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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Oyceter

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