One of our long term readers has written a substantial and well thought-out commentary to our previous post, displaying an analytical value worthy of what is going on in the head of the Hand of the realm, which is fitting, given his nickname. We thought it a text that deserves its own post, as it is helpful to those fresh to Game of Thrones, but familiar with True Blood. Without further ado, here is what Lord Ned’s Head has to say on the topic of comparing the two shows.
Speaking as a fan of both properties (I have read all the books of both series and watched every episode of TB on HBO), I am a pretty good authority on each and I’d like to welcome the TB ilk to the site!
Comparing the two series is pretty hard. I think its better to contrast them to show people unfamiliar with ASoIaF what they might expect from the series. There really are two big things that I think will set the shows apart from each other, but will also serve to provide HBO with two shows that compliment each other through their contrast.
The first big difference between the shows is the overall mood that they present to viewers. TB can be brooding, gory and emotionally grating at times, but it always manages to bring a fun, tounge-in-cheek quality to the audience. Its wild, racey and oftentimes shocking, but it almost always puts at least a little smirk on my face if not a true belly laugh. The overall tone of the show described as briefly as possible is “Ha!”
GoT takes itself far more seriously. Both shows have a type of fantasy element to them, and for those unfamiliar with him, George writes a quick witty dialogue that at times can be as sharp and funny as a Valyrian dagger. There is absolutely humor in the work, though its often used with restraint. In GoT we will(should) never get the zany type of comedy that TB presents. But we do get a gripping on-the-edge-of-your-seat story that is every bit addicting as V. In a word, I describe GoT as “Wow!”
The other big difference between the shows is the way they utlizie the source material. The Sookie books were all fun, but by themselves they would be a bit drab for an HBO show. Alan Ball has done an oftentimes (though I feel that in season three he sometimes crossed the line from raising the bar to “what will they do next” sensationalism) masterful job of keeping the Bon Temps world generally the same as the books, but giving us much more of a roller coaster ride than Charlaine Harris chooses to. The biggest thing I look forward to with TB is to watch and see what Mr. Ball will do to shake up events that happen in the books. The twist in the season one ending was my favorite change of all for example. I don’t think I am alone in this. Fans of TB love the whacky changes that HBO brings.
In contrast, fans will be ready to dump a pot of molten gold on D&Ds heads if they even think about deviating from the plot one tenth as much as Ball does with TB. GoT doesn’t need to be punched up. Fans want to see the finished project remain as close to the original source material as possible.
To finish, I just wanted to say that HBO should be content with the fact that it has two great series on its hands now. One is a campy, wildly exciting matinee type romp for grownups, the other is a serious, gritty paragon of epic story telling. Ultimately its the fans who are the big winners here. I’m psyched to be an HBO subscriber and plan to remain so for years to come with two great shows like these in the HBO stable.
Hear Me Roar: Me again. This piece manages to neatly express exactly the views I have on the matter, and I dare say the rest of the WiC team agrees as well. I hope that TB fans enjoyed reading it, and that you now have an even better idea of what Game of Thrones is all about.