oyceter: (bleach parakeet of doom!)
[personal profile] oyceter
I've read the books through A Feast for Crows, which is when I gave up on the series. I have some issues with the books, though the main thing that gets me ranting is the general fannish perception of the books and the series (namely: Most! Brilliant! Thing! Ever!).

I took up the TV series largely because I heard about Lena Headey's casting (insert woeful look re: TSCC here), and I was curious about how the series would treat Cersei. Also, it's one of CB's friend's favorite series.

CW for non-graphic discussion of sexual violence and general violence in the show.

Spoilers for entire show + books 1-4

Unsurprisingly, the production values of the show are wonderful. The credit sequence in particular is a great way to use the ubiquitous epic fantasy maps, and the camera movement from city to city actually helps me a lot in figuring out where things are relative to each other. Also, the little gears and whatnot are just really cool.

I knew HBO added a ton of nudity and sex before going in, but wow, I am still a bit astonished by just how much. Of course, the nudity is almost entirely women. I think there are three scenes with full male nudity, one of which is in a non-sex scene and one is in a sex scene in which convenient bits are obscured. Other than that, we get one scene of the older Stark boys topless, and two scenes with Renly and Loras making out while topless. The nudity and sex is also SO RANDOM. I assume they couldn't get most of the main actresses to sign on for so much nudity, so instead there are endless scenes with prostitutes. And since the prostitutes are by and large random, to justify the scenes, you generally have male characters randomly pontificating about their motives or otherwise giving random exposition they couldn't fit in otherwise.

Even putting aside my feminist rage, this is so annoying because it is such a clunky way to exposit and lets the writers stick in info that way instead of working it into the show more organically. And if they had to have sex and nudity, it'd be nice if they could have gone with something that actually added to the series, like maybe a flashback to Robert and Cersei first having sex or something. (I know Lena Headey was pregnant during S1, which precluded that, but less lazy choices would have been nice.)

Also in general I hate how nearly all the women are sexually objectified at some point. And OMG so many rape threats. (The Rape of James Bond and Realism, (Male) Rape, and Epic Fantasy are good takedowns of why I don't buy into the "realism needs to have MISOGYNY!" argument. So far, I think CB and I counted around 3 rape threats made to men, and one of those was actually made to Arya-dressed-as-a-boy.

I was also ranting a lot about how every scene at the Wall basically had to have the men going on and on about how they missed women and wondering if they would ever touch upon the possibility that maybe this all-male institution that is basically cut off from most other society most of the time would develop gay romances or sex.

I am not even going into how the show changed stuff re: the Dothraki to make it even more racist and sexist.

I do think the show has done better with Cersei than the books did, though to be honest, that is such a low bar. I'm wondering what they're going to do in the future, particularly with book 4. GRRM, I am STILL annoyed about how Jaime gets his big woobie redemption arc when he gets POV chapters, whereas Cersei's POV chapters reveal her as incompetent, paranoid, and promiscuous.

Also, OMG, SO MUCH VIOLENCE. I feel like I spent a third of this show looking away from the screen due to violence (sexual or not) and sex. And in things that probably only matter to me, OMG people in the show please don't torture people by tormenting rats! The poor ratses =(.

(CB: See! He is okay now! He is a superstar rat. He just got off from that scene and groomed himself and is the most famous rat in Hollywood. He goes around telling other rats, "I was in Game of Thrones!" and gets tons of adulation and fan letters.)

Anyway, for the less ranty stuff: as probably everyone in the world has said, Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams, and Charles Dance do spectacular jobs with their characters (Tyrion, Arya, and Tywin), and the show-only Arya + Tywin scenes were a brilliant idea. Sadly, I'm not very enamored with Emilia Clarke's Daenerys (she was one of my favorites in the books), and I'm really hoping they tone down the "Daenerys is paranoid and makes bad decisions" thing from the books, since there are quite a number of female rulers in the books who are paranoid and irrational. Thanks, GRRM, thanks so much.

I also remember Catelyn being way more strategic and less motherly. Also, I don't understand why she doesn't tell Robb that she let Jaime go because it looked like his troops were going to riot and kill Jaime, which would have done no one any good, so she took the somewhat less bad route of sending him off in exchange for Arya and Sansa. At least, that was my impression of what was happening then.

I totally LOLed at some quote I found online about how all the GoT actors talk about how nice the actor for Joffrey is whenever they can. He really is very good at being completely detestable!

