I bet most have already watched the latest episode. If you haven’t, and you’re going to eventually, stop reading here. There will be spoilers. Now that you’ve been forewarned, I’ll get on with this.
I read an article just now on Vanity Fair (there’s spoilers there too, you curious you / it was on my facebook feed) about Hodor and G.R.R. Martin’s (speculated) plans about how the particular plot point goes down in text.
I won’t touch on the article all that much, but there was a point I disagreed with so strongly I really had to pick up the point.
The writer, Joanna Robinson, feels that there’s little Martin can do to surpass the emotional strength of the scene. I quote:
There will be no emotional music, no rapid cuts back and forth. And there’s no way anyone who has seen the show will be able to read Martin’s version without seeing the interplay between Kristian Nairn (old Hodor) and Sam Coleman (young Hodor) in their minds.
A good writer and a great writer can be separated by their ability to control the emotional involvement of the reader; by being able to make the reader feel strongly, to sympathize with the character. I have every faith in Martin’s ability to execute his version of the events in a way that will have me to tears. I definitely do not need emotional music or rapid cuts to get me into the mood.
The TV version made me sad and horrified (towards the whole chain of interconnected events) but I did not cry. It may be that my Finnish psyche is that bit different from the American type that the way the scene was handled didn’t trigger in me the same emotional response. I didn’t particularly enjoy the cut (do not be so hasty), but in purely logical level everything made clear sense.
In general, I haven’t been very satisfied with how the show has handled the whole series. I dislike the character renames and I’m totally not happy with plot changes, especially on such major things as the whole Dorne substory. I was unhappy already when they changed Jeyne Westerling into some foreign nobody. I didn’t particularly enjoy how Loras and Margaery have been portrayed, even when I’m very satisfied with the actor choices. I would have been happier had Renly’s and Loras’ relationship been as implied as it is in the books. (And I really do not need to see all those boobs unless relevant to the story – mostly they haven’t been.)
The logical side of me understands that TV is totally different as a medium as written text. I just feel that much more could have been done to keep the story closer to the original. Being original and doing something new is important, yes, but if you’re going to do a TV show about an excellent book, keep to the point. The writer of the book knew what they were doing. Seriously. (I’m experiencing here the same issues I have with Lord of the Rings books and movies.)
I also feel that had the show producers had the inclination they could have slowed down a bit and incorporated some more details from the books to give Martin time to finish his work first. The two previous seasons have felt a bit rushed and this ongoing season has experienced some issues of that kind as well. Also the unconfirmed information that the last two seasons will be only a few episodes in length has left me grave doubts about how things’ll be handled.
I personally feel that the show could easily have at least four more seasons had the things been done the ‘proper’ way.
I think this about sums up how I feel about the particular subject. Don’t get me wrong though, it is an absolutely fantastic TV show compared to many others. There’s just no way it could surpass the books.