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The last episode of Game of Thrones was an announcement of intent, for the first time the show not only deviated from the books to a much larger extent than before but it also added entirely new content. The aim of this article is to discuss the impact of this as well as to a lesser extent address the two minority groups of book readers or show only fans that can paint their whole group negatively as two sides of a fight over the show and changes made within. Are the changes ever a negative or are they positive?

(I have been vigilant against anything that could be classed as a spoiler, I am only discussing things that we have seen in the show, the only exception contained is a brief mention of names of characters who have been cut completely).

How has the show changed things previously?

Often Game of Thrones is rightly praised for its amazingly accurate translation of source material, season 1 was so alike to the books that I found myself skipping the first book from halfway when I went in search of book fodder to fill the Westeros shaped hole left by season 1's ending (in time I did go back and can, in hindsight, attest to it's accuracy).

However there came a moment in early season 2 when suddenly all book readers were equally without any prior knowledge, these were scenes that were never (or at least never detailed) in the books. Some were initially concerned, was the show about to forsake the excellent narrative of G.R.R.Martin's books and forge its own path?
But whilst changes were made they only ever seemed to add to the show and the alterations always had a beneficiary. Personally after watching season 1 then reading the books between the seasons I was thrilled, once again I could enjoy not knowing how the scene would play out whilst still looking forward to/dreading the major plot points to come.

The changes were further justified by the nature of TV versus the books. Characters such as Littlefinger, Margaery and Varys (to name but a few) were brought to prominence earlier and they were fleshed out in comparison to their more elusive book-selves. Anyone who had the misfortune to know the Red Wedding was coming must have noticed that Robb Stark was transformed from the often heard of but rarely seen book version to the heroic potential protagonist of the show, and I believe the desired effect was accomplished, they somehow added even more pain and anger to his untimely death at the hands of Roose Bolton.

Scenes were invented to bolster the story of some or to simply add an interesting partnership that could create wonderful TV. Varys and Littlefinger's verbal sparring being a particular highlight or Arya being cup-bearer to Tywin instead of Roose (as she is in the books) at Harrenhal. No book lovers were disputing these inventions as they gave us insight and time with the more peripheral of the series' characters.


We've all benefited from minor characters getting more prominent roles

The very nature of the books is not always conducive to giving the whole picture as each chapter follows one of the set PoV (point of view) characters, and whilst the main core of the show are included (Tyrion, Arya, Jon, Dany, Bran, Jaime, Sansa, Davos, Eddard, Brienne, Cersei and others) there are many more left in the shadows with only their direct interaction with these characters allowing us to get a better picture of them. It is natural that the show needed to make some scenes, as whilst we miss out on the internal dialogue that does delivers great insight into the book's PoV characters others were in direct need of more screen time in order to round them out.

Are any changes worthy of complaint?

On the whole the show has done a wonderful job of delivering all the moments as experienced in the books, the lines delivered in early season are more often than not quoted word for word from the books. After all some characters such as Tyrion speak so eloquently, wittily and entertainingly that there simply wouldn't be a need to alter it.

There are those that bemoan any changes whatsoever (more on them later), however for the vast majority who debate the changes the comments are based around either missing characters or missed moments. As we all find different parts of a story resonate with us it is understandable that some will feel slightly irked by one of their favourite little moments or witticisms being missed, these are the unfortunate little touches that many would not notice but nip at those who loved that particular moment or line of dialogue.
Similarly some characters have been cut out or amalgamated into other characters, for a TV show of the already vast size of GoT we can all understand this but the absence of Strong Belwas or Coldhands is still a shame. I would class these little changes as worthy of debate even if they won't adversely affect the overall story (in fact more likely benefiting it by freeing up time to build upon more central characters).

In short there are few changes worthy of complaint but plenty worthy of debate (something that is too often confused with one another). In fact if you have asked me directly after watching Joffrey draw his last tyrannical breath whether the show had made any truly bad changes I would be stumped. But as we all know then came episode 3 and THAT scene (check out GrumpyClown's article on it), this proved to be the one defining moment where a change went wrong and Jaime's character and redemption was diminished for it.


No follow up on the controversial scene?

To be honest with the benefit of episode 4 I am of the belief that this wasn't so much a change as it was an error in direction leading the scene to come off as rape when they never intended it to be taken as such (before anyone goes too crazy, I am NOT denying that the scene we were shown was rape), I am of this opinion not only because in the books it is consensual but from the lack of follow up the TV show made on this subject.

How Episode 4 Chartered New Ground

As many will have gleaned from the comments on Tim's review, this episode was something different, something new. The changes were no longer minor characters being fleshed out or new interactions to build a background. These were new inventions in the stories of major characters, Bran and Jon in particular.

To illustrate just what I mean, Bran never goes to Craster's Keep in the books, nor does Jon return. Not only this but the previous naive thought that the change of (book character) Vargo Hoat into (TV show counterpart) Locke was needless seems ridiculous as they have built something more from him, (For those that are interested Vargo is dead at this point from an infected wound gained when Brienne bites his ear off mid attempted rape at Harrenhal, he is otherwise the very similar in action but not in persona). It is thrilling for book readers to not know a whole character and his intentions, we can theorize along with the rest and truly enjoy an unknown aspect to the show (he must be there to try and kill Jon right?).


He doesn't look trustworthy does he? Roose's plan to deal with Jon Snow perhaps?

Bran's story change is once again understandable, his story somewhat stagnates in the books until he gets where he is going. But with the subtle addition of everything at Craster's we get a more entertaining show with the potential for an unscheduled meet up between Jon and Bran (although we've all learned that those happy moments rarely occur in this world).
The attack on Castle Black is seemingly being built up and possibly left for the big budget moments of episode 9, but this left us with nothing much for Jon to do before then.

