Game of Thrones is killing it right now. Millions of viewers are tuning in each week to watch the HBO’s high fantasy ratings winner and millions more are illegally downloading it to get their fix.
The show itself is not an original creation as it is a televised version of author George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The television series has been using the books as a template to format the show and making minor changes.
This formula has allowed Game of Thrones to cater to both the audience that had already read and enjoyed the source material and new fans who had just gotten on board with the television series.
As Game of Thrones enters the last two episodes of season five, that source material is running out. The television show will be concurrent with all of the books at or near the beginning of next season.
The reason for this is simply that Martin has not finished his book series. 5 of 7 books in the series have been completed at this point with plans for the next to publish at the beginning of season 6.
The show is simply being produced faster than Martin has been able to write.
The show itself is in perfect position without a very rigid book framework to create from. The showrunners were given the ending by Martin when they first brought Game of Thrones to television and have been working towards that end goal since then.
The show’s first season was a mirror image of the books and that was sometimes to its detriment. Getting bogged down in details of the world that Martin created worked fine for literature but made for bad television.
Weiss and Benioff have had to alter, combine, or remove storylines that take up too much time in the book and couldn’t work on television. As the series progressed, it strayed more from the books and it became more of a rating success.
Without the books to work from, Weiss and Benioff are simply working to a narrative end goal that should prove more fun for the audience. No one can read ahead anymore so everyone is on level ground.
They are all now passengers in this narrative ride instead of some already knowing the twists and turns that lie ahead.
This change in the way Game of Thrones is produced should streamline the show as well as make it more enjoyable to audiences. They have been unshackled from the books and can do something meant specifically for the visual television medium.
The show will continue to grow whether it is book based or not because the setting and characters themselves are so engrossing. Without this hassle of having to stay true to the books, there is now license to make a better television show and a more fun ride for those who choose to watch.
As the show gets better, its audience will continue to grow each and every episode.