When the reigning Queen of England relinquishes her crown, it’s expected to be the biggest event in British history in over 70 years.
In the first season, it was relatively simple to translate book to the visual medium that is television. Sure there were more voice overs (V.O.) and flashbacks than are typically acceptable in TV shows, but because the book was linear, so was the TV show. And generally speaking, fans were pretty happy with the adaptation. Not so for DIA or even Voyager to come. Already for S2, devout fans are now finding the disparity between the book’s plots and characters, and those utilized in the TV show, up to Ep 7 (FAITH).
You can’t do that, with a complicated timeline in DIA, without moving things around, by changing character motivation (i.e. Jamie’s expanded PTSD plus revenge) and character depth (Murtagh needs to play a prominent role, as Jamie can’t have exposition into the air, or god help us, voice overs!) So fans were up in arms over this. So we’re perfectly fine with changing Murtagh’s screen time but not Fergus’s? Did we get a 20 ep. order recently to accommodate all of us book fans, which no new viewer could stand to watch? This is all about compromise. Between the book medium (Diana as artistic written interpreter) and the visual medium (Ron as artistic visual interpreter).
There can be only one showrunner, and it is RDM. Semantics are important. Maril has repeatedly said she has had to fight with RDM to “win”. He has the first say, and the final cut. The writers write what he asks of them. Look at the “BJR on your knees” scene or the massive fight afterward between Jamie and Claire in S2EP5. That was all RDM’s idea and design. Not in the books, but fans loved it regardless.
They bought the book, but cut out the fatty parts. For you carnivores (I’m vegetarian), it’s akin to buying the whole cow but only using the meat on the bones (but thankfully keeping the spine). That’s the core plot, the main characters and many key scenes. But you discard the head and the fat- represented by secondary characters, half of the romantic scenes and dialogue, and secondary plots. And since this is a visual medium, you get visual “filler” in lieu of text and dialogue. And of course, there’s just… less of it. The book is 947 very dense pages, the scripts add up to 715 thin pages (55 pages/minutes x 13 episodes).
And while RDM has the last say in most cases, it is not in every case. In the end, the bottom line rules above all else; profitability is the ends to the show’s means. STARZ executive “suggestions” to RDM exist to limit risk of lost revenues.
And yes, there has been one known successful example of executive intervention, whereby a controversial ending to an episode (S1E16) was removed to avoid alienation and backlash by existing fans who wanted/needed *feels*, not heightened drama. But, it was also done with the eye to improve new viewership.
How are you coping with the power of RDM this season?