Game of Thrones has hit the halfway mark. Episode five, “The Wolf and the Lion,” aired last Sunday, and it’s time to assess progress. As far as I know, the first season intends to span the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire. The paperback version of Game of Thrones (with Sean Bean on the cover as Ned) is just over 800 pages. The television show is at page 385. We have 400 pages left to cover in five episodes. I think it’s doable.
In case I need to spell it out, television series spoilers ahead. I won’t discuss anything in the book that you won’t already know if you’re caught up to the fifth episode.
Thus far, HBO has done a remarkable job bringing this epic to the screen. As with any book, you spend a lot of time in the heads of the various characters and I wasn’t sure how that would translate. It’s not an action-packed book even though there are chapters that make your head spin. The writers have highlighted scenes and points that first time viewers need to see, and they’ve grasped the essence of the book. Moreover, they’ve stayed true to the page. Some scenes, a few in “The Wolf and the Lion,” were added just for the show. But the moments felt organic; like they could melt right into the existing book.
Thinking back, I only have one complaint that is above the nitpick level. We aren’t seeing enough of the direwolves. They are fluffy and cute (when they’re not being vicious) but beyond that, they carry great weight in the book. Ghost, Jon Snow’s direwolf, is at his master’s side more than he’s not. They are a team. I understand that it is the opposite of cheap to have wolves on set, but I miss their presence. However. Considering the vast amount of territory the show has to include, missing direwolves is an Imp-sized objection.