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17 April 2012 @ 09:45 pm
Game of Thrones  
Hmmmmmm. Yet another unpopular fannish opinion from moi. None of the contained-herein opinions are meant as offense to anyone (of the many millions!) who loves this show. Carry on! Be well in your fannishness! I am happy for you. But just can't agree. ;)

Summary of post: Game of Thrones, I'm not feelin' it. Season 1 was (just) OK. Season 2 is kinda tanking for me.

So here's the deal. I can't get wildly excited about this show! Despite the fact that everyone around me, fans of the book or not, seems to have whipped themselves up into a fervour about it! I'm kind of envious... frankly I wish I had a show I *was* that passionate about it right now, but Game of Thrones sure isn't it. I gave it a good go, and in Season 1 was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed some aspects. However, others were strongly at odds with my own vision of the books. It's such a deeply personal thing whether a conversion to screen works or not, and I first started reading the series over ten years ago so, like many fans, I had a *very* specific and detailed internal vision. Unlike many book fans, I haven't found it so easy to embrace the television version. In Season 1, it was quietly bearable... I took what I could from the shows, liking some of the casting choices very much and others not at all, and didn't think it worth making a post because other people seemed so squeeful and that's great--they should be! carry on, peeps! I just can't join you I'm afraid...

Summary of my feelings:
- Tyrion: fabulous actor (even if visually not like the character in the book), great fun to watch on screen. He was by far the highlight of Season 1 for me. His scene with Pycelle this week was the only one that rang with any of the strength I remember from the book (for me, obviously)
- Shae: Ugh, I really hate the casting here. Not nearly subtle enough to be effective. In the television version I can't understand at all why Tyrion would keep this demanding bitch around ... in the book I really *did* understand and feel his affection for her.
- Arya: in season 1 I liked her training scenes and contrast to Sansa, but in Season 2 I'm kind of over her :((( which is very sad as she's my favourite. A lot of the time I just feel nothing in her scenes and they are SO weak now compared to what they were in the book--this is the heart of Arya's character development and everything seems so tepidly done.
- Cersei: HAAAAAAAAAATE. Can't stand the character direction they took here, am absolutely opposed to it and every scene with her in it is unbearable to me. Nothing like how I imagined Cersei, and I do not think the shift is for the best from a narrative perspective either. Not poor Lena's fault, it's clearly bigger than her and stems from the direction. The worst climax was the painful scene in the latest episode where she reacts to the idea of Myrcella being sent away. In the books I remember the shock of seeing Cersei rattled. Here she just had to mount one more step in the ladder of excesssively histrionic acting. Sigh.
- Dany: I really liked what they managed to do with her story in Season 1--that was definitely good work and good casting. But her story was never my favourite and now we're entering the deathly boring throes of it and I just don't caaaaare.
- Jon: OMG, where the hell did they get this guy from and whyyyyyyyyy??? He is nothing like I imagined Jon, visually or in manner/bearing, and he can't act!! I'm in agony whenever he has to convey an emotion because he kind of just flits his eyes around and does a shouty thing. :( He's getting massively overshadowed by Sam, just because Sam's actor CAN act. Ugh ugh ugh.
- Theon: Meh, never cared about him but don't find the actor good at all.
- Renly and Loras: OMG, who is this UGLY Loras????? and again: whyyyy??? They seem to have taken the path of replacing the suggestion of affection (as well as sexual attraction) with PORN (sigh HBO sigh). I could put up with that, but really Loras needed to be better looking!! It was especially ridiculous in this episode where they refer to 'Brienne the Beauty' because YES, compared to Loras she's gorgeous! It was a double-whammy casting FAIL for me.
- Jaime: he's ok. He looks the part. Doesn't get me actively excited though.
- Bran: yeah, good enough actor, but again I kind of can't get that excited.
- Brienne: Was saddened (but it was inevitable) with the casting. Not at all how I imagined Brienne. Sure, she's tall, but it was far far more important to me that she be physically unattractive and I'm sorry, no matter how sullen an expression that actress makes, she's still very striking. Especially with the bright blond hair--that alone makes her stand out which works against her characterisation for me. Obviously I've only seen some brief scenes from the actress but I felt nothing at all watching them. They just felt empty to me, as do most of the scenes in Season 2.

So many scenes I remember from the book feel so small and lacking in emotional power when I watch them in the television series, and it's starting to get me down. In season 1 there were enough that had a bit of the book's feel to them that I could bear the others, but now, not so much. And on top of that the gratuitous (ridiculous) sex, layered over the already-squicky gender politics of Martin's text is a downer for me. It's getting very hard to make it through a whole episode, I'm so booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooored (punctuated by moments of irritation at the bad acting or writing).

