Game of Thrones continues to be one of the biggest fantasy franchises in the world, and after the recent success of HBO’s House of the Dragon, audiences are returning to the books for their next dose of Westeros storytelling. But there are important differences between the page and the screen.
Fans have created all sorts of memes to try to highlight the contrasts, and comparisons, of what George RR Martin originally wrote and what Game of Thrones eventually adapted. While there are improvements to report and critiques to make, ultimately his presence is still something to celebrate.
10/10 Best Fantasy Adaptation
Comparison memes abound and this particular image can be taken in many ways. While on one hand this is a battle between the best fantasy writers, there is certainly a point to be made about the adaptations and the quality of the material that has been brought from page to screen.
For many, the way Game of Thrones was adapted is somewhat similar to Harry Potter, with a few tweaks, major changes, and some faithful elements. Of course, The Lord of the Rings and its Oscar-worthy movies far exceed anything the other two franchises have produced; Ironically, they’re all run by Warner Bros. of course.
9/10 euro difference
Euron Greyjoy is an incredibly powerful and influential figure in the books, and someone who could drastically change the landscape of Westeros after betraying his family. However, the show begins by casting him as a bigger threat, before abandoning those plans.
Fans were disappointed to see the powerful Euron essentially forgotten when the season finale aired. This meme compares the two variants of the character well. The image itself is well chosen given Euron’s Kraken-inspired and oceanic imagery.
8/10 Stannis changes
Whichever iteration fans are focused on, Stannis was far from a worthy king. However, there is much more nuance to the way George RR Martin played the future monarch, compared to how the series ended its story.
Many were disappointed that the layers of gray applied in Game of Thrones were removed for the adaptation, and Stannis essentially became another villain. His daughter’s ardor was what really tipped the scales in the way she reacted, as this meme sums it up.
7/10 Working blind
By writing the novels, George RR Martin has a general idea of where the story is headed. He is the brains of this universe after all, and he understands what rhythms need to be in place for a satisfying arc through multiple novels.
As this meme points out, as Game of Thrones reaches its final season, the showrunners know absolutely nothing about what’s next in the story. This is a great comparison between the page and the screen, with the direction of the books much clearer due to its author.
6/10 decisions from the showrunners
Much criticism has fallen on the shoulders of David Benioff and DB Wise, the two responsible as showrunners of Game of Thrones. Fans weren’t happy with some of the early writing choices on the show, and things never got better from there, especially with the ending.
This meme mocks the team behind the show, takes their words to the extreme, and translates them into what fans hear every time they speak; that they basically forgot to tell a good story because of all the budget and chaos surrounding such a massive project. Compared to the books, it was disappointing.
5/10 Space to tell the story
George RR Martin had all the time in the world to tell his story. One of the main complaints about the series compared to the books is that the story ended up being rushed. Fans felt that the last season in particular did not provide enough airtime to complete each subplot.
This meme points out that the running time of each episode will simply have to suffice, which is a natural comparison to novels that get longer and longer for the author to successfully complete his work. The HBO adaptation just didn’t get that chance.
4/10 A changing prince
The Prince of Dorne is an extremely subtle character in the books and vital to that. He has a starring role to play in the history of Westeros and his point of view is always very evident, with a worthy approach to character writing.
However, for Game of Thrones, as the meme suggests, the prince is cast as child’s play. He barely appears or is mentioned again, and Dorne himself becomes a non-player on the larger map of Westeros, and airtime focuses on those around King’s Landing.
3/10 Robb and Joffrey portrayal
Robb and Joffrey were portrayed slightly differently in the books and the series. It’s rare to see someone prefer the on-screen introduction of a character to what George RR Martin did, but that’s the case here.
This meme suggests that a Clash of Kings didn’t have enough time for Robb and Joffrey compared to what the public would have liked to see. The characters are incredibly well cast in the series, so it’s no surprise that fans are excited to see more of these iterations.
2/10 Inferior quality
The books never lacked quality because they never lacked source material; they were the source material. But this meme has been used over and over again to describe all kinds of shows, and it’s easy to see where it comes from with Game of Thrones.
Compared to the books, there has been a drop in quality and audiences still have a sour taste in their mouths about the season finale. George RR Martin has a huge task on his hands to live up to the potential that A Song of Ice and Fire presents. This meme would be very different if it was just the books.
1/10 still alive
A big difference between the books and the TV shows is which characters end up getting killed off. Throughout the books, there are dozens of living personalities who are completely cut from the show, largely for convenience.
Fans often suggest that these numbers were mishandled and much more complete on the page. Either way, Game of Thrones fans basically have a few options when it comes to their favorite version of a character and even their interpretation of their story.