This is the part when HBO's Game of Thrones really gets interesting. Not just because of where the big traumatic turns of season 3 left us, but rather because we're approaching that juncture where the source novels by author George R.R. Martin become a tangled knot that has frustrated more than a few of his readers over the years.
Technically speaking, the rough patch begins with book 4 of the novel series - and season 4 of the TV series is actually supposed to cover the second half of book no. 3, so one would think there's no problem there. However, many fans have been measuring the material from book 3 and wondered if it isn't a little too short for a full fourth season of the show. According to star Jerome Flynn (Bronn), the measurements are certainly not exact.
Speaking at a special panel during the 2013 New York Comic-Con, Flynn claimed that fans would be "quite surprised" by how different season 4 of the HBO show was from the books that inspired it. This was in reference to discussion of a fight scene in which Bronn engages in a battle concocted exclusively for the TV series.
Truthfully speaking, Game of Thornes has always taken liberties with its adaptation of the source material; hell, they even found a way to make the infamous "Red Wedding" even more gruesome and shocking than the books did. And with other actors from the series claiming that season 4 will have even more death in it, one can only guess what showrunners D.B. Weiss, David Benioff and co. have in mind for big events like the "Purple Wedding" and the subsequent events that follow in this game-changing chapter of the Westeros saga.
If the show were to take a lot of the "interquel" elements of George R.R. Martin's 4th and 5th books (A Feast for Crows and A Dance of Dragons) and streamline them into a more cohesive, focused narrative - while starting to lay a lot of the groundwork for those chapters earlier on (so that the development and plot progression were a lot smoother and tighter) I'd be game for it. Reading through books 4 and 5 was a lot like watching a creator sift through a mountain of ideas to find the handful of best ones to work from - no need to repeat that messy process on the TV screen when the destination is already known and the roadwork could be a lot more direct.
How about you - are you okay with the show deviating from the books, or do you like the adaptation to be more faithful?
Game of Thrones returns to HBO in spring 2014.