Along with entering new ground (or indeed forging their own) the show-runners would have known that some will automatically worry, their concern being that going off book (literally) could lead to needless padding to fill out the show. However this concern should have no legs in the minds of the fans, it is clear that in David Benihoff and D.B.Weiss we have two fantastic show runners who know exactly what they are doing, everyone should have faith in them.

All this deviation may also be necessary for other reasons; it is no secret that the timeline of the books gets a bit weird as book 4 only contains certain characters, and consequently the show has been taking bits from book 3 part 2 - book 5 part 1. By giving us new scenes they are smoothing it all out a bit.

TV Show Only vs Book Readers?

When reading through the comments of any GoT review you can occasionally see a book reader complaining of changes, which in turn creates those complaining about book readers. Often though this, in my opinion, is based off miscommunication. The majority of book readers I know and those on TV.com are equal fans of the show (after all they must be quite fond of TV in general to find themselves here) and whilst I understand that seeing people comparing their beloved show to books means very little to those who haven't read them there must be an understanding that to compare something to it's source material is a natural action.

What sometimes surprises me is how people often jump to the wrong conclusions. Some read any comparison as an attack on the show when often it is more a source of debate and conversation. The truth is that the large majority often gets out-shouted by a minority, we are all fans of the show and it is a small group who complain about any and all changes without reflecting on their importance or necessity. Equally there is also a minority on the "other side" who see any comment about changes as worthy of scorn before telling them to get off a TV site. The reality is these small minorities are the not the view of most, and the debate between fans of Westeros & Essos, no matter in what form, is a large part of the enjoyment of visiting this site for myself and many I am sure.

Of course there are also the worst of the worst, the ones who post spoilers outright or talk of general things to come which are also spoilers. These people paint a bad name for all book readers.

Seriously anyone who spoils stuff, the many faced god is coming for you.......
.....wait a minute...

Getting the Complete Picture

A friend of mine texted me having seen the latest episode before I had; "Either I've forgotten a lot or they are making big changes", I replied; "As long as it's awesome, I don't care", his simple reply; "It is."

He was certainly correct. As I said this episode showed that the TV show is not afraid to invent scenes, however even including the new additions made in this episode the information gleaned was still not revolutionary, it was avoiding stagnation in Bran and other stories or performing the same tasks of previous changes. And then the final scene happened


Hmm, could it be?

Out of the white came a figure, I am sure I was not the only one who's first thought was "Coldhands?". From a baby's perspective we confirmed this was not this was a White Walker.

This was unprecedented, never have we had even a hint of the White Walkers's ways, not in future books or any other source. As the figure shuffled his undead horse along I wondered how far we would follow him, waiting with baited breath; would we see something, anything of who these foes actually are?

And with a thunderous impact we got our answer as we witnessed the birth of a White Walker, from the whelp of Craster's incest, who's eyes were turning blue at the touch of another King Beyond the Wall, but where Mance has Wildlings this guy seems to be King of the White Walkers (spiky horn crown and all), we witnessed something completely unknown by anyone but G.R.R.Martin and D.Benihoff/D.B.Weiss.


Brand new and brilliant information
It was a shattering moment. This was the point in which the TV show truly stopped being a translation of the books or a way to enjoy new twists and a cinematic experience to a beloved story. This is the point in which the TV show declared itself to be an integral and necessary part of the whole experience.




Really appreciate anyone taking the time to read this and let me know what you thought in the comments. This is my first article on a community page but have been enjoying others' posts for a long time now.

It seems the precedent is to politely ask that if you enjoy the article please click the heart to show your fondness. But I hope that you also let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Anyone who had the misfortune to know the Red Wedding was coming must have noticed that Robb Stark was transformed from the often heard of but rarely seen book version to the heroic potential protagonist of the show, and I believe the desired effect was accomplished, they somehow added even more pain and anger to his untimely death at the hands of Roose Bolton.


Sorry cannot agree with any of that Robb Stark became the heroic potential protagonist (in my eyes) in the scene Where we heard his bannermen first cheering "The King in the North" when i read this scene i was d*mn well cheering too and I d*mn well cheered when I watched it as well :-) near identical scene book and show.

Robb is of course then "beytrayed" 3 Times by his own people Rickard Karstark killing the hostages Edmure Tully disobeying Robbs orders and spoiling his plans and Catelyn freeing Jaime. as far as i recall again all three incidents pretty much identical in book and show.

Its also been suggested that in the books he broke his promise to wed a Frey
and instead married Jeyne Westerling (not the girl from the show ) due to his sense of honour and duty as he had bedded her in a moment of weakness and did not wish to potentially father a bastard on her thus repeating Eddards own "Sin"

What reinforces this and makes Robbs fate truly tragic is the revelation we find out later POTENTIAL BUT HIGHLY UNLIKELY SPOILER ALERT

In the books Jeyne lives and Robb had been totally set up to marry her.



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Truth be told, what hurt the most was not that Robb was an heroic figure at the time, but that the show made him a father-to-be.

Those last few seconds the audience could almost picture him teaching baby Eddard how to ride were liteally the happiest of the character's life...and then they killed his baby inside his mother's womb. It was all the most devastating because you realize that last scene with Catelyn is the first time Robb can actually understand how she has felt since they lost Ned & the girls.
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Yea I wasn't saying that Robb isn't important in the books but that the TV show had made him more central, as we don't have PoV chapters from him we were lacking the direct insight into his thoughts.

They also built up Tulisa to this effect, whereas Jeyne Westerling is a minor character at the most in the books in terms of dialogue and action.

The main points of Robb's story you have highlighted are pretty much the same but I for one found TV show Robb to be more fleshed out and central, which is partly due to the nature of TV versus non-PoV book characters.

