So, like all lovers of Game of Thrones and the characters that stride through the many pages that GRRM has written to date, I was upset when the TV production team decided to call time on Sir Barristan Selmy, so excellently played by Ian McElhinney. I had hopes that we would see his sharp dismissal of the knights of the kingsguard come home to roost. I wanted a moment much later in the series when we would see him prove to Meryn Trant and Boros Blount that even an old man like him could beat them all.
Not to be. Instead a courageous death at the hands of terrorists Clearly, designed to give us an emotional reaction and set us against the Sons of the Harpy and all who support them, I guess they had to make it someone we cared about. Purist arguements about their lack of technique being inadequate to face a knight or unsullied are irrelevant. It wasn't well done but the point was supposed to be an overwhelming number overcoming an elite few.
Does divergence ruin a series? I have seen a great deal of debate on line over this latest change and I have an opinion, of course.
I read and re-read the books long before the TV series was announced. When it started, it stuck pretty much to the books and I loved it but did think we were not going to be surprised. If a series is going to have it's own place, it has to be able to consider changes to such a long set of books. For one thing, a vast amount has to be cut out to allow for the series to keep to a manageable budget and number of episodes. That means some characters may be left out altogether. It usually means that some absent characters' key moments are then handed to those retained in the series. That is tv economy and is necessary. Then, there is the need to keep the series lovers with you not just the book lovers. One could argue that the book lovers will go buy the books but the series followers could drop off if you bore them.
Given the awful quality of the last three books which probably could have been produced as one book and the rest left on the cutting room floor of "rejected and original chapters" on a pc somewhere, the TV production team were going to have to do something. Even the most avid readers that I know thought the last three books went nowhere and were overlong as well as often irrelevant.
So yes, I was disappointed that Barristan has been dropped early on. Not as disappointed as I was at GRRM for killing off Rob Stark. I liked the TV series giving Brienne a less boring wander about the world and maybe killing off Rob Stark's wife and child to reduce the complexity and possible split loyalty later on when I have little doubt that a Targaryen restoration will result. Danaerys will (my view) meet the other two heads of the dragon, one of whom I believe will be Jon Snow, revealed as the Targaryen heir saved by Ned Stark and raised as his own. With dragons, they can drive back the white walkers and save Westeros. All hail the Targaryens. (And yes, I know what happens in the books but I have thought how that will work through given what will happen when fire is introduced).
There is a lot more in the books that could be played about with to make some interesting episodes. I wish, now, they had the Mountain wound Oberon badly but as he rose to kill him, he had been called off by Tywin to avoid a more serious diplomatic incident. I liked Oberon (Pedro Pascal was excellent) and he would have been good to use in the series to play out some of Dorne's moves. But there we are. That was a rather important book moment and has repercussions which I think we will see on a larger scale in the series. BTW, TV guys, give Darkstar( aka Geroald Dayne) a big part. You've got to imagine what Arthur Dayne's brother can do in a fight!