I don't expect anyone to agree with me. Most people I have aired said views to so far have responded by talking over me and insisting it is a 'brilliant adaptation' (pricelessly including someone who HAS NOT READ THE BOOKS *g*).

At this stage I think I'm going to bail on the show. I was kind of hanging on to see if Brienne would be the saving grace, because I did love her so much in the books, but it looks like she won't be.

I'm so sorry, [personal profile] queenofthorns! I sincerely hope you get your Jaime/Brienne vid... but looks like it won't be from me.

This entry was originally posted at http://bop-radar.dreamwidth.org/242392.html. comment count unavailable comments Comment here or there, as you will.
Current Mood: boredbored
gildinwengildinwen on April 17th, 2012 01:44 pm (UTC)
The thing about Cersei they're trying to soften her I and it might play better on screen to have so upset to convey her fears that the Martells will do to Myrcella what she's been doing to Sansa. Otherwise IDK.

As for Brianne she's Hollywood ugly....but that's still very pretty. Same thing with Tyrion.

And IDK what the hell they've done with Loras. I mean *him*???/ Really????
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: O Sanjaya...bop_radar on April 17th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
Oh they're definitely trying to soften Cersei! But apart from not liking that direction overall, I think one problem with it was betrayed in this episode. They'd already had her be so emotional all the time that the actress had nowhere to go in this scene... so it became this ridiculous OTT performance. I shouldn't need to see her SMASH something to get how distressed she is.

Exactly: Hollywood ugly. Which I'm sick to death of. And when it's for one of my most loved characters who has as one of her defining (if not THE defining) characteristic that she's ACTUALLY ugly, I get really upset. :((

Loras is AWFUL. Every time he makes that squinty little pissed-off-squirrel face it gets even worse!! Renly is far more handsome than him which skews the dynamic really weirdly. It's like a totally different character than in the books.
anarchicq: SH 3 - Dear God by AnarchicQanarchicq on April 17th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
I'm only now half-way through Clash of Kings and this week I found my first real "...that was way better in the books...", when Arry et al were attacked and the barn goes up in flames and the horses are burning and it was so confined and the smoke was strangling her and the heat was unbearable and OMG!

Though I did like how she managed to "save" Gendry.

Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) is playing Vincent in the next Silent Hill movie. THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR ME.
From this: http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Vincent_Smith
to this: http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Vincent_Carter

The only thing that's keeping my faith in the movie is Malcolm McDowell, Carrie-Anne Moss and a cameo of one of my favourite characters.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: O Sanjaya...bop_radar on April 17th, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
Omg, SO much better in the books! This ridiculous localised fire right around the cart was STUPID. And the prisoners were in no way scary in the television series! GAH.

LOL, your links made me laugh. Oh I feel your PAAAAAAAIN. That ridiculous shot of him!!!! UGH. (I have no attachment to Silent Hill personally but I would be pissed as hell if that guy invaded anything else I was attached to.)
Anoel: vidding fandomanoel on April 17th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
I am starting to have a really complicated relationship with the show. I didn't read the books watching S1 and it took me long time to start liking the characters and really caring about the plot but by the end I was loving it. Then before S2 I worked hard at finishing the first book and (barely) succeeded and through reading I fell in love with almost everyone in the books as well as the plot and started devouring the book. But of course I am really strict about book-adaptations so all the changes really bother me especially when they add things or change things that mess with character development or just make no sense to change. And there's as you mention, I'm not feeling like the show is capturing the heart of the book, the reasons why I love and engage in it. Right now my passion is for the books (I'm halfway through the third) and the TV is nice getting to see stuff and thinking about vidding it but I'm bummed I'm not feeling the love. It probably would be better for me to have just read the books AFTER the TV show for me but I'm too addicted and concerned about being spoiled now.

Anyways, totally agree about Tyrion, he's holding the show together for me now. I was okay with Shae at first but between the actress and changing lines and the AWFUL Sansa scene that has both of them looking bad, she's not working. Arya is my FAVORITE but I'm super bummed to say I'm not feeling her scenes ever :( They don't have the emotional power they did in the books although I did like the prayer conversation. That's what makes me the saddest as I want to vid her someday. And yeah, Cersei whyyyyy. Ugh the crying pissed me off so much, I can't even. Sometime she works for me and sometimes not (and I do love Lena so that helps) but stuff like that I can't stand. I love Dany probably second best so I do look forward to seeing her but yeah, this is definitely the boring part of her story. And yeah, Jon's not great and I really loved him in the first book so it's frustrating that it's making me bored with his storyline.

I actually think Loras is really pretty? Sorry. But I think he doesn't have the knightly air as he did in the books and they keep having him say lines that I don't remember at all in the books. I did like the sex though :D Not enough IMO with all the blechy het stuff there is (and that they add). I liked Brienne but I'm not feeling the love either, empty is a good way to describe it. I don't think it's a *good* adaption but it's alright for me right now and I am happy it's getting an actual TV show where they can show a lot more than movies so that I can actually vid smaller stuff. I'm hoping it gets better as the season goes on right now.

