Game of Thrones hasn’t changed its storytelling – even though it sorta has

King's Landing Battle 805 Massacre Fire Blood Daenerys Dany Targaryen Drogon Season 8 The Bells

By Marc N. Kleinhenz

There is this Game of Thrones theory floating around out there, and it goes a little something like this: “it’s easy for viewers to tell the demarcation point between where the HBO series stopped adapting the five published novels it’s based on and where it started to tell the remaining, unpublished story all by itself, left to the devices of its two showrunners, David Benioff and Dan Weiss.” This transition is an easily identifiable one, the argument maintains, because the narrative has changed in some pretty dramatic and obvious ways, becoming a lot safer and, thus, more predictable, with the various shocks and twists of author George R.R. Martin’s portion largely falling by the wayside.

Interestingly enough, a close examination of this critique reveals something pretty extraordinary: it’s both spot-on and completely without merit in equal measure. And explaining why this is so may help to calm some viewers’ apparent anxiousness heading into the series finale while also demystifying Martin’s writing process —and, just maybe, help explain why it’s now been taking him nearly a decade per book.

The fake-out factor

Let’s start with a very basic premise: A Song of Ice and Fire, George Martin’s sprawling, several-thousand-page saga, has always been, at its very foundation, a traditional story. From its very beginnings, for example, it established a core of just a few central characters – who even go on to survive that inconvenient state of affairs called death – who have very closely hewed to the traditional narrative progression that Joseph Campbell famously dubbed the Hero’s Journey; Jon Snow’s arc, in particular, seems to have sprung directly from that roadmap, but it just as equally applies to the likes of Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and, perhaps most controversially now, Daenerys Targaryen.

What obscures this basic structure – besides the fact that Ice and Fire has yet to complete its planned seven-volume run, of course – is Martin’s exceptional ability to obscure it; a famous adage says that writing is like a giant magic trick, redirecting the audience’s attention over here while the set-up goes on over there – and George’s magic act is, in many ways, one of the most elaborate productions around. While Jon Snow rides off to join the Night’s Watch and begin a master course in leadership and self-sacrifice, for instance, Lord Eddard Stark is contending with the governing incompetence of King Robert Baratheon down south and the rising threat of Khal Drogo across the narrow sea; by the end of the first book, all three of these seemingly-major players are dead, and readers (and viewers!) are left with the feeling that the narrative groundwork underneath them has just buckled. In retrospect, the real character development is obvious and predictable, yet almost entirely hidden.

Ned Stark on Game of Thrones

And this perfectly illustrates the first layer of this storytelling smokescreen: a pretty consistent level of fake-outs. Ned Stark’s beheading, the massacre that was the Red Wedding, the arrival of a prophesied savior in the form of King Stannis Baratheon, even the shifting identities of the man called Reek (in the books, first he was Ramsay’s indentured servant, then Ramsay himself in disguise, and then he was the forced identity of the former Theon Greyjoy) – they all are trotted out in a constant parade of reveals and revelations, keeping the reader guessing in the foreground while all the major work was going on in the background. In this way, audiences could be lulled into a false sense of shock and awe, that anyone could be killed off at any time for any reason (and in any manner) while, in reality, Jon could acquire so much “plot armor” that he could even be resurrected from death itself. It’s both simple and complex, pedestrian and poetic.

A peculiar narrative structure

Compounding all the fake-outs was another, more systemic wrinkle to George R.R. Martin’s storytelling modus operandi: each chapter would be told exclusively from the perspective of just one particular character. While this may sound straightforward on paper, it actually is employed to intricate dramatic effect – since the entire narrative playing field is severely restricted to a protagonist’s field of knowledge, there are many major plot developments or character beats that get lost in the cracks and which can only be surmised after the fact, like a detective trying to reconstruct a crime scene. The shifting loyalties of Roose Bolton, for example, fall squarely in this realm, meaning that an unobservant reader may find the northern lord’s infamous betrayal at the Red Wedding a whole book later somewhat abrupt; the disappearance of three Freys on the way to Ramsay Bolton’s wedding to a false Arya Stark (see? The fake-outs keep landing, even if readers happen to know this one while all the rest of the characters may not) and Wyman Manderly’s jubilant serving of three large meat pies at the reception are otherwise two completely unconnected events.