As to the different reason for marrying, whilst you are right that Jeyne is supposed to be pregnant Robb decides to marry her simply because they slept together regardless of whether he got her pregnant because he has honour. He wasn't set up as they fell in love whilst she nursed him back to health after his attack on the Crag.
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Someone has to step up and say it. The narrative in the books becomes increasingly muddled the further you read. It is pretty clear that George Martin is not actually up to the task of weaving such a complex story into a coherent whole. He leaves some excellent characters woefully underdeveloped, and effectively ends up writing a series of linked, but not integrated stories. Hopefully he will pull them back together if he ever gets around to publishing more of the story, but I do rather fear that things are destined to fizzle out in rampant confusion.

On the other hand, the TV writers are doing a much more disciplined job of keeping the various threads much more coherently intertwined. They are also making much better use of some of the characters who otherwise simply get parked and forgotten for hundreds of pages. They seem to have a much better handle on motivation and plotting, and they should be applauded for producing that rare thing - a TV series that is better than its original source material.
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Seriously ?

I mean come on the show is great dont get me wrong and apologies if this comes over as patronising but the books are FAR greater in scope scale and complexity.

The show HAS to be condensed and tweaked HBO has a budget to keep to, GRRM most certainly does not.
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I don't disagree with you. The point I was making was that the TV writers are telling the story in a much more coherent way.

The books fall victim to their very complexity and broad scope. I have no problem with George Martin's writing. His narrative and dialogue are both excellent and compelling.

Where he falls down is in plot management. He fails to be disciplined or methodical in creating the structure of the narrative. When reading the later books, I have a terrible urge to deconstruct them, taking all the chapters apart and recombining them in a structure that makes more sense.

To my way of thinking, this is what the TV writers are doing, which is an essential part of adpting the material to that medium. If they had simply followed the books, then the TV series would lack much of its "tautness".

Different media require different approaches, but they all require discipline and care to make the the most of both the constraints they impose and the opprtunities they offer.
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Thanks for this great article! I’m trying to re-read book three right now and try to compare the book and the series. Mostly I totally agree with you. Except (and I haven’t read this in the comments yet): the big spoiler for the readers wasn’t a spoiler. We know that the White Walkers are Craster’s sons since “A Storm of Swords“ when Sam and Gilly flee from the mutineers. (One of the daughter-wives says that Craster’s sons are coming.)
It stuck in my mind because I read the third book after season three and I always thought Craster’s sons would be killed by the White Walkers (to drink their blood or whatever). So when I read these lines it was absolutely clear to me that they are becoming White Walkers – and that Craster’s women knew about it.
Or did you mean it was a spoiler in a way we as the readers weren’t 100 % sure about it (well perhaps not all of us?).
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Firstly, thanks glad you enjoyed it. I wouldn't call it a spoiler really. Rather a revelation of new information, but not that they were being turned in itself. We knew his sons were being turned as you say, but we had never had been shown this or anything really at all of the White Walkers and their ways.

The only time previously we have seen them is during minor battles with the Night's Watch or at the fist of the first men attack.

So it wasn't so much the information that the babies were turned but that they are a society of some sort and not deranged zombie types, and they have a king, a king who can turn babies. As well as simply seeing them in some new totally unmentioned manner.
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Ah, now I understand. Thank you! I probably didn't get it the first time because in my mind the WW were always something like misunderstood frozen elves who were a bit slow and not zombie-like monsters.
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Yea I suppose that wasn't a fair comparison as I agree they aren't zombies but just emphasising that until now anything of their ways has been unknown, only the results of those ways.
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First and foremost, great article, MintberryCrunch!
I just love your critical mind!

IMO the changes in GoT were brilliant so far ESPECIALLY considering the failing rate of "books to TV" adaptations. Sure, the rape scene was a shock but I trust the GoT writers and its show runners... AND IN ANY CASE, the season is not over yet.

From watching and re-watching GoT past seasons, my opinion is that all gets somewhat "resolved" at episode 9 (and 10 is to conclude and set the pace for next season).

ACTUALLY, we are in luck this year, I find that there is a lot more going on and we get far more answers than in the previous seasons.

I used to be a books-only kind of fan which is weird considering that I started by watching GoT on TV...My complaints were mainly too much sex/nudity even for HBO and not enough insight into the characters intentions...I had to re-watch the first 3 seasons before turning to a TV+books fan and allow time for the GoT TV team to "wow" me.

