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A Game of Lessons
March 31, 2012 11:56 AM   Subscribe

With Season 2 of Game of Thrones to begin on Sunday, it's important to review the various life and parenting lessons we've learned from the show.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (278 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also check out a Game of Ponies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:59 AM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


More importantly, given the current state of the torrentverse, where/how can I watch it if I don't have HBO?
posted by humboldt32 at 12:02 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you haven't seen the show or read the books yet, it's worth noting that these are chock full of spoilers.
posted by whir at 12:09 PM on March 31, 2012


Spoilers for at least the first season.

I'd suggest the "parenting" link (avoiding the comments, naturally) for those hoping to reminisce about the first season while saving themselves from spoilers for subsequent ones; that article is almost charming for what it takes for granted.
posted by The Confessor at 12:17 PM on March 31, 2012



More importantly, given the current state of the torrentverse, where/how can I watch it if I don't have HBO?


oosay iratebaynay pay?
posted by lalochezia at 12:19 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


> More importantly, given the current state of the torrentverse, where/how can I watch it if I don't have HBO?

Same merry place you could last year. There have been changes, but stuff is still easily accessible.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:19 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


More importantly, given the current state of the torrentverse, where/how can I watch it if I don't have HBO?

Have you considered getting HBO?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:20 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also check out Burns Landing
posted by ZeroAmbition at 12:20 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would pay HBO.com to be able to download episodes. Or "on demand" without a subscription.
But we've had this discussion before.....
posted by lalochezia at 12:27 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why are fantasy accents always British?

(possibly winning a Sarcastic Caption Prize there)
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on March 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Whoever has had disc 1 of season 1 out on Netflix for a month send it back!
posted by interplanetjanet at 12:32 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would pay HBO.com to be able to download episodes. Or "on demand" without a subscription.
But we've had this discussion before.....


And it's lame that you can't get HBO GO without having cable, but you also can't. They do make episodes available for paid download, well after the fact. It sucks to have to wait, but if I want to see The Hunger Games at home, I can't (legally) do that either. I can either take my sorry ass to the theater or I can wait for it to come to some home video platform. I would like it if I could just click a button and watch it on my computer right now, but I am not entitled to it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:32 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would pay HBO.com to be able to download episodes. Or "on demand" without a subscription.

Eventually this is going to happen. The advancing wall of ice will crush the embedded interests in time. Until then...

I don't have cable. I would williningly pay some resonable amount for the 6 channels I would like. But the companies only offer package deals that are 90% useless to me.

but I am not entitled to it.

Sure. That doesn't mean that I have to like the oligarchical nature of these bastards.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:36 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sure. That doesn't mean that I have to like the oligarchical nature of these bastards.

They are actually the people who are paying to produce the show.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


The easiest solution is to find a friend who has HBO and offer to bring beer/munchies/strippers on Sunday nights.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Game of Thrones, Season 1 @ iTunes.

$3.99 per episode or all 10 episodes and 10 special features for $38.00.
posted by vhsiv at 12:44 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yep, it is available legally all over the place. There is no excuse for noting viewing it that way save "gimme free shit."
posted by Justinian at 12:49 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


They are actually the people who are paying to produce the show.

Paying to produce a show is one thing. Paying your cable company for a package that includes 10 varieties of ESPN that I will never watch, just so I can get the Science channel is another.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:50 PM on March 31, 2012 [16 favorites]


oosay iratebaynay pay?

ickay assway orretsay? (Am I doing it right?)
posted by jokeefe at 12:50 PM on March 31, 2012


Personally I recommend the BluRay set of season 1. It's cheaper than getting it from iTunes, higher quality, and has lots of extras.
posted by Justinian at 12:55 PM on March 31, 2012


They had the strongest DVD launch in HBO history for this and it is making them a ton of money, we can do without the whiny intellectual property white knighting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:56 PM on March 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


vhsiv

...and even less if you download the SD versions, and can stand the lower resolution. I've always done SD myself, initially (before Apple enabled redownloading of previously purchased media) to cut down on storage space, because end-users were at least theoretically responsible for keeping backups. Since I only watch on my iPod Touch and iPhone, where higher resolutions are simply overkill, it works out fine regardless.

For the new season, I was able to add an HBO subscription to my landlord's basic cable bill (with his permission, of course) for only $10 a month, though I understand that is only a promotional rate for the first year. Not only does that get me access to the new GoT season (though I will likely delay watching until I finish listening to the Clash of Kings audiobook), but I'll also be able to watch seasons/episodes of other shows I haven't seen before, like the Sopranos, True Blood, The Wire, Flight of the Conchords, Six Feet Under, and Oz, using HBO Go.
posted by The Confessor at 12:56 PM on March 31, 2012


Peter Dinklage Was Smart to Say No
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2012 [34 favorites]


This season Mad Men is available on iTunes almost as soon as it's broadcast. One would hope that HBO gets the message eventually. The only problem with that is it's freakin' iTunes, so not necessarily watchable on the gear you'd like. For series that are available for prepurchase but delayed a few weeks, an option is to prepay the season pass and then torrent it for all you're worth; that's at least ethical as far as it goes, if not strictlly legal: if you've paid for it you're entitled to watch it. The trouble is that torrenting is a two way street; as you download you're also distributing it to others. You could argue that that's the other parties' ethical lookout, but your (moral) license to watch is not a license to distribute. What an ethical knot it all is.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2012


Stoked for this! I am hoping that the show will start dropping canon hints about Westeros lore that is not mentioned in the books. The Winds of Winter is too far away.

HBO Go is a pretty amazing iPad app. Does anyone know how long it will take to appear on the app after airing on TV? Is it pretty much simultaneous, so that I'll be able to watch the episode on the iPad tomorrow, or will I have to wait a day or two?
posted by painquale at 1:01 PM on March 31, 2012


[Folks maybe take the "where can I get this" discussion to the MeTa thread so this thread can be about ... you know ... the topic of the thread?]
posted by jessamyn at 1:02 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have been waiting for like a week and a half for the show to premiere. Not because i want to see it, but because i have already seen the first four episodes of season 2 and i want to discuss them, dammit.

Non-spoilers: the second season is head and heels above the first. They are more confident about telling their story now and it is evident in all aspects of the show.
posted by mightygodking at 1:02 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Peter Dinklage Was Smart to Say No

That was a great article, but I wonder what Dinklage will think of his role as the show progresses (he's apparently only read the first book). He plays Tyrion as a much more sexy and dashing person than he is in the books, and that might be difficult to square with his character later on. During certain chapters in Dances With Dragons, I remember thinking, wow, I cannot imagine that Dinklage will be happy to have to act this out.
posted by painquale at 1:13 PM on March 31, 2012


So Tywin Lannister is a good example of parenting??
posted by Omnomnom at 1:14 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


After reading the parenting link, and noting the author's admiration for the head of the Lannister clan, I fear for his children a little bit.
posted by peppermind at 1:15 PM on March 31, 2012


^The one caveat about iTunes downloads is that those downloads are usually copy-protected and tied to your client-computer and associated iDevices. Unless you use some sort of screen-capture software (e.g. Snapz) to record create a duplicate, you are tied to your originary hardware.

I've found Apple's verion of SD perfectly acceptable for watching on a 15" MBP laptop, even for items which were clearly produced with HD equipment. A recent, 53 minute episode of PBS' Frontline weighed-in at 1.6 GB, suggesting that it was HD in spite of the SD label.

Sadly, I cannot directly stream this copy-protected video to my flat-screen television, at least without AppleTV attached.

posted by vhsiv at 1:18 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


oosay iratebaynay pay?

wtf you guys, your pig latin is so not the same stuff I grew up with.
posted by jacalata at 1:20 PM on March 31, 2012 [17 favorites]


I wonder what Dinklage will think of his role as the show progresses

Think of poor Alfie Allen playing Theo Greyjoy.
posted by Summer at 1:22 PM on March 31, 2012 [20 favorites]


Have you considered getting HBO?

Not as long as it continues to support the hate speech of Bill Maher. I expect then to pick up Rush Limbaugh fifteen minutes after his last commercial sponsor quits.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:29 PM on March 31, 2012


I wonder which of the actors have read ahead to see what happens to them. You'd think they'd at least want to know how long they get to stick around before they die....
posted by painquale at 1:31 PM on March 31, 2012


I really enjoyed season 1. Unfortunately, this led me to actually reading the books. Still, I'm ready for season 2.

I just don't see how GRRM can keep ahead of a tv series that moves forward a book a year.
posted by jeather at 1:46 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just don't see how GRRM can keep ahead of a tv series that moves forward a book a year.

1.) The producers have already said that Storm of Swords will be two seasons, and most likely Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons will combine to become three seasons between the two of them. This effectively gives Martin about five years to finish book six and six years to finish book seven.

2.) Dance With Dragons was reportedly such a slog because Martin had written himself into several corners by abandoning his original plan to advance the narrative in a multi-year jump (which was why the Stark kids were so young in the books). By all reports, he figured out how to solve that problem and Winds of Winter should take less time.
posted by mightygodking at 1:55 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


He can't. But the books get progressively longer and would likely be split into two seasons later on. On the other hand that means the actors who play some of the children would have to be replaced.

I think the series will catch up to Martin at some point and have to start making stuff up.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


By all reports, he figured out how to solve that problem and Winds of Winter should take less time.

If you believe this I would like to play some poker with you!
posted by Justinian at 2:00 PM on March 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think the series will catch up to Martin at some point and have to start making stuff up.

That's when Jamie and Brienne become a medieval buddy cop duo, investigating crimes around King's Landing. And of course there will be a constant "moonlighting esque" will they or won't they vibe..
posted by Chekhovian at 2:03 PM on March 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


Though, they've said that they don't see season two of the show as being a filmed version of A Clash of Kings. They play around with the chronology and material from the third book will make it into this season. I think Jaime's arc is going to start early.

I wonder whether the changes are going to infuriate me. They're apparently rolling Amory Lorch and Vargo Hoat into a single individual, which is upsetting though understandable.

Anyway: a recap of season one in song form.
posted by painquale at 2:04 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


The comic strip Foxtrot reveals important Game of Thrones spoilers.
posted by JHarris at 2:08 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


The producers have already said that Storm of Swords will be two seasons, and most likely Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons will combine to become three seasons between the two of them. This effectively gives Martin about five years to finish book six and six years to finish book seven.

I think I am missing your math, unless you mean he has five years to finish book six and one more year to finish book seven. Which is, I suppose, possible, but seems unlikely based on the incredibly basic googling I have done. However, this googling has also told me that he has told the producers plot points for books 6 and 7, so I guess we shall see.
posted by jeather at 2:16 PM on March 31, 2012


The comic strip Foxtrot reveals important Game of Thrones spoilers.

For this, I would actually pay for cable and HBO.
posted by IAmUnaware at 2:18 PM on March 31, 2012


The easiest solution is to find a friend who has HBO and offer to bring beer/munchies/strippers on Sunday nights.

no, the easiest solution is to have your friend record it and make a torrent so you can watch it later at your own convenience. either way, Dinklage isn't seeing another dime from you.
posted by cupcake1337 at 2:19 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


They had the strongest DVD launch in HBO history for this and it is making them a ton of money, we can do without the whiny intellectual property white knighting.

There is a MeTa thread about this so I'll otherwise stop talking about this here, but what you're saying is intellectually dishonest horseshit and you know it. Where do you think this ton of money has come from? If you want something, pony up for it. Don't coast on the coattails of people who have paid for it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:19 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not as long as it continues to support the hate speech of Bill Maher. I expect then to pick up Rush Limbaugh fifteen minutes after his last commercial sponsor quits.

I will never pay for this show featuring a teenage girl falling in love with a rapist barbarian as long as that comedian is insulting women.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:20 PM on March 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I would love to pay HBO to watch The Game of Thrones. What I don't want to do is pay Comcast $80/month just to get the option to subscribe to HBO so I can watch one show. The Game of Thrones should not cost me more than my car insurance.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:21 PM on March 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


That's the point though, as soon as they are willing to accept people's money...they pay for it.

