Just finished reading A Clash of Kings. As mentioned, I'm trying to catch up with the series. Though I'm not sure I'm going to make it. I don't know I'll have the willpower to stave off Season Five before reading the book. I've still got the longest instalment, A Storm of Swords ahead, which was so long that in the UK they've split it in two: Steel and Snow & Blood and Gold. Just downloaded those.
After that, I've still got one more to go before I'm up to date. By which time the fifth will have finished airing, and they're talking about the TV series overtaking the books as R. R. Martin is still writing number six.
That would be a complete dampener.
I'm still really enjoying it. There are a few variations in the books, mostly elongated battle and escape scenes. Tyrion is true to form, though slightly darker, in that he kills a few more people. I think, knowing how things end with Shae and his father, his darker side puts that into a little bit more context. Makes it more believable.
There's also a lot of people missing on telly, like Lady Tanda and Lollys, who are mentioned by Bronn, but never seen. When adaptations are done well they do make a plot more dynamic, skipping over the bitty stuff. But that's why I like to go back for the books - to get the bitty stuff.
At least they didn't do a Dexter. That started out so well with the adaptation, but then they completely rewrote Cody and Astor as innocent victims, whereas in the books they were much darker. Potential Dexters in the making.
I wonder how authors feel about that sort of compromise? The compromises so far in the Song of Ice and Fire series have been fairly minor, but that was an entire reinterpretation of Jeff Lindsay's key characters in order to stick to a theme. It did work, I reckon. But I just wonder how quickly he agreed?
[Minor spoiler] I think the biggest divergence in Clash of Kings was that Arya Stark doesn't end up as the serving girl to Tywin Lannister. She's the serving girl to Roose Bolton! Although Roose is extremely creepy (he likes getting leeched), and it would have helped make more sense of the Red Wedding if we'd known him better (and Ramsay's storming of Winterfell), I do think that the TV show did a very nice job of switching him for Tywin. That was a nice bit of character interaction going on there.
It does make you marvel at the casting, too. Looking back at Catelyn's description of Jaime Lannister in the dungeons of Riverrun, of Sansa's view of Sandor Clegane, Ser Dontos or Davos the Onion Knight - the actors really are spot on. The main descriptives that didn't quite translate were Arya's nose, Tyrion's eyes and King Joffrey's flowing hair, but I think we can happily agree Jack Gleeson was born to play that part.
Anyway, I am really enjoying this series. Though I'm going to take a little time out as I have a few other things on my TBR pile that I really want to get through. Delaying completion of this even further. It would be sweet to read the book before seeing Season Five, though. Provided social media and my friend Paul don't tell me what's happened first.