The Raw Appeal Of Game Of Thrones
April 14, 2016 1:42 AM   Subscribe

Thrones of Blood: Binge-watching the most addictive show on television. SLNewYorker

"To raise, for an uninstructed audience, the question of what comes first, a civilized society or an instinctive wish for civilization, can’t be a bad effect for an entertainment to have; although we might have to be part of an instructed audience ourselves in order to find that effect good, and we had better be protected by the police and an army from anyone who finds it trivial."
posted by hippybear (135 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, I guess, I should say, this is full of spoilers, but it's pretty great sort of social and literary criticism about the show, so it might even be interesting to read even if you haven't watched.
posted by hippybear at 1:47 AM on April 14, 2016


He bingewatched "The Following" ? What a masochist.
posted by Pendragon at 2:14 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Seven Kingdoms are divided into nine regions, with a logic that will be familiar to all fans of fantasy, and even to a few normal people.

Far too much of this in that. I'm sorry swords and dragons aren't considered high art to you.
posted by adept256 at 2:34 AM on April 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


This was a great piece of criticism. I don't think there's one "correct way" to interpret the events of the show, but this was an excellent musing on nihilism and the brutality of human beings toward one another (interesting that he never even mentioned the red wedding which illustrates his point brilliantly; that is, when it appears that good people might bring about a deeper morality and civilization, chance events and blindly self interested Bad People obliterate all hope that something better might emerge).

Me, I'm sorry I got into the series. Someone else had written here on Mefi: "Game of Thrones. It's like meth. It's awful but by the time you realize it, it's too late." I really think the likely scenario is that this turns into an 8 season, 120 hour investment that has nothing to say except humans are very creatively wicked and self-destructive. At least watching Auchwitz prison documentaries, you know it came to an end and the world got generally better. I've sworn off the show so many times, just because life is grim enough already thank you, yet I keep returning. I don't even know if the new season started yet, and I really hope to stay away this time.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:42 AM on April 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Far too much of this in that.
Ah, yeah, this. The author almost managed to turn me away there. But I suffered through these paragraphs, telling myself to take them as an attempt at self-deprecating humor. Then I got to this:
If I sound dismissive, it’s just because I’m still looking for all the reasons it would have been right not to watch the show, before I get to the more difficult task of specifying the reasons that not watching would have been a loss.
Good job on the first task, not sure of the second as I'm clearly not the intended audience.
posted by hat_eater at 2:44 AM on April 14, 2016


"If I sound dismissive, it’s just because I’m still looking for all the reasons it would have been right not to watch the show, before I get to the more difficult task of specifying the reasons that not watching would have been a loss."

What a shit piece of writing, pompous and self indulgent with the added bonus, if one may inject a side thought that no really gives a fucking damn about and does nothing to enhance the article, of being long winded to the point of being tedious, like a college professor prattling on for an hour, clearly enamored with lecturing as opposed to teaching, so one is forced to read ridiculous run on sentences disguised as a single paragraph, just like this one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:00 AM on April 14, 2016 [28 favorites]


This is a extraordinarily fine polemic, and I chuckled quite a lot. One might split hairs and point out to him getting some details wrong (e.g. there are penises - except Theon Greyjoy, of course - but not very many, so that may go under due to excessive bingewatching, being omitted by a plethora of boobage), but most of the issues he addresses are to the point.
There will be probably be a shitstorm regarding him dissing beloved John Snow, but I agree that he seems to be working in the fine tradition of the Alan Ladd school of acting (one facial expression over one career, or, in this case, show) - the same is true for Sansa Stark, especially as the writers give Sophie Turner zilch to act.
And he correctly points out that killing off Tyrion Lannister would be suicidal for the show, but as fortunately G.R.R. Martin will probably never finish writing the outstanding novels, the showrunners will be able to keep him alive to the very end (or until Peter Dinklage decides to move on, but as he plays the only character which is not completely one-dimensional, he might stay).
So yeah, the show is complete shlock, but like a car crash, we can't look away. And thus the writers will be able to get away with more unnecessary rape scenes, overly detailed torture scenes and excessive gratuicious nudity (but there seems to be a quota for that in many HBO shows, and a fpm (fuck per minute) quotient, as experienced in, among others, Deadwood), and we will be mesmerized watching the trainwreck unfold, and feel a bit dirty afterwards, but turn it on the next sunday anyways.

And what Slarty Bartfast said
posted by ojemine at 3:00 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't even know if the new season started yet, and I really hope to stay away this time.

Not yet, it starts April 24th at 9pm EST. Those that have seen the first episode say its quite good!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:10 AM on April 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


I hate that stance of treating something like trash and praising it at the same time. It's a very popular stance amongst "intelectuals". It's dishonest.
He can throw crap at Martin, fantasy and CGI dragons all day, but the truth is that he enjoyed the shit out of Game of Thrones. He's wallowing in the mud with us but he insists that he's not dirty.
Face it Clive James, you are more a GoT bingewatcher than you are a Proust reader and that's ok.
posted by SageLeVoid at 3:35 AM on April 14, 2016 [20 favorites]


I hate that stance of treating something like trash and praising it at the same time.

Guilty pleasures.
posted by ojemine at 3:41 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Face it Clive James, you are more a GoT bingewatcher than you are a Proust reader and that's ok.

Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust, by Clive James
posted by Panthalassa at 4:11 AM on April 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


I hate that stance of treating something like trash and praising it at the same time

How have you survived reading Metafilter threads since 2007?
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:15 AM on April 14, 2016 [32 favorites]


Guilty pleasures

It's ok to like things, particularly tv shows. There's zero reason to feel guilty about it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:27 AM on April 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


I quit the show halfway through the last season. It's also ok to quit things that you don't like even if you feel like there's this pressure to like it.
posted by bl1nk at 4:30 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Quite surreal to see responses to this piece from the points of view of people who don't know who Clive James is.

