Game of Thrones and the Paradoxes of Adaptation

Cyanide's Game of Thrones RPG is the object of Rowan Kaiser's latest column on Joystiq, in which he argues that adapting a story from another medium in a role-playing game is inherently problematic. Here's a snip:
There are virtually no adapted role-playing games in which you control the main characters of the source material. This makes sense because of the second major issue adaptations face beyond most games: pacing.

In your average action movie, there are around four or five action scenes. In novels like A Game of Thrones it can be even fewer, due to characters being split based on their points of view. In the first novel, Bronn is in three fights, and he's a fairly minor character. Compare that to your average role-playing game, which probably has dozens of different fights at the low end hundreds or even thousands for others. The reasons for this are simple games are longer than most other media, for one, especially RPGs, where 30-40 hours of gameplay is considered normal. A good portion of this time is usually dedicated to game mechanics, particularly combat.

This represents a major change in pacing. It renders direct adaptations extremely difficult, since Game Of Thrones would lose its narrative power if it was about nothing but Ned Stark fighting guardsmen. Another difficulty is that the concepts that make certain types of media good aren't as powerful in other forms. Ian McKellan isn't in a video game to make scenes of exposition excellent as he did in the Lord of the Rings films, for example. The focuses of the stories are also different. No combat-based role-playing game could include the teenaged hostage Sansa Stark, who becomes such a fascinating character as the A Song of Ice and Fire series progresses.

Thanks RPGWatch.