Thoughts on differences between show and books

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Dame of Mercia
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:43 am

Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:27 am

I hope to come back to this thread to post something more profound but I'm starting with something I can type without engaging my brain in gear. A list of five characters where I prefer the book version and five characters where I prefer the show version.

Ones I liked better in the books (I don't mean to detract any of the actors/actresses because they acted with what they were given).

Areo Hotah
Ellaria Sand (though season 4 Ellaria was true to her book counterpart I felt)
Obara Sand
Nymeria Sand
Tyene Sand

The Sands were a lot less hateful in the books I thought.

Honourable mention - I preferred Jeyne Westerling to Talisa.

Characters I liked better in the show

Gendry (I might have thought differently if I hadn't first encountered Gendry in an audio version of the books. I really like Roy Dotrice but he did make book Gendry sound a bit dim).
Davos - book Davos didn't have much charisma (for me anyway). He seemed just to be there to give a voice to Stannis - well I know in ADWD Lord Manderley sends him away to try and find Rickon.
Varys - again it might have been the somewhat 'mincing' (to my mind) voice that Roy Dotrice gave him in the audio version.
Euron - that may be an unpopular opinion but I didn't find book Euron 'awesome'. I thought he was detestable.
Cersei - in AFFC Cersei's backstory was revealed but book Cersei was something of a stereotypical villainess (in my opinion at all).

I can't think of an honourable mention at present but I can always edit this later if I think of one.

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Lord Parramandas
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:49 am
Location: Slovenia

Sat May 29, 2021 6:36 am

Hello, Dame of Mercia

Almost a year after you posted this, I came upon it and I'll offer some of my own words.

First I need to say that being a lot more of a visual person than reading person, I generally love TV characters more than book characters because I can actually "see" them on screen there, see their emotions, see their actions. They get a face and also, non-POV characters get more of a story presence on their own. Another advantage for me is the absence of inner monologue... this may be an unpopular opinion but I often find POV characters in ASOIAF very burdening because I keep being in their head and they keep having various gloomy, depressing and self-loathing thoughts that actually causes me to get "annoyed" by them on long term instead of feeling for them. This is where TV has a huge advantage over novels for me because I don't want to be "stuck in their head" but rather be an observer of their story, wondering about their inner thoughts from their face expressions.

So if I stick to your original question, let me focus on those characters first who I prefer in novels first. There are only a couple of them in my case and for majority of the time, these are the characters who only had a "basic existence" on TV while having more of an actual role in the novels.

Some characters I preferred in the novels

- Rorge and Biter: The main reason why these two are on my list is that they were dealt as an afterthought in S4 with very anticlimatic ending while having a disturbing presence in their few scenes in the novel. I don't think at all that they needed to follow the novel in terms of them but they could have been handled better and in more threatening manner. One of my own ideas is that they could have been with Polliver in the inn (they joined Lannister army in S2 so it would make sense) or they could have been "recurring" antagonists in Arya's S4 story, being after Hound's bounty and eventually going down in a fight.

- Areo Hotah: this character was kind of "just there" on TV and went down in veeeeery underwhelming manner. In my opinion one of the most underused characters in comparison to the novels

- Doran Martell: first, I can say I love Alexander Siddig as an actor and I think he did well with the few scenes Doran had. But as with Areo, TV Doran has a very "basic existence" for me and not even much screentime in first place so I think novel Doran has way more story potential. For a character like him to work, I feel he should have been part of the story for longer or at least for more scenes.

- Brynden "the Blackfish" Tully: this is a character I actually enjoyed on TV and I think Clive Russel played him great. BUT with his novel counterpart introduced earlier and thus having more story time and also the TV counterpart having more agressive attitude, I rank the novel character a bit higher than TV counterpart.

- Edmure Tully: similar reasons as for Brynden. I enjoyed Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully but again, I feel TV character had quite "basic existence" and one of the reasons could be relatively late introduction of him to the story in comparison to the novels. Also, I think TV Edmure was a bit of a "caricature" at times in terms of personality.

This summarizes the characters I generally prefered in the novels in comparison to the TV show.

The other part about characters I prefered on TV more than in novels will follow in my second post.

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