I thought the “Purple Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones was fantastic. And the next two or so episodes are probably going to be amazing if they do justice to the books.
After that, it’s all downhill. Some weird stuff happens to Cersei, and we meet all these new and forgettable Dornish characters, but basically every other character in the series gets stuck in proverbial quicksand and simply. stops. moving. (Poor Daenarys — she liberates the same slaver city three times to no real effect. “ZOMG my dragons are getting so big! ZOMG I sure wish I had a goddamn ship so I could head back west and actually advance the plot!”)
The HBO series has been a master-class in writing and casting, but I’ve got a feeling we’re at the high watermark right now. Martin is about to lose the plot, so how could the TV series not follow suit?
What’s an even more interesting possibility, and one that grows more likely by the month, is that the HBO writers are going to finish the story rather than G.R.R. Martin himself. Game of Thrones, the first book in the series, came out 18 years ago. The idea that he could finish two more books before the HBO series “catches up” to him is pretty far-fetched.
And frankly, as much fun as the books are, I’d rather see what the HBO writers could do to finish things up, authorial intention be damned.