After reading LizTaylorsEarrings' post, I thought I remembered the perfect response. Unfortunately, I didn't recall it word-for-word, and I had no idea where it was to look it up. All I remembered was that it was between _____ and _____ (no spoilers here!) dying. I never found it, but it wasn't all in vain. I got to re-read a couple of my favorite passages. One of them, the riot, (okay, maybe one spoiler) made me want to re-watch how the show dealt with it. This got me thinking about the differences between show and the books.
I got into the books back around the time that the third one came out. When I heard that there was going to be a television series, and that George R.R. Martin would be heavily involved, I worried that it would delay the books, and I assumed that the books weren't something you could capture in a television series. Another one of the scenes I read today seemed like a perfect example of that. The Queen of Thorns, the grandmother of Magery Tyrell, has an excellent scene in the books, and I cannot imagine that she'll be in the television series (I've not seen the third season, so I could already be wrong).
The buzz around the television series, though, is unavoidable. Finally, a couple months back, I decided to get the first two seasons, and watched them all the way through. It met or beat every expectation I had. Obviously, it has excellent production values. The sets are all incredible, and the actors and actresses are all terrific. I have to single out the child actors for particular praise, because, in my opinion, having kids acting is the fastest way to get on my nerves. Oddly, I think my favorite actor in the entire production is the girl who plays Arya. I bet it's the hardest role in the entire series, and she pulls it off perfectly.
Of course, excellent production only gets a show so far. The show also benefits from having some ruthless bastard in charge of editing down the books. Sometimes, it results in really cool minor characters getting cut, like Lady Olenna may or may not have been, but other times, it turns mediocre characters into something spectacular. The best example I can think of is Lord Tywin, who goes from an unassailable plot point to an actual human. A great many minor characters get this treatment in the television version of the series. It's kind of like a new, polished revision of the story. Sure, the low points are improved, but the high points are removed, same as polishing a rock.
In the end, I still think that the definitive version of A Song of Ice and Fire is the written one. But I think that those who, like me, dismissed the series as an imitation are robbing themselves of an enjoyable experience. It's something that will enrich their enjoyment of the original, rather than rob it of meaning. That is one of the most annoying things I see about internet culture. So often, people declare a side, and cost themselves in the end. Sometimes, it's deciding about a television series before it happens. Other times, a video game system. Frequently, and most destructively, it's declaring in favor of a certain political stance. I think that you should consider even the stupidest argument for "the other guys." Most of the time, you'll have a little more information on how to tailor your arguments, because you know more about what the people who disagree with you think. Other times, you'll learn you may have been wrong, Either way, you'll learn something useful.
And THAT is how I take a thirty-one word post, spend entirely too much time on it, and end up turning it into an introduction to a new community. So, yeah, I'm Joe. Nice to meet you.