Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

MercurialCannibal

[BOOK SPOILERS] The Book Was Better

Recommended Posts

Yep, the book is better; that's almost always the case for adaptations. I think it's pointless to directly compare the different media.

Personally I prefer to gauge the show against other TV shows. And it's one of the best shows I've seen.

pointless would be comparing the tv show to the book 'tarzan of the apes.' i am comparing it to that which it was adapted from.

and i am not the right person to compare it to other tv shows because presently i only watch one. that program is 'the killing' and this one has paled against it, if that is in fact the proper measuring stick. and that is something i doubt. i feel quite fine comparing it to the book it was adapted from.

for a book of the size and scope that it comes from it seems pretty obvious to me that trying to take it and cram it into only 10 hour episodes is a recipe to not at all give it the adaptation that it deserves. would two seasons to accomplish giving the book its due been so bad?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pointless would be comparing the tv show to the book 'tarzan of the apes.' i am comparing it to that which it was adapted from.

and i am not the right person to compare it to other tv shows because presently i only watch one. that program is 'the killing' and this one has paled against it, if that is in fact the proper measuring stick. and that is something i doubt. i feel quite fine comparing it to the book it was adapted from.

for a book of the size and scope that it comes from it seems pretty obvious to me that trying to take it and cram it into only 10 hour episodes is a recipe to not at all give it the adaptation that it deserves. would two seasons to accomplish giving the book its due been so bad?

Bad? No.

Prohibitively expensive? Almost definitely.

However, I was right the first time: it is pointless comparing the books to the show.

Check it:

News flash the book is almost ALWAYS better than the show.

The exceptions are few and far between (I'm not counting novelisations of shows though. They are always terribad).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the pace of the first episode felt forced and clunky. i think even a person who had not read the book might have felt that. the scene with the dire wolf discovery was almost comical. the lighting was like that of a dr. who episode, the acting poor, the dead dire wolf looked borrowed from a sci-fi channel movie set.

That's not an unfair assessment. I personally still like the show so far and am more than willing to give it time. But I can see and understand why you feel the way you do.

The books themselves spend a lot of time with characters inner thoughts. We get a lot deeper look at Eddard, Jon, Bran and the others than is possible with TV. Removing those internally focused scenes or reshaping them into externally oriented scenes does change the pacing and character of the early part of the book. In that regard I think the intro isn't the same and isn't as strong as the book. But that's only something temporary and will even out as things really start moving. And at least for me, the episode remained strong enough to watch.

* * *

Of the scenes that did change, to me the arrival and subsequent scene at Lyanna tomb and the tower scene were the biggest changes. During the arrival at Winterfell, Robert felt less like the almost manic-depressive he was in the same scenes in the book and instead like he went from "glad" to just washed out. I'm not sure why that is but I'm wondering what exactly it bodes for the character of Robert Baratheon in the series.

Despite the thinking both the actors were good picks, the tower scene felt a little more subdued. I always picked up Cersei as being a bit more panicked and Jaime as simply being far more impulsive and flippant. For an early and defining scene, particularly for Jaime, it wasn't played the way I thought it would be. Not sure if it was the writing, direction or acting. Not bad but unexpected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think television can ever be as good as a book at its best. AGOT is a damned near perfect book. Nothing could compare. I think they did the story justice. They stumbled a few times when they didn't have to and glossed over things that were well beyond budget done properly. But overall, I can't wait for more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think television can ever be as good as a book at its best. AGOT is a damned near perfect book. Nothing could compare. I think they did the story justice. They stumbled a few times when they didn't have to and glossed over things that were well beyond budget done properly. But overall, I can't wait for more.

that is one of my points, bronn.

if you are going to go through all the motions and money why not take it those extra steps to do a better job?

i will in fact watch the next episode. but, i am simply not as enamored as so many others.

still i will state that as a standalone television program is it better than the standard swill but if i am to compare it to other hbo series only it is far below the sopranos and deadwood. and i only have those two to compare it to in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that is one of my points, bronn.

if you are going to go through all the motions and money why not take it those extra steps to do a better job?