What's your favorite book? Just wondering :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: The Fall hopebop_radar on April 17th, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
((((hugs)))) it's hard being in the place you are now. I am glad though for the fact that you have connected with the heart of the books because they are really rich. I do have issues with the books too (later on really) but the characters and the world is one of the most vibrant in my inner landscape... I adore Arya, she's one of my all-time favourite fictional characters, and like you I would have loved to vid her. But I'm not feeling it from the TV series. :(

TV is nice getting to see stuff--yeah, I felt the same ... but now it's more dominated by my disappointment unfortunately. Don't know if it or my curiosity will win out but I gather they're changing more and more things from the book as the series goes on so I kind of wonder if I should bail. I was really zen about it in season 1 though so if you can hold onto that and just take from the tv series the bits that DO click with your own vision, then it's great.

I agree about the Shae and Sansa scene. What the hell was that? In scenes like that I feel the directors struggling with their vision.

Mmm, I wondered if it was just me with Loras. ;) But yeah aside from looks the whole knightly aspect is really missing and they haven't established his following well (or even shown why he'd have one).

Mmm, favourite book is hard to say because there are always some plots (ugh Theon, Stannis, yawn) that I don't care for and big swathes of books can be taken up with them. But I loved some of the material in Book 2 and Book 4 the best, I think... Book 5 was my least favourite.
Jen: GOT Jon/Daenerys by ladybozijlvsclrk on April 18th, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
That's so funny - I hated the first half of book 2 on my first reading (so many new characters irritated me) and book 4 just about killed my interest in the series for so many reasons (esp since Jon and Dany are my favorites). I like all the odd number books and feel the even number books do a lot of set up.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on April 18th, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, from your other comment it seems like we have a pretty different reading of the books (and different favourites).
Anoel: anoel lionessanoel on April 21st, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
I have to admit at the moment my heart is hurt from everything that's happening :( I'm definitely in the depressing, everyone dies place. Hoping other good things will happen soon.

Maybe you should wait til the season is over and watch all at once? I find that can help with disappointment as it's not a little each week and there's usually a few things that are great spread out over a season. Good to hear Book 4 was enjoyable, looking forward to it.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Deborah Morganbop_radar on April 22nd, 2012 06:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, look, the books are a rough ride at times. Yes, it gets frighteningly bleak and I have a lot of anger at some of the harsh things that got done to my favourites. :(

That's good advice about waiting til season end! That has helped me with other shows when I fall 'out' of them. Almost anything is vaguely bearable when marathoned while multitasking. ;p
Jen: GOT Tyrion exasperated by ladybozijlvsclrk on April 18th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
I can't say I disagree with you, though I'm willing to give this season a few more episodes to get into the swing. I remember from season 1 that I felt similarly let down around this time (although S1 had a great Pilot, the next 3 or 4 episodes were very exposition heavy.

Let's face it - Martin caused the problem by introducing so many characters in book 2, many of whom I have yet to give a tinker's damn about (I'm looking at all the new Iron Islanders in particular). And introducing new characters slows down the story every time. Hopefully now that we've met all the key players in Westeros, we can get the Clash of Kings truly underway.

As for Cersei, she was always a very problematic character for me - her actions just got dumber and dumber and dumber as time went on (I thought the treatment of her was positively misogynistic in book 4). And I think it significant that we never saw her POV until book 5 where 'suddenly' she didn't look quite so stupid. So I'm wondering if the writers on the show took the view that the earlier descriptions of her actions and motives were all distorted by the POV character's attitudes and that in 'reality' her actions were not as misguided as reported. How much can you really trust Tyrion's POV for example where women are concerned?

ITA about Shae - she seems a total waste of space. As for Jon, I'm willing to forgive a lot because the lad is so pretty! But yes, not the greatest performance at times.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Abed perplexedbop_radar on April 18th, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
Mmm, see, I can't agree that the problem stems from Martin or the number of characters. For me, the issues are primarily ones of adaptation. It is true that the Iron Islanders are boring, but they didn't even blip on my radar as a major issue at this stage. But I do think adapting Book 2 will be more challenging than Book 1. Book 1's plot was much more tightly focused.