A corollary to this device is the introduction of previously-established “background” characters as POV protagonists in subsequent novels, a practice which helps to hide the importance of such figures as Jaime and Cersei Lannister to the overarching story (they aren’t added to the main roster until the third and fourth installments, respectively.) In this way, most readers of the first volume would never have jumped to the conclusion that Ser Jaime of the Kingsguard would be a pivotal mover and shaker in the saga’s endgame, never mind the fact that he’s actually one of the most nuanced and dynamic characters in the text.

rhaegar lyanna

Muddying the narrative waters even further is Martin’s regular deployment of the unreliable narrator, the fancy literary term for a protagonist who is either lying to the reader or who is mistaken in his conclusions or convictions. Thanks to this particular vein of obfuscation, entire historical developments are misunderstood and, therefore, extended to the wrong conclusions – the entirety of Robert’s Rebellion against the Targaryen Iron Throne was based on the lie that Lyanna Stark was forcibly taken from Robert Baratheon and then raped by Prince Rhaegar, which would ultimately unleash such further throes of misinformation as the War of the Five Kings, which saw the public operate under the false belief that Joffrey (and then Tommen) were Baratheon heirs.

It is this reading-between-the-lines approach to storytelling that has not only encouraged but probably necessitated the existence of companion ebooks and analytical websites to help audiences pick out overlooked throughlines and half-hidden thematic motifs – what may be the majestic hallmark of prose, but which had to be all but abandoned for the medium of television (all three of the Lannister progeny, for example, carry their own scenes and begin shuffling through their own character arcs right from the very first episode).

Bringing it all home to Game of Thrones

Given all this, when executive producers Dan Weiss and David Benioff sat down to do the impossible and adapt the seven-book Song of Ice and Fire to just 73 episodes of Game of Thrones, a number of key decisions had to be made on where to abridge and how to fill in the gaps – an obvious observation, admittedly, when it deals with a certain chapter being omitted or a certain sub-plot being condensed, but one that may not be quite as noticeable when it comes to such matters as fundamental story structure and narrative sleight of hand.

And no choice has been as consequential as limiting the size of the television series’s cast. Whereas the lineup of POV protagonists in books four and five explodes to something double or nearly triple what it was across the first three volumes, Benioff and Weiss made the decision to hold firm to just the two dozen or so characters that were largely introduced in the first two seasons of the show (a wise move, as Game of Thrones would otherwise be some five seasons longer); in this way, when a particular development befell a newly-inserted player in the novels, that plot beat had to be appropriated by a pre-existing television character, like when Lord Jon Connington secretly contracted greyscale and Ser Jorah Mormont became his HBO stand-in, or how Arya took over Lady Stoneheart’s vindictive crusade to execute all of House Frey.

Arya House Frey Season 7 701

This may have been born out of concerns of narrative efficiency, but it has also resulted in an unintended side effect: a number of the misdirections that George Martin continues to employ on the page in his (proposed) final two books are no longer available on the screen. As such, just as Jon Snow is being brought back from beyond the grave and Daenerys Targaryen is exerting control over nearly the entirety of the Dothraki horde, some of the final steps that begin to prepare both characters for the story’s endgame, there is no suddenly-revealed-to-still-be-alive Jon Connington and Aegon Targaryen landing their sellsword forces on Westeros – marking a Targaryen invasion several months, if not longer, before Dany would be able to do so. This, in turn, forestalls a number of military clashes and political cage-rattling for King Tommen and his royal mother, Cersei Lannister, and it doesn’t have the same effect on Lord Varys and Magister Illyrio Mopatis’s secret conspiracy to reinstate the Targaryen dynasty (which becomes terribly disrupted by the Dragon Queen’s sudden emergence as, perhaps, a worthier candidate for the Iron Throne). And, finally, all of this doesn’t even touch the possibility that little Aegon isn’t, perhaps, the real deal in the first place – meaning that even the fake-outs could themselves be the result of other fake-outs.

