A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Out Of My Vulcan Mind, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. Stoo

    Stoo Captain Premium Member

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    While it means some of the brutality of her time in captivity is removed, the Tywin\Arya scenes were pretty good. "I like you girl, but be careful". You can tell likes having someone smart to talk to for a change. And she's stuck playing waitress to the leader of her arch enemies.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  2. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for that, Kegg. I think the difference you're describing is precisely why I find Game of Thrones lacking compared to what it could have been.

    Ah, but on TV her first kill was someone immediately involved in the deaths of her mother and brother, so, to an audience inattentive to the consequences of violence, it's a kind of rough justice. In the books, where it's a random guard who just happens to be in her way, it's much easier to tell that she's become callous, the kind of person who thinks about having poor Hot Pie killed because he knows too much.

    The Tywin/Arya scenes are superficially entertaining and charmingly performed, but they're repetitive, and they make absolutely no sense in terms of his personality in every other scene. Suddenly the ruthless, emotionless general is playing genial grandfather to a highborn northern girl who looks like a Stark? Please. That "endless faffing about," by contrast, was a portrait of the brutal effects of war on the general population, something the TV series has (bar the torture scene, which was pretty good) ignored in favor of treating it as one big game of Risk. There's too much of it, as there's too much of almost everything in the books, but when it comes to complicating fantasy tropes, too much is better than none. And speaking of too much...

    The added Olenna scenes might be justifiable as explaining who the Tyrells are and why they matter, but for the fact that we already have endless added Margaery scenes doing that, and depending on who they cast as Mace may well have added scenes with him next year. But I don't object to them-- Diana Rigg's great, and without the purple wedding, there was nothing else to shape season three in King's Landing around.
    Again, it's a matter of what a reader picks out. Meereen's architecture is "Eastern," but its social structure and signature garment are "Western," and its history relative to Valyria is nicked from Carthage. I don't think, though, that the series (as opposed to its blinkered characters) frames the east as decadent and feminine. Qarth, maybe the elite of Meereen, but the east as a bloc? Orientalism is about broad us and them dichotomies, and the books clearly show Essos as more diverse than Westeros.
     
  3. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Arya has the best storyline in A Clash of Kings! The almost post-apocalyptic landscape she has to journey through is harrowing, and the atmosphere in Harrenhal was thickly atmospheric.

    The Tywin and Olenna scenes pointless beef up King's Landing's screentime, when it is the place where the least amount of stuff is happening right now. Screentime that could have been given to maybe setting up Mance Rayder or Roose Bolton properly.
     
  4. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    See, I have no problem with changes, just changes for change's sake, especially when it is done badly. I actually think it is pretty clever that they tied Gendry into Stannis's story by having him take Edric's place. It helps to unify the story and keeps a cast member around a bit longer, giving the character a bit more development. On the other hand, Robb's story is mangled beyond recognition and his wife's replacement character doesn't begin to make up for it. Meanwhile, Dany's story in Qarth was mostly a matter of execution and there is no reason they couldn't have told that same plot in a way that didn't just feel like filler. Unfortunately, the Gendry as Edric change is one of the few that actually benefits the adaptation rather than feeling like the writers just wanting to leave their mark on the story.
     
  5. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Robb's storyline was cliched romance drivel but they made up for it at the end when we saw Tulisa repeatedly stabbed in the belly. That was pretty horrifying, and much braver than anything I'd previously expected from DnD.

    In terms of changes I like then I'd name Jaime/Ned's scene in the throne room during S1, Theon burning the letter to Robb in S2, and Melisandre revealing Gendry's heritage to him in S3.

    I uh, think that's it.
     
  6. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They could have stabbed Jeyne just as easily.
     
  7. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, not entirely sure why they went with a complete name change for her. She was clearly supposed to replace Jeyne Westerling, unless this was another one of those instances where they didn't want to confuse character names with Jeyne Poole. IIRC, Poole was present briefly in season 1 prior to the fall of the Starks at Kings Landing but never seen again - a thoroughly minor and forgettable character to be sure. They can pick any other minor female character to be "fake Arya" later on, sent up to be Ramsay Snow/Bolton's bride and nobody would know any different. If anyone should have had a name change, it should have been her, not Westerling.
     
  8. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The whole name change thing with Asha is one of those stupid changes for changes sake. They said it was to distinguish her name from Arya's, yet Yara actually sounds more like Arya than Asha does.
     
