|Lord Eddard Stark in the godswood|
HBO did a lot of things well with the show. I thought most of the actors fit the characters perfectly, the scenery was amazing, the costumes were spot on, the filming, the music, the freaking Wall! As I said, a lot was done well. Having said that, I am very disappointed in the content they included. I shouldn't have been surprised... it's HBO, after all. And the books do have several scenes of adult content I wouldn't let kids read. But holy crap. There were so many scenes added to the show that don't even exist in the books, simply to have another bit of sex on screen.
I have never watched an HBO series before. Perhaps this is how they all are. I get that sex is sexy. What I don't get is why the people at HBO think it belongs in a show for its own sake. So much of what they added had nothing to do with the story. It only served to be tantalizing.
Again, I shouldn't have been surprised. I am unable to recommend the books to people--in good conscience--because of the explicit content in their pages. However, I am quite open about them being my favorite novels. George R.R. Martin is a master storyteller. His grasp on character is nothing less than amazing. I was told about A Game of Thrones nearly ten years ago, and have read it and its sequels nearly a dozen times since. I couldn't resist watching when the story ended up on screen.
It is easy to overlook content in books when becoming a professional author is my biggest dream. As a writer, you must be truthful about the world and human nature. I believe this completely. It is why I forgive authors when it comes to certain things. However,
and this is a BIG HOWEVER,
It is absolutely unnecessary to show the audience everything. If a head is getting hacked off, cut away to another scene as the axe is dropping. If a man and woman are about to have sex, leave the room as they begin to pull at each others clothing. We'll get the point. We'll know what just happened. We'll still follow the story without being privy to every little detail of every little act humanity participates in. I once told my wife's uncle that my goal is to write honest stories without being vulgar. He seemed to think it a hard goal to accomplish. It isn't. Truth is, a story becomes much more powerful when the audience is left to imagine a few things. The beauty, depth, and horror of words typed on a page, or scenes shown on a screen, are only as good as a consumer's interpretation. Don't interpret intimate settings for me; let me, as reader and viewer, do this on my own.
I've said my peace. If you want to watch Game of Thrones, know that there is a lot that is good about the show. Know also that there is content you might be uncomfortable viewing. I was uncomfortable. Damnably so. I intend to never watch the show again, unless I can find someone able to edit out what I don't want to see. As for the books... well, I know which parts to skip at this point.