In terms of Game of Thrones, then, this necessarily results in an open, distraction-free field for Queen Dany to arrive in the Seven Kingdoms, fall in love with King Jon, and face off against Queen Cersei for control of the throne – a scenario which suddenly seems a lot more straightforward and, thus, predictable than anything that landed in the show’s first five seasons. But make no mistake about it: given the plethora of interviews that Martin, Benioff, and Weiss have all given over the course of the past several months, this fundamental state of affairs playing out in the source material seems to be all but guaranteed, meaning that Mhysa Dany’s controversial transformation —from aspirational monarch to someone the people may remember as the true daughter of the Mad King in spirit as well as blood— is just as inevitable on the page as it has been on the screen.

Daenerys Targaryen King's Landing Season 8 806 The Bells

We just need to see how many more thousands of pages George R.R. Martin needs in order to ultimately get there.

Marc N. Kleinhenz is the editor-in-chief of Orlando Informer. He’s also written for 31 other sites (including Screen Rant, IGN, and Tower of the Hand, where he serves as consulting editor), has appeared on radio and television news as a pop-culture specialist, served as a consultant on the theming industry, and has even taught English in Japan.

38 responses

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    1. This is fantastic! It explains really well how GRRM is using the books and how D&D need to do what they do. I LOVE what they do. I’m re-reading atm and enjoying the POV and adding in what I now know when they don’t. Lots of fun to read it now. (The haters will still hate though. 😞)

      Enjoy today! (Or tonight! Wherever you are).

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    2. Nice article! I don’t get why so many people say the books are better. The last 2 books aren’t even written after 8 years waiting, how can they be better? The last 2 written books are too much meandering with so many new site plots, I really had to force myself to keep on reading. The first 3 books are good, but so are the first 4 seasons. I also think the writing for the show has become less since season 5, apart from a few excellent episodes (Hardhome, The Winds of Winter, …). But it wasn’t an easy task for D&D. GRRM himself is struggling to get to the end, that’s why we are still waiting for his version of it. And he doesn’t have the problems D&D have like keeping your main actors on board until the end, finishing scripts early enough so they can start filming, find directors, filming locations, … There is so much D&D have to take care of in such a short time that I am surprised the episodes are still that good. No they are not perfect, but if they would take 5+ years to write each season, like GRRM does for the books, the writing would be better. But I don’t think I would still be watching.

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    3. To be fair to the show writers, the problem with becoming plotters is not one they alone will face. George may have anywhere from a decade to two to try and figure it out, but forcing his characters to hit a specific ending won’t be easy for him, either. Clearly, it already isn’t given how much he struggles with it. Thankfully for him, he doesn’t have hundreds of people relying on him sticking to some regular release schedule in order for them to stay employed.

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    4. This is a super post and the details were amazing. Lots to consider, thank you.

      One thing that I keep thinking about: in the first 5 seasons or so, I often thought I was watching two shows: one about present-day Westeros, and one about the past. Sometimes it was the recent past, sometimes it was long-ago history.

      From Old Nan to Maester Aegon to Petyr Balish to Shireen and her dragons, to subtle scene references to more mundane backstory woven into present-day conversations, it was a complex and rich story that was captivating.

      I feel like this dual-storytelling started to fade in the last two seasons. My guess is once Jon’s parentage was revealed in Bran’s vision, the focus shifted more to the present. It’s not that characters don’t ever reference the past anymore – you can find plenty of examples – but it no longer feels like two parallel stories converging.

      As much as I’m still frustrated by a lot of this season, I’m still excited for tonight!

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    5. Adam: George may have anywhere from a decade to two to try and figure it out, but forcing his characters to hit a specific ending won’t be easy for him, either.

      I was thinking about this last night. The fan’s reaction to the show ending may set GGRM free.

      It’s possible, even likely, that this plot was his end-game vision, but he was struggling with how to get there. He may also have felt trapped because he knew this was the ending he told D&D about years ago and didn’t want to diverge from it.

      Now with a lot of fan controversy, he may feel free to either fulfill his end game or find an entirely new path. It might just break his writers block.