Side notes : My favorite episode ever in GoT is episode 4 Season 4. My second favorite is The Red Wedding...no, I am not a bloodthirsty TV fan, but The Red Wedding made a real first impact for me.
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I have not read through all of the comments, so forgive me if this has been stated... but when I watched the show I did not see a true rape. I saw a man that was passionate, a woman that was conflicted but eventually became as passionate as him. I think that is what was meant to come across, but apparently failed in an epic way. I was actually surprised by the whole controversy.
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My only regret was the House of Undying prophecy/vision-fest change which I was looking forward to a lot. Specially to see Reagar when he talks about how "his song is the song of Ice and Fire" (loosely quoted). But again I realized if they showed that it might have spoiled a lot.
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After-thought: The House of Undying visions are basically a blueprint to the entire story and what is going to happen. So again spoiler-diversion!
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Good article, totally agree with your points on Book vs Show people. I try not to mention the books at all in comments and keep it to the show. I love the books, I love the show. I have no problem with the show deviating from the books because they are different mediums. I understand that it is harder for the show to get some things across to us because we get a first person narrative in the books, which isn't possible in the show. Also the books can take a lot more time to explain things and add loads more characters than it would be ever be possible for a tv show to do. So it makes sense to change characters slightly, to give them more roles, to amalgamate smaller characters into one. This doesn't affect the overall larger story arcs.
However, I do have a huge issue with the show revealing things from books that haven't been published yet. The books come first to me. I started this series 16 years ago, and have had multiple rereads, so far that's over 6,000 pages of story. While the tv show is fantastic, it is nowhere near as epic or great as the books. I already can't understand why Martin can't finish the books, or at least get the next one out there. My issue is not with the show. I know the producers want the best show possible, and I want that too. My issue is with Martin. It feels like a real slap in the face to his fans who have been following and waiting (im)patiently for years for this story to be completed. He can tell Weiss and Benioff the ending but can't write it???
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Interesting!
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Great article but borgs come on . I know many (book) fans dont go on the (book) forums for fear of spoilers but you HAVE to know GRRM did a shedload of work on AFFC/ADWD which he then subsequently scrapped because it just didnt work he was unhappy with it and STARTED OVER (largely). I have to hand it to the guy for doing that . In his words "I know where all the characters are going to be at the end i just need to find out how they get there"
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I don't know, of course, but my guess is that he has been dealing with an unexpected avalanche of work due to the show and just does not have the time that he did before the show let everyone in on Westeros and its fascinating people (and creatures!). I am sure he is doing all that he can to get the books written, but it takes time to write things down, obviously much more time than it takes to tell them, or even think of them.
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There has been 4/5 years between all his books, so the show and extra commitments don't come in to it. Martin has stated that he knows how the books end, that he has it plotted out, so why can't he write it down? I'm used to 4/5 years between his books, so if that's what he needs at least he's consistent, but now he is giving book spoilers to the show and that's not fair on book readers who have been following this for two decades. Imagine if the show only aired one season every 4 years?!
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sorry if im being a bit snotty here no offense but above are the publishing years copied and pasted direct from the wiki.

As we all know the books (and the show) are getting bigger and bigger more characters more locations etc but as far as the show spoiling stuff for the readers is concerned i am in agreement with (some) of your earlier post
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I don't mean to rant at you, it's just very frustrating.
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I do understand your frustration, really. I am not a book reader, well, until recently. I just began reading because I envy the background knowledge that the readers have. I just think that he was very surprised at the speed from the initial pitch to the series being almost caught up, and the toll that takes on his time.
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Even though I haven't read the books until now, I've picked "TV and Books, I just can't get enough of Westeros" because I know how I will spend my days after Season 4 has finished.
Well-balanced article!
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Thanks, you've managed to hold out much longer than I did, I gave in after 1 season.
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That's just because I've become this huge nerdy fan like four weeks ago, when I watched the first three seasons in a row in just a few days when I was sick and needed some distraction and entertainment. The starting of Season 4 right after was a great coincidence. So I created the plan to spend the time between the seasons wisely by reading the books. (Not that I have four of them standing on my bookshelves for years now... ;-))
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Great article, Mintberry.
I'm still pissed about the Jaime/Cersei scene. It wasn't intended as rape but it came off as a rape. That's unforgivable. It's weird for me that some people can't get over it but it was a major distraction and now good and just people seem to have a major problem with Jaime now and I can't blame them. It was obviously directed by a total moron. Sure we will get those ambiguous scenes a lot in the future for they will change more and more in the seasons coming, but yeah, that's how it is. It's a tv show, they have a tight schedule, and I'm prepared to be more "forgiving" then.
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Sorry guys, I have read and seen the show so far and I don't get your frustration over that scene.

OF COURSE, I won't dispute the fact that it was rape (no argument from me here).

However, we are talking about Jaime Lannister here, peeps. I love Jaime, but I am still well aware that he nearly killed Bran and he killed his cousin. Actually, the rape isn't that surprising considering how Cersei rebuked him for not getting to King's Landing in a timely manner AND the fact that Cersei threatened Brienne. Jaime sacrificed a lot for her (his hand, fatherhood at least 3 times) but what does he get in return?

Cersei is a passive-agressive time bomb herself. You guys ought to watch Breaking Bad season 1 (there is a similar situation happening and it's only 9 episodes, so no biggie).

OF COURSE, this does not excuse the rape, there is no excuse for rape.

BTW : 1. I was a book fan before becoming a TV+book fan so the books usually come first. Not this time though.
2. I read all the books before watching season 4. This way, the rape scene, probably an indicator of things to come, is noticed. If they had followed the books that scene would have been forgotten among the myriads of sex scenes GoT already has.
3. It's TV. It's HBO.
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I for one don't get the controversy, in a show where people are castrated, have incest, have throats slashed, are tied to bedposts and shot with arrows... all of a sudden that "scene" in an already violent fictional show has put people in outrage? Am I in Bizarro World? Half or all of Casters Keep were raped, people have limbs cut off and all sorts of nasty stuff happens so is it just OK to see a peasant/whore raped but not a princess or WTF? People should really get their heads right if this is a big deal to them. It's like being more infuriated about political incorrectness but being OK with ongoing slaughter, starvation and exploitation of people in nations across the world. I guess people want their own brand of selective homogenized cosplay but sheesh get a life!
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Definitely their biggest misstep, and agree that it was due to stupidity rather than a desired change. The problem is people who just view the show will understandably find it hard to sympathises with this idea as that is what they know of Jaime. Suppose you are right and we need to be more forgiving but I do hope this is the anomaly in their otherwise fantastic record of translating the books.
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First of all excellent story. Second, when I saw "MintberryCrunch" I knew we were destined to agree on many things because South Park, and based on your avatar we watch similar shows :-) But I digress ...

The show has to digress from the source material for one gigantic reason: HBO wants to get 7-8 seasons out of it. As everyone keeps saying in the social media world at the rate the show has been going it would have far out-paced George R. R. Martin's writing (and I'm not going to jump on the hurry up GRRM bandwagon because the man has given us gold and however long it takes him to spin his crazy thoughts into gold is however long it takes). Due to this, they've have to use creative liberties to add in new story lines with some teeth (i.e. Bran and Jon at Craster's Keep) to avoid it seeming like filler and appearing to genuinely belong in this world. Now, HBO could have gone about this in many other ways (such as: not keeping pace with the books and finishing the series before the books are done; not trying to suck 7-8 seasons out of it; fleshing out things from the books that hadn't been earlier on, etc.) but this is the path they decided to take, and it's likely the path of least resistance and most profitability for them so I can't blame them. It will be interesting though.
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Thanks very much. Secondly: the two best comedies on TV in my opinion, not least because both are performed by the creators/writers.