/HBO subscriber.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:21 PM on March 31, 2012


HBO is Ned Stark; they've tied their fate to that of an old, corrupt king, and when that king dies they'll be soon to follow.
posted by Pyry at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Whatever lessons can be gleaned from GOT, they aren't lessons about writing novels.
posted by fredludd at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe take all the pointless posturing about piracy to the open Meta thread?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:34 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I pay over a hundred bucks a month for cable and think it's completely worth it. Mad Men! Doctor Who! Craaaaazy episodes of 19 kids and counting! Fringe! (though the last two episodes totally flew the porcupine jumped the shark) Boardwalk Empire! Game of Thrones! Lots of timeshifting available, too. TV is fascinating these days, filled with rich narratives and complex storytelling and just interesting shit and it kind of baffles me that people aren't willing to pay for it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:35 PM on March 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


[OK, seriously, take it to MeTa.]
posted by restless_nomad at 2:50 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everyone needs an ughay.
posted by hattifattener at 2:53 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, back in terms of the actual content of the FPP can someone explain what the author means in the "parenthood" link when he says that breastfeeding is a fundamental repurposing of a boob? Because isn't it, like, the exact opposite of that?

Jon and Lysa were indeed waaaay creepy though. I didn't think they'd actually show that bit explicitly, prosthetic or not.
posted by Justinian at 3:00 PM on March 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


"There’s something unnerving about breast-feeding to begin with. Oh sure, it’s beautiful and natural and it saves money on formula, but it’s a fundamental repurposing of a woman’s body"

?!?

On preview: what Justinian said.
posted by the_artificer at 3:02 PM on March 31, 2012


Justinian

I figured it would have to be present in some form, as it's such a strong indicator that something is deeply awry in the Eyrie, but I expected that it would be a view of Lysa's naked back, sucking sounds, then Lord Rob(ert)in Arryn peeking around her shoulder.
posted by The Confessor at 3:20 PM on March 31, 2012


I read these damn books and almost had to get deprogrammed to get the universe he created out of my head. midway through book two I had the realisation that there isn't actually a plot. It's a meandering stream of conscious that swings between one brutal episode to the next. Loved every minute of it though.
posted by mattoxic at 3:52 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had the realisation that there isn't actually a plot. It's a meandering stream of conscious that swings between one brutal episode to the next.

So what you're saying is that, as literature, they have major weaknesses. But as a metaphor for real life, they're pretty much spot fucking on.

Now I realize that the interminable wait for a "conclusion" is all a part of the Big Performance Art Piece.
posted by chimaera at 3:56 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Peter Dinklage Was Smart to Say No

Haha, I lost it over this:

From the article- '“How would you like to die?” a fearsome warrior asks him in the show’s first season, waving an ax. “In my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine” and attended by a woman, Tyrion answers.'

The actual line from the show is, of course, "In my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine and a girl's mouth around my cock." 'Attended by a woman' indeed.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:05 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Anyway: a recap of season one in song form

That was brilliant:

"Joffrey's uncle is his dad"

"Ned gets betrayed... by the mayor of Baltimore."

Seriously watch it folks.
posted by tempythethird at 4:17 PM on March 31, 2012


Mayor?! No, he's just a city councilma-

Oh great, and I just started watching Season 3 of "The Wire", too. Thanks for the freakin' spoiler!!!

I kid, it wouldn't come as a surprise; even in the first three episodes he's obviously a schemer in that show too.
posted by hincandenza at 4:29 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry hincandenza, I keep forgetting that there's still people out there that haven't watched all of the Wire.
posted by tempythethird at 4:35 PM on March 31, 2012


With Season 2 of Game of Thrones to begin on Sunday,...

...it's time to revisit this little gem.

Oh man, that never gets old, does it?
posted by Rangeboy at 4:37 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Gosh, I hope nothing horrible happens to my favorite characters this season.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:49 PM on March 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Really great stylized SoIaF maps.
posted by painquale at 5:31 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm with you Windopaene. That first book was such a tedious slog that after reading 3/4 of the book I just gave up. I can't imagine reading all the books in the series. It should come with cliffs notes. I feel like the author just lost control right away. The thing is the first half I was drawn in to a few of the storylines, but having to wait another 100 pages before that bit comes up again was just too annoying.

That said, I totally want to watch the series.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 5:37 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


> ...it's time to revisit this little gem.

Is someone going to turn that into Clapping Music? I hope so.
posted by hot soup girl at 5:38 PM on March 31, 2012


While wandering around on the Song of Ice and Fire wiki today, I discovered that GRR Martin has released a sample chapter from book 6, The Winds of Winter (NB, going to that page will reveal a mild spoiler if you are somewhere between books 2 and 5).
posted by whir at 5:38 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just in time too, they just posted new lyrics to the game of thrones theme music.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:04 PM on March 31, 2012


Westeros in Google Earth

As if I needed another reason to dig Martin: he actually thanked the fellow that created the map for showing it to him, even though I believe there is a map book coming out.
posted by Manjusri at 6:21 PM on March 31, 2012


I pay over a hundred bucks a month for cable and think it's completely worth it. Mad Men! Doctor Who! Craaaaazy episodes of 19 kids and counting! Fringe! (though the last two episodes totally flew the porcupine jumped the shark) Boardwalk Empire! Game of Thrones! Lots of timeshifting available, too. TV is fascinating these days, filled with rich narratives and complex storytelling and just interesting shit and it kind of baffles me that people aren't willing to pay for it.

Eh, I don't pay for cable because Netflix and Hulu exist and get me everything for cheaper sooner or later. Yes, I have to wait a year for DVD rental of HBO shows (though yes, I could do the pig latin suggestion, I just don't bother), but I see what I want to see eventually. I'm willing to be cheap and wait and spend my money on other stuff. But hey, you get what you pay for.

I should probably point out that my parents refused to get cable when I was a kid, and I had it for like a year in the dorms, so I'm used to NOT having cable in the first place.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:17 PM on March 31, 2012


As if I needed another reason to dig Martin: he actually thanked the fellow that created the map for showing it to him, even though I believe there is a map book coming out.

One thing GRRM cannot do is a good place name.

The Plankey Town
Shipbreaker Bay
The Erie
Old Town

Euch
posted by mattoxic at 8:18 PM on March 31, 2012


First of all, it's Planky Town, Aerie, and Oldtown.

Secondly, only Planky Town is especially bad of those. GRRM's place names and demonyms are usually pretty great, and far less stilted than other genre writers IMHO.
posted by lumensimus at 9:15 PM on March 31, 2012


I must have missed Planky Town. Is it full of pirates?
posted by Artw at 11:05 PM on March 31, 2012


Theme song covered with bagpipes!
posted by Manjusri at 11:05 PM on March 31, 2012


A bit of trivia from the Season 1 Blu-Ray extras:

After Ned's beheading Joffrey takes Sansa to admire Ser Ilyn Payne's handiwork - but someone you don't expect is sat on a spike at the Red Keep. The head to the left of Septa Mordane is actually George W. Bush wearing a wig. "It's not a political statement", says David Benioff, "we just had to use what heads we had lying around!
posted by Manjusri at 11:30 PM on March 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


What a coincidence. I just spent the weekend watching all of season 1 in one hit. Now I have one big question (spoiler alert):













Why is the targaryen sister a fire-proof dragon-woman but the brother dies from a bit of molten gold?
posted by moorooka at 11:48 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Viserys was not a true dragon.
posted by the_artificer at 12:24 AM on April 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


First of all, it's Planky Town, Aerie, and Oldtown.

Eyrie.

posted by ersatz at 3:07 AM on April 1, 2012


moorooka, That's pretty much par for the course with the Targaryens. Generations of brother-sister incest mean some of them get the complete set of family superpowers (asbestos skin, prophecy dreams, dragon control, etc.) and others turn out crazy and die horribly expecting to be saved by the superpowers they turn out not to have. Cf. Mad King Aerys and Aerion Brightflame

The ancestral obsession with blood purity and becoming fireproof can most likely be traced back to the Doom of Valyria, a volcanic eruption which wiped out their entire race except for the Targaryen family who were out of town at the time.

posted by the latin mouse at 4:36 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think we know that the Doom of Valyria was a volcanic eruption. It could have been a dragon attack or something like that.

I'm also not sure we're supposed to think that Dany could have survived the crown of gold. You see later on that she is still somewhat vulnerable to heat (she gets bad blisters at one point). I took it that she was unharmed during the hatching because it was a magical rite, not just because she's invulnerable to fire.
posted by painquale at 7:03 AM on April 1, 2012


GRRM is fond of making a lot of factors hereditary, and we've seen through Series I how in his world heredity is not so variable as in ours--certain dominant genes always win out.

The dragon gene, for lack of a better descriptor, is a little confusing in that it seems to come to some Targaryens and not to others, but I haven't figured out the pattern ye (if there even is one)t. I think I am right in that at least the madness has only shown up in male Targaryens (but not all of the males, of course).

For some of us, that "not being able to burn" dragon gene would have been an excellent indicator of whether some of our alternative theories were correct. That might be why GRRM has muddied the waters up a bit there, so we just don't know if our suspicions will play out.

Yes, I am being mysterious and oblique here, so as not to get into spoiler territory.
posted by misha at 8:44 AM on April 1, 2012


Is this where I complain that I don't believe you can melt gold in a crockpot?
posted by Justinian at 9:55 AM on April 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


metallurgy complaints are down the hall to your right and one flight up, across the hall from cryptozoology.
posted by elizardbits at 10:11 AM on April 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is this where I complain that I don't believe you can melt gold in a crockpot?

But is the viscosity of the molten gold correct?
posted by jeather at 10:13 AM on April 1, 2012


The dragon gene, for lack of a better descriptor, is a little confusing in that it seems to come to some Targaryens and not to others, but I haven't figured out the pattern yet

Coin flip! I think somebody actually comes right out and says this is in one of the books.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2012


A new FPP linking to this article, about GoT and racism, just got deleted (because this thread is still open.)

Martin's pretty good at depicting a sexist and ableist society, and then portraying strong women and disabled characters who fight against the social values of the time. The series is progressive in that respect, I think, which is one reason why Dinklage was interested in playing Tyrion. However, Martin's world curiously does not seem that explicitly racist. I can't think of many cases in which someone is mocked for their skin color (Chataya, possibly, and she is also presented as strong). Characters like Jalabhar Xho get to attend court, and I don't remember anyone complaining about this. It makes it so that there aren't many opportunities for non-white characters to explicitly rebel against the social norms and show everyone up.

Coin flip! I think somebody actually comes right out and says this is in one of the books.

That was Dany's grandfather, Jaehaerys II.
posted by painquale at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


The crown of molten gold is such a fitting end to Viserys that I refuse to engage with any arguments about realism la la la I can't hear you.
posted by Summer at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Possibly a more interesting FPP. It was certainly shaping up to be a better discussion thread, despite the high potential-GRAR factor.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on April 1, 2012


Pick any character from Game of Thrones and imagine if they were black. How would that affect the story?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:12 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


(what I said in that other thread):

Ultimately, A Song of Ice and Fire, like the Lord of the Rings, is the work of a brilliant and conscientious writer who is nonetheless writing in his own time and place. The United States in 2012 is, far too often, and even with a black president, still a culture rich in racist stereotypes and xenophobic fear-mongering. (from the article)

Perfectly said, and it's why these discussion often devolve into almost pure emotion-driven cries "are too" vs. "are not!"

Game of Thrones (and similar works in books and on TV) is too white. And, it isn't. Both are true at the same time. The sooner we as a culture grow up and accept the complexity of that, the better off we'll all be.
posted by Frayed Knot at 11:12 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Pick any character from Game of Thrones and imagine if they were black. How would that affect the story?

Robert Baratheon. The seed being strong is just a bit more obvious. He disowns Joffrey as soon as he is birthed, dissolves his marriage and calls his banners to drive the Lannisters from the realm.
posted by Manjusri at 11:27 AM on April 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Frayed Knot

I agree with your assessment.

Give the series about 50-70 more years, and we'll all no doubt find parts as disturbing as this excerpt describing foreign soldiers from the fictional nation of Calormen in C.S. Lewis's book The Last Battle, published in 1956:
Then the dark men came round them in a thick crowd, smelling of garlic and onions, their white eyes flashing dreadfully in their brown faces.
posted by The Confessor at 11:31 AM on April 1, 2012


Game of Thrones (and similar works in books and on TV) is too white. And, it isn't. Both are true at the same time. The sooner we as a culture grow up and accept the complexity of that, the better off we'll all be

Look, GOT is basically the War of the Roses with some fantasy twinges, with England its own continent. If we were discussing The Tudors instead, would be wonder if it was too white?
posted by Chekhovian at 11:36 AM on April 1, 2012


Peter Dinklage Was Smart to Say No
He has been developing a script for years, based on the life of the "Fantasy Island" star Hervé Villechaize, with his friend Sacha Gervasi, director of "Anvil!" "He interviewed Hervé right before he killed himself. Sacha was a journalist, sitting here like we are now. After he killed himself, Sacha realized Hervé's interview was a suicide note."
huh: "At the time of his suicide, Cartoon Network was in negotiations for him to co-star in Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which was in pre-production at the time. Villechaize would have been Space Ghost's sidekick on the show."

also btw...
If Tolkien were black: "The strange thing about some of [the most popular epic] fantasy worlds is that it does seem that the entire world is Northern Europe. That's all there is. It's always easy for me to engage with that, but then a part of my mind is also wondering, 'What happened if you spin the globe?' What are the people doing there? How is their history been shaped by the magic of that world? There's something exciting about acknowledging that everybody is not the same and that affects their struggles." cf. Tolkien and Racism Revisited – Again

and fwiw...
Themes: "Critics have described Martin's work as dark and cynical. His first novel, Dying of the Light, set the tone for most of his future work; it is set on a mostly abandoned planet that is slowly becoming uninhabitable as it moves away from its sun. This story, and many of Martin's others, have a strong sense of melancholy." cf. The Dying Earth
posted by kliuless at 11:42 AM on April 1, 2012


'What happened if you spin the globe?' What are the people doing there? How is their history been shaped by the magic of that world?

