Other fans of the books may disagree, but I’m enjoying the liberties that HBO has taken with Game of Thrones this season. Characters and plotlines are beginning to converge in ways that either haven’t yet happened or may never happen in the books. These choices give the show something that has been lacking from the last couple volumes of the series: momentum. In particular, the show has made Stannis Baratheon almost. . .likeable? That may be too strong a word, but he’s far more interesting than his counterpart in the books. The TV version of Dany is also a more intriguing character, possessing a sense of maturity and agency that isn’t found in the pages of George R.R. Martin’s books.
I’m sure the next book will make some equally interesting choices regarding character and plot, but I do hope Martin is watching the show and taking notes on how to keep the audience engaged.