Tower of the Hand

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Read the source material before, after, or never? It's been a dilemma ever since movie producers realized they didn't always have to come up with their own ideas. Millions of books already exist, plenty with great characters and stories just waiting to be translated into a more visual medium. Filmmakers have to be clever, though, in condensing a heavy tome into a two-hour flick for a broader audience while still following their own creative instincts, all on a budget. The end result often upsets the core fans who most wanted to see their page-turners on screen in the first place. Certainly this is one thing that A Song of Ice and Fire readers have had to grapple with as HBO's Game of Thrones deviates farther and farther away from the books. But we are not the first to face this. I can only imagine the outcry from fans of those early adaptations: "Dorothy's slippers are what color?"

Generally speaking, when there's a new adaptation that catches your eye, do you prefer to 1) read the source material before watching the adaptation, 2) read it after watching it, or 3) never read it at all? Have there been exceptions to this rule? Did you read ASOIAF before or after watching Game of Thrones, and has that influenced how you treat adaptations now?

Who wrote the letter?

Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.

You and me could write a bad romance. Thanks for the flowers and the chocolate, but let's get real. This thing between us, it isn't going to work. I only waited until after Valentine's Day because I didn't want to spend the night alone and/or I didn't have the heart to ruin the day for you, too. Sure, we had some thrilling moments: exploring caves, riding dragons, and forming alliances with our sworn enemies, not to mention the boat-rocking sex. But deep down, I -- Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Mare Who Mounts the World -- knew our relationship was doomed the instant I learned that you, Jon, were _____.

Nevertheless, I hope we can still be friends!

When do you think Season 8 will premiere? Filming of Game of Thrones' eighth season is now well underway, but production on the show's final six episodes -- with their whopping $90 million budget -- will likely take many more months. The writers and producers certainly want to make sure they get the ending right and give fans the closure that they deserve, so it's not surprising that HBO has yet to commit to a Season 8 premiere date. We're no strangers to waiting (and at this point, I might actually prefer that George R. R. Martin wait until after the show is over before he releases The Winds of Winter). But we still need to prepare ourselves for the end. When do you think Season 8 will premiere?

A jaded view all over again. A day with a silly but harmless tradition has now become synonymous with a bizarre phenomenon: characters getting stuck in some kind of time loop. Don't get me wrong, I usually love this plot device. Groundhog Day is my favorite Bill Murray film, "Cause and Effect" my favorite Star Trek episode, and "Majora's Mask" my favorite Legend of Zelda game. More recently, we've seen it play out on Westworld and I'm looking forward to The Good Place's second season, to say the least.

But repetition can be tiresome, too, especially when an audience has been conditioned to expect the unexpected. There are only so many ways an author can make his story surprising before his readers wise up. If he's lucky, we'll call a repetitive storyline "thematic." More likely, we'll see the supposed twist as a variation on one of the author's favorite writing tricks. Generally speaking, what plot twist do you find to be the most tiresome? What type of twist happens in A Song of Ice and Fire a little too often?

Lords of the Seven Kingdoms, Protect Us from Them. Maegor the Cruel is considered by many to be the worst king of Westeros, but several candidates from Westeros' history could challenge him for that title: Baelor the Blessed, Aegon the Unworthy, Aerys the Mad King, to name just a few. Whether they were intentionally cruel or generally incompetent, the reigns of these bad kings proved to be detrimental to the well-being of the Seven Kingdoms and its citizens. What would you say is the worst personal attribute of a bad king? What makes the difference between a bad king and an awful one?

Will the Winds blow in our favor in 2017? Happy New Year! I for one am ready to put the last year behind me. One guaranteed way for 2017 to improve upon 2016 would be for a certain author to announce that a certain book is finally done. But will it happen this year? If not 2017, then when do you think we will see The Winds of Winter? Or do you now think George R. R. Martin would be better off waiting to release the final books of A Song of Ice and Fire until after Game of Thrones has completed its run in a couple of years?

Season 6 Arcs: The Councilors

Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.


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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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