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    6. Thx for the lovely read! The twists, “fake-outs” and unreliable PoVs are what kept me intrigued since the first GoT chapter (not the prologue) when Honorable Ned ignorantly beheads an insane nightwatchman because of a false assumption. He completely misses the dire warning of “winter is coming” that his house has projected for thousands of years…and he wants his son Bran to learn from it!

      (I wonder what Bran/3ER thinks of that moment now?)

      So many possible twists and mummeries exist by the end of ADwD, from fArya to Braime-Stoneheart to Meereen dragonocalypse to fAegon, I don’t know how GRRM will get out of his self-dug plot hole.

      As we approach this assumed ending, this has been quite an enjoyable read, indeed!

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    7. Thank you, Marc, for that clear analysis. I feel strongly that, whilst we viewers won’t agree with every adaptational decision, for the most part they were sound.. The consequences of Arya now being more vengeful and Sansa enduring Jeyne Poole;s false Arya horrors were hard to bear, but also allowed both characters to progress well beyond where they stand in the books. Lacking POV insights is detrimental, but not ruinous.

      Some of the whingers’ main charges are that S7-8 have been rushed, that they’ve had some laughable plot developments, and that some character arcs have been ‘ruined’. Also, they are resentful of having invested time, money and effort in lore and supernatural elements that D&D never took too seriously and elided in S8. I agree about things being rushed. We were denied some emotional payoff fans had counted on, such as the Jon-Arya reunion (which IMO was fine but not the wallow I wanted) or even giving emotion to Jon and Ghost’s parting. One person’s laughable plot is another’s intricate covert plot. And so many forget that character arcs are never definitive until the character dies or the story ends, especially since GoT main characters are all grey and conflicted. And ironically whingers complain that signature things that are book-only don’t pay off. They forget that Azor Ahai, Nissa Nissa, the Valonqar, and so many other GRRM details were never in the show! And then there’s theory disappointment. I wish all of these people could read your essay and not resort to fruitless irate petitions and rate-hate.

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    8. Stark Raven’ Rad: They forget that Azor Ahai, Nissa Nissa, the Valonqar, and so many other GRRM details were never in the show!

      The term Azor Ahai is never used, but the prophecy is there. Season 2 Episode 1, Melisandre says the prophecy almost in its entirety.

      She also asserts that Jon is the prince who was promised in Season 6 Episodes 3 and 4.
      And she mentions the prophecy again to Dany in Season 7 Episode 2.

      So it’s not absent from the show.

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    9. The storytelling completely changed.

      Logic used to be a thing, now it isn’t. It has been completely thrown out of the window. Every episode is riddled with inconsistencies, plot holes, retcons, and other issues.

      The lore, world building, politics, characterization, and themes have all suffered. The quality is simply nowhere near where it was.

      When almost each scene defies logic, physics, logistics, basic common sense, realism, and every other form of rationality, it’s hard to say the story hasn’t changed.

      GRRM’s storytelling is grounded and follows intelligent cause and effect plotting.

      Now the story has no cause and effect. Most of the events of Season 7 are completely made redundant by Season 8, or had no consequences in the first place.

      The story and characters jump wildly from point A to point B with no logic.

      Characters survive unsurvivable situations all the time now.

      In Episode 3 we have 30 minutes of 10 named characters alone in the Winterfell courtyard, fighting thousands of wights.

      Jaime, Pod, and Brienne are swarmed several times. They’re up against a wall for a good 15 minutes with wights everywhere. They appear to be about to die several times. But the camera cuts away before we see them die, and when it cuts back they’re magically fine.

      Jaime is literally dragged to the ground in one shot, and surrounded by wights. The next time we see him he’s fine.

      There’s no tension, because the plot armor is off the charts.

      There’s also no visual continuity whatsoever. Jon is at one point surrounded on all sides by thousands and thousands of wights. There’s no surviving that. But we cut away, and when we cut back all the wights are now suddenly in front of him, not surrounding him, so Dany can conveniently torch them all.

      This destroys all tension, as we know the characters aren’t in any real danger. Similarly, Jon can hide behind walls while Viserion blasts his fire directly at him. Even though earlier Viserion blew a hole in Winterfell, and in Episode 5 Drogon was making stone explode and cutting through the Red Keep like butter.

