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Game of Thrones TV extravaganza

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17 Apr 2019 09:24 #295611 by Joebot

Shellhead wrote: I avoided Game of Thrones for a long time because I was deeply vested in the book version and was hoping to read the whole series before watching the tv show. More than a year ago, I finally acknowledged that Martin doesn't consider finishing the books to be a priority, and binge-watched the first seven seasons on shady websites in eastern Europe. Recently, I re-watched seasons six and seven to refresh my memory of major events beyond the book timeline. And I must now reluctantly admit that Game of Thrones might be my favorite tv show. If they manage to nail the finale, that will put it above my previous top two of Band of Brothers and The Wire. The rest of my top five is Firefly and Veronica Mars, two great shows that got canceled in the middle of a season.


I'm a long time Game of Thrones book fan as well, and it took me a while to make peace with the show. I watched an interview with Martin on 60 Minutes on Sunday, and I came to the sad realization that I don't much care if he ever finishes his books. The show has been a ton of fun and I've enjoyed it immensely. Martin has clearly lost the plot, and I feel bad for him, but so be it. There are plenty of other good books out there for me to read; there's only one epic fantasy like this on TV.

As for the episode last Sunday, I thought it was just okay. I liked all the character meet-ups, some of whom had never met (Sam and Daenerys) and some who hadn't seen either other in a long time (Jon and Arya). I find Cersei's storyline to be a boring slog. She's so disconnected from the main action now, and all of the interesting characters around her have either died or left. And no, I don't count Euron Greyjoy as an "interesting character." He's probably the dumbest, most one-note character the show has ever come up with. The scene in Last Hearth was incredibly creepy and well-done.
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17 Apr 2019 09:40 #295612 by Michael Barnes
I think it’s cute that people still think that Martin will “finish” the books. It ain’t ever gonna happen. The show has overtaken the books in such a way that there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for anyone involved to write, what, an “alternate” last act?

I only read part of the first book but I thought it was unbearable. The show makes it much easier to digest the food and bad parts of the story. I don’t know why anyone would read the books over watch the show at this stage.

What is likely to happen is that after He does there will be some kind of rough/unfinished version of whatever it was he was working on before the show outstripped the books.

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17 Apr 2019 12:12 #295630 by Joebot

Michael Barnes wrote: I think it’s cute that people still think that Martin will “finish” the books. It ain’t ever gonna happen. The show has overtaken the books in such a way that there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for anyone involved to write, what, an “alternate” last act?

I only read part of the first book but I thought it was unbearable. The show makes it much easier to digest the food and bad parts of the story. I don’t know why anyone would read the books over watch the show at this stage.

What is likely to happen is that after He does there will be some kind of rough/unfinished version of whatever it was he was working on before the show outstripped the books.


It's crazy to think that book 5 came out roughly about the same time as the series pilot. Since then, the show has gone 8 seasons, and he hasn't published anything except some "fake history" books that no one was asking for. I agree that Martin likely will never finish the series. He's got "Fuck you money" at this point.

I liked the first book a lot, but even if it's not your thing, I think it's important to note the impact that Martin has had on the fantasy genre. At that point (1996), what was the most popular fantasy series going on?? Probably Terry Brooks, David Eddings, maybe Dragonlance. That is fucking DIRE.

So then Martin comes along and decides to play it straight. No cutesy hobbits or fey elves or wise old wizards. Warfare is brutal, politics are worse. Characters die and justice is a long time coming (if ever). Magic is weird and unknown, and dragons are terrifying. Martin paved the way for authors like Steven Erikson, China Mieville, Joe Abercrombie, etc. I think Martin deserves credit for pushing the boundaries, and getting fantasy out of the genre ghetto.
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17 Apr 2019 12:22 #295634 by Jackwraith

Joebot wrote: I'm a long time Game of Thrones book fan as well, and it took me a while to make peace with the show. I watched an interview with Martin on 60 Minutes on Sunday, and I came to the sad realization that I don't much care if he ever finishes his books. The show has been a ton of fun and I've enjoyed it immensely. Martin has clearly lost the plot, and I feel bad for him, but so be it. There are plenty of other good books out there for me to read; there's only one epic fantasy like this on TV.


Yep. Came to this conclusion a couple years ago. There's just so much other good stuff out there, fiction and non, book and not, that I've just lost interest in something that I started reading 22 years ago. I picked up Fire and Blood, 700+ pages of the history of the Targaryens, and it's not even a novel. It's basically a history book, covering a lot of the same ground as the World of Ice and Fire coffee table book he did with the managers of Westeros.org. I read 50 pages of it and put it down and really have no interest in going back, precisely because I am reading some Joe Abercrombie (and three other non-fiction books.) It's unfortunate, but since we're all going to get the ending that he'd planned in the next five weeks, I'm simply past it.

Meanwhile, I keep kicking myself for not forging ahead on a couple projects of mine. Rumor is that Netflix and Amazon are basically buying everything that's tossed at them, looking for the next GoT. But, as I averred to on my blog. I think we may be past that point, too. 8 years ago, streaming services weren't nearly as prevalent as they are now. GoT is kind of the last thing that everyone talks about around the water cooler from the "three major networks" days.

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17 Apr 2019 12:31 - 17 Apr 2019 12:33 #295637 by Gary Sax
I think the first three books are brilliant but the most recent ones are flawed but still pretty good on revisiting.