I'm glad there were more women in S2 but annoyed at how many are there as love interests. Or, you know, non-love interests but still there to have nude scenes, in terms of Melisande. I don't remember Asha (Yara) from the books at all, ditto with Ygritte and Jeyne Westerling (now Talisa), and though I laughed to see the tables turned on Theon when he finds out he's been groping his sister, I would really like less groping in general. I don't buy the Shae/Tyrion thing at all and am wondering how the show will resolve that, since the book resolution basically made me stop liking Tyrion. I also really didn't buy Robb/Talisa. I know, set up for later events, but mostly it made me want to whap Robb over the head.

I like Varys more come S2, though could we please have one conversation with him that doesn't revolve around his genitals or lack thereof? Also annoyed with the effete bald eunuch from the mysterious East thing.

Baby dragons are cute! Alas, Daenerys doesn't get much to do at all in S2 except pontificate and get repeatedly turned down. And what happened with Qarth anyway? CB wanted to know why they had to make off with Qarth's gold. Since the thirteen councilors were killed off and Xaro was imprisoned, couldn't Dany just commandeer some of their ships?

On another strategy note, once Robb and co. got notice of both Baratheons setting themselves up, I feel it would have made more sense to retreat to the North, let the Baratheons and the Lannisters fight it out (with Jaime hostage to keep Arya and Sansa hopefully safe), then maybe take on whoever won after the Baratheons and Lannisters had weeded each other out.

CB said he wasn't surprised by Ned's death, since he'd had a lot of warnings about not getting attached to characters, and laughed when I told him the internet joke that just casting Sean Bean was a huge spoiler.

Apparently I can pick Margaery out in crowd scenes by how much cleavage she's showing.

I really like the Brienne here. Also, a plus! Not that many rape threats directed at her, particularly when compared to the book! I'm not really looking forward to her glomming onto Jaime. Sorry Jaime! I like your actor a lot, but unfortunately, I am already prejudiced against you due to a) you getting a redemption arc instead of Cersei and b) fandom's inevitable reaction to that.

Also, it's really nice getting the books condensed into TV series‐I am sure this is fantasy genre heresy, but I think the books are bloated and could use SO MUCH editing. A lot of this is thanks to the varying third-person POV chapters and how Martin has to keep cutting back to some, despite the feel that no progress at all has been made. I think you still get a bit of that in the series (see: Daenerys in S2), but so much less!

So despite my ranting, will probably keep watching just because of the pretty sets and outfits and the incessant narrative drive.

Assume spoilers for the entire show and all the published books in the comments, along with future spoilers and speculation! I haven't read A Dance with Dragons, but please feel free to spoil away, as I doubt I ever will. In fact, spoiling me for it is a plus, since I'm still a little confused as to what happens from what I read in wiki summaries. Future speculation and/or spoilers also welcome!

Also, I am really not interested in the argument on whether Game of Thrones is feminist or not. FWIW, my take is that it very much is not, even though it has some interesting female characters. I've also read a fair amount of posts on why people think it is, so no need to rehash.

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Mon, Mar. 25th, 2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
laceblade: back of Arya Stark (Game of Thrones), holding sword, facing water (Arya of House Stark)
Posted by [personal profile] laceblade
OMG SPOILERS, I know you warned for them, BUT STILL.

I've read a theory online that Varys is a Targaryen AND NOW I BELIEVE IT. He keeps himself bald on purpose?! He plots & etc. so that he can get himself & his peeps back in control?! bahaha.

I didn't bother watching the latter half of season 2, but I'll probably be diving back in for season 3, because Storm of Swords was hands-down my favorite book.

I still love Jaime & his arc but, yeah. I feel you on the Cersei thing, I was SO ANGRY when I got to her first pov chapter, like shaking with rage. UGH. :[

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] hebethen
Yeah! A younger one, I forget the exact relationship. But ADWD disappointed me a lot, so I never bothered rereading it... and consequently a lot of the plot points have fallen back out of my brain.

Nothing you're saying makes me want to watch S2, sigh. Even for Brienne -- unless she has no scenes with Jaime at all in S2 and the gifs I came across were from teasers? :D?

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
bobcatmoran: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] bobcatmoran
Ditto on the Varys-is-a-Targaryen theory being AWESOME. I've never heard that one before, but it totally could work.

Doesn't some other Targaryen or something surface in book 5?

Yup. And, of course, Varys is involved in that one, too.

