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Old December 21st, 2016, 9:31 am
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Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
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Join Date: 20th February 2012
Age: 34
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Re: A Game of Thrones

Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
But even worrying about this can cause one to lose the Story Forest for the Details Tree. This sort of thing is important when we debate the general "mysteries." (And, let's face it: fans of SoI&F or Harry Potter spend a lot more time debating the mysteries rather than discussing the actual story!) However, they are not terribly important in and of themselves for the story: any number of examples can work.
The story itself is not the only thing worth analyzing in a literary work. Like you say below, the story is quite clear in many cases and certainly doesn't keep the PhD theses coming many hundreds of years after the work was written.

I think the issue here is that you're viewing everything through one lens and because some things are not relevant for that particular lens then they must mean they are never relevant. But a novel can be seen through many different lenses. A Freudian analysis of a work is not going to say the same things as a feminist analysis, for example, or an intertextual analysis, or a comparative analysis. Sure, some details might never be important regardless which analysis one conducts. But in the case of GoT where the changes between the books and the TV show are bigger than it's usually the case with movie adaptations, it can be helpful to determine which "version" of events or characters one is analyzing. Of course, a lit scholar might only look at the books anyway because only the books are, well, literature.

It is more accurate to state that many fans disagreed with the interpretations of the characters: but to be cruelly blunt, those fans tended to be the ones who were really bad at understanding JKR's characters.
Steve Kloves himself was only a fan or a reader of the series so I don't see why his interpretation would automatically be more correct than any other fan's (he was pushing the so-called "Harmony agenda" which was obviously wrong considering how the series ended. Nevermind that JKR has since then pretty much retracted Ron/Hermione). Remember that JKR was only partially involved in the movies. She retained the right to veto certain things or to demand that some things were included (such as McGonagall fighting Snape) but other than that, the script writer had free reigns with the characters and we all know that some things work better in novels than on the movie screen and vice versa.

And then you also have the actors interpreting the characters and they're just as likely to be "wrong", as you put it, as any fan is. Or perhaps the actor does understand the character but thinks the character as he or she is on page would not translate well to screen (Helena Bonham Carter has said this about Bellatrix, explaining why she made changes to the character's personality).

So anyway, point is, movie adaptations don't always stay true to either the characters or to some of the main points of the story. Just because GoT happens to be consistent doesn't mean all movie adaptations of novels will be just as consistent. Especially adaptations made completely without the author's involvement (the author might be dead at the time, for example, and thus incapable of telling movie makers where they go wrong).

Moreover, this would have affected the stories if and only if they had greatly altered Harry. Remember, Harry Potter is a single protagonist story: everything comes from how Harry evolves over the course of one story, and then over the course of seven stories. Even characters as prominent as Hermione and Ron were at most secondary characters: their importance is like the importance of Stannis to Davos, i.e., to help put Harry in positions where yet another parallel occurred that created the arc that created the story.
Harry is the protagonist, yes. But that doesn't mean that his character will be the most important to any study done on the HP series. If I were to study the father figures in HP then Harry himself and what he does or feels will be much less important than what Sirius, Dumbledore or Snape do or feel. Likewise for GoT. Davos is a more important character than Stannis overall. However, if you want to study how kings and powerful men are portrayed in GoT then you're more likely to focus on Stannis than on Davos.

So, that means that the show has to get these characters "right" in order to communicate the story. However, it does not mean that they have to do the exact same things as in the books.
Yes, agreed.

Moreover, we can stand this on it's head. If these were true, then why didn't Thrones fans flock to watch the Shanara series? Why don't these millions watch other cable TV shows that put even more emphasis on nudity and/or violence? Why don't they watch more mystery series?
There can be plenty of reasons for why someone watches one show but not another similar one. For example, I like GoT and HP. I'm not at all interested in LotR, especially not the Hobbit movies. I liked the Narnia books but not the movies. I also like His Dark Materials. Can you draw any conclusions from this? Maybe one could say that I like stories about choices since both HP and GoT have that element. And maybe I also like religious themes because both HDM and Narnia have those (but in completely opposite ways). Or maybe I just like strong female characters. Or power struggles. There can be tons of different reasons for why someone would watch or read a certain series and until you control for all those reasons you cannot categorically state that they watch it for the "choices" (and this is of couse assuming that everyone who watches GoT would describe it as being about choices, which I'm not sure about either).

Almost all have intrigue: but what they have in common is intrigue about where particular characters are going with their lives.
But this is very generic. Almost all shows or novels are about someone's choices in some way. The plot needs a conflict and during this conflict the protagonist makes a choice, one way or another. Is Jane Eyre about choices? Othello?

As for the viewers not knowing who Faulkner is, you would find a larger proportion of them that do given that GoT viewers are disproportionately drawn from people with post-graduate education; and many of the ones who do not remember Faulkner immediately would figure out who you mean with just a little reminding. Remember, general GoT viewers are NOT fantasy fans.
I'm not saying they don't know who Faulkner is, I'm sure they do. But I don't think the majority of people would use Faulkner to analyze GoT.

We're also being a bit Eurocentric/US centric here. I don't know how popular GoT is in other parts of the world but assuming it is just as popular (or even almost as popular), then those people can interpret the story differently or use a quite different frame of reference than people in the West.

I never wrote that they watch it for theme: I wrote that they watch it for story. Story and theme are as different as melody and arrangement.
Ok fair enough. You wrote that people are complaining about the changes and thus missing the point of the story. So why would they care about the changes if they only watch it for the story?

Probably. Of course, who will stay a fan is hard to predict:
It is. But one can look at the HP series, as I have, and assess some of the reasons why people are still fans. None of these reasons, that I can see, are related to story as such. It's mostly about the characters and each person's fondness for one or two characters. And also world building as people are very into the House system and wands and magical schools.

But the reason why I write "probably" is pretty straightforward. After we unravel the mysteries and plots, the only two things left are story and theme.
And the characters! Don't underestimate people's attachment to characters. For many people, without interesting characters the story has no appeal regardless of its complexity. GoT has some of the most fascinating characters, perhaps the most fascinating characters out of all the popular fantasy series and I think that's a huge factor in its popularity.

Last edited by Sereena; December 21st, 2016 at 2:38 pm.
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