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Not sure where to post this, but this is regarding A Song of Ice and Fire and what may be the main difference between it and Game of Thrones


Crazy Old Guy
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What I noticed (when I stopped liking the show completely at around season 3) was that it became very... stereotypical of the series main strengths (and sometimes weaknesses) as well as its characters.

Some examples:

Daenerys Targaryen? She was first something of a "Mary Sue" (untrue and overused word, but it'll suffice for now) throughout the show despite not being one in the book series (in spite of what some anti-Daenerys fans may say, I feel). In the end, she "goes crazy" (or... something, idk) and suddenly she's everything her detractors said she was (a person that had a good streak and was basically a "hero" to everyone up until she goes bonkers).
 
Tyrion Lannister is the "funny one." He's witty. They even have a few books and merchandise celebrating this fact. Also, he's the "Good German" of the Lannisters. Again, he's still technically done better compared to everyone else, but he is whitewashed (even his actions against the Stag Men and the dealing with the waterfront (regardless of whether it was justified or not) is kinda brushed over or not present. Also, he's pals with Varys. And Varys is good and "for the realm" like he said in the epilogue of A Dance with Dragons (and he literally goes back to advising another Targaryen monarch despite his reputation).
 
Cersei Lannister is bad, but she cares about her children. Deeply, in fact. This is what I remember certain fans in real life saying during the lead-up to the show's premiere in 2011 (she's bad, but she loves her children!). Also, she seems to really (more or less) care about Jaime in the show. She's a better example of a character "done right" in the show (because, let's face it, Book Cersei wasn't much better, imho). But even then, they play that interpretation straight. Cersei is not seeing her children as an extension of her will and she's not abusing Jaime throughout, well, much of her life. In all fairness: I do find her, at least at times, something of a Disney villain in the books, but I'll drop that for now.
 
Stannis Baratheon (I remember many years ago when the pro and anti-Stannis people couldn't shut up about this bloke and every thread was derailed that mentioned him so let's try not to do that here lmao) is a "no-nonsense" military commander and so they take away his snarky humor and most of his dialogue, especially some of the superb dialogue between him and Davos (which were the best parts of the Davos/Stannis storyline), often truncating the few lines that survive at the exact parts that may turn viewers' heads and make them say "Well, he's more human than I imagined." He's a cantankerous king with a hammy voice (he seems to not know how to chill throughout the books, which is pretty heart-breaking when you think of it, but his funny interactions with Jon Snow are nice). He's everyone's favorite orphan (well, something of a "cult character" and a "popular character" with controversy here and there), but we barely know his backstory.
 
Euron Greyjoy was jokingly called an "anime villain" by someone I know (specifically, we were talking about the books). But in the show, this is taken up to the nth degree. I wouldn't even know how to describe the escalation. It seems that it's in part due to the Ironborn being portrayed as... somehow worse than they are. I mean, the, err, bravado (which basically serves as Euron Greyjoy's inauguration speech) at the Kingsmoot is pretty much how he wins the Ironborn over. It's kinda sad because the Iron Islands are a poor place with many of its inhabitants worse off (poor soil too). I've seen many people compare them to the Dothraki (which I think is wrong and pretty silly, but it's just a fantasy series so whatever). Euron and even the Ironborn are cartoon caricatures of what they are in the book.
 
Basically, I feel that D&D may (and it's not like we'll ever really know, at least for now) have had popular conceptions of the characters they were dealing with in mind when they were running the show. They also seemed to include comedic moments or moments that were there simply for the "wouldn't it be cool if this character did that" sense.
 
Also, "honorable mentions" go to:
 
Ramsay Bolton
 
Renly Baratheon (oh God, I hate the, err, "gay jokes" made about him)
 
Loras Tyrell (same)
 
Sandor Clegane
 
Sansa Stark
 
(There are more and honestly these characters should be put there with the rest of the others up top, but eh, I'm tired and didn't sleep well last night lol)
 
Anyways, I'm probably preaching to the choir. I've barely been her since I made an account and only ever lurked here many years ago.
 
So, err, sorry if I'm just repeating what's been said; I'm kinda coming to this conclusion now and decided to air my thoughts a bit.
 
Anyways, please discuss.
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Ramsay will probably take out Roose. Stannis will burn Shireen. The Bolton's will probably kill Rickon. Jon will destroy Ramsay for control of the north. Hodor will hold the door. Sandor will destroy Robert Strong but in completely different circumstances. Dany will burn KL but it'll be mid arc. Jon will execute Dany but for different reasons. Drogon will fly away never to be seen again.