In his Observer days, he became Sunday’s must-read columnist – a vertiginous mix of literary exuberance, show-off allusion, topical wisecracks and fuck-you Aussie irreverence. Who can forget his picture of the Formula One commentator Murray Walker describing every grand prix “as if his trousers were on fire”?

People are allowed not to like a genre in general but still be won over by a particular example of it. Given the drubbing a certain high-profile big-screen appearance from a dragon received from some quarters, is that particular "relevant prejudice" so surprising? Far from trashing GoT, his preamble about his usual aversion to swords and dragons shows how highly he must rate the show, to be writing such a long piece about it.

(Thanks for the heads-up on the new book, Panthalassa. Been reading his verse a lot this past year, it's terrific. I already knew his prose was...)
posted by rory at 4:39 AM on April 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


My wife and I binged the first season of GoT and vowed not to watch another episode ever. YMMV.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:51 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've watched the lot so far, despite not being much of a fan of This Sort Of Thing (the other half is nutzoid about it, and I enjoy enough of it to not mind tagging along.) So I am very sympathetic to the 'why am I watching this? Oh..' approach to the series.

I think my major get-out for not feeling the bads over the show being so unremittingly bleak is that it is lifted from history. All that human stuff, more or less, actually happened, only with more blood, cruelty and nihilism. It's better these days, but no bad thing to be reminded what humans can be like.

I am also a huge Clive James fan - and of his output, his TV criticism in particular. (If you can get hold of The Crystal Bucket, do.) He and Nancy Banks-Smith are the terrible people who hooked me on journalism with literary merit, and in particular the fine art of self-deprecating snark. He is quite the geek manque; I remember his admiration of the aesthetics of Blade Runner which proved beyond question that he grokked what goes on beneath the surface of our kind of SF. But he also has the cultural depth to understand why people who should know better disdain it, and plays on that tension from both sides. So, don't get too cut up about the 'normal people' shtick.

He is very clever, very humane and very mischievous. Enjoy the show.
posted by Devonian at 5:08 AM on April 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


I've only watched the first season so far. I plan to watch the rest but obviously haven't made it a priority so far. I found that season (and the books, all of which I have read) to be more silly than bleak, but I can understand how some people would see it that way.

Given the drubbing a certain high-profile big-screen appearance from a dragon received from some quarters

Exactly. The Hobbit movies were, to my eyes, terrible (though successful commercially), and GOT stands out in contrast to that kind of genre production. The GOT audience includes both people who love genre stuff like The Hobbit and people who generally dislike that stuff, which can lead to some disconnected elements in these discussions.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:15 AM on April 14, 2016


As a former editor of, I think, NYRB once said: Clive James is a great bunch of guys.
posted by vbfg at 5:18 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was surprised to learn that Clive James hadn't died yet from his leukemia...so was he, apparently.
posted by briank at 5:26 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


I stopped reading pretty quickly after Ned Stark was beheaded. The TV show ended for me at the same point. I don't mind my entertainment falling on the bleak, challenging or depressing end of the spectrum but sweet Jeebus there is quite the collection of awful characters and plot elements in GoT. If I want to watch something were I'm actively rooting against everyone on screen I'll just watch election news coverage.
posted by tehjoel at 5:38 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm actively rooting against everyone on screen

Not Gilly!
posted by colie at 5:40 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Well, since it's Clive James, that makes the tedious "I usually don't go for this sort of thing but..." qualifying ramble ok then!

One can like or dislike a show for any number of reasons, most of them fine and understandable. But the genre disdain was a bit much and one can hopefully be forgiven if one's ire is raised by the usual triteness from a supposedly critic giant.

The focus on Tyrion is understandable, but it's a shame he didn't delved into the other characters that are the moral centers in their respective parts of the GoT world. Daenerys is an obvious one, over in Essos, as is Jon Snow, up in the North. Brienne and Pod have wandering the around in the West, while down South in King's Landing there's..ok, no one at the moment, which explains the shitshow of that situation.

Jamie was a candidate for the role, but with the influence of Brienne gone and acceptance of him by the almost comically short-sighted Cersei, he's revealed for what he's always been: a follower with great skill, but needing a guiding hand for direction. That he prefers the hand of his twin sister nestled in his brain and other places is unfortunate, but not surprising at this point.

These sort of gross details are generally ok when we have thrilling and/or engaging narrative, such as in seasons 1-3. It's when things start to get a jumbled and nonsensical (oh Dorne, you sounded so promising), as they did in seasons 4-5, that the brutal aspects become too much.

Audience disgust became much more palpable over the past two years and with good reason. No one wants to watch beloved or just kinda liked characters (what other way is there to describe Baelish) behaving foolishly and worse, repeatedly. Plot is important, but shouldn't come at the expense of characters. Hopefully season six will have a better balance.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:10 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


It's ok to like things, particularly tv shows. There's zero reason to feel guilty about it.

I do solemnly swear and attest that Mountain Monsters is my favorite show on TV right now.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:16 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


For yet another thing, “Game of Thrones” had Sean Bean as a hero, when everybody knows that Sean Bean is meant to be a heavy, one who flexes his teeth and grits his jaw before being eliminated by Christian Bale in “Equilibrium”

Sean Bean was a good guy masquerading as a bad guy when he is killed by Christian Bale at the point when Bale is still a bad guy (before he becomes a good guy). I know Equilibrium isn't the best movie, but that seems a weird detail for a critic to miss.
posted by echocollate at 6:18 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yo he missed hodor's dick too.
posted by beau jackson at 6:20 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Like anyone both a fan and sane, I had no intention of reading "Thrones of Blood", even though the Blue was talking about it. For one thing, it had genre snobbery, and I had enough of that during the Lord of the Rings and my Dungeons and Dragons days. For another thing, it had factual errors (for example, Brienne has never escorted Arya anywhere) and I place a total embargo on factual errors.

