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Old June 11th, 2013, 4:12 am
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Wimsey  Male.gif Wimsey is offline
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Join Date: 05th December 2004
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Re: A Game of Thrones

Well, you know something has made the big time with the Onion makes fun of it.

Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
Originally Posted by SusanBones View Post
Does anyone else find Shae's hold over Tyrion to be annoying? It doesn't feel like true love anymore, just a lot of pouting and game playing. I guess I want him to just tell her to cut it out.
I'm so glad you said that because I find Shae more compelling in the TV show than in the books. But she should be pouty and game playing, so I'm glad to hear it's coming across that way for someone who hasn't read past the first book.
Actually, I liked the fact that they had largely gotten rid of it. Book Shae is a bubbly air-head: it would be perplexing that a man like Tyrion would fall for such a woman, except for the fact that he's a dwarf and thus has some serious hangups about his personal worth and attractiveness.

However, I think that the last episode really drew the line in the sand: Book Shae would have gladly taken the diamonds and gone; well, she would have taken the diamonds, anyway: she might have gotten distracted on her way to the docks and forgotten that she meant to go. TV Shae declares herself a defender of both Sansa and Tyrion. In a lot of ways, the difference between Book Shae and TV Shae parallels the difference between Book Jeyne Westerling (Medieval pom-pom girl) and TV Talisa (Doctors Without Borders Medic); that is, they replace a "girly" girl with a woman.

Along these lines, I think that (overall) they did a really good job with this season. I was really worried when I heard that they were going to split the book into 2 seasons. Martin constructed his plots and character arcs so that the story was told by the culmination of many threads over the course of the last third of the book. That creates a problem: even if the season ended at the Red Wedding, then it would have problems telling Martin's story about the conflict of mixed love and hate.

However, in the end, I think that the producers managed to do a very good job of telling a "substory": Love and Betrayal. Despite the long buildup, the whole season was linked by this in varying ways: the Red Wedding being obvious, but Jon & Ygritte (very nicely finished, by they way), Shae & Tyrion, Sansa getting repeatedly betrayed by her ideals about love, the Old Bear being betrayed by the Night Watch, Jorah feeling betrayed by Daenerys falling for Fabio/Legolas, Davos & Stannis, Arya & Gendry with Berid Dondarion, etc. Sure, there were some kinks: but that reflected that they were adapting a slightly different story using only part of the original character arcs and plots.

And, of course, I really tip my cap to them for managing to make the Red Wedding shocking and horrifying for someone who had read the book. Some purists still ask "why Talisa?" Well, there were many reasons: but the single biggest had to be what she let them do there.

Finally, I think that the end once again directed the audience to the two characters that really are the story: Daenerys and Jon. Part of the reason why the Red Wedding was so traumatic for readers is that so many of them actually thought that Robb was "The Hero." Indeed, I was always stunned by how many readers thought that Daenerys was some meaningless side-exposition or that Jon's ultimate role was to be a Faramir to Robb's Aragorn. Martin called the series "A Song of Ice and Fire": and those two really are the "Ice" and "Fire." The final two visual motifs of circles around Jon and Daenerys, one with arrows pointing in him, the other with a crowd of near-worshippers pointing at her was just that: pointing to the story's targets. Those are visual motifs that cinematic storytelling can do that literary storytelling cannot: and it's cool to see the producers thinking of ways to do that.

I have only one "wish" and I have to call it that because I won't call it a criticism unless I can think of a better solution myself. And that is that I wish that they had found a way to distribute the action more evenly throughout the story. I cannot elaborate without spoiling, but I don't think that it's spoiling anything to tell people that the Red Wedding is just the start: the rest of this story is payoff, payoff, payoff. And I really don't know how Benioff, Weiss and Martin could have restructured things to do this without losing the structure of the plot and (in the end) the story, given how the plot is going to affect the remaining characters.

To wrap, my fears about the Red Wedding reducing the audience are allayed. The finale had the 2nd highest ratings for the series. This season had a 43% increase over last season, and a 100% increase over the first season. I'm betting now that Binge watching over the summer will result in a big opening episode and another instant renewal.

(It doubles for The Hobbit, too!)
If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there. - A. P. Chekhov, Gurlyand's Reminiscences, and who knew why the Dog was long before the Shack!
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