      So dragon fire destroys stone, except when Jon is hiding behind it.
      This type of inconsistency saps the story of suspense, and annihilates suspension of disbelief. We know characters aren’t in danger until the writers decide it’s time for them to be in danger.

      One could go on and on about the various issues with characterization, plotting, story logic, but there’s no point.

      The show couldn’t possibly be more different from the spirit of GRRM’s writing. Without continuity, logic, and suspension of disbelief, you have nothing.

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    10. Marc, Thank you for this interesting and thoughtful article. I have not read the books but am anxious to read them and see how George, as a writer, does the things you describe. Setting up main characters in the background, mis-directions, POV characters, gaps left for the audience to fill in (hey, I think D&D really picked up on that technique) should all be good reading and I better pay attention! In general, the whole adaption process of a major literary work to a script can be challenging so I appreciate even more the earlier seasons of GOT. Plus the seasons after the book material ended. Thanks again Marc!

      …………..
      ThisGirlHasNoName,

      ThisGirlHasNoName,

      I like the point you make here about two stories, past and present, merging and coming fully into the present with the revelation of Jon’s parents. And, about George, I hope too that the end of the series does shake something loose for him and he goes ahead to finish his books.

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    11. One thing that is always ignored is that the story in the books is also not as good anymore. You would think GRRM kept releasing masterpieces after ASOS and has successfully finished the story in a satisfying way the way people talk about season 8. The book story peaks in ASOS, after that it loses many aspects of what made the story so captivating and has to reboot. Nothing GRRM has written since has recreated the magic of the first 3 books and it is extremely unlikely the future books(if ever released) will either. D&D actually did a good job getting the story back on track with season 6 which was just as good any of the earlier seasons and certainly better than season 2.

      Now they have to do the hardest part and end the story, something GRRM will likely never have to do. Obviously it hasn’t been going over so well but the hate towards the people who have dedicated so much of their life to creating this great show is pathetic. I wish GRRM would say something to defend them, not defend the show but defend D&D against all the hatred they are receiving from his fans. This show has made his story an iconic part of pop culture along with making him a dramatically wealthier man.

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    12. Nick20:

      One could go on and on about the various issues with characterization, plotting, story logic, but there’s no point.

      Ironic.

      Anyway, great article Marc. I doubt there are many people out there who think D&D are better writers than George, but they undoubtedly have a lot more constraints than him too e.g. budgets, scheduling, logistics. If they had eight plus years to write a season it would obviously be better, and there are some things that are just not possible for them to do. That is not a sleight against George either; part of the reason he created the series in the first place was because of the constraints of TV.

      I think history will be kind to D&D. Not perfect by any means, but the perfect writers for Game of Thrones. Without them we would not be here, of that I am sure.

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    13. Just wanted to note that apparently 80% of all HBO subscribers watch GOT. That’s 43 million out of 54 million subscribers. HBO finding another show that appeals to so many of its audience is going to be like Dany trying to break the wheel. Impossible!

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    14. spacechampion,

      I watch everything new on HBO because I assume it will be good quality. But the last year or so it’s been disappointing. I’ll keep my subscription through the Deadwood movie and this next season of Big Little Lies, but then I’ll probably hang it up for awhile.

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    15. Knight of the Walkers,

      Thank you for bringing up this important detail. Producing a story for TV or Film has many more constraints that dictate how the story can be told, even what story can be told. And I agree, D&D have done a good job with book and post book material, not perfect, but the millions of people watching confirms they have certainly spun an engaging yarn.

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    16. Nick20:
      The storytelling completely changed.

      Logic used to be a thing, now it isn’t. It has been completely thrown out of the window. Every episode is riddled with inconsistencies, plot holes, retcons, and other issues.

      The lore, world building, politics, characterization, and themes have all suffered. The quality is simply nowhere near where it was.

      When almost each scene defies logic, physics, logistics, basic common sense, realism, and every other form of rationality, it’s hard to say the story hasn’t changed.

      GRRM’s storytelling is grounded and follows intelligent cause and effect plotting.