Everything else will be different.

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3 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

Ramsay will probably take out Roose. Stannis will burn Shireen. The Bolton's will probably kill Rickon. Jon will destroy Ramsay for control of the north. Hodor will hold the door. Sandor will destroy Robert Strong but in completely different circumstances. Dany will burn KL but it'll be mid arc. Jon will execute Dany but for different reasons. Drogon will fly away never to be seen again.

Everything else will be different.

That's not really what I'm getting, no offense.

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7 minutes ago, Crazy Old Guy said:

That's not really what I'm getting, no offense.

The TV show is fan theory with attempted forced shock moments. It is where D&D thought things were going, wanted things to go, and so forced things to go. It prioritised the desires of surface level character (Starks particular) fans, going hard to give them their bad ass moments. Frankly, having written as much as you have here, you've given it more credit than it deserves, more critical thought than the actual show writers did.

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1 hour ago, chrisdaw said:

The TV show is fan theory with attempted forced shock moments. It is where D&D thought things were going, wanted things to go, and so forced things to go. It prioritised the desires of surface level character (Starks particular) fans, going hard to give them their bad ass moments. Frankly, having written as much as you have here, you've given it more credit than it deserves, more critical thought than the actual show writers did.

But that's not what I said.

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Most characters in the books have a surface appearance that careless readers will take at face value. Ned constantly talks up honor. Tywin tells everyone that he's a shrewd, cool, pragmatic strategist. Sandor is too tough to show vulnerability. Tyrion tells himself that he will do justice as the Hand of the King. Varys is convinced that what he does is for the realm. Renly says that he'd be the best king for Westeros, and he certainly looks the part.

GRRM in fact works to challenge, complicate, and in some cases upend these surface appearances.

And yet, I think D&D took these surface appearances at face value. Ned is basically just a fool obsessed with honor. Tywin really is a wise master of realpolitik. Sandor never shows vulnerability. Tyrion and Varys are just good guys doing their best for the world. Renly would in fact have made the best king, according to D&D.

In part, I think they simplified the characters in ways that they felt would deliver the cleanest, punchiest story (often with a lot more humor factored in). But I also think they crucially misunderstood the story that GRRM has been telling from the get-go, and that had severe negative implications for the larger story they eventually had to craft and land on their own.

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Well Martin said the ending would be the "same but different" in the books shortly after season 8, so I'm inclined to credit that it got the broad strokes if not the style or substance. Only after the backlash did Martin start trying to distance himself from D&D not following the outline or what not, so I'm not sure how much I credit that.

Anyway, to the OP, this technically is supposed to be in the show forum. All conversation comparing the books and the show belongs over there according to forum rules, even if I don't think that makes any sense being most of the book fans don't go over there and the show fans often didn't read the books at all. 

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The showrunners did not give show viewers enough credit. They assumed show viewers would be confused by any amount of nuance. I think thats why all characters seem like one dimensional caricatures. I do know a lot of casual show only viewers who only knew the names (barely) of the main characters. But I think even those viewers would have appreciated some nuance in characters. And I cannot help but say that the showrunners were lazy. After a point it seemed like too much of an effort to introduce anything but one dimensional characters.

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23 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Most characters in the books have a surface appearance that careless readers will take at face value. Ned constantly talks up honor. Tywin tells everyone that he's a shrewd, cool, pragmatic strategist. Sandor is too tough to show vulnerability. Tyrion tells himself that he will do justice as the Hand of the King. Varys is convinced that what he does is for the realm. Renly says that he'd be the best king for Westeros, and he certainly looks the part.

GRRM in fact works to challenge, complicate, and in some cases upend these surface appearances.

And yet, I think D&D took these surface appearances at face value. Ned is basically just a fool obsessed with honor. Tywin really is a wise master of realpolitik. Sandor never shows vulnerability. Tyrion and Varys are just good guys doing their best for the world. Renly would in fact have made the best king, according to D&D.

In part, I think they simplified the characters in ways that they felt would deliver the cleanest, punchiest story (often with a lot more humor factored in). But I also think they crucially misunderstood the story that GRRM has been telling from the get-go, and that had severe negative implications for the larger story they eventually had to craft and land on their own.

I agree with everything except Varys, but that is probably my own bias against the character.