I agree, his world building, as much as people acclaim it, has been particularly poor and parochial. A Dance with Dragons was all exploring the other cultures, and it was terrible. His magic system is also particularly poor and ad hoc. Maybe we haven't seen the interesting parts of it in all of the 6k pages he's written, but I think he's mainly just disinterested in the fantasy parts.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:56 AM on April 1, 2012


His magic system is also particularly poor and ad hoc.

I think this is probably false. We just get to see bits and scraps of magic from the blinkered perspective of people who don't really understand how it works. Martin probably has a pretty thorough understanding of the way magic and religion work behind the scenes: he seems to have a pretty thorough understanding of everything else. If he wasn't interested in the fantasy elements, he could have just opted not to include them.

Marwyn hints a little at the reasons that magic is so poorly understood in Westeros. As he becomes involved in the story I think we'll get a better sense of the rules of sorcery. (He's a neat character... he's talked about all over the place and is clearly important in the world but he has hardly appeared at all.)
posted by painquale at 12:22 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Dance with Dragons was not a good book but it wasn't at all the fault of the worldbuilding. It was just completely disjointed and boring.
posted by Justinian at 12:26 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this is probably false. We just get to see bits and scraps of magic from the blinkered perspective of people who don't really understand how it works

Well, at the pace he's going its going to be 5 more books before we figure it out, or its going to be just dropped in deus ex magica style, and that won't be good either. So maybe the people don't understand magic, ok. But they should understand how to store food for winters that last for decades. Plants should have adaptations that kick in, etc etc. There's one sentence in the entire omnibus..."start saving X% more grain". There's vast digressions about the architecture of the castles, but he never mentions the grain silos or anything. Fail.

So maybe 95% of everyone is going to die with the next winter. Or we magic away winter, or all the biologicals and synthetics merge to stave off the reapers or something. Doesn't look promising.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:32 PM on April 1, 2012


The 10 Most Awesome Moments from Game of Thrones' First Season

...though it doesn't include the moment I'm most fond of, which is Littlefinger pausing in the middle of a villanous monologue to shout "Play with her ass!".

No, seriously, sexposition and all that, but that it's the second villanous monologue set during an activity that goes to the core of a character in that episode makes it kind of great.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favourite was Robyn Arryn breastfeeding and demanding to have the little man fly. I mean, come on, that was hilariously odd.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:08 PM on April 1, 2012


I found most of the "sexposition" rather awkward, excepting the part where Doreah, Danerys' Lysene handmaiden, is quizzing Viserys about dragonlore during foreplay while they are bathing.
posted by The Confessor at 3:15 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eyrie.

I am suitably mortified. No lamprey pie for me.
posted by lumensimus at 3:18 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Entirety of Game of Thrones Season 2 Leaked:
In a shocking display of contempt for HBO, it appears that every detail about the highly-anticipated season 2 HBO drama Game of Thrones has been leaked, mere hours before the premiere of the show.

The massive leak originates from an obscure book carrying the dubious title A Clash of Kings, copies of which have already been distributed in both physical and electronic form, possibly worldwide.
posted by jeather at 4:09 PM on April 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


All I know is that if the season premiere does not wind up being a musical episode the Game of Thrones crew will have spurned the opportunity of a lifetime.
posted by furiousthought at 4:21 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


No lemon cakes for you either, lumensimus!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 5:19 PM on April 1, 2012


Foreign Affairs (!) recently put up two articles about Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones as Theory ("Forget the Machiavellian appearances--A Song of Ice and Fire is really a parable about the disastrous consequences of unchecked realpolitik.")

Game of Thrones as History ("Actual medieval life was boring. What gives George R.R. Martin's blockbuster fantasy series its spark is not historical accuracy but rather the author's imagination.")
posted by painquale at 5:32 PM on April 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I should mention that those articles contain spoilers for those who haven't read all the books.
posted by painquale at 5:38 PM on April 1, 2012


That was pretty good (the episode went up on HBO Go at the same time it aired on TV, which was nice). What sort of accent does Melisandre have? At times it sounded Scottish, at other times Russian, at other times American.

In the interactive features there is a short biography of Ser Meryn Trant that says he killed Syrio, so there's some more evidence that Syrio is dead.
posted by painquale at 7:31 PM on April 1, 2012


Interesting notion Painquale. While it would be hard for someone to escape the odds Syrio faced, as far as I know Martin has yet to confirm that Syrio is dead. Hell, there's a growing list of characters we think are dead that we just aren't quite sure yet.
posted by Ber at 8:03 PM on April 1, 2012


The woman playing Melisandre is Carice van Houten, who I understand is a fairly well known Dutch actress. Known in the Netherlands I mean. I'd have to watch again and specifically listen to her accent to tell if she's putting a new one on or using her natural speaking voice.
posted by Justinian at 9:13 PM on April 1, 2012


Man, those Fucking Harkonnen, oops I mean Lannisters....
posted by Chekhovian at 10:02 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


But seriously, if a blond Feyd Rautha in a fucking stilsuit walked on screen and started shooting the shit with Tyrion, I probably wouldn't bat an eye.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:07 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


This entire craze seems like a Monty python bit.
posted by spitbull at 4:22 AM on April 2, 2012


But seriously, if a blond Feyd Rautha in a fucking stilsuit walked on screen and started shooting the shit with Tyrion, I probably wouldn't bat an eye.

I would scream with wild and unrestrained delight. That is pretty much my standard reaction to all things Tyrion Lannister, though.


The woman playing Melisandre is Carice van Houten, who I understand is a fairly well known Dutch actress.

TBH I was expecting her to be a much more voluptuous woman, a la Christina Hendricks, but I nevertheless think she's pretty awesome so far.
posted by elizardbits at 8:02 AM on April 2, 2012


Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear seems like it should be of interest to anyone wanting more diverse fantasy epics.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on April 2, 2012


Seems like the Cersei-Littlefinger confrontation in the first episode is a point of contention on the Internet. I liked it: I think Cersei is my favorite character on the show (not the books though), so it's cool to see her assert herself. And it's also cool to see events that aren't in the books but don't contradict anything in the books.

Commenters seem to think that Littlefinger is too sly and sneaky to have set himself up for immediate reprisal. I don't think they realize that he won that little tete-a-tete. Cersei's show was just bluster. She couldn't actually do anything to him because she needs him (and his knowledge), and her actions were proof of that.
posted by painquale at 5:55 PM on April 2, 2012


I liked the Cersei-Littlefinger confrontation; it was a nice setup for the later events involving Littlefinger. I actually like TeeVee Littlefinger much better than book Littlefinger.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:05 PM on April 2, 2012


I don't think they realize that he won that little tete-a-tete.

That's why he looked scared shitless and made himself into an object with a designated shelf life. When he finds the girl, she'll have no more use of him. That was a stupid move and startlingly sloppy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, it was somewhat sloppy, but not so sloppy that it is out of character for him. Littlefinger is vain --- he's happy to recount his exploits to gaggles of prostitutes during sexposition scenes, and he is happy to respond to insults with insults, in defiance of the queen herself, when doing so won't hurt him. He knows that in this case it won't hurt him. He's enormously valuable as Master of Coin and getting rid of him would threaten Joffrey's reign. He's purposely made his methods of funding the crown as opaque and secret as possible; he is genuinely irreplaceable. It's not like Cersei can get rid of him once he finds Arya (which isn't really even his job). Cersei cannot lose him, and he knows she knows this, and he is spitting it in her face. He was freaked out when Cersei sicced her guards on him because it briefly looked like Cersei had lost her wits and was about to do something enormously stupid on a whim. But it was just a show. Her calling off her guards and playing it off as an act of mercy was actually an admission that Littlefinger really is the one with the power in their relationship.
posted by painquale at 7:29 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I did not read that as Littlefinger winning at all, or that Littlefinger was really out of character. He was just tossing a barb like he did with Renly about "having his friend" but did not realize Cersei would take it so seriously.

LF has some serious inferiority complex issues when it comes to physical violence and would not want to be in a position to be physically intimidated like that. I seriously doubt he is going to be talking shit to her face again.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:52 PM on April 2, 2012


The New York Times misses the point on Game of Thrones… Again
posted by homunculus at 11:51 PM on April 2, 2012


DWD spoilers follow:

painquale: "I don't think we know that the Doom of Valyria was a volcanic eruption. It could have been a dragon attack or something like that."

It was pretty vague originally, but the descriptions of the Valyrian landscape in the most recent book give a lot of weight to the volcano interpretation (while still not actually using the actual V word).

My own personal theory is that they're due for another eruption after which Danaerys will stop miscarrying. (Always assuming you agree that what we saw near the end there was a miscarriage.)

The line in the prophecy immediately before the one about Dany bearing a living child is all about mountains shattering and flying through the air like leaves. I mean, yeah, that could be a rhetorical device to mean "ain't never gonna happen" but it could also be a description of pyroclastic flow.

posted by the latin mouse at 12:23 AM on April 3, 2012


A useful resource for keeping track of the characters and locations:

Game of Thrones Interactive Map


I did not read that as Littlefinger winning at all, or that Littlefinger was really out of character. He was just tossing a barb like he did with Renly about "having his friend" but did not realize Cersei would take it so seriously.

Why does it have to be taken as a win or a loss for either? It was a moment that taught us a lot about both characters and their relationship with power. For Littlefinger, knowledge is power, and the sly comment or hint that he knows your secrets is how he uses that power to advance his position. For Cersei, power is all in the overt act and demonstration - which is why she not only has the knife put at his throat, but also has the guards turn around, close their eyes, etc. She also demonstrates that she has knowledge of Littlefinger's past and history. We, the audience, learned a bit more about the players and their relationships with power in that scene. We know that Cersei, as the Queen Regent, will not be subtle or in the background. We already knew Littlefinger is a schemer, who works behind the scenes by and large - but this overt display by Cersei might change his strategy. They are playing the game with their little display, establishing positions, but in a game this complex, determining "winners" or "losers" from a single encounter is not useful.

And, of course, one of the little birds is observing the whole thing, so Varys is also privy to this whole encounter. What, if anything, does that mean?
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:13 AM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really like the show spends the whole of Season 1 encouraging the you to want to see the secret of Joffery exposed, and now it has been and the award you get infanticide. Nicely played, you bastards.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on April 3, 2012


And, of course, one of the little birds is observing the whole thing, so Varys is also privy to this whole encounter. What, if anything, does that mean?

I thought that might have been Podrick Payne, but maybe Podrick is too highborn to be scrubbing blood. Was he in season 1? I don't remember.
posted by painquale at 11:14 AM on April 3, 2012


I don't think we've met Podrick yet. Here's hoping he makes an appearance at some point; one of my favourite secondary characters.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:18 AM on April 3, 2012


Apparently Podrick will be played by this guy. He's older than I imagined Podrick to be.
posted by painquale at 12:25 PM on April 3, 2012


He's older than I imagined Podrick to be.

Looks about right to me; 11-12ish, just the right age to be a squire.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:25 PM on April 3, 2012


Have we mentioned that Peter Dinklage now gets top billing? As he should do.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Looks about right to me; 11-12ish, just the right age to be a squire.

"Date of birth: 1992-93"
posted by painquale at 1:47 PM on April 3, 2012


After the Littlefinger/Cersei scene oft discussed I couldn't help but picture Rawls pacing back and forth somewhere in King's Landing.
posted by juiceCake at 8:14 PM on April 3, 2012


Why does it have to be taken as a win or a loss for either?