      Now the story has no cause and effect. Most of the events of Season 7 are completely made redundant by Season 8, or had no consequences in the first place.

      The story and characters jump wildly from point A to point B with no logic.

      Characters survive unsurvivable situations all the time now.

      In Episode 3 we have 30 minutes of 10 named characters alone in the Winterfell courtyard, fighting thousands of wights.

      Jaime, Pod, and Brienne are swarmed several times. They’re up against a wall for a good 15 minutes with wights everywhere. They appear to be about to die several times. But the camera cuts away before we see them die, and when it cuts back they’re magically fine.

      Jaime is literally dragged to the ground in one shot, and surrounded by wights. The next time we see him he’s fine.

      There’s no tension, because the plot armor is off the charts.

      There’s also no visual continuity whatsoever. Jon is at one point surrounded on all sides by thousands and thousands of wights. There’s no surviving that. But we cut away, and when we cut back all the wights are now suddenly in front of him, not surrounding him, so Dany can conveniently torch them all.

      This destroys all tension, as we know the characters aren’t in any real danger. Similarly, Jon can hide behind walls while Viserion blasts his fire directly at him. Even though earlier Viserion blew a hole in Winterfell, and in Episode 5 Drogon was making stone explode and cutting through the Red Keep like butter.

      So dragon fire destroys stone, except when Jon is hiding behind it.
      This type of inconsistency saps the story of suspense, and annihilates suspension of disbelief. We know characters aren’t in danger until the writers decide it’s time for them to be in danger.

      One could go on and on about the various issues with characterization, plotting, story logic, but there’s no point.

      The show couldn’t possibly be more different from the spirit of GRRM’s writing. Without continuity, logic, and suspension of disbelief, you have nothing.

      Exactly this.

      Definitely it is a problem for a writer to conclude the story, once you spent a lot of screen time to build the story. It goes in one direction, more or less predicitble. But it doesn’t justify inconsistencies and abandoment of logic. They had plenty of time to plan the story out in advance. To make an outline that would have sense in a future. To create a cohesive plot and set a few traps for a viewer.

      But they chose a very different path. They knew what’ about to happen. And they funneled the story of every character up to that point – Daenerys being insane, the Night King being killed by Arya and Sandor Clegane dying in the fight with his brother. To many, it’s not satisfying.

      I was absolutely ready for what’s to come in season 7 and 8. But I wasn’t ready for such a drastic switch in storytelling. It’s truly not about meeting the expectations of crazy fan theories or dozens of twist. This is absolutely not the reason for people being sad about the ending. It’s just because they drifted from the quality away, and failed even to deliver a simple story by breaking the laws of logic.

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    17. Marc, excellent post. Having read the books several times I see the different ways Martin uses to make the stories work. What he also does unfortunately is overwriting, so that we get details of the color of the food and the designs of the crest. World building, yes, but he really could have had an editor or two.

      That being said, all that world buillding helped D&D create the show, and were able to use much of the books well into season 6. Still, there was so much illogical or poorly written scenes that I think would have looked different under GRRM Aryas scenes with the Waif and her chase around Braavos in particular. There were also changes that didn’t help – Dorne in particular, leaving out Ariane and making Elaria a villian. Then in these last two seasons way too many gaps of information that the viewer needed to understand, which is a result of shortened seasons. If Martin had finished, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened.

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    18. Adam:
      I don’t know, man. Both the pantser/plotter distinction and the shift from sociological to psychological storytelling both seem extremely obvious once they were explained and you didn’t address either of them. This argument goes well beyond people saying things got more predictable.

      The change from sociological to psychological storytelling is really a function of the reduced number of characters (in contrast to the books) by seasons 7 and 8 – when you have fewer character points of references and fewer locales to explore (all the main characters are in one place (in season 8, either in Winterfell or Kings Landing), a shift to psychological storytelling is inevitable, imo, for the reasons the author of the article you link states. So I think, the author of this thread does address that, if indirectly.

      The luxury to tell the story sociologically was afforded by the vast number of (apparently) primary characters and locales at the outset of the story. That changed dramatically in the TV show. Could HBO really extend GOT by 5 seasons, we understand they probably wanted to, when the source material isn’t written. They would have needed to bring in GRRT himself as a writer, or in a fairly full time consultant role (did he want that?). None of this excuses the rushed script, aborted character arcs, shock for shock’s sake etc.