I just finished the books, and I've been debating on whether or not to watch the TV series. I had been holding off because I didn't want the actors to replace my own visions of the characters while I was reading, but now I don't have that excuse. I don't know if I'll be able to handle the sexposition, though. Everything I've heard about that sounds kind of appalling, like someone thought that the only way they'd get the audience to sit though backstory was if there were some naked women to watch.

A word for your pleasure

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 01:50 am (UTC)
meganbmoore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] meganbmoore
Yup The new Targaryen is Dany's nephew and we learn that no one actually wanted to put Dany on the throne, they just wanted to use her to gather support then bring forth the destined king, marry her to him, and give him all the armies and the crown while she was a good little wife. (One of many reasons to hate that book.)

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 11:44 am (UTC)
laceblade: back of Arya Stark (Game of Thrones), holding sword, facing water (Arya of House Stark)
Posted by [personal profile] laceblade
Yassss, it's Aegon, the baby whose head got smashed against the wall by Gregor Clegane - supposedly Varys swapped out babies before the head-smashing happened.
idk that I believe Aegon is actually a Targaryen, mostly b/c I think I want Danaerys to be the only one!

OMG I read the Red Wedding while I was in Disney World with my family, talk about cognitive dissonance, lmao.

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 02:03 am (UTC)
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] mme_hardy
I think there's a fan-made case that nearly every character we haven't seen being born is a Targaryen, and some of them, too.

(Jon Snow is still half-Targaryen BECAUSE THAT IS CONSTANTLY HINTED AT IN THE TEXT DAMMIT.)

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 12:02 am (UTC)
shati: cersei drunkenly dropping truthbombs, brushing her teeth with a flagon of wine ([got] MORE WINE)
Posted by [personal profile] shati
I am so done with Tyrion after the last book and everyone I know irl is still onboard the Tyrion love train agjkdlf;kdl

I'm too lazy to actually post about the series, though, so I will just cosign basically all of this.

I don't like how book Cersei is written, but I wound up kind of rooting for show Cersei, in part because Lena Headey, and in part because when I'm watching the show I really sympathize with her apparently frequent need to be drinking. Uh, but I also agree that the show's done better by her so far. (Along similar lines, my favorite character in season one was Irri, Dany's constantly unimpressed handmaiden, because I identified with her attitude. Then they killed her. >:O)

I was so horrified for the rat!

If the show goes the same route with Shae/Tyrion as the books did, I will be so done all over again. I feel like she actually has some characterization in the show! Don't waste it on that storyline!

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)
likeadeuce: (daenerys)
Posted by [personal profile] likeadeuce
I was also ranting a lot about how every scene at the Wall basically had to have the men going on and on about how they missed women and wondering if they would ever touch upon the possibility that maybe this all-male institution that is basically cut off from most other society most of the time would develop gay romances or sex.

Hah, I was talking with a friend about how somehow the not-in-the-book scenes where Sam & Jon talk about how they want to bang girls somehow make their relationship even more homoerotic than it is in the novels (which is a pretty HIGH bar really.) But yeah, there's a point in a later book where one of the Wall characters is mentioned as being a former male prostitute but (a) that never goes anywhere and (b) once that was brought up i was like, REALLY, ONLY ONE???

Tangent

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
meganbmoore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] meganbmoore
You know, I binged on the first 4 books several years ago and loved them, then read the new one last year and hated it, and many plot developments seemed to be there purely to squash popular theories, as opposed to a natural progression of the plot. Similarly, I watched the first season of the show with about the same thoughts and had intended to continue watching, yet...never actually thought about it once it was back, or since. (I think the general consensus by unhappy CAtelyn fans was that they made her more motherly and "nicer" in hopes of keeping her from getting the hate book!CAtelyn does. They failed to understand fandom. Oddly, the bit in the show that actually sticks with me the most is when they learn about Ned's death, Robb is raging about revenge and CAtelyn stops him and goes "No. Rescue your sisters, THEN we'll avenge your father." and when his friends confront him when he leaves The Wall, he says "Rescue my sisters, avenge my father." Not sure why that bit of parallelism stuck with me, but it did, and I can't remember if it was from the books or not.)

Also tired of "Is GRRM feminist or not?" MY personal take is that when he started the books, his take on the roles of women in epic fantasy was progressive and, in a couple cases, somewhat revolutionary and deconstructive. However, while much of the genre (both in film and print) moved forward from that point, he didn't, and even regressed in some ways.

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 11:47 am (UTC)
laceblade: back of Arya Stark (Game of Thrones), holding sword, facing water (Arya of House Stark)
Posted by [personal profile] laceblade
BOOK FIVE IS SO BAD. SO. BAD.

