At the end of this season, I won’t be watching any more Game of Thrones on HBO.
Supposedly, George R.R. Martin has told the showrunners the juicy details of The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. If at this point, there will only be two more books, and if those are their names. I’ve learned to no longer trust anything GRRM says at face value. As I really wanted The She-Wolves of Winterfell or at least the fourth fucking Dunk and Egg book he’s been promising.
As an author, he owes us nothing. If he wants to wait ten years to write the next book, that’s his decision. No wine before its time. And as much as I hunger for and desire the next book, I’ll wait. Stephen King taught me that lesson with the Dark Tower books. They were rushed, they were half assed and they were disappointing. I’d rather twiddle my thumbs waiting for quality rather than have him crank out books to stay ahead of the tide of the television show.
But I’m not going to watch the television show after the end of season 4.
Because the show is starting to show potential spoilers for the events of the last two books. I love the books. I’d rather read them and have the events come as a surprise. The Song of Ice and Fire books are amazing for their ability to have you hurl them across the room in outrage and horror when you come across certain passages. And while people were disappointed with A Dance with Dragons, I’m not among them. And if the season stays on point, there are at least five more big “holy fuck” moments that will either shock and amaze or make you feel like they were cheap twists. But I want to read them. The book is more potent to me than the television show and it always will be. And I don’t know why dramatically, the show feels like it needs advance into the later books in the story. There literally is no purpose to it. The only justification I can figure is that it’s their smirking response to book readers. When people who only watch the show but have never read the books come running up like, “HOLY SHIT! THE RED WEDDING!” we sit back and go, “Oh, man, you don’t even know, just wait…” The showrunners seem to be doing the same thing. “No, YOU don’t know, bookfucks. WATCH THIS.”
And I don’t want it. I hate spoilers. I want a story to spool out. I want to be surprised and shocked. It’s infuriating to me that television watching in the social media age has become about getting on Twitter or Facebook and just screaming “I SAW THIS, DID YOU?” Not even discussing it. Just barking out “PLOT POINT ZOMGROFLCOPTER.” I may feel it slightly more irritating because on the West Coast we’re three hours behind, so spoilers start to rain around two hours in. I’ve fucking defriended people for spoilers. When book five of ASOIAF came out, someone jumped on to Facebook and just shouted “CHARACTER DIES NOOOOOOO!” And everyone immediately responded “Why would you fucking do that you asshole?” And her response was something along the lines of “I couldn’t believe GRRM would do that and I wanted to see if it was a rumor.” I’m sure other people took her to task. I’ll never know because GONE FOREVER.
And I fully realize that unless I stay off the internet until he finishes, I’m inevitably going to get spoiled. Either by some malicious passive aggressive twat or by something well-meaning but unintentionally stupid friend who posts some bullshit. I’m going to try my damnedest to be vigilant. Because it does matter to me. I love stories. I love feeling the shock and surprise. As a writer, it teaches me. It shows me how to do it well.
And I cannot enjoy the extremely well-cast and well-constructed HBO series if I have to keep worrying about finding out shit I don’t want to know yet. I’d rather wait until the books come out. It’s a strange world we live in where book series are optioned before the series themselves have been completed. With shows like True Blood and Dexter, the television shows have become very different animals from the books. Both the Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood ended/are ending their runs. And Dexter the television show went off the rails into Lumberjack land. Whereas the books have just gotten incredibly fucking interesting.
Regardless, I’m out after Season 4. I’m 95% sure I know what cliffhanger they are going to end it on, which will be a headscratcher/jaw dropper for certain. And I think that’s a glorious place to hold until GRRM finishes, whenever that may be. Again, Pat Rothfuss does it and the Kvothe books are still great. Scott Lynch seems back on task, and I cannot recommend the Gentlemen Bastard series enough. So I’ve got plenty to read and look forward to. I’m just sad and yet fascinated to have this problem.