Yet I kept on reading. The factual errors were part of the deal, the price of voluntarily lowering oneself into the pit of the brain. And I discovered that taking a chance on something - something I was initially thought was not for me - might lead to some appreciation and insight. It is rare for criticism, even real criticism, to achieve both dismissiveness and appreciation for what is being reviewed; yet this is a step towards natural state of the fan, I feel - a pull in both directions, with a decision often to love something despite the flaws.
posted by nubs at 6:26 AM on April 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Tyrion Lannister is us, bright enough to see the world’s evil but not strong enough to change it.

Cherry picking from the last paragraph rather than "binging" on the actual content of the written article I'd suggest that the writer of this commentary is missing the point. Tyrion changed many thing in the world, for his and his families benefit, occasionally others. But he was following a rational self interest rather than a literary pretend moral greater interest. All the characters are making choices for good reasons within the scope of their world view of the moment. What else can they do a actual functioning individuals? Brutal, totally wrong from our "enlightened" view but rational opportunistic actions for the local instantaneous personal world view.

The first head chop of the poor guys running away from the monsters of the north is the perfect example. Would it not have made sense to interrogate them briefly? But that worlds "rational rule" was to execute deserters immediately. Effective to keep the indentured force of criminals working in the freezing cold on the wall, but a bad choice in this instance.

Tryion did never established a United Kingdoms Commission to review Crimes Against Serfs, just like many tribes and small kingdoms have failed to do in many parts our current world. I can't imagine that happening in Haiti or Gambia any more than Westeros.
posted by sammyo at 6:28 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you're frustrated with the show, what you're looking for might be in the books! (And it picks up even after a certain beheading!) You'll get a much better sense of why the characters do the things they do, much more detailed political intrigues, and without all that excessive sexual assault. There's rhyme and reason to where the characters end up, unlike the show!

We are doing a reread in fanfare with a book club, so start reading and join the discussion!
posted by numaner at 6:28 AM on April 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


That was a lot of words for a few banal observations masquerading as insights.
posted by echocollate at 6:36 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I, for one, am glad the show is departing from the books. I think that, in remaining faithful to the books, they had to include a lot of plot lines that just didn't make for good TV, such as :

1) Stannis Baratheon's long journey to nowhere (that momentarily became interesting in Season 5)
2) Bram and Rickon traipsing through the woods with that one crustypunk chick
3) Daenerys doing a bunch of things we don't care about on the Island We Don't Care About with a bunch of characters who probably won't make it to the next season

Also, I think I'm like the last person alive who could give a shit if Jon Snow is dead or not. Who cares? It's an ensemble show. There are more characters. They can introduce new ones. That's the whole point.

Anyway, this isn't to say I don't like GOT -- because I do -- and I'll be right there with you all enjoying Season 6. If anything, things can only get better now that the show has departed from the books.
posted by panama joe at 6:39 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I only ever managed to watch the first season of GoT and afterwards I realized it just wasn't my bag. (Hearing about the gratuitous addition of rape scenes hasn't helped change my mind about that either.) I am sure I watch plenty of shows that many critics would dismiss as guilty pleasures.
posted by Kitteh at 6:45 AM on April 14, 2016


Long gone are the days when fantasy was a niche genre for social outcasts who needed an alternate narrative to describe their lives. It is the most mainstream thing there is now. So if Clive James approaches GoT with an "ew, dragons" lens, that's totally OK, if a bit archaic, because his opinion is standing in the way of exactly nothing.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:48 AM on April 14, 2016


By conjuring a world in which the law has not yet formed, “Game of Thrones” lowers us into the pit of the human brain.

oh yikes that's like the lowest of all pits
posted by Greg Nog at 6:52 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Talk about burying the lede: Clive James is still alive, which he admits is an embarrassing reprieve from terminal leukemia thanks to experimental drug treatment:

“If you’re a grown man – indeed more than a grown man – if you’re a man who has grown old to the point of death and you’re sitting there watching a box set of Game of Thrones, you’re bound to ask yourself: ‘What is life?’ What is life for? Why am I waiting for Sean Bean to get executed? What is going on here?’

“Well, I suppose the Americans would call it the thrill of the story. I don’t know what it is. It’s rather fun to be in the same conversation as everyone else.”

He also likes the Great British Bake Off, which, I suppose, has some of GoT's appeal in rooting for certain people, except that the prize at the end is a nice cake instead of rape, murder, war, etc.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:53 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


numaner: If you're frustrated with the show, what you're looking for might be in the books! [...] and without all that excessive sexual assault.

While I agree with the intention here (books >movies for nuance!), I literally stopped reading that series because there was so much rape. All the rape! So anyone who tends to try and avoid that sort of thing in their entertainment, step a little wary there.
posted by pseudonymph at 7:05 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


George R. R. Martin and his Dan Brownish prose

The whole article was worth it for this one phrase.
posted by blurker at 7:17 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, I think I'm like the last person alive who could give a shit if Jon Snow is dead or not. Who cares? It's an ensemble show.

Sam cares, you heartless monster!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:23 AM on April 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


At the side of the inconceivably butch Drogo ... Daenerys can’t lose. After all, she has dragons for an air force.

I don't know why I'm choosing this point to be pedantic about but wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong that's not how that story works at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:28 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


He makes a similar point about Tywin Lannister - "nothing can stop him" and then in the next sentence notes that his dwarf son with a crossbow did. So I think he understands that the story sets people up as the inevitable victor, only to knock the pins out.
posted by nubs at 7:32 AM on April 14, 2016


I stopped watching the series after season four. I can take deviations from the books but the ones the series chose made no sense and diminished the story. Changing Tyrion and Jaime's dialog when the later springs the former from the dungeon? Having Jaime rape his sister? No appearance by Lady Stoneheart? And on and on and on... Now I find out that Sansa's arc has totally changed, Brienne's as well, and no, I have the books. That's enough.

Call me a dreamer but I think Martin will finish the books. I got a hint from someone close to what's happening in New Mexico and they say book six is getting there. So I have hope.