Whether the show will catch up with the books and what this would mean is an entertaining debate. I agree that it seemingly was an almost foregone conclusion that they would overtake until they took some invention with the story so am equally intrigued by their chosen path. At present it seems to make sense but it will be interesting to see whether they can keep it up when they are working mainly off book 4 next season, which I think will be their trickiest season (in terms of retaining viewers/interest) for many reasons even with them smoothing out book 5 with 4.

I suppose it all depends on when G.R.R.Martin delivers a new book, as you say I wouldn't rush him but would love it if somehow we got it next year.....4 years between them....that could happen, right?......right?......(dam, the likely reality is more depressing).
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I agree it will be interesting to see how it will unfold and how next season effects viewership. Though, I think for people paying for HBO I doubt they'd cancel the service just because they don't like certain aspects, and if they're paying for the service they might as well watch. Though I could be given viewers too much credit :-)

I'm with you on the book. I don't think it's out of the question for us to get a book in 2015. It's a lose, lose situation though IMO. One of the reasons that I think it's taking him so long to get the book out is because it's very involved with the show - he's co-executive producer and he's also a writer. The more involved he is with the show the better the show will be, but the longer the wait for the book. If he were to divest his hands-on approach with the show he would get the book out a lot faster but the show would suffer. I'm optimistic though that 2015 will be the year - though my money's on the holiday season.
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I must admit I've been a little wrong-footed by these latest changes and am curious to see where this all leads...

The two changes that concern me though are the absence of Jayne Poole and also the way they've made Sam Tarly into a bigger coward than he is in the book. In particular the handling of the scene where he stabs one of the white walkers and then gets chased by crows / ravens (not sure which, it was dark!).

For any of the other changes, I can see what Dan & David are trying to do even if I'm not always keen on the outcome.

Anyway Mr. Crunch, thanks for the great article!
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Jeyne Poole is an interesting one, I have discussed it with others and I think that whilst it would have been easy to have her in there early they were likely worried about casting someone young and then not returning to them for years. Her character can in effect be summarised and delivered in one scene and whilst this wouldn't be as good as in the books the quality of story lost would still be minimal. So I can kind of see the TV logic in that one, although as I say still would have liked it in there, they could always recast with little effect as well.

Sam should indeed have been made a little less cowardly in that scene, I was just a bit disappointed with that whole change as the Night's Watch's trek back to the wall is much better in the books. But I suppose they wanted to give more time to Gilly and Sam to build it up a bit.

"I can see what Dan & David are trying to do even if I'm not always keen on the outcome."
I think that is my general opinion as well, there have been very few changes that you can not understand the reason for. And more and more I am enjoying the unknown extras.

Thanks, very much appreciated.
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That's a fair point with Jayne, though I'm just worried about it feeling forced if she's dropped in at the last minute when needed.

And the crow scene always irks me twice as in the books the birds help rather than attack Sam and I can't understand why that would be changed - not with everything to do with Bran.

Still some changes have been for the better - Shae's reaction to Tyrion's marriage to Sansa makes more sense and it was great to see what Ramsey did to Theon.

And funnyl3unni,
"the man has given us gold and however long it takes him to spin his crazy thoughts into gold is however long it takes"
That quote alone has just made my day!
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Mintberrycrunch, thank you for a great read. Below people have stated that they feel the changes are in line with the essence of the books. I completely agree with that, being a book reader myself. I love both! There were times in the books where I was like, "THIS IS SSSOOO boring" (gasp, what did I just write? Yes.) that the show can spice it up. If it wasn't for the spice, I'd probably be falling asleep. I absolutely feel the show complements the books very well.
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A direct translation of Feast with loads of time spent with Sansa and Brienne would be a sure fire way to lose all their viewers. They do compliment each other and I agree the books can drag, mainly for me at the aforementioned early stuff of book 4.
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Hmmm, the pictures aren't loading any more for me. Is this just me?
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I didn't get to see the pictures. :( Oh well your words with awesome enough, so I could "get the picture". :)
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Finally got them working, I hope. Thanks.
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i also don't think it was rape. i mean she fought initially but seemed to give in at the end. its like convincing someone to have sex with you and she says no then later agree after going down there ;)
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I am soo glad I haven't read the books. you guys have to put up with what will happen, what changed and what didn't while I just sit back and enjoy awesomeness.
The show is great and I am happy about it and am not going to read the books because I hate killing suspense. I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the book anyway because of the vast majority of characters involved (I barely recognized the characters throughout season 1 and had to rewatch it....I have problem with names and faces)
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Fair enough, keep watching the TV show until it ends but I would advise then trying the books. It is somewhat different to what you say, you actually see more of the main characters and get their inner thoughts but much less of the other more minor characters that the show has brought to the forefront, so you get a mix of better insight into PoV characters but perhaps less from the others.

I think anyone who enjoys either format should try the other because they both bring slightly different things to make a better whole picture of the story
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Excellent piece! I read the first three books, then started the fourth, saw that it didn't deal with the characters I was dying to find out about, got annoyed, too impatient to find out about Tyrion or Daenerys to want to wade through pages after pages of new characters from the Citadel, or the Iron Islands or Dorne and closed the book - telling myself I would come back to it later. I still haven't. So I guess you could say my love for the books dwindled gradually, when it's been the opposite for the show.