The budget was what it was going to be today, tomorrow or ten years from now. You were never going to get enough to make it perfect and if you did it would be cancelled after one year when it failed to turn a profit.

As for the stumbles, easy enough to Monday morning QB, but there is far from a consensus as to which steps were slips and which worked. Before I condemn them too strongly, I will want to hear their reasons for making the decisions they did. That won't happen anytime soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The budget was what it was going to be today, tomorrow or ten years from now. You were never going to get enough to make it perfect and if you did it would be cancelled after one year when it failed to turn a profit.

As for the stumbles, easy enough to Monday morning QB, but there is far from a consensus as to which steps were slips and which worked. Before I condemn them too strongly, I will want to hear their reasons for making the decisions they did. That won't happen anytime soon.

the desire to turn as you so aptly put it 'a damned near perfect book' into something that needs to turn a profit on the television screen is only going to not have the life and luster that it so deserves.

perhaps in future episodes i will be more able to separate the brilliance of the book from what i see on television.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too was disapointed, but this has more to do with great book vs. the tv mediums more than any fault of the show. It's just the old "The book was soooo much better than the movie" line.

The background detail that a book can deliver has no equal. Particularly books this good, and books we know so well.

The one thing that really stood out to me is that this show would seem utterly unfathomable to a new viewer. There's no way the average viewer would pick up on things like the Rebellion, Lyanna, the Targaryens importance, or where the hell they are , or where anything is for that matter. It's a massive info dump of history and interrelationships that the average viewer would not absorb.

The one thing that I think would have really helped things is if they had some sort of "intro".

What I picture when I say that is like the intro in the Fellowship of the Rings movie. A narrator comes on, we see little vignettes of the past. The voice would guide the viewer over a map of the Seven Kingdoms, giving a little bit of info and history on it. It would then detail the Targaryen reign and eventual Robert and Ned rebellion. It would then say something about how the current Targaryen heirs are in exile over here, then zoom back and say now our story begins in the dark and mysterious far north, blah blah. Show starts.

I think the only way the die hard fans are going to enjoy this show is if they somehow fully disengage their minds and just watch it, without comparing to the books and not constantly taking note of and criticizing the differences. We have to view this without expectation and with fresh eyes.

I'm going to have a hard time of doing that but I will make the effort :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the desire to turn as you so aptly put it 'a damned near perfect book' into something that needs to turn a profit on the television screen is only going to not have the life and luster that it so deserves.

That is always the unfortunate aspect of large budget productions. They are always seen as an investment by the people with the money and never as a work of art. I think that is why they were only given 10 episodes when 12 (or a 2 hour pilot) would have made a huge difference.

Keep in mind that the pilot was shot twice and footage from both were used to make what we saw. I think there were some unfortunate inconsistencies, but there have been other shows that look a bit different from the pilot once the series gets underway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think part of the reason for my admiration of the show is because I don't look at the book as anything even remotely close to "perfect". Someone who holds the book up in such an extreme (imo impossible-to-live-up-to) admiration is probably not going to respond positively to ANYTHING that is different.

I'm not trying to crap on the book or anything, I think it's absolutely incredible, one of the best ever written in the genre, but my own personality is such that I will always find flaws, no matter how great I think something is.

Acknowledging that it's a very different medium and that many of the changes are obviously the direct result of those differences, I still think that many of the changes that have been made are actually for the better. I think the scene between Jon and Tyrion, for example, is considerably better on the screen; that chapter is always something of a difficult read, as though Martin hadn't fully figured out his characters and drifted entirely too purple (and perhaps his only slips into pseudo-omniscience) in his prose.

Both the first episode of the show, and the first 100 or so pages of the novel, are essentially a stylized infodump. They have to be. It's just that it's far easier to infodump in an eloquent way on the page as compared to on the screen. I think that on any objective standard the show accomplished what it needed to accomplish with incredible skill.