And yes, fantasy and science fiction have gone mainstream. Or at least mainstream enough where reading a book on a plane or in a public place will more likely get a thumbs than derision and where even TV shows with a decent amount of science get made (The Expanse). Us kids from the audio/video club have won the war. Now it's just up to us to not fuck it up.
posted by Ber at 7:35 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Game of Thrones is a finely-produced soap opera.

If you enjoy it, enjoy it! That's great!

But it doesn't have anything more to say than "be sure to tune in next time!"
posted by Tevin at 7:40 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:45 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


nubs: my point was that it's kind of crucial in the story that Dany doesn't have the dragons (in fact, nobody believes that dragons returning is even a possibility) until after Drogo's death and the desertion of most of the Dothraki.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:46 AM on April 14, 2016


And yes, fantasy and science fiction have gone mainstream.

It is the most mainstream thing ever. People have always been into fantasy! Everywhere, people have their stories and legends and fables and prophecies and myths. It didn't 'go mainstream', it's common to all of us.
posted by adept256 at 7:47 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer - yes, good point, I didn't think about that.
posted by nubs at 7:49 AM on April 14, 2016


We just rewatched Season 5 over the course of a week and it was better now than it was at the time, though there were still a bunch of missed opportunities. There's a lot of foreshadowing we missed the first time around, and some of the "when is X finally going to Y??" annoyance was ameliorated by the knowledge that it was indeed eventually going to happen (or not). Still I felt that it was one of the less successful seasons, partially because it seemed artificially slowed down by the attempt not to get ahead of the books (although there were plenty of problems that weren't the fault of that; Dorne in particular remained irredeemably silly). I look forward to seeing how they move forward without the books' burden.
posted by dfan at 7:51 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's ok to like things, particularly tv shows. There's zero reason to feel guilty about it.

It feels like these days I am supposed to consume everything and also feel guilty about all of it.
posted by ODiV at 7:53 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: a lot of words for a few banal observations masquerading as insights.
posted by maxsparber at 8:05 AM on April 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why doesn't everyone like what I like for the same reasons I like it? The supremacy of the popular must be defended!

But seriously, I thought the article had some interesting bits and coming from the perspective of a hospital bed lends it even more credence. I'm a bit confused about the cited passage though. Is the implication that the police and army are a civilising force? Or is it a casting a wry glance at those who think they are civilised but depend on the violence of the police and army to protect them? (I may be outing myself as the worst sort of curmudgeonly lefty there.)

I know the weight of expectation that events in GoT will get better (or something nice will happen at all) is seriously straining the desire to watch it in my friendship group. At first I thought it was clever because it seemed like only one-dimensional characters would die. Sean Beam might have been a good guy but there wasn't a whole lot to him for example. But murmurs of dissent reached a peak when the charming Spanish man died, and with Daenary's impending capture by the Kaal people I'm worried that the show will not be a universal subject for conversation much longer. For me I just compulsively need to know what happens.
posted by Cassettevetes at 8:10 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


It feels like these days I am supposed to consume everything and also feel guilty about all of it.

Here, we have a pill you take for that. While you wait for it to work, here's our App!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 AM on April 14, 2016


Yo he missed hodor's dick too.

Hodor?
posted by rocketman at 8:18 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I rather liked this, thank you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't watch, but that's more a function of not having HBO. I would probably be hopelessly lost if I tried to follow it; I think I saw like six episodes on a plane once, and based on that it would quickly turn into "The Tyrion Lannister Show" for me because Peter Dinklage is freakin' badass, and I couldn't even tell you who anyone else is.

(Tangential cool note: The cast films in Croatia, and while they were filming this season they were getting increasingly concerned about the plight of the refugees passing through and decided they wanted to do something. Well - I work for an NGO that has a relief program in Croatia. And thus, we now have the Realm To The Rescue campaign.

(The coolest part of which, though, is that I believe it was the cast that came to us and asked if they could help.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on April 14, 2016 [12 favorites]


I liked this piece, but it also reminds me of why I had to stop listening to the New Yorker podcast after a single episode, in which they went on for what seemed like ages hand-wringing over how low-brow historical fiction is and oh isn't it a little shameful that we can lower ourselves to enjoy something so middle class, ha ha ha? They were talking about fucking Wolf Hall.
posted by sonmi at 8:32 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


The best thing about the book series is the delicious anticipation. There is so much of it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:34 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ber: "Having Jaime rape his sister? "

I know I'm late to the game here. But Jamie raped his sister in the books, too.
posted by avalonian at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


He did, indeed, but I appreciate that the scenes in the book aren't gratuitous and they drove the story forward, in terms of character development. Most of the time it's stated after the fact and you get the reactions and emotions of the characters.

I understand HBO needed to up their "nudity and sex" game after Starz' Spartacus made its debut. And I suppose the show runners have a good concept, but even without reading the book I would still be disappointed with the way the story is progressing. It's so goddamn bleak, but without the payoff of The Leftovers..
posted by numaner at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2016


I dropped this link into the then current reread thread on Monday before I had read it, and was pleased to find that James had noted in summation (possibly by accident, as he clearly demonstrates he is not close-reading the show) the material's use of the body, a theme that emerged for me in my first read of the book. The current book thread is here and intended to cover the end of the first book.
posted by mwhybark at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2016


Hodor?

Hodor!
posted by sammyo at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hodor!

hodor hodor hodor
posted by rocketman at 9:44 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


This would be a lot easier to read if the underlying tone wasn't "OH mygod, I know this is beneath me, but I've been watching Game of Thrones! I KNOW.. they call it binge-watching. I have an excuse - I've been ill, but you MUST try it."

Paragraph 1. Intro blah there's this new thing blah.
Paragraph 2. I don't care that you're sick.
Paragraph 3. Basically take "TV Show" and replace it with "Novel" and it comes off as complete garbage. "...the dizzy new pleasure of reading more than one chapter of the same novel in a single evening. But surely three chapters was the maximum possible. Serious people had to retire for the night. It was Lucinda and I who pushed it all the way to four and even five..."
I mean, really. What could be next? Votes for women? Good lord!
Paragraph 4. more excuses on how he doesn't normally do this sort of thing, you understand, but here we go to Paragraph 5, in which he finally pulls his finger out starts the damned essay already.