I was very critical of season 1, finding that it had been a rushed affair crammed with too many things. I complained bitterly that this show didn't know how to "breathe". I thought the book was so much better, of course. Season 2 was hit and miss, but the characters grew in strentgh and so did the plots and gradually the show started getting more and more things right with only the occasional mistep (WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?????). Season 3 was amazing (I higly recommend the Blu-Rays because the picture quality is exceptional).

I am all in favour of the deviations from the books. I think most of the time these changes are legitimate and made to A) spare us the lengthy boring bits where nothing much of interest happens and b) avoid turning the show into an embarassing Grand Guignol farce by casting "high risk" characters like Vargo Hoat - who might look ridiculous on screen no matter how well they are cast. The same goes for Patchface or Strong Belwas. They may be fun characters in the books for some (I don't care for them, but I know I'm in a minority) but I understand that the show-runners' reticence at casting characters that are a challenge to translate convincingly on a screen. Comic relief is a dicey affair and not really what this show needs. I'm not saying there is no humour in the show, but it is used sparingly and that's the way it should stay.

I like how the show also give characters who - thanks to the actors who play them - shine through, more screen time, like Margeary, Varys, Olenna, or Brienne.

As for the WhiteWalkers, I think what the show did with them is great. I was genuinely scared when the baby was laid on that ice slab. I was expecting a sacrifice - big gush of infant blood or something equally horrific, so it was a huge relief when the baby merely got 'turned'.

At the risk of being crucified by the book readers it feels to me like the show is streamlining the books and improving on its dodgier parts, making it a leaner, more efficient machine. Of course the books should not be dismissed if only for the huge mythology and world building they carry within them. As things stands books and show complete each other and it makes us very lucky readers/watchers.


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Most book readers agree with you on how boring the fourth book is, and how it involves characters we're less interested in, although the Dorne and Iron Islands storylines have some fans. I found most of it fairly boring, particularly those sections.

There is a good solution out there to balance out the storyline better. Some fans have suggested combining your reading of the two books, and have even figured out the best way to read it, with listings of what chapters of each book to read when. This allows you to read everything in mostly chronological order, and intersperses the more popular characters with some of the more boring stuff.

Mainly, it just involves reading a few chapters from each book at a time, then switching to the other. There are few chapters that should be skipped, or cut ahead to, mainly just to avoid some minor spoilers involving Sam and Dorne that are talked about early in book 5, but not revealed until later in book 4.

To find the info, google Ball of Beasts or A Feast for Dragons. I found the All Leather Must Die site had the best ordering and explanation. There are also e-reader versions of the combined book, but those are obviously only intended for people who actually own both books.

I hope this helps!
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Wow, thank you so much David, this is fab. I will definitely check out those sites. I have book 4 on my Kindle and the 5th one in two paper-backs that obviously I haven't touched yet. This is definitely going to make me want to pick those books again. So great that fans took the time to do something like this.
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I read the books having watched the first season so I am obviously of a different disposition towards season 1 but I can sympathise with your thoughts on book 4. I blitzed through book 2 and 3 but hit a wall about 1/4 of the way into book 4 and it took a while to get back to it. It does get a lot better nearer the end and some of the things can be great to build the world but Brienne and Sansa chapters do drag at you.

So I agree that the show needs to take inventions to smooth out the whole weird timeline thing and invented scenes are sometimes a good way to keep all stories at the same pace. Dany and Bran really do start to become slow in the books.

I think your point about the more ridiculous characters is spot on. I had thought about Vargo Hoat in this sense already but I can see the argument for Strong Belwas as well, or indeed Patchface. They wouldn't have fit with the TV shows' depiction of the world.

Perhaps my favourite part of the show in comparison to the books is as you say the greater time spent with interesting but rarely seen characters in the books. Olenna was kind of great but has been made even better. Varys too and Margaery. Brienne I have to say has been better because in the books I really do not care for her as much as others' stories so certainly the actors/actresses have brought more life and with it a bit more likeability.

White Walker scene was great, intensity and tension was palpable before revealing just how things were going to be in the show i.e. more truly new scenes. It was a fantastic ending which for me is up there with the best of the series.

I think that is a fair comment, the show is more streamlined which makes it a more fluid entertaining ride but as you say the world creation involved in the books is just vast. I would advise any fan of either to try the other with their own desired order, I would even advise making it through the slog of early book 4 in order to enjoy the rest.
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Martin reportedly felt that they altered Vargo so much on the show that he asked that they change his name, which is how we got Locke on the show.

Book 4 in general is hard to get through. One of the biggest problems with both books 4 and 5 is that neither really has the intended and proper endings for each. Most of the storylines in book 4 are concluded at the end of book 5. But that made book 5 so big that he had to cut our a lot of the ending material -- including two major battles, and push it into the next book. So we won't really get the intended ending for book 5 for another year or more, though we've gotten some of it in the released preview chapters.
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Vargo and Locke are radically different in terms of actual persona that is for sure. I understand the change to fit the tone of the shows with less outlandish characters, but I did miss having him spitting out "kingthlayer".

I have read a couple of the preview chapters but after the latest one I have decided to avoid any more, so many stories are on the brink of huge crescendo moments I just want to enjoy it as a whole. As you say the pushed back stuff should make book 6 awesome right from the off.
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I haven't read the books yet - may read them when all books are published or the show is completed.

But I think that maybe the scene at the end of the episode is not really a change but a showing of something you haven't read yet because let's face it. A some point the show will catch up on what Martin has written and will either have to just continue or will have to wait until he has finished the book. Personally I hope they'll just continue and let him finish the books in his own time.

But I do understand if you are concerned about changes from the book. I feel the exact same way when I've read a book that is filmed later. And unfortunately more often than not the film doesn't do the book Justice. At least with GoT it seems as if the serie's doing the books Justice.
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I would definitely advise giving them a go at some point, even if its after the show has finished and you know the ending. Both formats offer differences.

