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Old December 22nd, 2016, 7:39 pm
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MrSleepyHead  Male.gif MrSleepyHead is offline
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Join Date: 27th June 2005
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Re: A Game of Thrones

Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
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. We saw this in droves 12 years ago: supposedly, everyone was "out of character." The characters were not: one, they were evolving, and two, the people claiming these things were wrong about the characters in the first place.
I expect people interpret characters and use the phrase "out of character" in different ways. Therefore, for someone who is concerned primarily with the tone of a character's language, for instance, Dumbledore's "Have you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?" in the film could be seen as out of character for Dumbledore (in books and films). But someone else could be more concerned about how a character follows his/her principles or loyalties, so when Ron and Hermione don't believe Harry's obsession with Draco in HBP they see it as out of character (compared to five previous books of support and understanding). Of course, a third person may interpret each of those examples as in character. Bottom line is that there is variation in reader/viewer perception, and I don't think you can say that that perception is inherently wrong if it is not directly contradicted by the text.

And to circumvent your English teacher grading assertion, who is to say which individual’s priorities while reading (e.g., the little things or the big picture about the character) is wrong or right? Even if the author writes a character in such a way that it remains “in character” throughout its service to the story does not mean there can’t be hiccoughs along the way that seem consequential and out of character to some readers. E.g., let’s say Hermione fulfilled her service to Harry’s story in just the way the books outline, but in GoF she skipped school for days at a time to go ride unicorns in the Forbidden Forest while Harry fretted over the Triwizard Tournament. The end result might be the same, but that uncharacteristic unicorn riding could pull readers completely out of the narrative and story.
Originally Posted by Wimsey
Moreover, this would have affected the stories if and only if they had greatly altered Harry.
But many people care about characters for that character's own sake, regardless of story. Readers can care about the consistency of Hermione's character because of a personal attachment, for instance, rather than the need for consistency in her character to affect the story.
Originally Posted by Wimsey
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.
Agreed, but I maintain characters can be more important to individual readers/viewers than purely their connections to the story.
Originally Posted by Wimsey
That is of relevance here, because this is how someone figured out that one of JKR's anonymous works likely was by her: the distribution of words in that work fit the distribution of words used in Harry Potter!
Well, led to the confirmation that she was Galbraith. A tweet from a friend of lawyer-in-the-know claimed Galbraith was JKR's pseudonym, thus directing the dogs at the novel. I wonder how long it would have taken otherwise – were these analysts combing through every book trying to find links?! It will be interesting to see if all new writers are given this sort of scrutiny by way of word distribution analysis to try to catch any potential big names that are trying to hide.
Originally Posted by Wimsey
This is easily falsified. None of the other shows that GoT viewers typically watch have dragons, and none of the other "magic" shows are commonly watched by GoT viewers. Many of them do not have fights. Not all of the other shows have nudity, although many do (as this is rare for cable TV series to lack nudity, and many of the other shows watched by GoT viewers are also cable TV series). Almost all have intrigue: but what they have in common is intrigue about where particular characters are going with their lives.

I’m not too savvy on where to direct my browser to find primary literature or data on TV show demographics and viewing habits, but a couple of analyses I’ve seen seem to show a diversity in viewership and reasons for watching GoT. For instance, a Latitude study (220 “fans”, undisclosed sampling methods – so not necessarily a representative sample) asked “Why do you watch Game of Thrones?” with top agreement with “sci-fi/witchcract/magic,” “the villains often win, not always a happy ending,” “Tyrion Lannister,” and “character development.” Of course, this likely doesn’t represent a good plurality of casual viewers, but I just can’t seem to be able to track down those data.

Regardless, I would also consider the effect of pure popularity and trending-ness. From season 1 to 6, viewers jumped from 2.5 million to 7.7 million, which I would tentatively attribute, at least partially, to GoT becoming “mainstream.” Of course, we can debate how it became mainstream (e.g., because of its story, character complexity, action sequences and eye candy, etc.), but there is likely a large herd mentality effect (e.g., Muchnik et al. 2013 Science, news write-up here) that transcends all of that. Thus, saying all 7.7 million viewers are tuning in to enjoy the Faulkneresque story seems likely to be a gross exaggeration. I know you haven’t said that directly, but it seems you contend that the story is paramount and the driver behind viewership (and thus other parts of the narrative can be scrapped if not solely benefiting the story). Please correct me if I’m misinterpreting you here.
Originally Posted by Wimsey
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?
I think Sereena addressed this well: people watch shows for different reasons, whether it’s story, characters, narrative, setting, etc. Just because another show is set in a medieval world doesn’t mean I’ll like it if I like GoT because that show may not have the character or plot complexity, fulfilling story, good acting, etc. I haven’t seen an analysis, but I feel like I’ve read synopses saying that ratings/viewer numbers tend to jump at or after very deadly, conflict-based episodes. Sure, those episodes can represent climaxes within the story, but they also have action-packed, battle-filled scenes that are plain and simple eye candy.

As an example, I can’t imagine folks tuned into Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) for its story alone (if there is one! I know, of course there's one, but boy that was rough for me! ). It was classic bang, bang, shoot ‘em up Hollywood eye candy. A 97% Rotten Tomato rating is summed up under critics’ consensus as “exhilarating action and a surprising amount of narrative heft” – not “a thoughtful story made real by exhilarating action.” Of course, a good story and narrative are still pivotal, but they may not be why somebody goes to watch or stays in his seat.
Originally Posted by Wimsey
Moreover, these stories can have appeal even to people who know the outcome. My 8 year old son is currently reading the HP series with me. He knows what Harry's scar is: that is sort of like "I AM your father" without the catchy phrase. And when we got to the part where Dumbledore tacitly tells Harry the why of Snape, I had him walk through it and deduce what Dumbledore really told Harry. So, the two biggest mysteries revealed: but he still was eager as hell to read Deathly Hallows! Why? He wants to see how Harry is going to get to be the guy who can beat Voldemort.
In which case your son is not interested in reading DH just for the story. Sure, he wants to see the story's conclusion, but he is also engaged by the narrative and the characters. Story alone does not keep folks turning pages or in their seats – it’s the telling of the story that matters. Otherwise we would have very few books indeed – one per story.


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Last edited by MrSleepyHead; December 22nd, 2016 at 7:42 pm.
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