Because LF tried to threaten and Cersi reminded him that he could be killed on a whim, for no reason at all. He overplayed his hand by getting on her bad side.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:26 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Confession: I haven't seen the premiere, because I'm hoping to finish at least aCoK on audiobook before I begin watching, but it's important to note that Littlefinger, while an adept player of the Game of Thrones, is never portrayed as infallible in the books. In the first book, for example, Littlefinger appears to be among the many players who misjudged Ned Stark based on the fact that he fathered a bastard.

Fathering a bastard suggests a certain degree of moral flexibility in his character; that the proper argument might persuade him to put aside his honor. Cersei tries to seduce him, and Littlefinger and Renly offer him power: Littlefinger to maintain his powerful position on the Small Council, and Renly for purposes that are less certain (in the book, it is not immediately made clear that he wants the throne for himself). It turned out, of course, that Eddard was only willing to put aside honor at the utter extremity; Varys manages to convince him to do so only by threatening his daughters' lives.
posted by The Confessor at 8:32 AM on April 4, 2012


ittlefinger appears to be among the many players who misjudged Ned Stark based on the fact that he fathered a bastard

That to outward appearances he has fathered a bastard, anyway.
posted by Justinian at 9:12 AM on April 4, 2012


Justinian

Yes, of course; my circumspection was only because the true circumstances have not been made clear in the books, and the television show seems to be playing the matter even closer to the vest.
posted by The Confessor at 9:38 AM on April 4, 2012


That to outward appearances he has fathered a bastard, anyway.

And how many more books is it going to take to resolve that issue anyway? Though that being said, I found all the major revelations in Dragons just didn't seem to have any real steam behind them. Bran finally accomplishing the spoiler he's been trying to accomplish left me rather unfulfilled. The new secret spoiler addition to the spoiler family that Tyrion teases out...they should be major things, but I just felt rather "eh" about em.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:40 AM on April 4, 2012


the television show seems to be playing the matter even closer to the vest.

The decision not to flash back to the Tower of Joy is, in my opinion, the only truly significant error made in the first season of the TV series. It's one of the most crucial scenes in the entire sequence of novels.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's like not showing Jaime and Aerys Targaryen's interaction prior to the events which game Jaime his moniker! You can't do that! Arrrrrgh.

Dammit, I thought the last 7 years had burnt out all traces of passion I used to have for these books. But the first three are so damn good.
posted by Justinian at 11:07 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think it's a good idea not to do flashbacks. I don't think they've done any yet, have they? Somehow flashbacks just don't sit well with me for this show. It'd feel like too much cinematic trickery and would ruin the gritty realism in the show's style. Maybe it's because the show, like the books, is very dominated by the perspectives of the characters, and we don't want to be able to see anything they can't see. It'd be as if Martin wrote a chapter in third person, or from the perspective of someone long in the past. Maybe it also feels weird to me because the past was so much more fantastic. (A flashback with a dragon burning Harrenhal would be terrible, for instance.)

If they hasten a certain character's story along to get him or her where he or she is in the books, they can have something kind of like flashbacks on the cheap. (Being very vague here for spoiler reasons, but you should know what I mean if you've read Dragons.)

Also, the Tower of Joy scene is written so metaphorically and opaquely that it's only partially revealing, and it's very easy to read past without noticing the hints buried within. I think it might be impossible to film that scene without giving too much away. I think it'll come later in the show; probably quite far down the line.
posted by painquale at 11:42 AM on April 4, 2012


It's one of the most crucial scenes in the entire sequence of novels.

Right, but can you imagine the unprecedented level of outrage and wank over what should actually be shown in this scene? The primary fanon interpretation of the blood everywhere is a massive plot point that, thus far, has no definite confirmation, so any media depictions of it will surely end in tears and recriminations.
posted by elizardbits at 11:42 AM on April 4, 2012


Tour of Westeros in Minecraft.
posted by painquale at 4:05 PM on April 4, 2012


I think this must be the place where I say how happy I am with the treatment of Sansa, and how much more impressive she is as a character in the tv series as opposed to the books.
posted by bq at 8:04 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


how much more impressive she is as a character in the tv series as opposed to the books.

I think all the children are much more impressive in the series than the book. It helps a lot that they've aged them 5 or so years...everything is just much more plausible (and much less pedo). Though the Cersei to Sansa comment, "have you had your blood yet?" and Sansa, clearly about 17 saying no....well that was sort of disconcerting.
posted by Chekhovian at 8:59 PM on April 4, 2012


Because LF tried to threaten and Cersi reminded him that he could be killed on a whim, for no reason at all. He overplayed his hand by getting on her bad side.

And she displayed the fact that she is easily provoked into rash acts, which could be used to undermine her in the future.

(I may be giving the show LF too much credit; the book LF is a lot more clever than the show has been displaying thus far).
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:51 PM on April 4, 2012


The real-life inspirations for “Game of Thrones”
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on April 5, 2012


I agree that the kids in the show are looking mighty impressive, from Rob's altercation with Jaime in the last episode to Bran's annoyance with the petitioner at Winterfell.

Even Joffrey's sociopathic behavior, which before seemed just the brutish and ugly behavior of a sulky, over-indulged child with no accountability, takes on a certain megalomaniacal grandeur when he faces down his mother with all the haughty disdain of a true King (although a batshit insane one).
posted by misha at 11:01 AM on April 5, 2012


There's a long history of puppet child kings and emperors, and it rarely works out well for the puppetmasters when they grow up and begin to buck against the arrangement.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artw

One of my favorite of Martin's statements regarding the inspirations for the book series is that for the Wall: he was inspired by Hadrian's Wall, and because it was fantasy he knew that it had to be taller than 10-15 feet, and whatever lay beyond had to be scarier than Scotland.
posted by The Confessor at 11:27 AM on April 5, 2012


Here is an interview with GRRM that talks about some of the inspiration for the themes of decay and decline in the books:

And I look at that and I think some of it comes from my early family history when I was growing up [in Bayonne, N.J.]. We had no money and we lived in the projects, but my mother came from a family that had had money. An Irish family, Irish American family, the Bradys. They’d been very prosperous in the construction business. Building materials and all of that in the teens and ‘20’s, when she was young. They had a house, a big house, and they built their own dock because they were bringing in so much construction material. So they built this dock, Brady’s Dock it was called, where their ships would come and unload material to their truck. And they lost all that money in the Depression. The business went out of business with financial shenanigans, some of the men died and the wives were cheated by other people. There’s a lot of family mythology about that. But the point of it was, we had no money at all by the time I came along in 1948.

Well, my mother would tell me these stories and the project that I lived in was built right across from Brady’s Dock. Of course, there was no more Brady’s Dock, it was the Municipal Dock, it had been taken over by the city. And I would look out the window of my housing project and say, my family used to own that dock. That used to be our dock.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:34 PM on April 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


bq: "I think this must be the place where I say how happy I am with the treatment of Sansa, and how much more impressive she is as a character in the tv series as opposed to the books"

I agree with this; I think that this is where the performance medium really pays off and enhances the experience for fans of the book because of the high quality of acting. Because they've got first rate performers, they're able to make more cuts because so much can be said in fewer words. For example, although they glossed over the big scene between Sansa and the Hound after the Tourney in S1, we're still able to get the relationship because working it in well where they can (e.g., the scene with the glove in S1, he's got Sansa's back in the last episode with the "bad luck to kill on your nameday" thing). I was also really impressed with Jack Gleeson; he's conveying a really nice mix of the cruelty and insecurity in Joffrey that doesn't necessarily come across in print.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:27 PM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


the themes of decay and decline in the books:

Yeah that part f it has really grown tiresome for me. I think it was the double dwarf lion fighting scene that just did me in. They survived of course, but ugh it was just unnecessary.

I've been reading the Tyranny of the Night series by Glen Cook. On the surface it's a very near sort of facsimile to the ice and fire books. It's a sort of mirror world 12th century Europe and western Asia but mainly centered on the mirror catholic church and politics of the mirror Rome and it's crusades. There's magical horror always just out of frame in the form of the Night, gods and demons that mankind must somehow survive. Theres even a giant wall of ice slowly advancing southward as the wells of power fade and the warmth goes away.

Familiar huh? What makes it different is that the main character discovers rather accidentally that he can kill these gods and demons by loading primitive cannons with silver and iron "god shot"...and hope enters the world, that humanity can defeat the night. Such a relief from Martins entropy.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:46 PM on April 5, 2012


Man, that scene where Gregor decapitates the horse really sticks with you. Remember that?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:40 PM on April 6, 2012


Only a couple of hours until episode 12! Nothing says Easter like murder, incest, and betrayal.
posted by Justinian at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think this episode had more deviations from the books than any other. They mostly seem well-considered. Tyrion's appointment of Bronn was a good edit. But they're making Tyrion a little too heroic, I think. I remember him taking out Slynt in order to gain upper hand over Cersei, not out of revenge for the infanticides. And I don't remember him speaking against the rest of the small council about the importance of the Night's Watch. That seemed too wise.

Any subtle references to sexual relations in the books have became full-on softcore in the show. In season 1 it was Renly and Loras; now it's Stannis and Melisandre.
posted by painquale at 7:36 PM on April 8, 2012


I remember him taking out Slynt in order to gain upper hand over Cersei, not out of revenge for the infanticides.

He said he did it because the Head of the Guard had killed the last Hand, which seems reasonable. While Tyrion was clearly disturbed by the killing of babies, putting Bronn, his man, as head of the guard is a no brainer. Having a man who can be bought as opposed to a man who would blindly follow orders makes perfect sense for a rich man.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 PM on April 8, 2012


Tyrion does discuss the brothel infanticide while dismissing Slynt in Clash of Kings, and speaks against the small council on the Nights Watch at a later point than portrayed in the show.
posted by Manjusri at 3:23 PM on April 9, 2012


I stand corrected!
posted by painquale at 8:10 PM on April 9, 2012


Well, partially corrected at least; in the book, the removal of Janos Slynt is portrayed as at least as much a strike against Cersei and consolidation of Tyrion's position as specific punishment for the infanticide. Tyrion does, however, arrange for the murder of the Slynt underling directly responsible for the death of the nursing infant and mother, and this is shown as punishment for the killing.
posted by The Confessor at 9:28 AM on April 10, 2012


I enjoyed the show Sunday night, and Davros and Saladar are JUST as I pictured them!

But am I the only one that felt the actress playing Theon's sister was woefully miscast? She's not really a formidable presence or anything close to the striking woman described in the books.
posted by misha at 4:47 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


She's not really a formidable presence or anything close to the striking woman described in the books.

She does like the occasional fingerbang though. But I'm sort of used to disappointment with the casting. Robert, Renly, and Gendry are supposed to huge burly giants, and they're just average dudes. Even the mountain was rather unmountainous. But I guess eight footers are rare everywhere.
posted by Chekhovian at 4:59 PM on April 10, 2012


Asha/Yara wasn't like I expected her to be, but I think I like the show's version more than whatever I was imagining. She's sexy in virtue of her swagger and attitude, which is as it should be. I like that there are normal-looking people in the show.

The guy they cast for Theon is similar. He's kinda attractive but also kinda rattish and Steve Buscemi-like.
posted by painquale at 6:57 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really want Stannis' Warhammer table...
posted by the_artificer at 7:37 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I did too at the start of that scene, but now if I saw it all I could ever think would be 'that must have been SO UNCOMFORTABLE!'.
posted by jacalata at 8:01 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want that table so bad I was annoyed Melisandre's writhing hotness was blocking my view. Then I felt bad briefly before returning to coveting the table.
posted by Justinian at 12:10 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even the mountain was rather unmountainous.

The dude playing him was over 7 feet tall and built like a tank. Seriously, I don't know what else they were supposed to do. Hire a literal bear?
posted by Justinian at 12:12 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where is there some high-traffic discussion of the TV show? I've read the books, but I have a horrible memory so I don't want spoilers, and besides, it's all a bit overwhelming once you start going down that rabbit hole.
posted by bq at 11:53 AM on April 11, 2012


Hire a literal bear?

I'd be up for casting a bear to play the Mountain. Then the wedding scenes would look something like this.
posted by Chekhovian at 4:04 PM on April 11, 2012


Where is there some high-traffic discussion of the TV show?

Check out A Forum of Ice and Fire and the comments threads at Tower of the Hand. Tower of the Hand has separate threads for people who have read the books and people who haven't.

In other news, season 3 is a go and will only cover the first half of ASoS, so it looks like they won't be catching up with Martin anytime soon.
posted by painquale at 9:22 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's pretty clear what the finale of season 3 will be.
posted by painquale at 9:24 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't wait. Oh it will be delicious.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just heard Lily Allen's "Alfie" and now I will never be able to see Theon Greyjoy again without that shit in my head. And then I pictured Lily Allen as Asha and that's all kinds of messed up. Help.
posted by Justinian at 1:29 AM on April 12, 2012


painquale: "It's pretty clear what the finale of season 3 will be."

