Posts Tagged ‘Game of Thrones’

**Warning – Possible Spoilers**

Many, many years ago when Silence of the Lambs was a new Academy-Award-seizing film, I must have watched it about three dozen times. Knew it by heart, and it influenced my decision to take up criminalistics in college (but that came later). And finally, I decided to head to the library (those brick-and-mortar buildings that held hundreds, possibly thousands or tens of thousands of books, all to check out and read for FREE. Since it was, you know, when “kindle” was something you did to a fire to get it going) and grab Thomas Harris’ novel to see where the story came from. Of course, I had an expectation that what I found in those pages wouldn’t be much like the screen.

I was blown away. Hollywood had actually done a really good job interpreting the novel. The only real differences I can recall are the condensed determination that the moth was the much rarer Death’s Head (the entomologists made an initial mistake in identification), removed some of the scenes depicting Jame Gumb’s disgust with his male parts and they sprung the “girl suit” surprise a little earlier in the novel’s pacing. None of the passion and the story Harris put to page was really sacrificed.

Normally I cringe when I see there’s a movie being made from a novel I love, and I watch it with considerable reluctance and pretty low expectations. It can never be a total letdown when you expect it to be a total fail. In that department I’ve been surprised, when I took my sister to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Except for missing one important addition to the line, which I KNEW they would omit from the script, and having the creepy man-like blonde play the Witch who was supposed to be stunningly gorgeous). I was blown away. I actually cried, seeing a movie I had waited my entire life to see (now if they would only make C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy… Peter Jackson, are you out there?).

 

And then there’s that classic dystopian novel, Harry Harrison’s Make Room, Make Room. Don’t know it? Sure you do. It’s where one of the most iconic movie lines came from: “Soylent green is people!” Well, maybe not the book, but the movie that bears the name. I loved the movie (I still love Charlton Heston films) and so when I found a copy of the book, I dove in. No “soylent green” is people. In fact, that whole idea of reconstituted people isn’t part of Make Room, Make Room at all, and the soylent only refers to soy/lentil “steaks.”

I generally prefer the movies from Stephen King’s novels to the novels themselves, with few exceptions (The Shining being one, as I preferred the ending, making more sense). He wrote with so much fluff in his novels that we kids used to joke that you could skip the first five chapters of The Tommyknockers (or any of his novels of that period) and still have the core of the story.

I couldn’t sit through all of Forrest Gump, and didn’t read the book, but I’ve been told by many family members that the movie cuts out all of the crap.

TV shows can get in on the action too–though I am not really crazy about some of the plot changes from novel to show, Game of Thrones does a pretty darn good job of keeping to, and sometimes surpassing Martin’s stories (especially when he rambles for pages about what gross things his characters are devouring while talking about nothing of substance or doing anything of concern).

So, what books have you read that have been pleasantly surpassed by the movie version?

 

Or… How the Internet Killed the Intended Plot.

 

Every author, no matter if they write for profit or pleasure, faces that dreaded inky, seemingly-infinite darkness known as ‘Writer’s Block.’ We are under a great deal to come up with something new, something novel (pun intended) or we risk losing our readers for good. The pressure has only increased with the advent of self-publishing and everyone getting in on the game, on top of the literal millions of other things out there they could be reading besides fiction off of an e-book reader. Worse still are the forums.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Forums are a great place for readers to go gush about the latest book they read in a series, possibly winning over new readers for the author by word of mouth.

The problem is in the speculation.

And, yes, I was guilty of this at one time until I realized the potential damage it could cause. (This was not for A Song of Ice and Fire*, although I have my theories there, I keep them to myself and hope to be surprised by what happens in future books**…IF Martin ever gets them out).

That damage is this: So much speculation could rob the author of the plot.

Let’s show instead of tell, and use a ridiculous scenario of a couple of rabid ASOIAF fans on a forum with a fictional Sixth Book ending:

BILL: Ohmigosh, I got so mad when I read that end! I thought we were going to learn about Jon Snow’s parentage and then *poof*.

SAMMY: Yeah, man. I have my ideas about it, and wanted to see if I was right. See, I think Jon’s Snow’s mom is actually his “sister” Sansa who was sent back into the past and impregnated by the then-younger Hound!

DAN: Nah, that’s silly! I think his dad is actually Mance and Osha and…

 

Need I go on? And it’s not about the theories being “far out there” – it’s about them being out there at all. Now say Martin comes along, and he had an idea very similar to Sammy’s that involved some kind of weird time travel injected into the plot and he stumbled onto this particular threadnow… now he could face a myriad of problems.

#1:  Someone else already thought about it, and posted it, and it could look like Martin was ripping off the idea. If he publishes with this, yeah, it may make the poster feel good by affirming his theory, but it could open up Martin to accusations of theft/plagiarism/laziness/hackishness/etc.

#2:  Someone already thought of the idea and now Martin is forced to come up with something even more novel, which means that it will take that much longer.

There’s also the danger of fan fiction, which any author of the basis of the fan fiction should avoid reading at all costs. (Is that a litmus test for having “made it”, when others spend their own time doing horrible, unmentionable things to/between your characters?)

So, not cool for the author any way around. Now, most of us don’t have nearly the following for our worlds and characters that would engender the hours of thought put into what we think is going to happen, or think has happened and are waiting for it to be affirmed. Don’t get me wrong–guessing what happens is part of the fun, and shows that an author did a great job of creating an immersive world where the readers like us get so involved in the lives of completely fictional characters. It’s just that it can cause a lot of problems for the author when they are broadcast on so public and pervasive a forum as many of them devoted to such works as ASOIAF. Readers, please remember that if you really love the author and want them to keep writing, be kind.

 

Have you had theories about characters/plots of popular series and divulged them in a public forum? Did they pan out, or were your dreams for Heroine X and Hero Y getting together dashed beyond all hope? Please share only wins/losses, no speculations on as-yet-unresolved plot points.

 

*For the curious, my theories about plot were regarding Star Wars characters in their Knights of the Old Republic, not ASOIAF. But, like I said, I do have my theories about Jon Snow’s parentage…

**AND NO, I have not watched the series beyond Season 2. Maybe I will get to the rest of it, someday…

***Note: I don’t have secret access into his mind, so maybe he isn’t even suffering from this dilemma, and I just gave him another “out” for why his books take him so long to get out there. But he COULD be facing these dilemmas.

In case you wanted an update, I’m working through several revisions of differing genres, and one new novel in the Ennid the Havoc universe, but unfortunately I have no dates on them. Sign up for my newsletter and I will send updates, and you might even get a chance to do some beta reading.