Game of Clones : Sometimes the second version is better

old_bookI’ve said before that remakes and adaptations are often better than the originals, using OutKast’s Hey Ya! and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind as examples.

The argument is now being made, by Chris Taylor at Mashable (but also by others), that the HBO series Game of Thrones is surpassing its source work, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire:

In 1996, Martin published … A Game of Thrones, the first in what was then supposed to be a trilogy, to critical acclaim. In 1998 came the second volume, A Clash of Kings, and lo, it was even better. The year 2000 saw the third book, A Storm of Swords, which was perhaps one of the most densely layered and consistently surprising tomes I’ve read in any genre. It took the HBO show two seasons to do justice to this book.

And then? Martin spun his words, and his characters spun their wheels. He sat in his home in New Mexico typing out page after page, introducing new character after new character into his world of Westeros but not really advancing any of their storylines …

The showrunners, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, have been far less self-indulgent. (And for good reason — if a book is only bought a million times, it’s still a huge hit for the publishers. But if a show drops down to a million viewers, it’s a disaster.)

… In short, wherever Martin seems to be going out of his way to keep strands untied, introduce ponderous new strands and frustrate the reader, Benioff and Weiss are doing the opposite — uniting strands and delighting the viewer.

Read the rest here.

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