With that aside, you are absolutely correct.

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23 minutes ago, Crazy Old Guy said:

I agree with everything except Varys, but that is probably my own bias against the character.

If you have a bias against Varys, then maybe we don't disagree all that much. My take is that Varys has convinced himself that what he does is for the realm, but he's in fact driven by a self-serving ideology, and employs a rather ruthless utilitarian means of achieving his goals. For Varys, it's okay to rip the tongues from slave children as long as the Perfect Prince can rise into power. Whereas for someone like Ned or Davos, the realm is doomed if those in power take the blood of innocents. 

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3 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

If you have a bias against Varys, then maybe we don't disagree all that much. My take is that Varys has convinced himself that what he does is for the realm, but he's in fact driven by a self-serving ideology, and employs a rather ruthless utilitarian means of achieving his goals. For Varys, it's okay to rip the tongues from slave children as long as the Perfect Prince can rise into power. Whereas for someone like Ned or Davos, the realm is doomed if those in power take the blood of innocents. 

Actually, I always thought that he was kinda bad to the core in terms of just being a person that's self-serving and doesn't care about the realm at all.

But of course, it could be that I'm wrong and the sixth book, whenever it comes out, will reveal a more, err, "understandable" (you know what I mean) Varys.

We'll see in time.

Probably won't see the seventh book though!

(I kid, I kid.)

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20 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

If you have a bias against Varys, then maybe we don't disagree all that much. My take is that Varys has convinced himself that what he does is for the realm, but he's in fact driven by a self-serving ideology, and employs a rather ruthless utilitarian means of achieving his goals. For Varys, it's okay to rip the tongues from slave children as long as the Perfect Prince can rise into power. Whereas for someone like Ned or Davos, the realm is doomed if those in power take the blood of innocents. 

I agree about Varys not being the good guy he believes himself to be. whether he's got a completely self serving agenda (putting a Blackfyre on the throne) or he thinks he is serving the realm ( bringing up the perfect prince) . however , regarding tongue cut, Megorova kind of convinced me that we are misunderstanding the text which is interesting and relieving  to say the least! :

 

 

 

Edited by EggBlue
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4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

If you have a bias against Varys, then maybe we don't disagree all that much. My take is that Varys has convinced himself that what he does is for the realm, but he's in fact driven by a self-serving ideology, and employs a rather ruthless utilitarian means of achieving his goals. For Varys, it's okay to rip the tongues from slave children as long as the Perfect Prince can rise into power. Whereas for someone like Ned or Davos, the realm is doomed if those in power take the blood of innocents. 

It's also worth mentioning what happens when these mute slave children grow up and become adults?

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4 hours ago, Crazy Old Guy said:

My bad. I was talking about the books and what makes them different from the show, but I wasn't sure where it belonged.

Probably either nowhere or on the other side of the forum, the one where it is allowed to discuss both - the books AND the show, while on this side we are not allowed to discuss the show.

(Note that in this post I'm NOT discussing the show.)

In my opinion, regarding the books the differences are - is that there is a Blackfyres-plotline, and Varys here is one of them (at least I think so) and not a secret Targaryen-loyalist; Barristan Selmy is still alive, even in TWOW; there's Lady Stoneheart; Quaithe in the books played bigger role, guiding Dany and giving her advices and warnings on several occasions (additionally, in my opinion, she is Shiera Seastar and the Three-Eyed Crow); so who's that mysterious three-eyed bird is in the books, is also different; in the books "the dragon has three heads", so eventually there's going to be three dragonriders; the Faceless Men in GRRM's version has more important role (though the other readers, excluding me and a few others, still are unaware of it); in the books the "Targaryen-madness" is caused by poison - basilisk blood (the Faceless Men for generations were poisoning various Targaryens with all sorts of substances that caused their insanity, fertility problems, mental diseases (like in case with Vaela - daughter of prince Daeron, Gael the Winter Child - daughter of Jaehaerys I, Rhaegel - son of Daeron II, and probably also Tommen Baratheon (because FM didn't knew that him and Joffrey (whom the FM were poisoning with vasilisk blood) were not Robert's children, and thus shouldn't have had "Targaryen-madness", or some other kind of mental disease that was (falsely) typical for those people that were dragonseeds)).

