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Rough Drafts versus Final Copy

Three episodes into the current season of Game of Thrones, my opinion of the show has solidified: this is the rough draft of the story George R.R. Martin will hopefully finish.
It's a very promising rough draft. I like the basic outline of the plots the show pushes beyond the cliff-hangers of "Dance of Dragons," the last version of the book we know about in completion. The characterizations make sense and the action moves along at a good clip. We're seeing mysteries solved, inevitable developments and a few genuine surprises. The fights have all been been better than anything in the Watergardens.

But I can't shake the feeling something's missing...

This is not me giving up on the show. Far from it. The second episode, "Home," gave plenty of great GoT moments and, after surviving last years slog, I think I'm in for the long haul. 

But think back to the high moments of the show. The truly surprising, shocking, and amazing moments: The Red and Purple Weddings, Daenyrs saying "Naejot memēbātās!" and even last season's "Hardhome." There was depth in those moments. The audience could enjoy the scene on a myriad of levels. The Purple Wedding, to pick just one example, was the end of a hated villain, a major shift for half a dozen main characters, and an amusing exercise in 'whodunit.'

Compare that to one of the high moments from the current season - the final witnessing of the Tower of Joy fight from last Sunday's "Oathbreaker." After years of speculation about what happened in the battle and how Ned survived the fight and whether or not the fight even happened, what we were left with is a well-staged but fairly straight-forward sword duel.

I was left underwhelmed. Not disappointed exactly but personally certain that when this scene finally appears in Martin's prose, it will be better and resonate more deeply than anything this show can put on air. Maybe the way the fight goes down is exactly how Martin envisioned it but I just don't think so. 

Also, this:

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