So, back before Season 5 of “Game of Thrones” began (and, we’re talking months and even years before) the Westeros fanbase indulged in a potent delusion for a while. George R.R. Martin was the leader of this particular mass hallucination, publically stating that the television versions of his fourth and fifth books could be stretched out for YEARS. Yes, people really believed that this was possible: that Benioff and Weiss would make tv viewers sit through years of Daenerys dicking around in Meereen, Tyrion mumbling about “where whores go”, and Jon Snow repeatedly thinking about how he knows nothing.
Not to mention that the show would have had to become a cooking show, as the books dwell lovingly on every piece of fowl, bread, and sweetmeat that George could imagine.
I have read all the books, and I knew that it was pretty much impossible for any successful show to sit on its heels until GRRM finished the books. (Oh, sure, we all HOPED that the books would get done, but I’ve been waiting for this series to be written for decades now.) Long point-of-view chapters work great for letting one’s characters obsess over their personal hobbyhorses. The books let us slowly watch Arya learn her trade with the Faceless Men, for example. We got to see Jaime slowly develop a spine in the Riverlands. But, let’s be honest, a lot of the characters spent a long time wandering around doing nothing for most of “A Feast For Crows” and “A Dance With Dragons.”
Dramatic tension, it wasn’t.
So it’s been a bittersweet sort of victory to see the television version of it all just blazing through the source material. I’m not fond of some of the changes the producers have made, but we knew changes were coming. The best part is seeing things HAPPEN instead of aimless wandering while GRRM attempted to solve “the Meereenese knot.”
So, my theory has been vindicated: we will not see books 4 and 5 split into two or three seasons. Looking back at those delusional forum posts and comment threads (at places like A Forum of Ice and Fire and Tower of the Hand) is oddly cheering for me. While I don’t want to actually SAY “Nanny nanny boo boo,” I do feel happy that I escaped the collective delusion. The conspiracy theories in fandom are thick and intoxicating; it’s easy to get lost in the intricacies and forget to see the bigger picture.
The only sad part is that the television show hacks off so many plot threads that one begins to wonder if the books were just jerking our chain the entire time. Why, indeed, did we spend so many hours following these characters on their rambles if their story arcs could be so easily discarded? Were the only important people in Westeros really just those beloved three characters?
It’s depressing to contemplate that I had to suffer through all the Samwell Tarly sex scenes for nothing.