Hippoi Athanatoi

Game of Thrones, an Adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire? Not Any More.

Of all the atrocious decisions taken in the adaptation of the second season—having Joffrey and not Cersei be the one to order the killing of the bastards, having Robb fall for a spunky and socially progressive chick from Volantis, cutting out virtually all of the poignant material between Jon and Qhorin, leaving out virtually all the dark character development from Arya’s arc, to name but a few—the utter travesty that is the show’s version of the House of the Undying takes the cake. In fact, it takes the whole dessert table.

I/we will be writing a longer piece on how poorly handled both Dany and Dany’s whole storyline have been in the second season, contrasting it with the very clear purpose of Qarth in the books, so right now I am just concentrating on the House of the Undying.

Instead of a single one of the visions that Dany actually sees, we get a vision of Khal Drogo. Talk about a cheap-ass publicity stunt to squeeze Jason Momoa back in. Now, it is true that perhaps some of the visions she sees would be too spoilery on TV as opposed to when read, but why not just compensate for that by toning down what is shown? Or going entirely to Dany hearing but not seeing things? I expect that there would be cuts and changes, in particular I expected some of the visuals to disappear. I did not expect them to just throw everything out.

We have, as of yet, not had a single mention of either the Song of Ice and Fire or the Prince that was Promised in the series. What more, not only did they cut out the visions, they cut the whole prophecy. So far, all we have gotten for Dany is an abbreviated version of Mirri Maz Duur’s prophecy.

So, they continue to cut out the past from the story and in addition to that they also cut out most of the prophecies. Both these are very significant elements of the story. Whatever the producers and writers might think, A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t just about battles and boobs.

The past still matters, it enriches and makes the present more poignant. We’ll likely never see Rhaegar now, not to mention Elia. What viewers will care about them? What viewers will care about Rhaegar and Lyanna when they ultimately have to become more important to the story? What viewers will care particularly about the Martells without any establishing of Elia?

The prophecies…well, who can deny their importance? As we see in A Dance with Dragons, even the most obscure ones do come true, just not in ways one might have expected. Magic isn’t just dragons and Others.

A Song of Ice and Fire is a multi-layered and multi-faceted story. That also means that people do read it for different reasons. Some may take in all aspects of the story with near equal enjoyment, others may favour some aspects and dislike others. The mysteries of the past and the prophecies fuel a large amount of the discussion on the forums. They are clearly important aspects for many, many fans. And the show has just ripped them out of the story almost wholesale.

Furious doesn’t come close to describing what I am today. Nor does disappointed.

I had said before the season started that for this season, the only thing I really hoped for was that they would get the House of the Undying right. If not, I would find it hard to continue watching. Since they didn’t even try to get it right, they just threw it in the trash, I have absolutely no interest in watching any more. Unfortunately, we have a lot tied up in the coverage of the show, so I’ll probably have to keep watching to some degree anyway. But I no longer look forward to new episodes because the story has been gutted of what matters the most to me and because I do not expect any of the scenes I truly care about to make it in, at least not without being butchered beyond recognition.

As far as I am concerned, it is no longer an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, it is an mainly an original story in the A Song of Ice and Fire setting. And it isn’t particularly good.

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