Also, THAT'S why I didn't watch the rest of season 2 - I remember hearing about what they did to Catelyn & being SO ANGRY.

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 02:18 pm (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] salinea

Also tired of "Is GRRM feminist or not?" MY personal take is that when he started the books, his take on the roles of women in epic fantasy was progressive and, in a couple cases, somewhat revolutionary and deconstructive. However, while much of the genre (both in film and print) moved forward from that point, he didn't, and even regressed in some ways.

That's my take as well.

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 03:51 am (UTC)
skygiants: Yong Ha from Sungkyunkwan Scandal (trollface)
Posted by [personal profile] skygiants
I read the first four books over one whole weekend when I had a really heinous cold and terrible insomnia four or five years ago, so a lot of my memories are bound up with returning the books to the friend who lent them to me and then promptly starting to dramatically bleed out my nose all over him. Then I made [personal profile] shati summarize the fifth one for me and decided I did not need to remember what was actually going on, or read the new one.

That said, I do weirdly enjoy watching the show! All the problems you say are EXACTLY the problems you say, but I like the acting of the cast in general (either they are good and I like them, or they are hilariously bland and gormless in a way I find entertaining cough Jon Snow cough). Most of all really though I like . . . understanding the jokes and being able to make fun of it properly . . . perhaps this is a bad reason to watch a show?

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 04:06 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] rachelmanija
"You know nothing about acting, Jon Snow."

The whoresposition in the show is so absurdly offensive that some people I know who otherwise absolutely do not get feminism find it offensive on feminist grounds.

That being said, I do enjoy the show. Especially Tyrion. Really looking forward to the Brienne/Jaime scenes as well - I totally agree that Jaime's redemption arc is sexist due to Cersei not getting one, but I still like it in itself, and I'm loving both those actors. I was pleasantly surprised that they cast Brienne with a woman who really does look unusually big and strong.

Also, given the surprising extent to which many TV viewers have avoided spoilers, I am evilly looking forward to the Red Wedding.

But my very favorite part is that me and a friend get together to cook a meal from the books before we watch the show. ;)

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Tue, Mar. 26th, 2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
oracne: Into a tortoiseshell (Into a tortoiseshell)
Posted by [personal profile] oracne
I couldn't get more than 20 pages into book 1 and have never seen the show. But still enjoyed listening to everyone complain about it.

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Wed, Mar. 27th, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
I've had the first book sitting on my desk for a while, but the sheer length of it has kept me from actually starting it. It's kind of funny, because I used to LOVE epic fantasy. I glommed onto Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind (although I think I always lost my patience at around book 4 or 5). My reading speed has really dropped since getting a full-time job, though. I've considered getting the first season of the show, but I'm not sure I want to spend $30+ on something when I have no way of knowing if the nudity and violence will keep me from watching the whole thing. I wish there were a chance Netflix would get this, but I don't think they get HBO stuff at all.

The great thing about not having read or watched any of the series, though, is that, for the most part, spoilers don't bother me. By the time I actually read/watch anything, I'll have forgotten them all. Yay!

-LG

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Wed, Mar. 27th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
al_zorra: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] al_zorra
I hate what GRRM did to Cersai in the books and I hate it in the HBO series. There is way too much joy in all the writers in both mediums for the humiliation of women in general. What happens to Cersai later in the books is -- just -- well, somebody watched Rome way too much.

In both books and on HBO my two favorite characters are Sansa and Brienne.

Sansa, because she's got a real arc of development, that isn't what we always see in female protagonists of Fantasy fiction, while showing so much what it might have been like to have been such a noble born girl brought up on the chivalric code, and then running into how chivalry in general behaves -- yet she keeps some parts of that ideal brave princess centered for rescue. That is really interesting.

I doubt that GRRM or script writers intended this, but if you're from a Spanish speaking sphere rather than an Anglo Sphere, the attitude toward the Don of Cervantes's novel is quite different. They really admire his idealism and that he didn't give it up, but continued the fight. I see the Don in Brienne, the only ideal knight in the bunch.

I have never understood the point of keeping the the Wall Warriors from having women. I never believed it for a second either. I still don't. It's not even religious, so there's even less likelihood that these men would live their entire lives without women -- or even without each other, so to speak.

All in all, though I don't like the show much, it is better than the books -- except for the violence and the sexual violence, shown and implied constantly. Sexplanation info dump scenes are particular gross. But then the attitudes of most of these males who adore such stuff are gross and immature, no matter what their age.



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