras in Dorne is combined with that of book-Arys. Loras would be violently injured during the failed Queenmaker plot. Thus you obtain more or less a similar result to what happens to Loras in the books during the siege of Dragonstone.

Interesting idea. I wouldn't have had any problem with this, it'd be fairly logical and consistent with the larger story and character development.

 

2 hours ago, $erPounce said:

I doubt they would adapt Quentyn's storyline, but it is a possibility to use elements of it. For example, one could more or less combine Quentyn's role with that of the already cast Trystane. Doran could say to Arianne that his betrothal to Myrcella was only feigned. Tystane's betrothal is canceled because the plan was to marry Trystane off to Daenerys (Trystane in the show is older than in the books).

Quentyn's storyline is one I don't really have much problem with omitting. Even in the book it felt bizarrely irrelevant and pointless. With D&D's decision to entirely exclude the fAegon and Connington storyline, it made even more sense to exclude it (Dorne doesn't need a reason to avoid Dany if fAegon doesn't exist). But if the show DID decide to include fAegon, I'd say they also needed to include Quentyn. Wouldn't have been too time-consuming. Just replace the godawful cringe scenes of Grey Worm and Missandei with Quentyn's actually relevant scenes.

 

2 hours ago, $erPounce said:

The role of Osney/Osmund Kettleblack in the books can be more or less taken over by Bronn in the show. Cersei could easily bribe Bronn to use him in her idiotic plots, with sex and promises of gold. 

Good idea. Definitely could have worked. D&D seemed to have had a deep love for Bronn as a character, so this would be an actually plot relevant way to keep him around, although I don't know if D&D would have wanted to have their darling take a more villainous turn by siding with Cersei. D&D were always scared of moral ambiguity. 

2 hours ago, $erPounce said:

It is necessary to introduce fAegon and Jon Connington somehow in season 5. Many of the problems with season 6/7/8 of Game of Thrones were caused by the decision to remove fAegon's storyline. 

Absolutely. It truly baffles me that of all the storylines they could have cut with some justification, this is one they cut. The invasion of Westeros by a Targaryen (as far as we know) is an absolutely HUGE deal, far more important than practically every other storyline except Jon's. The exclusion of this makes me think that either a) D&D actually did not read Dance at all, or b) fAegon ends up being irrelevant in the books, which I find somewhat hard to believe.

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Seasons 1-4 were a mostly faithful adaptation. Little things like the Green Fork battle being scaled back, the wildfire trap being changed and Brienne fighting the Hound really didn't bother me. It's just a consequence of the two mediums of book and show. Season 5... yeah that was when the changes started. Season 6, I actually enjoyed despite its flaws. Season 7... well that's where I started thinking ok this is kinda cringe but I'll give it a pass due to the short season and season 8... yeah.... 

I wouldn't say seasons 5-8 make the show unwatchable, but it's a huge let down with such a great buildup. 

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