As last week's episode "Oathkeeper" faded to BLUE, Game of Thrones fans who are familiar with the source novels were knocked off their Iron Thrones of haughtiness. That final scene—when the White Walkers scooped up one of Craster's babies and turned him into one of them (a White Walker, a Wight Walker, a wight, whatever it was)—doesn't occur in any of the Song of Ice and Fire books that've been published to date. And according to episode director Michelle MacLaren, who also helmed this Sunday's upcoming "First of His Name," deviations from the source material—or at least the already published source material—are going to happen "more and more."
Aside from a few other small changes (like the show's version of Locke being a composite of the book's Vargo Hoat and others, to name one example), Game of Thrones has largely gone by the book. So imagine the spit-take readers did when, for the first time in the series, a big piece of information they didn't see coming was delivered to both audiences at the same time. I know my book-savvy colleagues at TVGuide.com lost their sh*t. It's been reported in the past that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have had conversations with George R.R. Martin about the future of the series, and that the wise old Martin let them in on some secrets of the upcoming books that no one else knows about. So the show-specific new info isn't just being made up on the spot, it's almost certainly coming from books that haven't been written yet.
But what I want to know is, how does everyone out there feel about this?
Book people: Are you bummed that by watching the show you may be spoiled for events in the books? Is it fair that the show is entering previously uncharted territory, since the books came first? Will you miss spoiling everything for show people in the comments sections of Game of Thrones stories on the internet? (Just kidding! I know it's only a small percentage of you who are absolute monsters. Most of you are awesome.)
Show people: How hard are you laughing at book people right now? Do you feel bad about laughing at book people? You should feel bad about laughing at book people.
For the record, I've read the first three books, so I'm in that fuzzy area where what we see on the show is starting to be new to me anyway, therefore I don't really feel too affected. But whenever a comic book or a novel is adapted for television or film, I generally think it's great when the adaptation aims to interpret the original work while steering away from the source as it sees fit. To me, they're like two separate pieces of art, and without any distinction between the two, the adapted version would simply be a really expensive book on tape. Both versions will always exist, and there's no rule that says you have to love both.
However, if I was one of the people who've been reading the novels faithfully and waiting patiently for the next installment of the story since the first one was published in 1991? I might be a little angry. I might even stop watching the show.
Let's follow the honor system in these two polls and take the temperature of the Game of Thrones fandom:
Play nice, people. And please remember: No book spoilers in the comments!
AIRED ON 6/15/2014
Season 4 : Episode 10