Therapy for all the viewers who haven't read the book?
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:57 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


A new FPP linking to this article, about GoT and racism, just got deleted (because this thread is still open.)

Related: A Modest Proposal For Increased Diversity in D&D
posted by homunculus at 12:28 PM on April 12, 2012


Is it me or was The Joff largely absent this last episode? Very disappointing. GO TEAM JOFFERY!
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joff largely absent this last episode

Episode 2 required lots of extra sexposition to make for its relative absence in ep1, per the terms of the their contract. The logical inference there is that then Joffery has less chance to be in it.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:46 PM on April 13, 2012


There was some sexposition in there that even I thought was a little drawn out and a bit pointless.
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on April 13, 2012


Maybe I'm just forgetting how frequent sexposition is in the real world. Once while the ladyfriend was running the show, I educated her about Fourier transforms and wavelets. Let me tell you, it doesn't get any hotter than that.
posted by Chekhovian at 1:05 PM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


SNL Explains the Nudity in Game of Thrones
posted by homunculus at 11:58 AM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


homunculus: "SNL Explains the Nudity in Game of Thrones"

Bathroom Break!
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:32 PM on April 15, 2012


The Brienne casting was spot on. She was sufficiently ginormous. Maybe the problem with the mountain was just the lack of a normal person standing next to him for comparison.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:44 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Game of Couches
posted by the_artificer at 1:48 AM on April 16, 2012


SNL explains the nudity in GOT
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:54 PM on April 16, 2012


lol n u b s, look up literally 4 comments.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:04 PM on April 16, 2012


Oh holy fuck. Is that a beheading?
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:35 PM on April 16, 2012


Not exactly.
posted by homunculus at 4:53 PM on April 16, 2012


Chekhovian: "The Brienne casting was spot on. She was sufficiently ginormous. "

I was pretty skeptical ("Brienne the Beauty" makes no sense when the woman is actually beautiful) until that shot of her standing next to Catelyn Stark that made Cat look like a Hobbit.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:24 PM on April 16, 2012


SPOILERS always a possibility as I've read all 5 books and suck at filtering myself.

Agreed about Brienne--so great. I'm kinda bummed about Asha though (her intro scene in the books is one of my favorites in the entire series, but it lost a lot of the nuance and the message she's entirely in control and fucking with him...and I get why they didn't do the feast hall scene for economical budget and timing reasons, but then she doesn't get to say the thing about her husband and babe!). Interesting they're making Theon more sympathetic before you-know-what. I like it a little more than the Cersei character neutering, but both I understand (esp. with Cersei, it's going to be hard to make her sympathetic later when unlike Jaime's development being about external change in his actions, any nuance about Cersei's character comes from internal thoughts that convey her motivations while she still behaves stupidly and shittily...you just understand why she does).
posted by ifjuly at 8:37 PM on April 16, 2012


I thought ep 3 was the best so far this season...everyone just seemed bang on. Great scenes for Theon, Arya and Yoren, Renly and Margarey. I get that they need to make some of the subtle parts of the books (Renly and Loras, for example) more explicit for the screen (I know several readers who missed the whole Renly/Loras relationship until the TV show), but this felt like the first week where they got the balance right.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:59 AM on April 17, 2012


I noticed they got rid of Renly's rainbow guard. I was wondering what they'd do about that. Now that they've put his sexuality front-and-center and made it a major plot point, it would have seemed anachronistically ridiculous.

Margaery is interesting. They've made her a real player of the Game of Thrones. In the books (because of some very unreliable narration in chapters starring her) it was never obvious to me whether she was a schemer bounding from opportunity to opportunity, or a Sansa-like naif that got tossed into the political world. I think book-Margaery was probably the latter, so it's an interesting choice that'll have some strong repercussions in how later stories are portrayed.
posted by painquale at 9:56 AM on April 17, 2012


Yeah, I like the mystery of Margaery in the books so far (what's with the moon tea for example), so that was a little like them making Stannis and Mel's relationship explicit, it sort of loses some intrigue and murkiness, ah well.

I'll be bummed if like some folks online are guessing they're making Margaery a schemer from the get go because they're getting rid of Olenna and melding her into one character (how that works re: Joffrey later will be interesting). If only because I loved the idea of Maggie Smith as the Queen of Thorns, though I know that's not likely it's fun to imagine.
posted by ifjuly at 10:53 AM on April 17, 2012


so it's an interesting choice that'll have some strong repercussions in how later stories are portrayed.

Lol, we're five giant fucking books into this series and important characters basic motivations and capabilities are still up for debate. I admire your optimism that GRRM will ever eventually get around to squaring this giant fucking circle.

My expectation for the next book is that we're going to spend yet more time wandering through new places, meeting new characters, that themselves meet new characters, etc etc.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:23 AM on April 17, 2012


ifjuly: "I'll be bummed if like some folks online are guessing they're making Margaery a schemer from the get go because they're getting rid of Olenna and melding her into one character"

Does this mean I'm not going to have an opportunity to yell BUTTERBUMPS at my teevee?


Chekhovian: "My expectation for the next book is that we're going to spend yet more time wandering through new places, meeting new characters, that themselves meet new characters, etc etc"

So. Tired. Of. Dorne.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:39 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lol, we're five giant fucking books into this series and important characters basic motivations and capabilities are still up for debate. I admire your optimism that GRRM will ever eventually get around to squaring this giant fucking circle.

I was talking about stories that Martin has already written but that haven't been filmed.
posted by painquale at 12:25 PM on April 17, 2012


so it's an interesting choice that'll have some strong repercussions in how later stories are portrayed

Alright, but aren't the same things going to happen then anyway? The only different thing would be her reaction/complicity in them. Unless of course the series diverges more seriously from the books. I personally wouldn't mind that. The show needs to switch tracks at some point anyway. Otherwise there will be a season of just Brienne wandering around having adventures.
posted by Chekhovian at 1:30 PM on April 17, 2012


Wait, Renly has a "rainbow guard" in the books? Tee hee!

Also who knew I'd Mefi search "game of thrones" for the most recent thread, and discover I totally missed this post, and further that it's still alive! I'm just asking to be accidentally spoiled though, I need to just forget it even exists between Sunday nights.
posted by palidor at 1:12 PM on April 18, 2012


Wait, Renly has a "rainbow guard" in the books?

So you haven't read that book? I AM SO JEALOUS OF YOU. I frankly think that the TV show is doing a better job with things than GRRM did, and I wish each episode was totally new to me, and that...certain surprises ahead...would be true surprises to me. Hopefully the show doesn't jump the shark too when it reaches the storyline from books 4-5.
posted by Chekhovian at 1:59 PM on April 18, 2012


Renly has a "rainbow guard" in the books? Tee hee!

In the books, the Renly/Loras relationship is never brought out explicitly. As mentioned above, there have been several readers of the books who never caught on to the fact, but there are a litter of off-hand references to it - Renly's rainbow guard, someone threatening to put a sword so deep into Loras it would "find places Renly never did", and so forth. It's quite amusing, actually.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:02 PM on April 18, 2012


oh man, it was SO HARD watching the scene with Theon and his sister on the horse with my two new-to-the-series friends, and not reacting to give it away. But worth it for watching their reaction when they found out.
posted by jacalata at 2:41 PM on April 18, 2012


Ah thanks, that's interesting. Makes me want to read the books more too, as I've been assuming that the series can't do subtleties the way novels can, and that seems to be a perfect example. Plus I think I've read or watched three different interviews with the showrunners now where they refer to some unbelievably important event in the third book that they can't wait to film, and it's like this itch I really want to scratch. I shouldn't even be in this thread! lololol

Buuuut, actually considering I haven't come across any comments like "the show pales in comparison to the novels," and in fact it seems like many people who have read them feel like the show stands well on its own (ie. your comment, Chekhovian), I think I'll be able to continue just watching the show and being surprised every week, perhaps saving the books for 10 years from now when it's all finished, heh.
posted by palidor at 2:43 PM on April 18, 2012


Palidor, I read the books after watching (and loving) season 1, and I really regret that I did so.
posted by jeather at 2:56 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


perhaps saving the books for 10 years from now when it's all finished, heh

Don't read the books. Its like smoking. Its awesome at first. Then years go by and you're still doing it and you want to stop and its really bad for you and you can't. Read the Tyranny of the Night Series by Glen Cook. Same sort of basic premise, even a wall of ice. But there's some fucking hope, not just gloom and doom.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:57 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are things I think the books handle better than the show, and things I think the show has handled better than the books. I think the different mediums have different strengths, and it is interesting to see how those are used to present essentially the same story.

Where the show has lacked IMO, at least in season one, is in the battle sequences - they would be large and costly to shoot as described in the books, so I understand the choice, but still felt the first season cut a few too many corners to avoid showing them. For example, in the large Stark-Lannister battle at the end of the first season, Tyrion is knocked unconscious about halfway through the battle, not before it starts.

In a way, it is ironic - Martin wanted to write the series to get away from the limits of TV writing, where things were always being cut back due to the need to control costs. With novels, he didn't have to deal with scale - he could get as big and expansive as he wanted...and now it's being adapted for TV, where all of those factors are back in play.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:02 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haha Chekhovian that comment about smoking is very prescient as I am at this moment seriously attempting to quit for the first time in 10 years after being informed how continuing to smoke will affect a specific health issue I have currently. So, like, right now nothing else could put me off reading the books more than that analogy. The preceding comment by jeather helps as well, heh.

I will definitely check out that other series, since I am looking for something new to read, though I'm generally a fan of oppressive unending doom and gloom.

Also, I had assumed that Tyrion getting knocked unconscious was something wholly invented for the series as a way to not have to show (pay for) the battle scenes.
posted by palidor at 3:15 PM on April 18, 2012


The Tyranny of the Night Series by Glen Cook...Same sort of basic premise, even a wall of ice. But there's some fucking hope...I should have added...

...because they invent simple brass cannons that shoot silver and iron fragments, which it turns can kill gods. Its an entire book series about killing gods, well, that plus mirror world 13th century vatican politics.
posted by Chekhovian at 4:03 PM on April 18, 2012


Huh, I think the books are way better than the show and it always amuses and dismays me when people say they loved season 1, tried reading book 1 as a result, and were put off. The best thing about the books to someone like me who is generally not a fan of the genre for reasons both serious (the often seemingly necessary stereotyping/racism/essentialism bent, the shorthand cliches for murky evil like incest and feminine magic, the goody-two-shoes Good vs. Evil black and whiteness) and trivial (the stupid made up names) is that Martin sets up book 1 where you're thinking it's one of those straight, satisfyingly black and white tales, and then demolishes those expectations throughout the rest of the books. People you swore you could never forgive or like you wind up sympathizing with. Evil isn't so much as evil as mundanely sadistic and petty. Underdogs never get their day in the sun and remain unappreciated even as they do great things. Chivalry is bullshit (yes, Sandor's one of my favorite characters). Notions of romantic courtly love are tainted by the inherent sexism of a system that breeds women (and with the necessary marital rape that comes with that) and blames them for things out of their control (what gender their offspring are, if they can even have offspring, etc.). Terrible shit happens just because people are born a gender they resent or are limited by. Kings are myopic, selfish, and narrow-minded, not doing what's good for the entire realm. Etc., etc. And the book's structure--third-person but from limited POVs that change with each chapter--is perfect for showing the limitations and inner development of characters and blah blah blah. Anyway, since y'all were saying you don't know folks who love the books more than the show, I'm just gonna say I'm that person. The show's been entertaining and some of the decisions have been grrreat (making Theon's plight clear from the get-go, for example, and making lots of more minor characters like Yoren, Bronn, etc. very lovable/memorable, highlighting the whole "this is a huge world connected at all points" a la The Wire) but some I think mean you don't grow in terms of judgments of people along with the books' revelations (I notice they've made Cersei more sympathetic from the start too, but that means you don't get the whole "she's awful and irredeemable!...wait, now I feel bad for thinking so before I read her inner thoughts and complicated motivations" turnabout). Also jesus stop with the softcore porn already.
posted by ifjuly at 4:09 PM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Your reasons for liking the books are all quite valid. Its GRRM's miserable failure to advance the plot by books 3 and 4/5 that kills it for me. The books are like Zeno's paradox or something. They start happening and then things keep subdividing, but nothing meaningful happens despite literally hundreds and hundreds of pages. And then there are hundreds of pages of Briennes meaningless sidequests...kill me now.

