Game of Thrones season 5: George RR Martin defends HBO as fans react to rape scene

The author insists that prose and TV have 'different strengths and weaknesses'

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The Independent Culture

George RR Martin has defended Game of Thrones showrunners for departing from his books in Sunday night’s shocking TV episode.

Sansa Stark’s brutal wedding night rape at the hands of Ramsay Bolton outraged many viewers, particularly fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which the HBO series is based.

Martin’s original story had a girl posing as Arya Stark marry Ramsay and be subjected to a sexual assault, rather than main character Sansa.

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Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton in the terrible wedding scene

But as far as the author is concerned, D.B Weiss and Dan Benioff have full creative license to do what as they please with his material.

“I am getting a flood of emails and off-topic comments on this blog about [Sunday night’s] episode of Game of Thrones. It is not unanticipated,” Martin wrote in a post titled ‘The Show, the Books’.

“The comments, regardless of tone, have been deleted. I have been saying since season one that this is not the place to debate or discuss the TV series. Please respect that.”

 

Martin, 66, went on to reiterate what he has said previously about the differences between the show and the books.

“How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? Three, in the novel. One, in the movie. None, in real life. She was a fictional character, she never existed. The show is the show, the books are the books – two different tellings of the same story,” he continued.

“Small changes lead to larger chances lead to huge changes. HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities and a cast of characters in the hundreds.”

Martin paid tribute to how faithful Game of Thrones has been to his books compared to other TV adaptations, telling irate fans to “talk to the Harry Dresden fans or readers of the Sookie Stackhouse novels or the fans of the original Walking Dead comic books”.

“Prose and television have different strengths, different weaknesses, different requirements,” he said. “More and more, they differ. Two roads diverging in the dark of the woods, I suppose, but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place.

“In the meantime, we hope that the readers and viewers both enjoy the journey. Or journeys, as the case may be. Sometimes butterflies grow into dragons.”

Martin directed anyone “curious as to the road the books are taking” to the sample chapters of upcoming sixth book The Winds of Winter on his website.

Martin has been forced to defend sexual violence in Game of Thrones before, insisting that his novels are “inspired by and grounded in history”.

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