Spoilers ahead for this season of Game of Thrones.
While we live in a time that is full of quality television programming, two shows are truly dominating in regards to popularity, viewership, and acclaim. Those series are HBO’s Game of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead, which have quite a bit in common. Both shows have a pretty insane amount of gore and violence, are willing to kill off major characters, and are actually adapted from popular books. However, how each show is adapting their respective books are starkly different, with Game of Thrones now surpassing the book series, while The Walking Dead has plenty of comic issues left before the show could ever catch up.
Since Game of Thrones has had to continue on without source material to reference, author George R.R. Martin has been assisting HBO by outlining some plot points which will occur in his future novels. Robert Kirkman, who writes The Walking Dead comic book series has serious beef with this move, saying:
I would never do that. That's the one thing I'm disappointed in George R.R. Martin for doing. He should have just been like, Fuck you. You make it up now, I'll get to mine when I'm ready.
This statement, which comes to us from Rolling Stone, is pretty harsh, although Robert Kirkman does have a point. Fans of the Song of Ice and Fire books, which Game of Thrones is based off of, will not be able to read the final two novels without knowing a great deal about future events. Even if the readers don’t watch the HBO show, Game is so popular that they’re bound to get the highlights.
The issue of Game of Thrones spoiling George R. R. Martin’s novels has been a gathering storm for years. Martin takes quite some time to write each novel, as they’re rather long and extremely detailed. HBO; meanwhile, is producing a new season every year, so the clock was ticking early on.
Game of Thrones’ sixth season seems to be really pandering to fan outcry and expectations. The season has been full of payoffs, including Jon Snow’s resurrection, his reunion with Sansa, Bran and Rickon’s return, and now Benjen’s reemergence after 6 seasons. While this has made for captivating television, surely George R.R. Martin was planning on milking these plot lines for a while in the novels. Going into the upcoming books with this information is going to ruin the payoff, and has the potential to make the detailed pace of the novels almost unbearable.
Robert Kirkman, however, is quite ahead of his TV adaptation. This timing actually helps both the series and the graphic novels. Readers of the novels eagerly anticipate comic book characters and plots to be introduced, and Walking Dead viewers will read the comics in order to expand the universe.
Kirkman’s words for George R.R. Martin might seem harsh, but it comes from a place of protection over his work. While he’s heavily involved in The Walking Dead TV show, he’s unwilling to have the original novels ruined for the sake of TV. For a guy that writes about cannibalism and murder, he’s got some class.