Once he gets going it's ok, and in-between still not understanding that you are *actually* *allowed* to geek out about things and not everything has to be as good as a Beckett play or Steinbeck or something, and actually liking what he's seeing, he comes up with some good observations.
posted by Zack_Replica at 9:54 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you enjoy it, enjoy it! That's great!

But it doesn't have anything more to say than "be sure to tune in next time!"


This seems patently false given how much time and effort is regularly spent by viewers and, yes, critics analyzing what it has to say...

GoT is great though uneven. And unlike Clive James I don't feel the need to self-flagellate and make burnt offerings to the ghost of James Joyce for feeling that way.
posted by Justinian at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't even know if the new season started yet, and I really hope to stay away this time.

I've read all the books, and I've given up on the TV show. There were a few good episodes, but mostly I've been disappointed by the adaptation. The final straw for me was not the rape of Sansa (which didn't really bother me at all), but the walk of shame for Cersei.

In the books, Cersei's walk is a very humanizing (and dehumanizing) experience. On the show, it felt REALLY skeezy, especially considering how much time they spent on it (15 minutes?) and how the only criticism of it was that it wasn't Lena Headley's naked body. UGH. Basta for me.

I think much of the appeal is that it's a "water cooler" show, i.e. if you want to be "in the know" or "in the cool crowd" (which is ironic considering how geeky the series is), you need to watch the show. I.e. it's a decent show, but VASTLY overrated.

It's become like the Dave Matthews Band of TV. I don't think history will look that kindly on it.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:12 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I actually learned of the books' existence from The New Yorker, via the 2011 profile of Martin that they ran just before the HBO series began.
posted by thelonius at 10:15 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, I think I'm like the last person alive who could give a shit if Jon Snow is dead or not. Who cares?

literally anyone who cares about the plot and the implications of his parentage

oh and that he's the only person at the Wall with a functional brain
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:21 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


In the books, Cersei's walk is a very humanizing (and dehumanizing) experience. On the show, it felt REALLY skeezy,

It works in the books because we get to be inside Cersei's head; we experience her thoughts, her emotions and reactions to the walk and being at the centre of the event rather than being a witness to it; the TV show by its nature has to place us in the witness role, and we don't get the same impact. Plus it feels sleazy.

For me, the walk was incredibly interesting in the books largely because until that point, Cersei has not been a sympathetic character or someone I cared much for and the walk changed my perspective on her; on the show, she's always been a more sympathetic/understandable character, in large part due to Lena Hedley along with a few different touches by the writers, but the walk was...underwhelming. I honestly don't know how you take that moment for the character, which is about an internal set of reactions, and really get it right on screen.
posted by nubs at 10:36 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


We can hope the new season has Peter Dinklage reprising his performance of SPACE PANTS!
posted by boilermonster at 10:38 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I assume y'all saw the second official trailer? It came out a few days ago.

"That's what I do. I drink.... and I know things."
posted by Justinian at 10:52 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


But it doesn't have anything more to say than "be sure to tune in next time!"

Dismissive and lacking in evidence. I'm not going to claim that it's the highest art that ever existed, but please substantiate comments like that with actual arguments. That argument could be applied to literally any serialized art or TV show.

It's the "Christ, what an asshole" of serialized art criticism.
posted by Strudel at 10:53 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Justinian, my first thought in hearing that line was "how fast will there be an official coffee mug/beer stein with that on it"?
posted by nubs at 10:56 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I particularly liked it because in my circle I am reputed to know lots of weird facts (like a lot of people on Mefi I suspect) and when asked how I knew something I always reply "I know things." Obviously that will be expanded to Tyrion's formulation in the future.
posted by Justinian at 10:58 AM on April 14, 2016


I assume y'all saw the second official trailer?

Yep, Tyrion gets killed by a dragon.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:03 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


That wasn't a dragon, that was obviously Jon Snow's conscience in the body of a dragon after warging into it upon his death.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on April 14, 2016


DUDE!!! SPOILERS!!!!
posted by hippybear at 11:10 AM on April 14, 2016


What, everyone knows Jon is still mad about Tyrion calling him a bastard all the time. That Jon sure does hold a grudge.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:12 AM on April 14, 2016


Looks like Arya gets even more badass though, so.. yes please. And sounds like Sansa is out for revenge, so.. YES PLEASE.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:14 AM on April 14, 2016


I actually learned of the books' existence from The New Yorker, via the 2011 profile of Martin that they ran just before the HBO series began.

Me too!

* high five *

I can't wait for Arya in Winds of Winter. The sneak preview chapters have her doing some awesome stuff.
posted by numaner at 11:18 AM on April 14, 2016


I just want more utterly emotionless deadpan Maisie Williams followed by MURDERIZE STABBITY STAB STAB.

Yes it's possible that I have watched the scene where she murderdeathkills Meryn Trant more times than may be entirely healthy.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:22 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The first episode is titled "The Red Woman". What could possibly happen in this episode making Melisandre so important? I wonder.... I wonder...
posted by Justinian at 11:47 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I honestly don't know how you take that moment for the character, which is about an internal set of reactions, and really get it right on screen.

Well, you could make the part where the nude woman gets spit on and stoned a little shorter.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:50 AM on April 14, 2016


I dunno, I think the protracted nature of the indignity and assault is pretty central. I lean towards the position that it's a scene which is virtually impossible to translate perfectly to screen because of the different natures of visual and written media.

I thought they did a decent job given the difficulty. Certainly I think it was intended to be brutal rather than titillating.

The Sansa stuff I thought was much more problematic for reasons we've hashed out a lot on Metafilter. I do have hopes that this season is finally when we see her agency come to the forefront. And then LEAD THE FORCES OF THE NORTH IN A CAMPAIGN OF BLOODY VENGEANCE KILL KILL KLILLLLLL. ahem sorry.
posted by Justinian at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


The first episode is titled "The Red Woman". What could possibly happen in this episode making Melisandre so important? I wonder.... I wonder...