As with other completely serialized shows ("The Wire" - a VERY positive comparison - jumps to mind), the only truly fair way to judge the show will be once the entirety of the season has been viewed; the season is really just one single dramatic unit. I'm predicting it holds up VERY well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The one thing that really stood out to me is that this show would seem utterly unfathomable to a new viewer. There's no way the average viewer would pick up on things like the Rebellion, Lyanna, the Targaryens importance, or where the hell they are , or where anything is for that matter. It's a massive info dump of history and interrelationships that the average viewer would not absorb.

...

I think the only way the die hard fans are going to enjoy this show is if they somehow fully disengage their minds and just watch it, without comparing to the books and not constantly taking note of and criticizing the differences. We have to view this without expectation and with fresh eyes.

I watched the premiere last night with my girlfriend. She came in with absolutely no knowledge of the story, and she amazed me with how much she gathered by what was offered. She loved all of the episode, except for Tyrion (which I agreed with).

She was immediately drawn to the fact that Joffrey doesn't look a thing like Robert, and after she saw Cersei with Jaime, she put it together that Joff is their child through incest. tbh, I didn't even think she would be able to tell that Joffrey was her son at all.

There's no way the new viewer could grasp the importance of the rebellion or the Targaryens just yet, and I really don't see why it would be important to do so. Though the scene with Robert insisting on paying his respects to Lyanna did a lot to introduce her name as somebody special. A very casual viewer wouldn't think much on it, but a very casual viewer would miss a great deal of things with any great drama.

As for it being difficult for die-hard fans to enjoy this show. That doesn't appear to be the case. I don't think the majority of the posters here are looking to name their firstborn 'Eddard', but I'd still count most of them as die-hard fans, and I am seeing overwhelmingly positive marks from the vast majority of them. Myself included.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the first talk about the TV adaptation of asoiaf surfaced on the forum several years ago, I thought that it would be extremely difficult to pull off. I was amazed that they even managed to get this far. Asoiaf is incredibly complex, with three main plots, and hundreds of sub-plots all intertwined through a massive cast of evolving characters. To display all of this in a few hours on TV is practically impossible. Therefore, I think what the producers have come up with is fabulous within known limitations. I enjoyed the first episode thoroughly. Like others have mentioned, there are defeciencies that we can nitpick on for hours on end, but ultimately, the show is about entertainment. And I think it was good entertainment. If you want the full package, just read the books again!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 seasons per book, are you crazy? You think actors are going to sign up to be in a series for 14 years? And what do you do with younger actors who are aging faster in real life than the books?

Of course the books are better, that was never ever in doubt. But live action TV is a different medium, and it has different constraints. The kinda of series you want can only be pulled off in an animation format.

My advice to you is to stop watching, you're only going to annoy yourself more because none of the future episodes will live up to your expectations either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i know his hand was in the creation of this series, but how strong was it? is he content with it? has his vision been met?

From what he has said on his blog, he "loved" the first two episodes and has said:

My hat is off to David and Dan and the team they put together. They've done an amazing job.

Now, I've wondered if he wouldn't just say these things no matter what (to sell the show). I don't think Martin would do that. At worst, he maybe too close to this project, and has just been absolutely thrilled at seeing it brought to life. Most especially, that it has been faithfully (mostly) realized.

And I feel much the same

When the first talk about the TV adaptation of asoiaf surfaced on the forum several years ago, I thought that it would be extremely difficult to pull off. I was amazed that they even managed to get this far. Asoiaf is incredibly complex, with three main plots, and hundreds of sub-plots all intertwined through a massive cast of evolving characters. To display all of this in a few hours on TV is practically impossible. Therefore, I think what the producers have come up with is fabulous within known limitations. I enjoyed the first episode thoroughly. Like others have mentioned, there are defeciencies that we can nitpick on for hours on end, but ultimately, the show is about entertainment. And I think it was good entertainment. If you want the full package, just read the books again!!

Maybe I'm a realist too, when it comes to this. I really thought it was near impossible, too. I thought the first episode was stunning. They got so much more right than was missed. But I am also very good at turning off my critical side when it comes to entertainment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 seasons per book, are you crazy? You think actors are going to sign up to be in a series for 14 years? And what do you do with younger actors who are aging faster in real life than the books?