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    19. ash,

      Don’t think the main actors want to be on a show for more than 10 years. Certainly not the younger ones who are now getting interesting roles now they are famous thanks to GOT. There’s a reason a lot of shows stop before reaching season 8, unless it’s series like Neighbours or The Bold and The Beautiful.

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    20. I can’t react to one comment of nick20 so I do it this way

      Logic, logic is there if you pay attention. Yes there are illogical things on screen, but i’m wonder what’s better, going the way D&D get it out of the way, or like martin and invent 10 new characters to make a character move from point a to b more logically.
      The lore was never build as big as in the books, just like every adaption. And D&D stated in the first book that they wouldn’t use flashbacks, prohecy’s and dreams. They use all 3 because it was needed.

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    21. Chilli,

      The books ARE way better. Books 4 and 5 are great and they are like ONE big book. The characters on It Will play big roles on next books for SURE. Nothing for grrm its Just to be there and thats It. They Will play big roles.

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    22. ThisGirlHasNoName:

      I watch everything new on HBO because I assume it will be good quality. But the last year or so it’s been disappointing. I’ll keep my subscription through the Deadwood movie and this next season of Big Little Lies, but then I’ll probably hang it up for awhile.

      I think Barry has been killing it, at least.

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    23. Well then I said it more general:

      Even the books never killed a major character in a battle, and not a single major character died in the previous battle. So that was not going to change in this battle. Martin always kill them outside out battle. The Long Night is strange not because it didn’t kill enough, but for the first time 2 major character’s were killed that influence the story a lot. Theon and Jorah’s death. Season 1 for instance the plot armor was already there, Tyrion for instance was slammed against his head and he survived it without all the army trampling him to dead. Same happen in the second season which he survived a sword to the face. The plot armor was always there, only now we have an issue with it.

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    24. Lol,

      That’s subjective. You may find book 4 and 5 better, that’s your right. I didn’t like them, that’s my right. I’m still waiting for the pay off, 8+ years is a loooooong time.

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    25. So unhappy with what the writers did with the ending. I think why so many of us are so disappointed is due to the reason we have been with these characters, Jon and Daeny specifically, since day one, and the viewers have invested so much time and emotion into these characters, and this is how they end their story? Why make such a big deal of Jon’s lineage only for him to end up back where he started? Why have Daeny go thru so much and keep saying she is not like her father only to to write her as going crazy? No, the writers did a horrible job on ending the season. Now, the writers aside, everyone else, the actors, the people behind the scenes did a fantastic job on their parts. But no, I don’t think I’ll be buying the box set with Season 8 ending like it did.

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    26. Robert’s Rebellion wasn’t built on a lie, though. I know that’s what the show says but it’s not based in the reality of events. After Rhaegar ran off with Lyanna, Rickard and Brandon Stark went to Aerys II’s court to seek justice for her. It didn’t matter whether she was taken against her will or she ran off with him – it was a dishonorable thing for a prince to do with a noble maid, and the king had the responsibility to bring her back. Instead, the Mad King killed Rickard with wildfire while Brandon strangled himself trying to reach his father. Afterwards, Aerys commanded Jon Arryn to give him Robert and Ned in order to kill him as well. *This* is what started the rebellion, and it was no lie.

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    27. Lol:
      Chilli,

      The books ARE way better. Books 4 and 5 are great and they are like ONE big book. The characters on It Will play big roles on next books for SURE. Nothing for grrm its Just to be there and thats It. They Will play big roles.

      Not sure I agree entirely there, books four and five lack a lot of the impact of the first three and smack of an author losing his way. They are enjoyable for Workd building but hard to stomach for rereading in my view.

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    28. A lot of people seem to be missing the big picture here. Its called game of thrones, and the game is chess. You know kings who don’t do much of anything, and queens who go berserk after everyone else gets killed. I only wish they had dragons in chess. Maybe they will come out with a GOT chess set and throw in a dragon. Who knows?

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