  9. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Who is John Galt?
    Yes, although I thought it was to distinguish her from Osha, but it was changed to something that, as you said, sounds too much like Arya.

    And then there was the change from Robert to Robin (Arryn) - another one that didn't make a whole lot of sense, other than the fact that we already had Robert Baratheon and Rob Stark floating about. Robert Arryn, again, was a relatively minor character and could have been left alone. Was he not named after Robert Baratheon anyway when John Arryn was his Hand? :shrug:
     
  10. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ahh right, it was Osha. Still, it means they just changed it from sounding kinda like one minor character's name to sounds like another more major character's name.
     
  11. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Who is John Galt?
    Yep. I agree 100% - made no sense. Such things are irritating, but I enjoy the rest of it enough not to let it ruin the show for me. In some ways, I almost wish I waited to read the books until after the series was done. People who haven't read the books clearly have no idea about these issues and plot changes and seem to enjoy it more than those who did, as they see it as something that is like nothing else on TV - which it kind of is.

    It's like what JJ Abrams did to NuTrek to broaden its mass appeal. There are still things in there to potentially interest the fans, but it was designed for a larger audience, much to the hard-core fans' chagrin.

    The bottom line is, the studios have to make money, and pairing it down to a lower-common-denominator is an all-too-frequent occurrence. If they made something too tailor-made for fans, it will likely fail (Serenity?). So far, GoT I think has fared pretty well considering the sheer massiveness of the source material. Some things must be changed or removed just out of simple pragmatism. Yes, some things don't make much sense, but I'd like to think that GRRM still has some degree of input on many of the happenings in the show. Maybe not to that level of minutia, but it's still there. If he weren't around any more, I might be more reticent about the plot, but as long as he's there as a safety valve or reality check for the really long-term-vision future things, I'm satisfied with the general direction the plot is going. It also helps that I've forgotten much of what I read last year anyway! :)
     
  12. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh, God. You've given me images of an Abrams movie adaptation of ASOIAF.

    Eddard Stark: Buckle up!

    Jaime Lannister: FIRE EVERYTHING!

    A movie ridding the series of all its moral complexity. A movie that Abrams would repeatedly claim is definitely not made for those weird geeks, but for a casual market.

    The GoT TV series definitely displays well above the average intelligence shown in most other movies and TV shows. JJ Abrams' Star Trek or Russell T. Davies' Doctor Who dumbed the premise of both down too much for the sake of boosting viewing figures. D&D definitely have gone out of their way to respect the original novels quite often. I've got loads of issues with it, but as far as adaptations go it's well above the average, and the showrunners clearly care about the source material.
     
  13. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    That's exactly why they did it.
    They changed Jeyne Westerling's name because Martin suggested they do that, after they had changed everything else about the character, including making her from Volantis. Martin said that "Jeyne Westerling" isn't a Volantene name, hence, Talisa Maegyr.
    No, they've said they just wanted to have her dark path play out more gradually. You can't miss all the indications in season 3, including the part where Melisandre tells her to her face that she's going to kill a bunch of people.
     
  14. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Who is John Galt?
    Interesting.

    In other posts earlier in this thread you frequently vilify the showrunners for doing exactly that - not respecting the source material and dumbing-down critical plotlines.

    Here you have completely reversed your position, showering them with praise.

    Am I missing some obscure brand of tongue-in-cheek humor here or are you simply a serial contrarian?

    :shrug:
    Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification. :)
     
  15. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Calling it above average television is hardly gushing praise, and I've never disputed that DnD like A Song of Ice and Fire. They were fans before they even got the job. That's actually what makes most of these changes so irritating. If this was a completely unfaithful remake then it wouldn't irk me as much. It's the fact we'll go from one scene being incredibly faithful, like Jaime in the Harrenhal bathhouse, to weird character assassination like Stannis in Dragonstone, or Catelyn calling herself the worst woman in the world for not loving Jon.
     
  16. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

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    GRRM asked the same when they removed the Brave Companions (too many "companies" in S3 with Brotherhood and Second Sons, if I recall correctly) and made Vargo Hoat a bannerman of Bolton, hence "Locke."
     