The theme that resonates with me when I read these books, which I don't see kicked around as much in the popular narrative, are really about being an outsider, systematic oppression, and being a cog in a machine. The game of thrones, after all, is a reference by Tyrion and others to the machine that sweeps up even nobles in the actions and consequences of decisions made by others, sometimes someone 200 years ago. And the later books, even the ones no one likes like Feast For Crows, are really almost singularly about how no matter who wins this war (besides the White Walkers) normal people will be the ones suffering and paying almost all the prices.

The TV show, because of its limited scope and the nature of TV that needs to mainly make points about central characters, communicates almost none of this. And I still think the TV show until the last season or two is extremely good, fwiw.
Last edit: 17 Apr 2019 12:33 by Gary Sax.
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17 Apr 2019 12:36 - 17 Apr 2019 12:36 #295641 by charlest

Jackwraith wrote: GoT is kind of the last thing that everyone talks about around the water cooler from the "three major networks" days.


I think there are still cultural breakouts every couple years or so. Making a Murderer, and Stranger Things come to mind.
Last edit: 17 Apr 2019 12:36 by charlest.

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17 Apr 2019 12:39 #295643 by Jackwraith
I think Dany's transformation into the "good" queen and the presence of the Brotherhood without Banners were the driving forces for that kind of perspective. I think the audience for the show has kind of lost that thread because it hasn't been reinforced for a couple seasons and now everyone simply thinks about victory for the nominal good guys, no matter how many thousands of people die in the process. In a way, that's unavoidable because of the nature of finales (Big explosions!) and because the real enemy at this point is not another people but a weapon and associated corpses.

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17 Apr 2019 14:58 #295657 by Shellhead
The audience may have lost the thread, but the latest episode of Game of Thrones made a point that Dany may have gone too far in executing Tarly's brother. And the point was made previously at the time of the incident by Tyrion, and again later. And various characters have told her face to face that she needs to be better than her father.

Many people criticize A Feast for Crows, and I can understand how it was a disappointment for many due to a slower pace and more downbeat tone. But I really appreciated Feast for doing something that most fantasy fiction never does, which is explore in detail the aftermath of war. The common people get wrecked no matter who wins, and they sometimes even suffer at the hands of their alleged protectors. The show probably took a different approach to avoid the slower pace.

I would agree with the upthread comment that Game of Thrones has a definite soap opera element. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because it opens up the show to a wider audience and allows for story-telling that encompasses a more complete range of human experiences.
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17 Apr 2019 15:26 - 17 Apr 2019 15:26 #295659 by Gary Sax
^Agree on all counts. The show is good and it does everything it can with the adaption. There are just things it struggles to adapt which people (me) love ASOIAF for. So when people tell me that the series is just a soap opera, I get where they're coming from, the late seasons of the show become very soap opera in particular. It's just not as forward in the books.

It's why I will read his final books no matter what, if they ever come out. They have well told thematic material in them that the show never touches. And if he never writes them, tbh it's fine. The last ten years have been all about me trying extricate myself from a demanding fan mindset as I see it as a huge problem in our current cultural moment.
Last edit: 17 Apr 2019 15:26 by Gary Sax.

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17 Apr 2019 17:03 #295670 by RobertB

Shellhead wrote: The audience may have lost the thread, but the latest episode of Game of Thrones made a point that Dany may have gone too far in executing Tarly's brother. And the point was made previously at the time of the incident by Tyrion, and again later. And various characters have told her face to face that she needs to be better than her father.

It's Pessimism Wednesday here, so I'll weigh in. At this point I don't think the producers care about how Daenerys (or any character) acts, as long it creates a little drama or solves a 'wrap this up' problem. Frying the Tarlys generates a little friction between her and her lover's best friend, and that's about it.

c.f. Cersei blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor. As far as we can tell, the reaction of the folks of Westeros is a great big 'meh'. If the producers had time they could hang a whole season's worth of shows off of it. But now, it's just, "Darn, gonna miss Natalie Dormer."

The show might have been Dallas with dragons, but until S6 you could see why things happened, without having to ignore too much bs. Now it's a lot of awesome scenes, wrapped up in a lot of nonsense. I'll watch it for those awesome scenes, though.

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17 Apr 2019 17:08 #295672 by Shellhead
During the long wait for A Dance with Dragons, I randomly googled "finish the book George" and found a blog with that exact name. The two guys posting in the blog were frustrated fans who passed the time by joking about George, the books, the merchandising, etc. Since then, I have pondered Neil Gaiman's remark ("George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.") and gradually let go of my expectation of a completed book series.
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17 Apr 2019 17:08 #295673 by Gary Sax
Good point on the Sparrows and blowing up Baelor! The thing that struck me about that twist when I saw it was, honesetly, how awesome it was going to be when I read the books and that act reverberated through the culture and political economy of Westeros.
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22 Apr 2019 10:16 #295871 by GorillaGrody
Last night's episode: "Oh no! There's an army with a totalizing and catastrophic weakness at its epicenter coming towards us from the north. Whatever will we do against these odds?

Call me crazy, but what if a handful of us more interesting soldiers go exploit that weakness while a bunch of background scrubs die for [checks watch] an hour, hour-and-a-half..."
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22 Apr 2019 11:16 #295877 by Shellhead
At this point, I feel that the Night King and his White Walkers are less of a threat than Cersei's forces. Counting her new mercs, she has 20,000 troops waiting to mop up the North after a messy battle between the good guys and the White Walkers. Many northerners will die, then somebody will kill the Night King and make his army explode. But there is no magic solution to fighting an army of 20,000 men, especially since Dany is likely to lose at least one more dragon before heading south again.

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