With the recent news that HBO’s Game of Thrones will indeed finish the story in advance of the release of books six, seven (and maybe eight?), thousands of ASOIAF fans found themselves facing a tough decision. Do I keep watching, or not?
Thus far, the Game of Thrones fandom has been divided into two distinct parts – those who haven’t read the books, and those who snickered viciously as their friends reacted to the Red Wedding. However, the playing field is about to be leveled – soon all fans will be in the dark about what’s going to happen next episode or next season, which popular character is about to kick it, or which characters are about to come on the scene and shake things up.
For many book fans who had a personal relationship with the story before the TV show came on the scene, or those who at least started with the books, now’s the time to decide – do we keep watching, or not?
The way I see it, there are pros and cons to each course of action.
Pro: Obviously, we’ll get to find out what happens and how the major plotlines of the story are resolved. This will be especially important if book seven is just never published (a deep fear of mine and probably others).
Con: Can’t antagonize your friends by constantly reminding them that you know what’s going to happen next.
Pro: Experience the ending the way we started – on the page.
Con: Have to live in a cave for the next ten or so years to avoid accidentally learning whether R+L does in fact = J.
I, myself, have decided to watch. First of all, there’s no way I’ll last ten years in that cave. But more importantly, I think that the show is only going to partially spoil the books. Though season one was essentially a shot-for-shot retelling of the book Game of Thrones, the differences between the book series and the television show are rapidly increasing. Yes, I’ll know who ends up on the Iron Throne, what happens to the Wall and a lot of the major plot points, but the way in which the characters end up in their final position is bound to be different in the books. Additionally, there are a number of discarded characters and plot lines on TV that all us book readers will still want resolution on long after the series finale. There will still be plenty of surprises in store.
Plus, knowing what’s going to happen doesn’t necessarily destroy the emotional impact of a story. Ned’s death hurt just as bad when I watched season one of Game of Thrones as when I read the book the first time, even though I knew it was coming.
This situation is a bit bizarre for book readers, I’ll admit. But I’m still excited for the new season, and I’ll be excited to read book six, The Winds of Winter, when it hits the shelves.
– By Teresa Viola