The Sketch

Arts, briefly.

By James Mackenzie

Game of Thrones: From page to screen

There has been much controversy in recent weeks over the increasingly drastic changes made in adapting George R.R. Martin’s famed fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, to the small screen in HBO’s wildly popular Game of Thrones. Changes are inevitable in any kind of adaptation, but this season, show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have gone rogue. New adventures off script range from the accidental (the unintentional rape scene of several weeks ago) to the invented (Jon Snow’s crusade against Night’s Watch mutineers) to the mining of privileged and unpublished material straight from Martin’s files (the especially controversial revelation of the Borg-like means of White Walker reproduction last week).

The end result has been a season that has kept viewers buzzing, but not always in the best way. The tone-deaf rape scene adapted from a more consensual if no less disturbing scene from the books received the most vitriol—and deservedly so—but the intentional changes are far more complicated. The most recent TV-exclusive plotline has been the aforementioned problem of the Night’s Watch mutineers and how they crossed paths with both Jon Snow and Bran Stark. The most recent episode found Bran captured by these renegades and Jon Snow on a quest to hunt them down. Complicating matters was Locke, the bannerman of Roose Bolton sent to do

away with the young Bran. His role in this subplot was, you guessed it, another invention of Benioff and Weiss.

The episode ended with a battle between Snow’s Night’s Watchmen and the mutineers, leaving Snow victorious, Locke dead, and Bran continuing on his way north. Despite those changes, there will be no long-term divergence from the books in this plotline, bringing into question the point of this extended plot arc. Without any character change or lasting damage to the world, one has to look at the sequence as nothing but filler.

With the publication of new books by Martin nowhere in the foreseeable future, the prospect of the show passing the books is becoming more and more likely by the year; this Jon Snow–led diversion and the inclusion of White Walker baby-freezing may be an attempt to ease the audience into a show without books as a basis. Benioff and Weiss do have inside info on the future of Martin’s series, so this is feasible. But rumor has it that the pressure of the show’s ongoing march has created tension between Martin and HBO, creating more slowdown in Martin’s already glacial writing process, as well as feeding into the show’s increasing independence from the page.

The Game of Thrones machine has gone beyond what Martin could have imagined, but it has cost him his vision of the story’s adaptation. Whether that will be for the better or worse remains to be seen.

—James Mackenzie

RBIM Night at the Movies 

Rhythmic Bodies in Motion, with more dancers than ever, performed their annual spring showcase Saturday and Sunday nights in Mandel hall. This year their show was entitled Night at the Movies and featured pieces choreographed, taught, and performed by students at all levels of experience.

Jialing Lu, administrative director, explained this year’s show: “Typically [the theme] used to be a lot more general. This year we had a more basic theme ,like ‘Night at the Movies.’ So with that ,we decided to implement a lot of things that would fit the theme. We have a lot of projectors and movie clips going on as trailers for each piece to [explain] …where we got the inspiration for the piece from.”

The show included many diverse styles of dance, inspired by everything from sexy Latin music videos to the work of Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. The group’s graduating fourth-years even created a nostalgic, satirical tribute to their O-Week, which included a hysterical number about the morning after, set to “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. Group numbers that made use of most, if not all, of the 90-student-strong RSO were the show’s highlight; whether in the avant-garde piece “Bedlam” (choreographed by Annie Pei) or the fun “Why So Serious?” (choreographed by Victoria Lee) which included the Madagascar song “I Like to Move It.”The show carried the audience between rapt attention and laughter, ultimately providing a smooth and entertaining night.

—Evangeline Reid