And his magic system is a total failure. Or at least an incomplete, in that we haven't found out enough of anything to really judge it. And there have been 5 huge books. He's had plenty of opportunity to do something with it.

Also, he's failed the planning of his world. Okay, winters last for years? No one mentions giant grain silos, or plant adaptations to it etc. Fail.
posted by Chekhovian at 4:32 PM on April 18, 2012


I like some of the aspects of the books you mentioned, ifjuly (I especially like that The Rightful Heir thing is mostly bullshit, though there are issues with Dany there), but I don't think it is quite so simple.

the often seemingly necessary stereotyping/racism/essentialism bent, the shorthand cliches for murky evil like incest and feminine magic, the goody-two-shoes Good vs. Evil black and whiteness

I have read very few books that do more stereotyping/racism than these books do. We have the Stereotypical Italians, the Stereotypical Spaniards, etc; we have the single generic group of mystical and weird non-whites; we have Fairy White Woman saving the Darker Peoples; we have huge amounts of sexism (some for good reason, as part of the deconstruction of the myths of how awesome it would be to live in medieval times, much just because). I disagree that Cersei was ever really made truly understandable/sympathetic in the books; I find the idea that there is only one female soldier around at all (Arya is still a kid) and she is Ugly problematic. Obviously this isn't all solved in the tv show, but in a sense it isn't meant to: it's being faithful(ish) to the books. The books, on the other hand, are not being faithful to anything except what GRRM chooses.

Also, the books are a slog. (Well, not the first 2 or even 3. But 4 and 5? Sucked. I think the only characters I care about at all anymore are Jon Snow and Sansa.)

That said, I'd like the tv series a lot more if there were less sexposition.
posted by jeather at 4:50 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is boring, let's go bowling instead.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:04 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have read very few books that do more stereotyping/racism than these books do. We have the Stereotypical Italians, the Stereotypical Spaniards, etc; we have the single generic group of mystical and weird non-whites; we have Fairy White Woman saving the Darker Peoples; we have huge amounts of sexism (some for good reason, as part of the deconstruction of the myths of how awesome it would be to live in medieval times, much just because). I disagree that Cersei was ever really made truly understandable/sympathetic in the books; I find the idea that there is only one female soldier around at all (Arya is still a kid) and she is Ugly problematic.

See, I felt that way in Book 1, but I think it really is a case of Martin setting that stuff up--but later doing a subtle tear-down of it. I know many disagree, but that's how I see it. The Dothraki-Mongolian White Savior thing drove me crazy in Book 1 and almost made me stop reading, but fan friends told me he subverts that later, and I wound up agreeing with them. Dany's failure in Mereen etc. are a commentary on the pigheadedness and oversimplification of the White Savior trope. Similarly, Arya is considered ugly by people who think more like Sansa, but it is hinted repeatedly she isn't actually ugly at all--she simply isn't groomed like a lady, and for shallow people at court who are hung up on that, that's one in the same, but Martin doesn't indicate that's essentially so (Arya reminds Ned of Lyanna and not just in personality, and she was considered a beauty). People are welcome to disagree that Cersei ever became sympathetic, but I know I'm not entirely alone with that either--Book 5 (or was it Book 4 with tons and tons of her POV? I forget) makes her seem both pathetic/mad and very tragic in a lot of ways (I'm actually not digging how the show is making it seem as simple as "she's maternal!!" because her motivations in the book are far more complicated and interesting than that old saw). The sexism thing especially always surprises me. I still maintain the books are pretty damn feminist, and not just of the shit-kicking heroine glib type through Arya or whatever. Martin seems like he has a ton of sympathy for what a given it is that men abuse and deride and judge women in unfair and often horrific terms but women still persevere anyway, and he makes it clear (I think) that so many things that are just a given for the time--Robert raping Cersei for example--are awful. But anyway. I'm rambling!
posted by ifjuly at 5:24 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


because her motivations in the book are far more complicated and interesting than that old saw

A good example was when she talks about switching identities with Jamie for a day at time before puberty made that impossible. She's seen the other side so to speak. Too bad she's basically Stalin as a leader.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:40 PM on April 18, 2012


Unrelated to any of this, I think I'm too easily amused because Theon's "My blood is soaked in iron!" line a couple episodes back delighted me.
posted by palidor at 6:28 PM on April 18, 2012


Oh, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but I think that was, "My blood is SALT and iron." You know, salt from the sea and the iron of conquest.
posted by misha at 7:20 PM on April 18, 2012


Oh, darn. I am no longer delighted!
posted by palidor at 9:11 PM on April 18, 2012


the iron of conquest

It would be more amusing if the ironborn expected you to "pay the iron price" for all your equipment. To get a sword you would have to kill a knight a with a rock you found, or a stick or something. It would be like medieval mad max, bootstrapping yourself all the way up from nothing, all your armor being half broken discarded stuff you pulled off those you'd killed etc.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:17 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


palidor: "10 years from now when it's all finished"

Only ten? Man, I wish I had your optimism.

The period I spent waiting for him to release the book that would pick up Tyrion's dangling plot thread was so long it spanned three US presidencies.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:00 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


When the elder Greyjoy started talking about the iron price, that's where my mind went with it actually, so I mostly ended up thinking the guy's a douchebag for such ridiculous reasoning more than I dislike him for being a dick to his son and stuff.

It's too bad the one spoiler I came across before the season started was about Theon's decision to side with them (and SPOILER ALERT I'm pretty sure I read something about them taking Winterfell before I freaked out and closed the tab), though I guess I'm starting to appreciate his character's totally fucked up depressing position now, after a season of thinking of him as mostly just some jerk.
posted by palidor at 11:01 PM on April 18, 2012


I have read very few books that do more stereotyping/racism than these books do. We have the Stereotypical Italians, the Stereotypical Spaniards, etc

Who are the Spaniard and Italian caricatures? I don't really see who you have in mind. Are the Braavosi the Spaniard stand-ins? Or the Dornishmen?

I understand the choice, but still felt the first season cut a few too many corners to avoid showing them. For example, in the large Stark-Lannister battle at the end of the first season, Tyrion is knocked unconscious about halfway through the battle, not before it starts.

Well, the event I remember best from that battle really did need to be cut because it was truly unfilmable: Tyrion stands up too fast while wearing a hat with a big spike and it disembowels a horse, covering him in horse guts. (Is my memory right? Please don't correct me if I'm wrong, because I love that image.)

My expectation for the next book is that we're going to spend yet more time wandering through new places, meeting new characters, that themselves meet new characters, etc etc.

Sounds awesome. I guess I might be one of the few that doesn't want to see a conclusion to the main storyline, hopes the series will be eight books long instead of seven (as is sometimes threatened), and would be happy to get a bunch of new POV characters dealing with new sidequests.
posted by painquale at 12:59 AM on April 19, 2012


Oh, I see now that I was skimming and misread and you're talking about Brienne, not Arya. Actually, I think it's a similar thing there--IIRC a close read of people's take on Brienne's appearance indicates she's not hideously ugly so much as 1) battle-bruised, which would be expected of any knight (her nose is mishappen because it's been broken repeatedly, her lips are swollen from being split or bruised in the past) 2) "unfeminine" (huge size that, if she were a man, would be celebrated or at least famouse and wowed over a la The Mountain, doesn't bother to take care of her hair). And I think it's not hard to see that a large amount of the snickers about "Brienne the Beauty" are more an insecure/shocked male reaction to her noncomformity to gender roles. I think the fact Martin makes it clear her talents and willfulness and body would be appreciated and celebrated if only she'd been born a man, and how shitty her day to day interactions are because she is not, is more of that sympathetic, not-afraid-to-show-real-problems-women-face-in-a-super-sexist-society type feminism. I'm glad he doesn't candycoat that. As a woman who at times in my life has made willful decisions to be unfeminine and seen how people respond (hint: not nicely) I appreciate that.

And if that's not compelling and you're still hung up on "why can't women kick ass without being ugly" (an oversimplification to my mind, as stated above) just look at Asha or Ygritte. BTW, Asha is awesome and I'm bummed they're not conveying her playful, super-at-ease-in-her-own-skin personality well on the show (hopefully later?). I mean, she's even sexually liberated, yay.
posted by ifjuly at 8:12 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds awesome. I guess I might be one of the few that doesn't want to see a conclusion to the main storyline, hopes the series will be eight books long instead of seven (as is sometimes threatened), and would be happy to get a bunch of new POV characters dealing with new sidequests.

When you finished reading Harry Potter did you say "I only wish she had spent more time describing quidditch games"?
posted by Chekhovian at 8:52 AM on April 19, 2012


Dany's failure in Mereen etc. are a commentary on the pigheadedness and oversimplification of the White Savior trope.

I don't think it's a very effective commentary, though. The slaves-who-don't-think-to-escape, the bizarre gratitude, etc -- I mean, she also fails, but there's a lot of just plain creepy racism in that story that doesn't get subverted by her (presumably temporary) failures.

I never said that Arya was ugly. I said that she was a child, so she's not a woman in the same way. Brienne is famously ugly, and also the only female soldier. Sure, she's also battle-scarred, but she was ugly before she was a soldier. I don't mind Brienne as a character at all -- I like her for many of the reasons you do -- but I don't see why we cannot have more female soldiers. Okay, yes, Asha, though frankly I cannot remember what happens to her in the books or what she's supposed to look like or anything except that she likes sex and fooled Theon that one time. Ygritte is not a soldier. We'll see what happens to Arya when she grows up.

I agree that Cersei is tragic, but . . . we get to a storyline where Jaime is being made sympathetic in part because Cersei doesn't want to fuck him anymore. I think she's an un-nuanced character in the books. This is problematic because she's by far the character who makes the most feminist arguments about institutional sexism in Westeros.

Do I think the books are horribly misogynist? No. But I don't think they succeed half as well at being not-sexist and not-racist than people wish they did. (I have other issues with the books: there are too many freaking viewpoint characters, especially. In the end, I found the tv show fun in a way I didn't find the books, but mostly in a "what will happen next?" way, though I already knew Ned would die, and it was obvious that the eggs would hatch -- now I think I am less invested in the show because I know I stop caring about what happens in the books.)
posted by jeather at 9:18 AM on April 19, 2012


Well, if your point is "why aren't there more accepted-by-society, formally sanctioned female soldiers in this world"...I think that's a total case of Martin showing a sexist society (and through people like Brienne, criticizing it), not condoning it. But like people who are squicked by the amount of other sexist behavior in the books and don't see it as a critique but somewhat lascivious or creepy enjoyment thing, it's just a matter we might not see eye to eye on.

And even based on your strict parameters, as you say Asha counts but you happen not to remember much about her. Balon clearly favors her as his heir, she commands something like 30 ships formally, etc. Pretty textbook example of what you seem to want.

And yes, I know you weren't talking about Arya, as I mentioned in my later comment about skimming and misreading.

Subverting Dany's trope happens earlier than Meereen etc., I meant to say before too. That was something I was happy they left in the show quite pointedly, the speech Mirri Maz Duur gives to Dany explaining why she wasn't all fawning over her and scrambling to help her just because Dany "saved" her (implying subtly it's more about Dany's ego, needing to feel she does "good" without actually doing it because it's a lot more complicated than just saving one person from being raped one time). The tragedies at the end of book 1 for Dany are directly caused by her white savior trope blinders/cluelessness. And it's repeatedly indicated before that too that Dany doesn't get certain aspects of Dothraki culture yet wants enjoys harnessing the power of the group, and how that's offensive at worst, clueless at best.
posted by ifjuly at 11:40 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The slaves-who-don't-think-to-escape

We see that in most of the wives/daughters of Craster, as well. But that's not racism, that is absolutely a real thing.

I'm sure you've heard of Battered Woman's syndrome and Stockholm Syndrome and all those other psychological factors that come into play when you live in institutionalized abuse. If you were born into this system, the very concept of freedom is an alien one for you. You come to accept it as your due. You believe you don't deserve better.

Not only do you begin to accept the abuse, you begin to engage in it yourself, abusing those beneath you. Though inconceivable to a healthy individual, this is how the cycle of abuse continues. Minds get twisted until abuser and abused begin to believe that because it has always been this way, this must be the way it is supposed to be.

I'm reminded of a particularly fitting passage from Terry Pratchett's book, Small Gods. The pious and fanatical deacon of an austere religion, Vorbis, is lodging with other followers of the great god Om in the city of Ephebe. He meets with the democratically-elected leader, whom the people call The Tyrant, under the guise of establishing trade relations with the city, though his disdain for the worldly Ephebians quickly becomes apparent:

Vorbis: "'Slave' is an Ephebian word. In Omnia we have not even a word for slavery."