Yeah, that's exactly the thought I had when reading that post too. Sure, taking two seasons to cover Thrones might have made that particular adaptation better--but what if there's interest in adapting the rest of the novels? Are you going to split Clash, and every subsequent book, into two seasons as well? It's extremely impractical. If the TV series stuck around to the very end of the novels (which would be all but impossible with this sort of schedule anyway), they'd either have to recast a good chunk of the roles along the way, or deal with Stark kids in their mid-late 20's.

To address the title of the topic, though: was the book better? Of course it was. TV/movie adaptations of great books are, 99 times out of 100, not as good as the source material. But I thought this first episode was very engaging, and lived up to my expectations for a live-action adaptation of this series. And since these are my favorite books ever, I think that's a pretty nice achievement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the OP although I did feel that Jaime's indifference to pushing Bran out of the window was perfectly observed. It was inconsequential to him, especially after he had just been interrupted in bonking his sister.

I thought the casting and acting of Bran, Caitlyn and Tyrion were the highlights of the first episode. Sansa however just came across as a spoilt brat, whereas in the books I feel her to start out as a naive, airhead bimbo who, as time goes on, begins to lose the naivité. Cersei too was played too much for sympathy I felt. Even when caught in flagrante delicto you didn't sense the pervading self centered evilness of the woman who'd just killed the King's Hand.

I'm hoping the series picks up, and I'm sure it will. Unfortunately however slightly underwhelmed to date.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cersei too was played too much for sympathy I felt. Even when caught in flagrante delicto you didn't sense the pervading self centered evilness of the woman who'd just killed the King's Hand.

Cercei didn't kill Jon Arryn did she? (Lysa poisoned him, and Pycelle didn't help, from what I recall)

On first reading I found Cercei to be evil, but on subsequent readings I find myself viewing Cercei as a much more sympathetic character: she is driven to protect herself and her family by hiding her crimes of adultory and incest, as opposed to outright villainy (like Gregor Clegane).

I think it is entirely reasonable for Lena Headey to play her in a sympathetic light.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cercei didn't kill Jon Arryn did she? (Lysa poisoned him, and Pycelle didn't help, from what I recall)

On first reading I found Cercei to be evil, but on subsequent readings I find myself viewing Cercei as a much more sympathetic character: she is driven to protect herself and her family by hiding her crimes of adultory and incest, as opposed to outright villainy (like Gregor Clegane).

I think it is entirely reasonable for Lena Headey to play her in a sympathetic light.

My mistake....you're absolutely correct. Strange how memories play tricks....it's so long since I read the books. Even so, I still feel it's wrong to initially portray her as a character worthy of sympathy. Maybe when she's imprisoned but not at this point.

Just off to re-read the series on my Kindle :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no way the new viewer could grasp the importance of the rebellion or the Targaryens just yet, and I really don't see why it would be important to do so. Though the scene with Robert insisting on paying his respects to Lyanna did a lot to introduce her name as somebody special. A very casual viewer wouldn't think much on it, but a very casual viewer would miss a great deal of things with any great drama.

This was the scene that was particuarly poorly handled imo. I accept the change of medium and the differences that entails but this scene was dialogue heavy in the book with very little happening inside Ned's head and i don't think that it needed to be changed as they did in the show. I'm fine with cutting back on some details and not overburdening viewers with a history lesson and a barrage of names but they took an axe to it and left it more obscure. There comes a point where, if you're cutting almost all the meat from a scene, what's the point even having the scene.

This bit also worried me about the way the producers view their audience. Shows like the Wire, Deadwood and Rome had no problem having long scenes with lots of dialogue because, for the most part, they didn't talk down to their viewers. Here i got the impression that cutting back on some important stuff like hinting at what the hell happened to Lyanna and who this "he" that Robert kills in his dreams wasn't enough. They decided the viewers needed a comedy visit to a Brothel and some tits to keep their interest.

Maybe i'm reading too much into that but i was certainly worried by the approach generally which failed to match the mature tone of the books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×