I agree, the scene is definitely a showing of something that hasn't happened. But the books will not be able to illustrate it the same way because each chapter is from a particular character's point of view and none of the characters are White Walkers obviously. So its great for them use the medium of TV to be able to do that and really show us new stuff, that may perhaps never be "witnessed" in the books.

To be fair my concern over changes has nearly always been repaid with entertaining inventions or understandable TV specific necessary changes. This comparing process thought is, in my opinion, a natural thing to do as you say with film or TV. Yes that is the golden point, the show is definitely doing justice for the books. However as a TV fan first and then books perhaps I do not see it in the same way as all.
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Excellently written. As long as the change is still able to resonate and capture the essence of books and keep the things exciting I am not one to complain.
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Thanks, very much appreciated. My thoughts exactly, lets hope they keep that essence and excitement going.
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Excellent, timely article MintBerryCrunch. I enjoy the books and the show, each has strengths the other can't match, although overall the books are still much better.

There's little point complaining about most of the stuff being cut from the books, there's only 10 episodes per season after all. Considering the length of the source material they've done an admirable job keeping the show coherent.

There is one area I think the show gets into trouble it's the padding scenes involving characters that were non-POV in the books but are main (or mainish) characters in the show. Sometimes these scenes are enlightening but sometimes they seem like filler and when they replace more relevant material from POV characters you wonder why. Most of the POV stories could use more material, e.g. Jon Snow's killing of Qhorin was much less effective in the show due to a lack of build up.

And sometimes characters seem to have nothing to do but talk and reveal spoilers. Varys and Littlefinger's scene in Season 1 just seemed like talking for the sake of it and for characters specialising in secrecy and misdirection it seemed completely out of character. Barristan and Jorah's verbal sparring is similar. When Varys told Tyrion about the dragons it spoiled the effect of him finding out later on. When Littlefinger tried to get Sansa to leave at the beginning of Season 3 it made his involvement in her eventual abduction less surprising. Tywin talking with Oberyn about the Mountain will also lessen the impact of events to come, as will Jaime's questioning of Tyrion in gaol.

Those are the examples I thought of first but I'm sure there are others I've forgotten. While the show is excellent it does sometimes struggle to get the balance right. In the future I hope it finds a way to give the non-POVs more scenes without being filler or spoilers and I hope it manages to keep the big moments dramatic.
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The new padding scenes can go both ways you are right. Qhorin's death was certainly not as understandable and built up as it was in the books but perhaps the show runners intended it that way, to keep people guessing about Jon's true allegiance where as in the books it is certain. But I do agree it would have been better with more time to build up the two together.

Whilst Varys and Littlefinger were acting out of character I think I just enjoy both characters so much that it was nice to have more time with them. You are right that they have inadvertently sold short some future scenes, I couldn't agree more about Littlefinger's prior talk with Sansa, it sucked away a lot of mystique.

However whilst I agree with all the weak parts you have highlighted we do have to admit that these are book reader only problems and the show needed to build up some as TV viewers need more than just the flash in pan moments they often otherwise deliver in the books.
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Nice article Mintberry, well done!
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Thanks, very appreciated.
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Keep 'em coming!
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I like better what they are doing with Arya and The Hound on the show because the book only hinted, never showed, that "Father!" vibe between her and Sandor. He has basically adopted her: provides her with food, a horse, her Needle, basic advice that any father no matter how ill-equipped would provide.

More poignant perhaps because never in his wildest dreams Ned Stark thought he would rely on The Hound like this, especially after Mycah in season 1. Hodor? He was Bran's since day one, Osha is just the type of guardian Rickon needed, but Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark are a match made in heaven.
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I think they are still telling a great story. The only issue that I have with they way they are going about it is Arya's story. Arya isn't where she is supposed to be at this point in the story. I see what they are doing by delaying that. But I find her storyline her inevitable transformation the most interesting and intriguing of them all and I want that to start. I imagine they are saving it for next season. But still they need to allow her to move on.

To a lesser extent it is the same with Bran. His story for me is the second most intriguing behind Arya's because of what the potential implications of it. Because Martin could do a lot with it and I can't wait to see what he chooses to do.
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Yea I thought Arya's story would be to the point you are referring to by now also but as you say I think they are most likely stalling. You can imagine her final scene being an ultimate set-up for what is certainly the most fascinating of her story, opening a door of two colours.

I think that is why I enjoyed Bran's story change this episode. His story is great but only really by the end of the books that are out. It is one of the most intriguing but along with Dany is a slow burner. The show runners are clearly planning so as to have material for all characters throughout each season and not to get stuck with not checking in on some for large periods of time. To be honest on reflection we could still see a certain character if they really plan on drawing out his story.
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That might be the only saving grace of Arya's current story. Because it seems that they are going the way I think both of us think it is going to go. And that does change it up a bit and it does change it in a good way.

I think you are correct about Bran and the character that we are likely to see. We heard the crows when what's his name was feeding ghost.
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I'd say we keep forgetting Jaime never lost a hand for Brienne the first time around: that never happened on the books. He lost the hand because he wouldn't stop fighting for his cousin's sword and Bolton's men thought he was better off without his sword hand.

Jaime losing what defined him so Brienne would remain a maid was a complete creation of the show, and it changed the character as we knew him. It changed his connection with Brienne as we knew it, thus his connection to Cersei as inevitable result. He can no longer connect with his sister in King's Landing, she no longer wishes to connect with him, and that was what I took from the new funeral scene on the show.
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Interesting point, I didn't want to get too bogged down in specific changes made but you are right that is quite a clear change. In the books its actually one of Vargo's Brave Companions I believe and not the man himself.