"So I understand," said the Tyrant. "I imagine that fish have no word for water."
posted by misha at 2:29 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are the slaves-who-don't-think-to-escape the Unsullied, or are you guys talking about some other group of slaves? I find the Unsullied utterly baffling. It's like Martin decided the series needed a robot army without will or feelings or emotions. Maybe they'll make more sense to me when I see them portrayed on-screen.

I thought Dances with Dragons had interesting things to say about slavery in Martin's world. The exchanges between Tyrion and Penny and the aftermath of Dany's swoop through Slaver's Bay suggest that if you're not highborn, there's very little difference between being a serf and being a slave. The slaves who are resigned to being slaves are directly compared to peasants who accept their station. I think the portrayal of slavery becomes a lot more subversive when considered as a portion of a larger tapestry about the relation between power and freedom. Tyrion and Dany and Jon, undisputedly the heroes of book five and probably the whole series, have all been both outcasts and people of power, and they are the three who most have to grapple with the notion of freedom in a feudal society. Dany's freeing of the slaves and Jon's conscription of the free folk is an interesting parallel.

Not to say that race in the books isn't problematic. I wouldn't blame someone who found it sufficiently off-putting to turn them off the books.
posted by painquale at 4:31 PM on April 19, 2012


painquale

I believe that slaves-who-don't-think-to-escape refers more to the "acclimated" Yunkish slaves like Sweets, who loved their masters and deluded themselves into thinking that their masters cared for them.
posted by The Confessor at 12:18 PM on April 20, 2012


I'm totally gonna find some red cigars to pass out that say "Congratulations, it's a ?".
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:55 PM on April 22, 2012


Go Team Joffrey?
posted by palidor at 9:16 PM on April 22, 2012


"I want to have your shadow-bortion!"
posted by Chekhovian at 9:40 PM on April 22, 2012


Joffrey's torture dildo's shadow baby?
posted by homunculus at 10:08 PM on April 22, 2012


Seriously though, I continue to feel bad for and am starting to fear for the safety of the young actor who plays Joffrey. I wonder if he had to sign a waiver upon taking the role, like, "HBO is not responsible for any injury that may result from crazed viewers attacking unexpectedly in the streets..." Maybe HBO covers his bodyguards' salaries?
posted by palidor at 10:44 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


In interviews and on the DVD commentaries, whenever Jack Gleeson (Joffrey's actor) comes up in conversation with other actors from the show, the same thing always happens. They first praise him for being a great actor, then say he's a really sweet guy who is nothing like his character, and then they make fun of him for smoking a pipe. I have a hard time imagining nice-Joffrey-with-pipe.

Disappointed with the shadow baby. That was one of those generic smoke ghosts that is in every movie, and they made it screech only because generic smoke ghosts always screech. I wanted a genuine shadow, i.e. a two-dimensional projection.
posted by painquale at 11:10 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


That sounds like it would be neat if they could pull it off nicely (though I have no idea what the nature of shadow babby is and what role it will play). I'm a pretty big jerk about CG stuff breaking my immersion, like for example I'm not much of a fan of the grown dire wolves this season because of their unreality, so the birth scene was kind of a dud for me. I guess it's hard for me to feel anything in reaction to some amorphous black stuff, but an actual shadow lurking about, shot very cleverly, sounds like it would be so much more creepy (assuming creepy is what they're going for with the thing, though I guess it could be the friendly kind of shadow baby)
posted by palidor at 11:40 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what I think of for making shadows look real and menacing, but I like the way the show did it too.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:14 AM on April 23, 2012


Congratulations, it's a...WTF?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:10 PM on April 23, 2012


jeez, could they possibly draw out the nexr chapter in the Renly Baratheon saga any longer?! I thought for sure that would happen this episode!

Loved Grey Wolf, though.
posted by misha at 6:06 PM on April 23, 2012


One of the things I like most about the show is seeing people who don't know the spoilers that lie in store. It helps me remember my own reactions.

(I especially like that The Rightful Heir thing is mostly bullshit, though there are issues with Dany there)

And with young Griff so far, no?
posted by ersatz at 7:08 AM on April 24, 2012


I don't think the story has legitimized Griff as Rightful Heir in the same way that it's legitimized Dany. He's got a technical claim, but he doesn't yet have the Mary Sue sheen that makes makes one deserving of the throne.
posted by painquale at 11:28 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Loved the almost off-hand introduction of Lord Bolton...got his nature across very well, I thought. And great to see Tywin back in...Does is say something about me that I'm happy to see two of the most ruthless men of the series making appearances?

Given where this week's episode left off, I expect next weeks to open rather dramatically - a return to the Baratheon standoff, we should also see what the Greyjoys are up to, and (I hope) a visit to the Fist of the First Men along with some more of the madcap happenings in King's Landing? Boy, they've really punched Joff's character up.

I don't think the story has legitimized Griff as Rightful Heir in the same way that it's legitimized Dany. He's got a technical claim,

Enh. I'm not sold on Griff as rightful anything yet.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:18 PM on April 24, 2012


UGH, seriously, fuck this show after this week's episode. So close to quitting it. That written-up sexual torture scene was so fucking cheap and a total misread of the character, ugh ugh ugh. I'm beginning to get that disgusted feeling where I can't tell if the show people get the sympathies of the book or are just getting off on and cashing in on the exploitative aspects cluelessly (that overthinkingit.com post is spot on, and keeps getting more so with each episode I'm afraid). It'd be like a movie about WWII that was tastelessly lascivious and leering about the pains people went through.

And super petty in comparison, the editing with the cuts is terrible (Dany's abrupt five seconds, etc.).

That said, I will throw a bone to the scene with Catelyn and Littlefinger. I was all "fuck yeah!" when she told him to fuck the fuck off, and then her desperate, stupid weakness making her reach out anyway--ouch. And her private sorrow. That was great, but not enough to make up for this stupid misogynistic-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too shit.
posted by ifjuly at 5:48 PM on April 24, 2012


never used baby shoes: "Loved the almost off-hand introduction of Lord Bolton...got his nature across very well, I thought."

"Your Grace, more information might be forthcoming if you let me flay them."
"Dad said no flaying."
"I excel at flaying, my king."
"Yes, yes, saw the sigil."
"Can I flay them then?"
"No."
"Just a little flaying?"
"Nope."
"A finger, perhaps Your Grace?"
"Negative."
"Perhaps if Your Grace Could Observe Me In Action"
"Oh for the love of the gods...er...HELLO BEAUTIFUL I'M ROBB STARK."
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:00 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


a total misread of the character

I'm curious why you think this. I thought it was appropriate for the character given that they aged him up. Book-Joffrey maybe wouldn't have been quite so callous, but book-Joffrey was 13. It was actually a little bit interesting to see Joffrey maturing in his cruelty (especially when he was sent the prostitutes to mature him in another way). All the other terrible kings and bad Targaryans (Aegon IV, Aerys II, Viserys II, Aerion) did similar terrible things, and I don't doubt that if Joff grew up he would have turned out just like them. So it was interesting to see him on that path.

That doesn't speak to whether the scene was cheap or exploitative... it probably was, but honestly, I don't think the books are any less cheap or exploitative.
posted by painquale at 7:28 PM on April 24, 2012


The thing about Joffrey is he's stupid, insecure, and so self-centered he doesn't even pause to imagine that other people feel things (note a lot of the time in the book IIRC he gives orders for pain/humiliation without actually then staying to witness, as opposed to relishing another's feelings when in pain)--he is not the grand nightmare sadist of your dreams like, say, SPOILER ALERT Ramsay is. Similar to the the unfolding quality of empathy as a reader thing I mentioned above, one of the artful things about the book is you think no one could be worse/more evil than Joffrey is, then you realize how wrong you were not just in terms of degree of cruelty but level of mastery/intelligence, sentience, what have you. That's a salient revelation. This, though? Just feels like the show people Not Getting It. Yes, I realize I must come off as One Of Those Insufferable Book People.
posted by ifjuly at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2012


It was an episode about torture, even outside of the sexual stuff. It was a theme, for once all the female nudity was about political violence instead of exposition or titillation.

That doesn't mean it was quality storytelling, but it was certainly interesting. Who was your good guy? Robb who got that poor dude's leg cut off over what is ultimately a political vendetta? Is it any better that he wishes he didn't have to do it but still does?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2012


And don't get me started on the story arc that leads to the scene. It's been made abundantly clear Tyrion is sympathetic to Sansa in both book and show. But it's also been well established how clever Tyrion is politically. How am I supposed to believe Tyrion wouldn't see the "Joffrey tortures the beloved whores you send him to" thing beforehand and consider it? Especially given 1) Tyrion makes it super clear multiple times beforehand he recognizes Joffrey for what he is, a moral abomination 2) some of the only people Tyrion feels close to are whores, so it's not like he wouldn't give a fuck.
posted by ifjuly at 7:40 PM on April 24, 2012


I would totally buy the "the theme is Torture, highfalutin and whatnot" except if you pay close attention to that Joffrey scene it's set up to be both initially sexy and then shockingly scary/arousing in the sense of excitement. It's that cheap giallo-esque sort of shit, well-lit tits and laughter punctualized by the threat of violence and fear. Fuck it. I'm repeating myself but that overthinking it piece is excellent here.
posted by ifjuly at 7:43 PM on April 24, 2012


And if you want to talk about torture being the theme of the episode: A Clash of Kings is my favorite book in the series primarily because of the torture Arya witnesses, and that sounds messed up maybe but hear me out: it's the nature of it, how it's portrayed, that made me appreciate that book so much. It is mundane, relentless, unending, repetitive, impersonal, and pointless; it leaves you numb. It is the antithesis of filmed versions of heightened pain intended to leave you breathless and thankful. It is just awful, and pointless, and forgotten by most within the story's world (again, mundane)--I loved that Martin understood that. Torture in the real world is rarely some grand gesture or drama played out like other carthartic renderings/depictions, scenes. It is horrid, mundane, forgotten. He got that right. The show isn't showing any understanding of that at all, and worse, is doing some at best lazy combining and at worst purposeful cashing in on melding the softcore well-lit tits with said supposedly horrific yet mundane torture, and cashing in on the heightened drama it gives without any sort of useful value for that. It's the definition of cheap. /ranty mc rant pants
posted by ifjuly at 7:52 PM on April 24, 2012


The thing about Joffrey is he's stupid, insecure, and so self-centered he doesn't even pause to imagine that other people feel things (note a lot of the time in the book IIRC he gives orders for pain/humiliation without actually then staying to witness, as opposed to relishing another's feelings when in pain)

I don't think that's true. He delights in slicing Mycah up until Arya stops him. He has a thief's hand cut off in court, and has Sansa beat up in front of him. I can't think of a time when he intentionally avoids witnessing pain and humiliation.
posted by painquale at 8:16 PM on April 24, 2012


I think Joff's acts of cruelty aren't some weird sexual/uncontrollable-fascination-id thing though, they're not that complicated or murky. It's straightforwardly about being a power-hungry-but-insecure little brat with not much for brains, who hates the idea of being humiliated himself and so humiliates others as a form of stupid psychological protection. Even if he's older his character is pretty much the epitome of a dumb, scared little bratty boy (and yeah, the Mad King comes off a bit similar towards his end). The show adds something more sinister to get the audience on edge and give a bit of a shitty sexual thrill/horror, but I still think it's a misread. And there'll be plenty of time for that sort of thing later when we meet someone else...
posted by ifjuly at 5:07 AM on April 25, 2012


Joff is a psycho, and the mistake most of the characters (beyond those who just have to obey him) make about him is thinking that he just needs some education/help to overcome his "childish" tendencies. The show wants to make it clear to us just how awful Joff is, but I think they've been pretty good at that already.

I was not a huge fan of the scene in Joff's bedroom; I think the same point could have been made without it...just Tyrion discussing the idea, followed later by two very scared and hurt women leaving thethe king's chambers. I think at this point my biggest complaint about the HBO series is we get too many scenes like that one, that seem gratuitous, while other scenes that are more important are given short shrift.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:07 AM on April 25, 2012


I don't think the story has legitimized Griff as Rightful Heir in the same way that it's legitimized Dany. He's got a technical claim, but he doesn't yet have the Mary Sue sheen that makes makes one deserving of the throne.

SPOILER Hm, he has had a great education, he has an old mover and shaker, who appeared out of nowhere, serving as his political advisor, and he has been running with the wolves mercenaries since he was little. Not to mention his RPG looks ;) He's the fresh new face of the Targs and he's ready to rumble.

