George R.R. Martin created the world that ‘Game of Thrones’ is based upon but he has to remind viewers every now and again that his books are still the books and the television show is something separate…
On Sunday night’s episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’, Sansa Stark endured yet another wedding but this time unlike her first night spent with Tyrion Lannister where he slept on a chair while respecting her wishes not to lay with him, her new husband had no such intention.
This time around Sansa was forced to marry sadistic bastard Ramsay Bolton, who is the Westeros master of sadomasochism, and she barely got through the ceremony before her new husband began to inflict torture on her of the worst kind.
Ramsay strips Sansa and tosses her on the bed before ordering his minion Reek aka Theon Greyjoy to watch as he raped the young girl in front of him.
It was a troubling scene to watch, but also much different than the version that played out in the books written by Martin.
In his novels, Ramsay actually marries a girl named Jeyne Poole, who was a childhood friend of Sansa Stark that eventually gets passed off as ‘Arya Stark’ for the sake of strengthening the Boltons hold over the North by marrying Roose’s son to one of the only remaining Stark children.
Much like the show, Ramsay is cruel and inflicts any number of horrific acts on Jeyne including their wedding night when he forces Reek/Theon to ‘prepare’ his wife for him while he gets undressed. It’s just as awful as it sounds without going into graphic detail.
Fast forward to ‘Game of Thrones’ on Sunday and instead of Jeyne Pool, it’s Sansa Stark who gets married to Ramsay and has to endure her own torture. But as Martin explained in his blog just hours after the show aired, what happens on ‘Game of Thrones’ is what the show runners and writers decide to do and it has nothing to do with him or his source material.
He gives them stories to follow. How much they choose to walk the path versus deviating into their own plot is really up to them.
“How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? Three, in the novel. One, in the movie. None, in real life: she was a fictional character, she never existed. The show is the show, the books are the books; two different tellings of the same story,” Martin explained.
“There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect. Small changes lead to larger changes lead to huge changes. HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities, and a cast of characters in the hundreds.
“There has seldom been any TV series as faithful to its source material, by and large (if you doubt that, talk to the Harry Dresden fans, or readers of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, or the fans of the original WALKING DEAD comic books)… but the longer the show goes on, the bigger the butterflies become. And now we have reached the point where the beat of butterfly wings is stirring up storms.”
Martin says fans of his books and fans of the shows will see even more changes before his final novel is written and before the last episode airs, but it shouldn’t deter either from being enjoyed as its own work of arts.
The one thing Martin knows (at least for now) is that his books and the series will still end the same way and that’s the only guarantee he can make.
“Prose and television have different strengths, different weaknesses, different requirements. David (Benioff) and Dan (Weiss) and Bryan (Cogman) and HBO are trying to make the best television series that they can. And over here I am trying to write the best novels that I can.
“And yes, more and more, they differ. Two roads diverging in the dark of the woods, I suppose but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place. In the meantime, we hope that the readers and viewers both enjoy the journey. Or journeys, as the case may be. Sometimes butterflies grow into dragons.”
In other words, more changes are coming so get used to it!