With the way HBO has been trolling us, I'm guessing nothing much happens to Jon's body in the first episode (NO SPOILERS IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING ). They'll just keep us on the hook for a bit, just because.

Of course that's presuming he comes back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2016


If he doesn't come back it would be the greatest troll in history. That's right, in the entirety of human existence.
posted by Justinian at 12:01 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel like just shifting to Cersei's POV more often and for longer would have made the intent of the scene much more clear.

It does point out a stark (ahem) difference between book-readers and Unsullied though: if one has read the book, either before or after seeing the scene, one is privy to Cersei's internal world at the time and can see the scene with a lot more nuance while still recognizing that there were a few (way) too many gratuitous T&A shots. Had the showrunners viewed that scene through Cersei's lens and not through the Her Breasts Onscreen lens, they could have filmed it far, far more effectively. E.g., leave everything up until the moment the actual Walk begins as-is. The rest of the shots, Cersei's POV or really wide angle shots showing her virtually lost in the crowd.

What really says to me, though, that this was about male gaze and not a pivotal and emotionally wrenching scene, is that they chose the body double to be a 20-year-old woman. Part of the whole thing about the Walk in the books was that Cersei's breasts were sagging, she had stretchmarks--her body looked like a middle aged mother of three, not someone young anymore. And yeah, there's a whole other level of "why is that supposed to be degrading to her if not for the male gaze" to unpack there. Point is, part of the character's emotional turmoil at that time is everybody seeing her without artifice. To then impose green-screened artifice (and that is not to invalidate Headey's choice not to appear nude in the scene, and yes I know that she was pregnant at the time) is to miss the point in a really profound way.

Like, they had a chance to do the scene in a way that was really much more emotionally gripping and less male-gazey than they did. That's sad.

What's going to be super interesting in a couple of weeks is the first moment that the show diverges from anything known in the books. These discussions about nuance and how something read in the text vs onscreen and how that reinforms viewing will collapse. And, tbh, as much as I love this show, problematic warts and all, the showrunners haven't given a whole lot of evidence that they're really able to plumb the emotional and intellectual depths of a scene without adding a naked woman (or, rarely, a naked man) somewhere.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


I understand HBO needed to up their "nudity and sex" game after Starz' Spartacus made its debut.

If they were responding to Starz's Spartacus there would be gratuitous cock in GoT.
posted by srboisvert at 12:06 PM on April 14, 2016


from your lips to HBOs ears
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


There is no such thing as a gratuitous cock shot.
posted by maxsparber at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2016


There is no such thing as a gratuitous cock shot.

...Yes. Yes, there is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:15 PM on April 14, 2016


Thinking on it, I expect you're right.
posted by maxsparber at 12:16 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not true. S2E10 of Rome. Random huge wang that was just as gratuitous as breasts in every episode. Hodor's cock was also gratuitous.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:16 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not sure I needed to ever see Huey Lewis peeing either, as I think further on it.
posted by maxsparber at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hodor's cock was also gratuitous.

HODOR!
posted by rocketman at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2016


It's so goddamn bleak, but without the payoff of The Leftovers..

Weird, I gave up on the Leftovers halfway through the first season when I realized I didn't care at all about any of the people in the show and hoped that a giant meteor would smash into the town and the show would end with a placard reading "and so they all died...".
posted by Justinian at 12:20 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'd disagree that the Walk of Shame wasn't emotionally gripping and harrowing. The length of it and Headey's superb acting (Safe for work close up of Headly's face during the scene) really hit for me in that sense that I've never had any sympathy for Cersei, but scene had me thinking "damn, she doesn't deserve THAT." I don't see how anyone have regarded that scene as sexy or titillating in the slightest, especially with the easy availability of porn on the internet.

It was alway a great moment in Cersei's development, er descent in madness and anger. She holds herself together as much possible while on the street, the breaks down a bit once inside. But that look on her face when she recovers! You can tell that the entire city is going to pay for that walk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on April 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also, I think I'm like the last person alive who could give a shit if Jon Snow is dead or not. Who cares?

Not me. So rest assured you're not alone in not caring about Jon Snow at all, but ...


literally anyone who cares about the plot and the implications of his parentage

oh and that he's the only person at the Wall with a functional brain


This (!) and also he's the fucking title character of the books, which is actually the problem as far as I'm concerned. Never cared one lick about Harry Potter or Aragorn son of whomever either. It's just the way I roll.

I'm not going to watch season 6 of the show, since I'm a total and utter booksnob now and should have dropped it after season 4 (4.10 jumped the deviations shark for me) but I too was lured back to season 5 by the soap-opera syndrome (I like soaps). But I'm really done now. Just anxiously awaiting TWOW.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 12:48 PM on April 14, 2016


Do you know how Game of Thrones is going to end ? Tommy Westphall holding a snowglobe with the Wall in it.
posted by Pendragon at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I had no idea Arrested Development had this much depth.
posted by simra at 12:55 PM on April 14, 2016


Just anxiously awaiting TWOW.

LOL that's a good...

oh you're serious.

I'm sorry.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I agree with Brandon. I was terrified of the Walk scene last season because I was certain they were going to screw it up. Beyond just being such an internal scene in the book, it has to be lengthy in order to feel right, and it's the complete and sexualized denigration of a woman we, the viewers, have been primed to hate for almost five full seasons prior to this. That was a disaster waiting to happen that instead came about as close to the feeling of that chapter in the book that a visual medium was going to manage. We're with Cersei in that scene.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:55 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had no idea Arrested Development had this much depth.

I know, right? "I've made a huge mistake" gets me every time.

