During the times that a series of books collides with a TV or movie adaptation, there almost always seems to be a consensus that the books create a better experience. But once in a while, the writing on the adaptation can be altered enough where it ends up becoming its own viable product. Sometimes it works so well that it creates two separate fan groups that collide with one another at fan conventions. While the “Harry Potter” series had some of that, even those who liked the films had read the books. “Game of Thrones”, conversely, seems to have many watching the TV series without having ever read the books.
And that’s probably to the benefit of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” so the element of surprise in all those violent deaths at betrothals can create more shocked hashtags on Twitter. But “Game of Thrones” is unusual because the book series (aka “A Song of Ice and Fire”) hasn’t even been completed yet. There’s now some mystery about whether the TV series will end before George R.R. Martin will write the final book. In that regard, it seems to be creating speculation whether they’ll have to completely split this fantasy universe with two different endings.
Will that create a disruption in the “Game of Thrones” universe, or will fans be able to handle the possibility that the TV series will end differently from the books? It’s an interesting dilemma in a media property, especially when it’s never really been done before. In the “Harry Potter” series, everyone knew how it was going to end. It was just the matter of how it was going to be presented.
The “Game of Thrones” dilemma may create a new situation in media where a book series may have to be a completely different entity from a TV series adaptation in order to provide creative leeway. On HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, the deaths of key figures may already be diverging in who the culprits are from the book series. If so, it’s going to create the equivalent of dual realities for popular pop culture characters that may confuse those who attempt to cross between those worlds.
Do Fantasy Fans Want Believable Timelines?
Sci-fi and fantasy fans have always seemed to be adamant on keeping timelines believable to make those worlds plausible. Everything from “Star Trek” to other fantasy novels had specific time frames that match when movie adaptations are made. Only the recent “Star Trek” movies from J.J. Abrams seemed to diverge into a hint of being an alternate universe history of the original cast. For the sake of keeping it relevant for a younger generation, some “Trek” fans seem to be fine with the idea that there could have been an alternate timeline with changes in details.
Fans of “Game of Thrones” may feel the same way now, especially with so much wild speculation in theoretical physics about the possibility of alternate outcomes in our own timelines. Can there be two separate endings for “Game of Thrones” without throwing the fanbase into some state of chaos?
It’s a possibility the divided world between the books and the TV series may have separate fanbases that may also require separate fansites and conventions. Plus, the debate over how the TV series ends with the books may create enough dissension where it creates a real-world Westeros and Essos civil war. When it comes to fantasy on the level of “Game of Thrones”, there’s a much stronger connection to these characters, even if most of them are despised.
Eventually, those two fanbases will have to combine, possibly when George R.R. Martin puts the last book out after the TV series ends. He may include elements of the TV series to close the divide and show that two separate worlds may not be all that far apart from one another in the end other than some of the details.
This may bring some peace to the fanbase divide without anybody choking to death while eating lunch at a consolidated fan convention.