On the other Hand (heh), these qualities make him a great sacrifice for the endgame of the story.
posted by ersatz at 9:26 AM on April 25, 2012


Well there needed to be three dragons - and Dany needs to marry some relative or other. So yeah, I think he'll stick around a bit longer, although it's kind of a long shot that he'll live to the very end.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:40 AM on April 25, 2012


endgame of the story

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
posted by Chekhovian at 10:09 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


*Sniggers* You see, I like fantasy.
posted by ersatz at 4:37 AM on April 26, 2012


But ifjuly, it wasn't a sexual torture scene!


Tyrion sent the women to Joffrey (in keeping with Lannister family tradition!) thinking that Joffrey just needed a sexual release, true.

But nowhere in that scene do we see Joffrey getting a sexual thrill from what he's doing (unless I am remembering it wrong?). Just the opposite.

We, the viewing audience, expected him to get some sexually sadistic thrill, and so did the prostitutes. But the only reason he didn't send them away was because they came from Tyrion, and he wanted to hurt Tyrion, and has wanted to hurt Tyrion since he was humiliated by Tyrion slapping him around that one time. That he could do that best by hurting Tyrion's women was why he let them stay.

And even then, Joffrey doesn't take part, he watches and instructs, because Joffrey's sociopathy is all about control and power. Cersei let him have everything he wanted, she spoiled him rotten, but he never had autonomy. Now that he can do as he pleases, the psychopath that has always been there is running wild.

So the scene showed us his nastiness doesn't just have to do with the Starks and a desire to torture Sansa. He's just a truly nasty human being.

Which will only make it worse when we see that Joffrey is an amateur compared to some characters in the book.
posted by misha at 5:16 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


> So the scene showed us his nastiness doesn't just have to do with the Starks and a desire to torture Sansa. He's just a truly nasty human being.

Is there anyone in the audience who needs that spelled out to them though? The singer hand thing made that pretty clear, and even without that, I don't see why anyone would think he takes the Starks personally and that's why he's so fucked up--there's a lot of great economy in the Mycah scene; it tells you all you need to know, similar to the sinister scene of bullying and power in I'm Not Scared with the boy ordering the girl to take off her pants. It never crossed my mind Joffrey wasn't exactly what he was after the Mycah moment.

And as you say, Joffrey might not get weird jollies off it, but the show makers know full well what you think that scepter is for, and the editing of that scene pretty obviously builds up that tension before releasing it. Shitty. I've mentioned it like three plus times now, but that overthinking it link is spot on here.
posted by ifjuly at 5:35 PM on April 26, 2012


Is there anyone in the audience who needs that spelled out to them though?

Why does it need to spell anything out? Why can't it show us the extent of Joffrey's psychopathy as an end in itself? On the Sopranos, Christopher was mesmerizing when he was going on a bender, shooting innocent people in the feet. Those scenes didn't establish anything "new", that we didn't already know about the character. We already knew he was a maniac. And it didn't really advance the plot. But seeing Christopher express his character through violence brought something aesthetic to the table. There's a difference between being told that someone is a psychopath and seeing it: the latter brings about a kind of direct engagement with a character.

The most common complaint about the show from book-readers seems to be that the show wastes too much time on newly-written "gratuitous" scenes. The Joffrey scene, the Pycelle and Ros scene from the last season, Stannis and Melisandre on the table, Margaery talking to Petyr, etc. But these are the scenes I look forward to! I've already read the books, so I want to see characters placed in new situations and have new conversations that fall between the interstices of the chapters. I don't think that I'll really learn too much about the characters, but I want to see the characters express themselves.

I say this, but I do think I learned something about Joffrey's character that I hadn't really thought about before.

I just asked my girlfriend what she thought of the scene. She said that she liked it a lot because, more than any other scene, it aligned the viewer with the prostitutes and made them seem like people. So there's another take.

I've mentioned it like three plus times now, but that overthinking it link is spot on here.

I am in complete agreement with the general sentiment behind that article, but it suffers from the problem that the Overthinking It guys always commit: they say "here's my point" and then spray out ten to twenty related but distinct things that might be considered their point. (It makes their podcast so aggravating.) "GoT is weird about gender" is certainly true, as is "The nudity in GoT undercuts what it says about gender," but the paragraphs afterward are all over the place. The comparison between the actress playing Theon's salt wife and the prostitute was particularly insulting and belittling, I thought.

The author attacks the HBO show for deviating from the books. (Why should showing the Stannis/Melisandre scene be more "gratuitous" than showing Jaime/Cersei or Dany/Drogo? None is necessary to show. It's just because the latter two took place in front of viewpoint characters and the other was just hinted at in the book.) But GoT the TV show is not much more problematic than GoT the book series; the series itself is really problematic. It's full of cheap softcore and revenge fantasy: the Dany/Drogo scenes, for instance, are definitely meant to be titillating. From the article: "You get the feeling from the books that sex can either be grim and kind of tawdry, or cheerful and kind of tawdry, or — only within the bounds of a society’s particular version of matrimony, which is kind of interesting — a genuine and profound connection. But you never get the sense that it’s grim and deadly serious." Really? Half the series is about having sex just to continue bloodlines! Roose Bolton talking about how his "fat little wife" shakes and shudders during sex whereas his first two wives just laid there silently: that's the textual version of HBO nude scenes.
posted by painquale at 8:33 PM on April 26, 2012


> There's a difference between being told that someone is a psychopath and seeing it: the latter brings about a kind of direct engagement with a character.

Yeah, of course, but scenes of showing and not telling already happened, very well, as mentioned. Seems like gratuitous creepy overkill and yeah, a misread.
posted by ifjuly at 4:46 AM on April 27, 2012


And funny, I thought the point in that overthinking it thing about actresses and the sex scene characters they portray was spot on, actually, and the sort of thing lots of viewers would never even think about.

As for Mel/Stannis, I didn't find that offensive (I haven't brought it up as such; my criticisms are not made with such a broad brush as you seem to assume), just clumsily done, again a potential misread of Stannis' character and the whole aura Mel and him have in the book (wonderfully sinister and mysterious, a case where not being explicit adds a lot mood-wise), you know, aesthetically unfortunate more than anything. It feels like you think I'd be unhappy no matter what if they change anything, and all I can say is that isn't true--I happen to think the changes haven't been well thought-out or done particularly gracefully. Like. I have no problem with seeing brothel scenes that weren't centerpieces in the books; I think that could be interesting. But the over-the-top "get your jollies off!" aspect to the Littlefinger scene was ridiculous, which I wouldn't even mind too much, it's this other thing--that that scene is clunky as fuck. If your dialogue/exposition is so poorly written you feel the only way to redeem it is to pair it with lesbian fisting and assplay, well...yeah. And I'd like to say too that it's not like I judge or think less of anyone for not agreeing, but I am surprised not lapping it up is so contentious here. They're just not very good or well done scenes in terms of setting a complicated thought-provoking mood like the books did for me. It'd be like...I don't know, someone making a movie where you can't tell if they've thought through difficult or painful aspects of the narrative and that's why it's the way it is, or are just yeah, in the SNL parlance, "13 year old boys" being dim, single-minded, and clumsy. I'm not getting any nuance or depth/sympathy from these scenes personally, and retaining loads of the ick discomfort factor.

I don't know how else to defend my feelings, and I'm clearly doing a bad job of it, so I'll try to bow out now.
posted by ifjuly at 4:57 AM on April 27, 2012


As for Mel/Stannis, I didn't find that offensive [...] It feels like you think I'd be unhappy no matter what if they change anything, and all I can say is that isn't true

Yeah, sorry, I was going after a claim made by Overthinking It article at that point, and not anything I was imputing to you.

On another subject:

Westeros: Election 2012
posted by painquale at 5:27 PM on April 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


As for Mel/Stannis

See the way I read that scene was that he was entirely uninterested in the physical pleasure part of the sex...he wanted the son she promised him. That was the turning point where he consented, the promise of a son. That was the turn on for him, carrying on his name, etc.
posted by Chekhovian at 6:01 PM on April 27, 2012


Alternate Election.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:24 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hahaha always going on about climate change
posted by palidor at 9:14 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Loved the Arya/Tywin scene tonight.
posted by the_artificer at 10:23 PM on April 29, 2012


Wait...I don't think there were any boobies at all tonight...
posted by Chekhovian at 10:59 PM on April 29, 2012


You are correct there was a shocking and unprecedented lack of boobies tonight. Because I apparently pay attention to these things, I took note at the beginning of the show of the lack of nudity / sexual content warnings. Just boring old violence this time!
posted by palidor at 12:10 AM on April 30, 2012


Not only was there no gratuitous nudity, they got rid of some iconic nudity from the books: they made it so that Daenarys's Qartheen gown did not expose a breast. (It's totally surprising HBO would make that change.) Instead of exploitative brothel scenes, we got a sweet strong women scene with Brienne and Catelyn that passed the Bechdel test with flying colors.

Really good episode.
posted by painquale at 1:04 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know how I should feel about the fact that I guessed a couple of episodes ago (and became certain of after last week's birth) that Renly would be next to go because of his likability and perpetual smirk. Predictable? Or maybe just an obvious development knowing he was going up against someone with Mysterious Magicks.
posted by palidor at 1:15 AM on April 30, 2012


we got a sweet strong women scene with Brienne and Catelyn that passed the Bechdel test with flying colors.

That scene was complete awesomesauce.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:40 AM on April 30, 2012


Friends (who, like you dear Mefites, have heard my rants about the show, ha) have already informed me they think I will be pleasantly surprised by this week's episode (haven't seen it yet). Yay!
posted by ifjuly at 10:37 AM on April 30, 2012


See what happens when the boobie inspectors take a week off?
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:52 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's with all the people getting spine-stabbed in this show? Brienne murdering that second guard just seemed excessive and crazy.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:09 AM on April 30, 2012


series/book SPOILERS like always with me.

damn, that was way better. which is great, but will also fill me with sorrow of what could be if next week or later it goes back to being total unending tits and ass patrol. without all that stupid trying-to-be-arousing filler shit you actually, you know, get the story and feelings of said story fleshed out.

interesting to see them economizing where they are. such as cersei's character arc both being flattened (the "she's mostly just maternal!" thing, which they might still play around with and fill out hopefully) and accelerated--iirc her drunken sloppiness doesn't happen 'til later in the series in the books. i am a little bummed this means arya won't be killing the tickler herself--it's one of the series' iconic scenes (her asking those questions while angrily stabbing him), and so satisfying in a fucked up way. i am enjoying h'ghar almost as much as i did in the books though for sure, which is saying something. and i dug the tywin/arya scene.

i am also experiencing this funny, painful-awesome sensation all the time watching now where i'm full of dread because i know what will happen. the battle of the blackwater is my favorite battle scene in the series, so i'm getting excited about that. but the bran's dream thing, and just any time theon is on the screen, just breaks my heart because of what's going to happen. it's sort of making me appreciate the books more in that respect...things i didn't think upset me too bad while reading i guess have upon further reflection and anticipation of having to revisit those things via the show.
posted by ifjuly at 6:18 PM on April 30, 2012


series SPOILER continued: oh, and about economizing and understanding why but still being a little wistful: i wonder if bran seeming like a greenseer means they are officially getting rid of the reeds and letting osha do all the heavy lifting with bran, as it were. that bums me out because meera is another one of my favorite characters and jojen always amused me...he reminds me of teddy mcardle, ha.

i am enjoying them making explicit rickon's uncontrolled wildness...i keep wondering if martin has a trick up his sleeve for rickon that will make all the jokes about him being disposably missing for most of the series moot, and the show knows it 'cause martin told them so they're showing that off as foreshadowing. would seem fitting with martin's MO of upending expectations.
posted by ifjuly at 7:06 PM on April 30, 2012


officially getting rid of the reeds

Presumably though they're going to have to introduce Howland Reed right? Since he's the only one living that knows the secret of the Tower of Joy. Which I guess will still take five books to resolve.

But...sigh...I have so little faith that GRRM is going to resolve anything. Its hard to expect anything from this series other than meandering travelogues that go nowhere.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:22 PM on April 30, 2012


The Tower of Joy was not referenced by the show at all, which gives them the freedom to approach (or not) the questions raised by it in any means they desire.

My only disappointment in this episode was making the wildfire Cersei's idea, with Tyrion there to refine it. I'm not liking the show making Cersei seem clever at the expense of Tyrion, but I guess I will have to find a way to get over it.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:38 PM on April 30, 2012


No change there. The wildfire was an idea of Cersei's in the book as well.
posted by painquale at 10:00 PM on April 30, 2012


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