Some other fan-favorites: "I'm... Gene Parmesan. How you doing?", "And that’s why you always leave a note.", and, of course, "Annyong".
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:25 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe I need to go back and watch it again; all I recall feeling is vaguely uncomfortable with the scene, not the level of emotional discomfort and closeness to Cersei I felt reading it; and the reading felt like a journey because I went from hating Cersei and being glad to see her humiliated to being deeply uncomfortable with what was going on to feeling her pain, anger, and desperation, and finally the relief of the trek ending.

The TV show never reached that for me; it wasn't upsetting, nor titillating or really much of anything else. What made it feel sleazy was the internet fascination with the scene, which seemed focused on Hedley's body double and how the scene was shot, instead of discussing it as being a pivotal moment in Cersei's arc.

But hey, different things work for different people.
posted by nubs at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would submit that if you knew Cersei's walk was coming (ie: you'd read the book), your take on the screen version was always going to be undermined somewhat by your expectation of it. I personally had no idea it was coming and it hit me pretty damned hard ....

in that sense that I've never had any sympathy for Cersei, but scene had me thinking "damn, she doesn't deserve THAT."

and ten minutes later, it was still happening and she still didn't deserve it. Fucking hell.

Maybe I need to go back and watch it again;

if you must.
posted by philip-random at 4:12 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I went through so many emotions reading The Walk, similar to what nubs experienced. Then I thought of that Frankenstein in the dungeon and thought, damn, it's going to be so interesting when she sets that monstrosity loose. In book six...
posted by Ber at 5:05 PM on April 14, 2016


easy, friend
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:15 PM on April 14, 2016


And unlike Clive James I don't feel the need to self-flagellate and make burnt offerings to the ghost of James Joyce for feeling that way.

A Gesture Towards James Joyce, by Clive James
posted by Panthalassa at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am a huge and unapologetic Game of Thrones fan, but it's not perfect, and one of its big problems is the way it handles nudity. I feel like the id of the show is a teenager in 1986 who swore an oath of Endless Ass and Titties while straining to interpret scrambled porn late one summer night in his parents' suburban living room. "One day," he whispered. "One day..."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:58 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


What's going to be super interesting in a couple of weeks is the first moment that the show diverges from anything known in the books.

Ummm, that ship has long since sailed.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:25 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


No. I mean anything--no events occurring are left over from previous books, all is new. The general shape of S5 (except for the putrescent treatment of Sansa) was known, many specific events are happened in the books, etc. Starting in a couple of weeks, no idea what happens next or what internal motivations on the page were or anything.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:33 PM on April 14, 2016


I assume y'all saw the second official trailer? It came out a few days ago.

Here it is, just in case: Game of Thrones Season 6: Trailer #2 (HBO)
posted by homunculus at 7:45 PM on April 14, 2016


Now that I'm not at work I can say what I meant above a little more clearly.

The Walk scene is, for me, both the most important scene in the books so far and the most difficult to depict properly. It's understood that A Song of Ice and Fire is a deconstruction of fantasy tropes via the removal of romanticism and paid-off expectations and the addition of the horrors of that era of human history.

Now, that's harder to do in the show, because characters we like fighting and winning will always look awesome and that's a major part of the draw.

Also, though this is certainly more controversial, I believe that Martin is writing these books from a feminist perspective. Genders are given equal time, the women we grow to understand are very different in their lives, philosophies, and actions, their hardships by virtue of them simply being women are forefronted and never excused as right or just, and when sexual violence happens, which is very often, we're not meant to blink over it.

The show loves to titilate and crams the sexual violence in such that one could, indeed, blink and miss it. Plus there are major rape scenes that have no lingering consequences at all. This is a big problem.

So we arrive at The Walk. Cersei has done more evil than almost anyone else in the show (Basically only Littlefinger has her beat, by my estimation.) More than that, the machinations that put her in this situation were entirely set in motion by Cersei herself. Cersie armed the Faith Militant, Cersei elevated the High Sparrow, Cersei had Margaery and Loras arrested under false, or dubious, pretenses. It's not even a jump at all to say that Cersei would have loved to see this very thing happen to Margaery, the Queen, herself.

Basically, in a book series full of rape, this is Martin giving us the equivalent of a very slow-motion rape scene, where the victim is the character against whom every classic defense of rape could most easily be levied, as if to prove that none of that matters, this is still something which is monstrous in itself and should never happen to anybody, no matter the circumstances. And in doing so he places us in the mind of the clearest villain of the series as she attempts to maintain dignity, succeeds despite all for longer than seems possible, and still breaks a bit before the end.

And we are to see once she's back among her faithful at the end of it that no lesson was learned, she has in no way become a better person, no justice was served, and nothing was made better. All it did was demonstrate the domination of the Faith Militant over everyone, through sexual violence.

That's an extraordinarily tough needle to thread for the show, for a lot of reasons, many of them due to how the show presented itself in every episode leading up to that moment. I think it pulled it off, incredibly, mostly due to Lena Heady's performance. There are a number of moments in the show that I feel are indefensible. That was absolutely not one of them.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:48 PM on April 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


What really says to me, though, that this was about male gaze and not a pivotal and emotionally wrenching scene, is that they chose the body double to be a 20-year-old woman. Part of the whole thing about the Walk in the books was that Cersei's breasts were sagging, she had stretchmarks--her body looked like a middle aged mother of three, not someone young anymore. And yeah, there's a whole other level of "why is that supposed to be degrading to her if not for the male gaze" to unpack there. Point is, part of the character's emotional turmoil at that time is everybody seeing her without artifice. To then impose green-screened artifice (and that is not to invalidate Headey's choice not to appear nude in the scene, and yes I know that she was pregnant at the time) is to miss the point in a really profound way.

Beauty is never tarnished.
posted by homunculus at 10:02 PM on April 14, 2016


GMTA! ;)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:46 PM on April 14, 2016


Starting in a couple of weeks, no idea what happens next or what internal motivations on the page were or anything.