So the main difference is that in ASOIAF there are a lot of hidden plotlines that will be gradually revealed to the readers in the following books, while in the show everything was exactly as it appeared to be, or in other words - ASOIAF is more complex. D&D had removed all the complexities out of there. For example - I think that in the books Barristan Selmy is a Blackfyre by blood, and that he is fAegon's father. Septa Lemore, in my opinion, is fAegon's mother, while Varys' parents were Jenny of Oldstones and Maelys Blackfyre. All that was not part of the show, that's why D&D killed Barri early, because they didn't knew what to do with him, because there was no Blackfyres and no fAegon there, thus no reason to keep Barri around. Etc.

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4 hours ago, Megorova said:

Probably either nowhere or on the other side of the forum, the one where it is allowed to discuss both - the books AND the show, while on this side we are not allowed to discuss the show.

(Note that in this post I'm NOT discussing the show.)

In my opinion, regarding the books the differences are - is that there is a Blackfyres-plotline, and Varys here is one of them (at least I think so) and not a secret Targaryen-loyalist; Barristan Selmy is still alive, even in TWOW; there's Lady Stoneheart; Quaithe in the books played bigger role, guiding Dany and giving her advices and warnings on several occasions (additionally, in my opinion, she is Shiera Seastar and the Three-Eyed Crow); so who's that mysterious three-eyed bird is in the books, is also different; in the books "the dragon has three heads", so eventually there's going to be three dragonriders; the Faceless Men in GRRM's version has more important role (though the other readers, excluding me and a few others, still are unaware of it); in the books the "Targaryen-madness" is caused by poison - basilisk blood (the Faceless Men for generations were poisoning various Targaryens with all sorts of substances that caused their insanity, fertility problems, mental diseases (like in case with Vaela - daughter of prince Daeron, Gael the Winter Child - daughter of Jaehaerys I, Rhaegel - son of Daeron II, and probably also Tommen Baratheon (because FM didn't knew that him and Joffrey (whom the FM were poisoning with vasilisk blood) were not Robert's children, and thus shouldn't have had "Targaryen-madness", or some other kind of mental disease that was (falsely) typical for those people that were dragonseeds)).

So the main difference is that in ASOIAF there are a lot of hidden plotlines that will be gradually revealed to the readers in the following books, while in the show everything was exactly as it appeared to be, or in other words - ASOIAF is more complex. D&D had removed all the complexities out of there. For example - I think that in the books Barristan Selmy is a Blackfyre by blood, and that he is fAegon's father. Septa Lemore, in my opinion, is fAegon's mother, while Varys' parents were Jenny of Oldstones and Maelys Blackfyre. All that was not part of the show, that's why D&D killed Barri early, because they didn't knew what to do with him, because there was no Blackfyres and no fAegon there, thus no reason to keep Barri around. Etc.

Thanks! It's been a while since I've been here and so I didn't look down. I assumed it was just for show discussion.

Anyways, my apologies.

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On 1/23/2022 at 12:38 PM, Lord Lannister said:

Well Martin said the ending would be the "same but different" in the books shortly after season 8, so I'm inclined to credit that it got the broad strokes if not the style or substance.

If something is the "same but different," then nothing about it is the same. It's simply different.

If you create something and get a patent and I create the same thing, then you can call me a thief, take me to court and watch me fry. But if you create something and get a patent only for me to create the same thing but different, then you can't do much of anything. Why? Because, in the end, it's different. Two similar but different things created by two different people at two different times.

If students are given the same assignment by their teacher and they turn in the assignment. Let's say they get the same grade. The teacher finds that their work is the same but different. Did they cheat or plagiarize? Or did they both understand the assignment and respond accordingly? If the assignment looks the same, then the students are getting in trouble. If the assignment looks the same but different...are the students getting in trouble? Let's take a bit further: let's say that they get very different grades (GRRM as student #1 gets a 85% whereas D&D as student #2 gets 50%) and student #2 gripes about how their work was essentially the same but that it was differently graded/evaluated. What would be the teacher's response?

"Same but different" is not the same. It doesn't even necessarily mean that the broad strokes were the same.

Besides, try not to put so much stock in what GRRM says when asked about the show. Dissing HBO, D&D and the adaptation that made him rich (particularly HBO and the money-making adaptation) is professional self-sabotage if not outright career suicide. This is the same man who writes the high-level, multi-faceted cunningly veiled dialogue of Varys, Tywin, Tyrion, and Littlefinger.

We also have reports of people close to GRRM saying that he was very upset and feels that they ignored him and ruined the ending.

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