Season 4 of Game of Thrones begins tonight, and I’m so glad it’s back for a few reasons. I think it’s one of the most entertaining shows on television, but beyond that, I’ve been an avid reader of the books for years and I’ve always found it very interesting to see how the writers of the TV show have adapted the source material of the books. Most of the time, I think they do a great job inventing new non-book scenes that really capture the essential nature of the characters. They’ve even changed the motivations of some characters in better ways; in the books, Shae was simply a gold-digging prostitute, a very flat character, while in the show, she’s a bit more complicated, and truly seems to be in love with Tyrion.
Season 3 of the TV show ended about 2/3s of the way through book 3, so season 4 is going to finish up book 3, but it will also almost certainly parts of book 4 as well. However, book 4 is an aberration in the series because, timeline wise, it happens at the same time as book 5 and covers almost none of the major characters that the TV show has kept its focus on for three seasons. I can’t help but think that the TV show might draw in some pieces of book 5 into this season.
Even if this season of the show doesn’t integrate any book 5 material, this is the point in the books where plotlines begin to meander, and I suspect that the show writers will have to do a lot more stitching and combining of stories (and writing more original stuff) in order to keep the show entertaining and keep certain main characters at the forefront. Next season will be especially interesting, because I really don’t think there’s enough going on in book 5 to fill a whole season, and I highly doubt that book 6 will be out on the market within a year. So anyway, as I said, I suspect this may be the beginning of of a time where the writers have to be a bit more creative and inventive, and as a book reader, I find that really exciting.