Ah the sweet silence as people no longer can complain about the show being different from the book. With any luck the show will be over before the next book appears.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:38 AM on April 15, 2016


Which is may be very possible if the end of the series is in sight. Interesting that they have a specfic idea of how many total hours the series will be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 AM on April 15, 2016


Since President Obama got advanced screenings of season six, naturally there's a petition demanding he reveal information.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on April 15, 2016


Navelgazer, thanks for your perspective on the Walk; I agree with you that it was going to be a tough scene for the show, no matter what, and I know my first impression of it at the time was that I enjoyed it (because that was my comment in the show thread); I think my perspective on it has changed over time, and I did go back and re-read that chapter at some point since, so my memory is obviously coloured by things since and further discussion and other stuff. Anyways, I don't think it was a bad scene, just one of the scenes where I prefer the book to the show, just like there are scenes where I have preferred the show to the book.

Ah the sweet silence as people no longer can complain about the show being different from the book.

Season 6 is going to double back and pick up on the Ironborn, which will involve events from Book 3, Book 4, and Book 5. So, you'll still be hearing from them.

That being said, I would like to propose Martin's Law:

1) As a thread about Game of Thrones gets longer, the probability of a booksnob complaint about the show approaches 1.

2) As a thread about Game of Thrones gets longer, the probability of a showbestie complaint about booksnobs approaches 1.

3) As a thread about Game of Thrones gets longer, the probability of a snarky joke about the books never being finished approaches 1.

As someone who tends towards the booksnob side of things, I acknowledge that point 1 is a problem. Can I just point out that 2 & 3 are also annoying and becoming tedious as well? The books are uneven, the show is also uneven, but in general we're all here because we have some level of abiding affection for either or both.
posted by nubs at 9:28 AM on April 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


He bingewatched "The Following" ? What a masochist.

The Following is the very worst but consider: It's a freaking metaphor, Ryan!
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:19 PM on April 15, 2016


Weird, I gave up on the Leftovers halfway through the first season when I realized I didn't care at all about any of the people

I don't say this often and to very few people because television is very subjective, but sometimes it's just true: I think you're bad at watching shows.
posted by numaner at 5:31 PM on April 15, 2016


That's pretty goddamn insulting actually.
posted by Justinian at 5:36 PM on April 15, 2016


Because, of course: Journalist files FOI request for Obama to share his advance screeners

I suppose Congressional hearings are next.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 AM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]



In the days of King Aerys, no one would have dared!
posted by nubs at 9:19 AM on April 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


The first episode is titled "The Red Woman". What could possibly happen in this episode making Melisandre so important? I wonder.... I wonder...

There are theories based on the trailers that the "Red Woman" of the title is actually a fire priestess in Meereen.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:41 PM on April 17, 2016


There is also some speculation around the fact that episode 2, "Home", will air on Easter Sunday in the Eastern Orthodox calendar.

I think they usually try to tie episode titles to a few different things happening in the episode, though.
posted by nubs at 4:52 PM on April 17, 2016


I think they usually try to tie episode titles to a few different things happening in the episode, though.

Sansa's wedding night was in the episode titled "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken," so I really hope you're right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 PM on April 17, 2016


Yeah, I think there's a few ways to take the title for that ep:

-those are the words for House Greyjoy, so it could be a reference to Theon starting to remember he is Theon in the face of Ramsay's abuse of Sansa;
-Sansa's strength in dealing with Myranda, before the wedding night (and hopefully her strength in dealing with Ramsay);
-Arya not quite giving up her identity yet in terms of becoming "no one";
-everyone getting captured in Dorne, but the Sandsnakes not yielding;
-Cersei being stubborn about the Tyrells and having Loras and Margery arrested, in spite of advice and pointed remarks about the danger that brings to the alliance.

In short, there's a bit of a theme between storylines of people not giving up, of a bit of defiance and what-have-you in the face of larger power structures/threats, etc.

Moving away from that, Thoros of Myr has been confirmed to be returning for S6. The Brotherhood without Banners may still ride, but are their hearts made of stone?
posted by nubs at 9:47 AM on April 18, 2016


Sorry buddy, I think that ship has sailed. There would be not point to introducing that character from the books at this point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:26 PM on April 18, 2016


-those are the words for House Greyjoy, so it could be a reference to Theon starting to remember he is Theon in the face of Ramsay's abuse of Sansa;

Small point: Those are the words of House Martell, rules of Dorne, the only region that was never conquered and instead became one of the Seven Kingdoms through peaceful means (marriage).

House Greyjoy's motto is "We Do Not Sow".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:30 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whoops.

House nubs: We Make Mistakes.
posted by nubs at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


And given Theon's current physical status, "We Do Not Sow" is apropos.
posted by nubs at 2:00 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


TOO SOON!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:18 PM on April 20, 2016






Political games can be sexy. An all boy gang of ice wizards who don't talk and just want to murder everyone, not so much. Even worse, the latter mocks the former, as all those political games will turn out to be unimportant in the grand scheme. Stannis, Cersei, Mance, Robb, Tywin, etc, all those interesting characters with interesting motivations have been turned into fools, because they can't see what we the audience can. There's no long game planning here, not hidden alliances. It's going to turn into an all fight where the most important part is convincing some of the characters what we the audience already know: the Walkers are real and they'll kill you all, so it doesn't matter who's sitting on the Iron Throne.

This is fixable. Have the White Walkers jockeying for power. Some may only want Westerors. Others may want Essos too. Slowly gathering an army of the undead no doubt irritates some who prefer a swift attack. And whatever did happen to that baby we saw taken by Walkers? Would be interesting to see him grow into being a walker.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 AM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


The once-radical fantasy is now the establishment—for better and for worse

Not to mention Fonzie, but the resurrection of Jon Snow was kinda that sort of moment for the show.

I mean, to kill off MF Jon Snow?! That would have been radical, way more radical than Ned or Jon. Now every death can be reversed.

(Is Brienne still alive? If Nimble Dick shows up, I may start watching again. In the books, I expect her to be resurrected by Zombie Caitlin.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:00 PM on May 5, 2016


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