Recently, HBO aired the long-awaited final series of Game of Thrones, the epic fantasy TV drama it has been producing for the past decade.
And it sucked. Balls.
I mean it. The ending to the series was complete dross. The final episodes were cinematically beautiful and brilliantly acted, but they were so badly written that they were almost cringe worthy.
However, author George R.R. Martin, on whose series of books the TV series was based, has announced that his final books will have a completely different ending to the show.
This has led to excitement from fans who felt let down by the show and are now excited at the prospect of books which will give them an alternative, hopefully better, ending.
This does bring up the issue of books being different to TV series and films, however, and the issue of how you separate the two. After all, they’re effectively the same universe, same characters, just different mediums and, in this case, different plots.
Ownership of writing and of characters has long been a topic of interest for me; as you may have read previously I have some series issues with J.K. Rowling and her seeming inability to leave the Harry Potter series alone. In this case, however, I come down on the opposite side of the argument. It is my belief that books and TV shows should be allowed to be separate entities with their own plots and narratives.
After all, as discussed in my article about the Inspector Morse book The Jewel That Was Ours, which has a completely different ending to the TV show episode it is based on, and which was written before it, I think that TV and books are, quite simply completely different mediums. Readers can absorb a different amount of information and are able to cope with confusing twists more easily that those watching a show or film, who may simply get bored.
Those who are true fans of a show, and not simply watching it for the hype, will be more keen to focus on the written word than whatever is put in front of them on a screen, as proved by comic book fans who have often had to witness lame adaptations of their favourites but remain committed to the comic series. Clearly, as the TV and film market is more susceptible to poor writing, issues such whitewashing and poor production, fans have come to see the benefits of reading their favourites, and this can only be a good thing.
Therefore, in my mind, if the book market remains the one safe place where fans know that their favourite characters and stories will be treated with the respect they deserve then this will encourage more reading, and this, in my opinion, is never a bad thing.