  17. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I may be splitting hairs here, because I'd be fine with working with the term "othering" as opposed to Orientalism, but I honestly think ASoIaF qualifies, in these ways:

    Most obviously is the explicit West/ East dichotomy Martin sets up. Because the primary point of view of the books is Westeros, Westerosi conceptions of Essos are the starting point of the reader. The Westerosi consider the Essosi decadent barbarians who lack the more advanced Western concepts of honor but are nonetheless exotic, mysterious, magical, and enticing. They have bed slaves and sorcerers - two of the key images of Western Orientalist configurations.

    Secondly, despite the Roman references of tokars and gladitorial fighting pits, the Essosi are presented as, in the words of Edward Said in his definitive work Orientialism, complex, but ignorant. In general the Essosi are presented as working within a set of cultural preconceptions which they do not question ("It is known"), while Westerosi characters (at least some of them, like Dany, Tyrion, Jon) frequently question their cultural preconceptions and in their questioning take action which eventually proves them right. They are critical thinkers, but I can't really think of an Essosi character who demonstrates the same sort of thought (I've only just finished reading the books though, so if someone wiht more knowledge of the world and characters would like to correct me, I'd be interested to know.)

    You could argue that Martin's use of an ancient society like the Roman Empire as his working material for the Eastern metropolis of Meereen, as opposed to the 15th century references of the War of the Roses for Westeros implies a bit of historical superiority - in general Western readers at least might perceive a culture 500 years removed from us as more advanced than a culture 2000 years removed from us, even if both are direct antecedents of our present day culture. And it's not as if he's chosing for his Roman references the things we revere about ancient Rome, but rather the things we ourselves reference as silly (togas - perhaps the most impractical garment ever conceived, which is exactly the point made over and over again about tokars) or barbaric (the arena).

    Add on top of all that the Dothraki who glorfiy murder, mayhem, and rape and are the readers' introduction to the cultures of Essos, as well as being obviously based on the Mongols, the hordes of which have merged in many a Western mind with modern Islamist fundamentalist "hordes" screaming about the great Western Satan, and I think there's a case to be made for using the term Orientalism.

    All that said, Martin manages, intentionally or not, something of a critique of Western imperialism through Dany's misadventures in Essos, beginning with Mirri Maz Duur's revenge upon her. Here comes the young queen, following her soft heart and magnanimously choosing random women to save from rape, to bring them into her household as servants, when by her marriage to and love for Khal Drogo she is ruler of a culture built on violence, slavery, and rape - a rather classic construction of the paternalistic conquerer from the West. Mirri Maz Duur points out her sheer ignorance of reality by sacrificing Dany's child and giving her zombie Drogo in return - "Why don't you take a look at your khal? Then you will see exactly what life is worth when all the rest is gone." Dany's experiences in Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen are in many ways larger replays of this same lesson, and there may even be a fairly good parallel of her "I'll bring freedom at the business end of a dragon and all will be well" but which rapidly devolves into utter chaos which she cannot control to say, oh, a Western power deciding to march on a Middle Eastern country to "bring freedom" and ending up mired in a chaotic 10 year war.
     
  18. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the Dothraki are a pretty accurate depiction of that sort of historical barbarian culture. They weren't men of honour, and were very much in the spirit of glorifying violence and rape. I'm glad GRRM wrote them like that, as it made for a more conflicting reading experience when we see Dany embrace their culture.

    It also made it more interesting when Mirri Maz Duur was supposedly outed as anantagonist, when she's clearly much more sympathetic and likeable than Drogo and his Dothraki.
     
  19. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    Largely correct, though I'd add that the influences on Essos aren't all drawn from pre-Medieval areas. The Free Cities are clearly the Italian city-states from the same period (Braavos is Venice, most obviously). The rest largely are. The Dothraki are the Mongols (and also the Plains Indians, from what Martin has said); Valyria is a high fantasy land that heavily parallels the old Roman Empire; the Slaver's Bay city-states are analogous to Egypt/the Near East (Old Ghis being Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs).
     
  20. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The directors for the fourth season have been revealed:

    Episode 1: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
    Episode 2: Alex Graves
    Episode 3: Alex Graves
    Episode 4: Michelle MacLaren
    Episode 5: Michelle MacLaren
    Episode 6: Alik Sakharov
    Episode 7: Alik Sakharov
    Episode 8: Alex Graves
    Episode 9: Neil Marshall
    Episode 10: Alex Graves
     

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