It was definitely more poignant but I would say that it was his lying about sapphires which really was the noble moment of salvation and I think he does that in the books as well. In the show they made it more of a defence of her honour but he still mainly angered Locke into it himself with his privileged expectation that as a Lannister he was relatively safe.
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On the books, Jaime lied about the sapphires because Brienne had already fought to keep him alive - taking several beatings in the process and cleaning him whenever he soiled himself - so he's paying a debt, Jaime couldn't care less otherwise (which is why it takes him 2 days and a nightmare to go back to Harrenhal for her).

On the show, Jaime steps up for Brienne for he admitted he'd rather make them kill him than to suffer rape should he had been in her place. He wouldn't have lost the hand otherwise, he would've been perfectly alright otherwise. Thus Brienne keeps him alive out of gratitude: she lost someone that meant as much, if not more, than his hand to him and she's still here therefore so can he.
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There is only one change that deeply outraged me (all others were brilliant, imho), it was the wedding night of Dany. WTH ???
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I saw an interview of Emilia and George in which they talk about how unrealistic Emilia felt the scene was on the books and they decided to change it to something more real. Which, to be honest, makes more sense to me than Khal Drog being so gentle as he was.
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Problem is: Dany was 13 in the books, and her husband really didn't make her feel scared about what was about to happen, so she followed his lead like any child would with an adult (thus what makes this kind of things so wrong).

Dany on the show was old enough to know, and old enough to be scared as a result. This was medieval woman who never once saw "The Vampire Diaries", who has no idea sex can be enjoyable, whose life is about to change forever and she is powerless to stop it. Gentle or not, she had every right to cry about it.
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And i love both to read and to watch. Though i have to admit, instead of reading whole books, i much prefer navigating the wikia, between the houses, geography, history, and characters... Also reading the asoiaf forums that offer deep analysis of every character and theory.
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It certainly is a series worthy of a wiki, so vast and dense. The TV show does a fantastic job of delivering an absurdly varied and huge story but the background information on all aspects of the world are just ridiculous.

I also enjoy all the theories and ideas on what various things mean. I wonder how much the show will involve prophecies and such as we progress. So far they have been pretty good at slowly introducing various prophecy through Melisandre and Stannis but I hope they manage to get through all the things that make you read them and wonder "hmm, who does that prophecy refer to?", "is this person working towards a great god or great evil?" and the such.
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Lets hope that mr. Martin include that "brilliant" new info in the next book... 'cause it would be just stupid if at the end that "never happen".
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I think the new content we will apparently see more and more of will ultimately be in the books. But with the nature of the PoVs you have to wonder how we would witness this scene, maybe a prologue from the baby's view? Maybe that's too crazy but I can only think of one other way in which we could witness that scene in the books.

Hope that there are plenty more TV inventions planned for this season.
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Well i think that the success of the show is all related to the base.. to the solid base that the books gives.. so i'm a little bit worried... and not quite excited about "vane changes" (without backup in the books)... now we will see how the show works with "original" content and if this is the begining of an interesting and more complex argument... or just the first nail in the coffin of an amazing show.
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Although I am not sure, I would hazard a guess that the content will be in the books in some way. I was just wondering how they would do a completely silent scene with no PoV characters to illustrate what we saw at the end of the last episode.

If you want it is possible to confirm that this scene has a more direct link to the book content (even those already delivered) as HBO GO made a mistake and later removed it from the synopsis.

But it is a spoiler for those that have read the books so if you are book purist then maybe don't look.

It is the the last "note" on this GoT wiki http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Oathkeeper
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really enjoyed your article. you gave insight without spoiling anything
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Thanks, that is really good to hear as that was a key thought whilst writing it. Glad that it can be enjoyed by show only people as much as by those that are fans of both formats.
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I have enjoyed both experiences, first reading the books, prior to the show was born. I am not of the belief that you can enjoy one, but not the other. The show provides one experience that is visual, and the books provide an experience that is of the mind. There may be some who prefer one form or another, but my personal thoughts are to enjoy them both, and separate any differences, and just enjoy it as a whole.

It is always nice to have constructive conversations about differences between the book and TV series, yet one person's point a view does not make it all right or wrong. As far as spoiling the story or differences of story, between book and TV, for others, my thoughts are that I do not believe in doing this, unless the person you are revealing things to are in agreement to speak about it.
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Indeed, the new content at the end of the last episode really reinforced what I already thought, that enjoying them both creates the perfect whole. That's not to say that if you only enjoy one you won't get an awesome story but if you love the world of the show/books then you will likely enjoy both versions; and gain differing insight from each.

I have discussed spoilers with friends who have outright asked me the answer to some things, but even then it is still with great reluctance.
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I'm a book reader who loves the show also for the reason that I appreciate how difficult it must be to realize such a show with such limited screen time, limited budget and the challenge to make it watchable for the mass market.

The most changes I've seen were either shortcuts to simplify storylines and save screen time, to save budget, because you have transform certain book elements (inner monologues, flashbacks, etc) to film or because you can show elements on screen which GRRM couldn't narrate because of narrative restrictions (the POV style). This White Walker scene is an example for the latter.

Animosity between fans of books and show only viewers? No! There's actually only one group of people I truly despice: those lowlives who think it's funny to spoil it for the rest, and then justify it with stupid sayings like "why haven't you read the books! They're over 10 years old!" (As if they've read all books from the last 10 years...) Those people give readers a bad name.
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Completely agree, I hope that came across in the aritcle: I love the changes and new stuff in particular and spoiler posters are the worst.
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I think it's funny though, because A Song of Ice and Fire it's not Pretty Little Liars, knowing who did any given thing doesn't ruin the fun because it's a game of strategy and politics amidts an impending extinction level event: The Red Wedding more intense than who order it, what happens because of Joffrey's death more interesting than who murder him, the state of the Night's Watch after Mormont's death more compelling than any election for Lord Commander.
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