The Place Where The Sidewalk Ends

The smug bloggers have begun reporting that “anyone who is good at math obviously saw this coming.”  A Song of Ice and Fire will officially be spoiled by the television series Game of Thrones.  I’m furious.

As Neil Gaiman famously opined, George R.R. Martin is not our bitch.  And I’m fine with that.  Stephen King taught me that you should sell no wine before it’s time with the rapid fire conclusion of The Dark Tower series.  A series which probably should have taken 35 years to complete.  Starting in 1982, King released a new Dark Tower book about every five years.  And then he got hit by a van.  And then he released all the last three in a quick dump in 2003-4.  And they were disappointing.  I had secretly imagined King kept the drafts in a bank box, ala Bag of Bones, and would take them out and polish them every few years.  But instead, he just sort of dumped them ahead of time in the wake of his impending Brett Favrean retirement.

I’m patiently and excitedly awaiting Patrick Rothfuss, and Jim Butcher, and Scott Lynch, and George R.R. Martin.  I’m cool with that.  Take the time you need to release the book you want.  It’s totally cool.  I’ve blown past deadlines myself.  It happens.

But what sucks is that the television series is going to wrap up in the next two or three years.  So the series will be spoiled.  The ending of the books will be revealed before the penultimate book is even released.  I had faith.  There’s plenty of storyline left in the already published material to make a damn fine Season 5.  But nope.  They’re onwards and up yours.

This is the first time I can think of where a television series has eventually eclipsed the books progression.  And it’s fucking bullshit.  Maybe The Walking Dead will catch up to the narrative eventually.  But they’ve also made enough progressive changes to the narrative to surprise everyone.  Holding Shane’s death. Adding Daryl.  Good decisions while keeping to the spirit of the story.

True Blood finished up the same time as the Sookie Stackhouse series, but by then, the series had gone off on its own tangential adventures.  Jeff Lindsay is about to write the final book in his Dexter Morgan series, a little over a year from when the series Dexter had disappointed us.  But the Dexter television series is very different from the book series. And I have a feeling Lindsay’s going to give us the ending we all craved.  His books are already way fucking darker.  Even the Dark Tower television series that’s been rumored repeatedly will be after the series has ended.

But not Game of Thrones.  Game of Thrones claimed they were going to make narrative changes, killing characters that don’t exist in the books and so forth.  And I’m cool with that.  I don’t mind if adaptations make adaptations.  But this is bullshit.  Because the books are far richer and more rewarding.  I’ll already get spoiled on plot points from this season alone.  I’m not putting up some pithy protest.  I’m just not going to watch.  I’m going to try to avoid spoilers.  But in this day in age, it’s fucking impossible.  Most idiots are incapable of consuming a television show without barking out salient plot points like a drunk seal.  It’s not even just saying, “Wow!  That was amazing!”  Or “Holy shit!  Best ending ev-ar!”  It’s that they will literally yell, “ARYA! NOOOOO!”  Or, “I can’t believe Tyrion is Jon Snow’s FATHER!”  (I’m making up spoilers.  None of these have happened in the book.  I’m not a complete son of a bitch.)

I already was pissed off when some dizzy bitch on Facebook purchased A Dance With Dragons, went to the last chapter, and shouted out the death of a major character. Since there’s speculation that this death might not even be a death, who knows.  But still, that’s fucking annoying.  But that’s people.  No one can enjoy something without shouting out major plot spoilers.  And then they become part of the lexicon.  Red Wedding is already a reference.  So anyone who wanted to be as shocked and horrified by the events of Book 3, good luck.

If they were going to do something different, if they were going to make changes, if they were going to alter the ending, I’d be fine with it.  But now, I don’t get that same visceral enjoyment from the books as I would have.  And it’s not like I can enjoy Season 5 next year after Martin (maybe) published Winds of Winter.  Because who knows how far in the narrative the series will jump?  They’ve already spoiled future events with one brief scene in Season 3. And Martin may take until 2020 to write A Dream of Spring.  And that might not even be the last book.  A Song of Ice and Fire was originally to be three books.  Then he split Book 4.

It’s just disappointing that pop culture has to kill literature.  If a book even becomes remotely popular, someone is clamoring to make it into viewable content.  Most times, they take a paradigm shift from the source material so that they can have fun with their own narratives.

George R.R. Martin is famous for killing things you love.  I never thought one of the murders would be the love his readers have of the series.


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