Cersei is problematic, yes. However it is my personal view that it was far more powerful from a narrative stance to have her be seen from the *outside* at first, and to have her be viewed as truly unlikeable. I seem to be one of the rare people that found the withholding of her POV to be very powerful. But I think Martin held it back too long in the books for most readers. They have swung totally to the other extreme in the television series and I hate it.

took the view that the earlier descriptions of her actions and motives were all distorted by the POV character's attitudes
Well of course they were! All of the characters have biases and that's one of the most powerful aspects of Martin's writing--he explores biased viewpoints wonderfully. Tyrion is a great example. I love him but it was *always* clear to me that we were viewing a limited and biased viewpoint! If the television series was doing more to show different perspectives effectively I would be much happier. Instead they're taking a very 'tell' rather than 'show' approach. But I do feel they've changed more about Cersei's plot than just showing her point of view sometimes--they really dwelt on her marriage in a different way to MAKE her sympathetic. Too forced and totally unnecessary IMO, and I really hate the handling of Jaime/Cersei which for me is incomprehensible in the television version though I found the books very clearly portrayed the entanglement.
Jenjlvsclrk on April 18th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you say about Cersei - I'm just trying to give the showrunners the benefit of the doubt for the changes they've made. Because as brilliant as I find Martin's POV approach, it doesn't translate well to film.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on April 18th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know *why* they did it. I just don't like the result and I think they overdid it. For me it has a very distancing effect (which I know is not the case for most people, who seem to love the new direction).
random_seriousrandom_serious on April 19th, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
Got has been an excruciating experience. (And it horrifies me that this thing is a hit, as with True Blood, since IMO they are both horridly bad,)I haven't read the books, but I began to see red immediately, when I read someone telling how the book author responded to accusations of misogyny, sexism, by saying that 'that's how it was in the middle ages, so...' The moment you write shit that has dragons, and odd winter-zombies, the whole 'that's how it was'-excuse is dead. I really, really actually dislike GoT. (Why am I watching this? I want to know what happens...?) I hate how the women are sidelined, mistreated, de-fanged, both by the story and the choices the show makes. I hate that all women in GoT are whores, abused, about to be abused, dis-enfranchised...

I love some of the casting (Cersei, Tyrion, Jamie, Littlefinger) but wading through this s...t is getting really hard. If you're interested Tiger Beatdown wrote a really good takedown of the (book)series and GRRM (and they noted, IMO rightly, that the extra R must stand for rape). It might be hard to read for a fan of the books, but I found it very interesting.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Flowersbop_radar on April 19th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
So you're watching but hating? Seriously DON'T keep watching. I bailed on True Blood ... I kind of revelled in the crack of it for a while but I had a breaking point where I couldn't take it any more and it actively nauseates me now. Life's too short.

I've spent years discussing the misogyny of the books as well so I doubt I'd find it a hard read, probably a cathartic one. ;) But the books are more complex for me--I can love aspects of them while hating others. With the series, I feel like HBO just went 'wheeeeee, chance to show lots of fucking and brutality' and galloped off with it. Which is taking the worst aspects of the books and revelling in them (and IMO encouraging George to do the same--something he REALLY didn't need!).

Also, Book 5 was almost unbearable to me. If I didn't love some characters very deeply, I wouldn't keep reading. It feels like shovelling shit a lot of the time. ;) And I know it might be hard to understand why I *do* read on despite that but it's a very long-standing relationship. ;) But omg, my rants against Martin have been getting stronger over the years...! However, it's a funny situation because I also am super-sensitive to these characters still and when I see them cheapened and distorted in the tv series it's hard to take.
random_seriousrandom_serious on April 20th, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
See, that's the thing! I keep watching to see what kinds of lenghts of bad judgment can the showrunners go. I, too, hate how HBO goes 'all tits all the time, except when there can be whores giving bj's and women generally mistreated' -route. The books *seem* dense, and 10 eps isn't much time to get through massive stories th multiple storyliness, and yet we get all kinds of carnality, and even when there is some information given, there is some ridiculousness like the time Littlefinger gave some speech while *couching* his employees to ply their trade... I just keep watching to see how stupid it gets. And, oddly, I want to know if Dany gets to queen of all things. Well, her or Cersei who gets the unfair treatment by both story(teller) and show, but I love that she has some backbone even she if horrid.

But, boy, is it nice to run into someone who acknowledges the sexism and misogynism in GoT! I mean, we all 'consume' media that is somehow problematic in one way or the other, and yeah, we need to 'divided-minded' to sort of withstand the thing that the things we like have less than perfect elements.

(I recently noted that GoT is misogynistic and sexist, and in the process I chewed out jon Snow and his utter amazement that the guy that raped and 'married' his daughters to produce more daughter-wives killed the sons -this, in a place that had only the rapist and the 'wives' present-. I also remarked how Jon only acted in horror after he realised that the sons were being killed -at the same time he barely blinked at all the rape-. In result, I got my first telling-to online. I apologised, and so did the other person, which was way cool, but still it stang: GoT wears its misogynism on its sleeve, and yet it's hard to confront the issue. Of course, it was madly bad form of me to criticize something someone loved, and with those turns of phrase, so yeah, I brougth it on myself...)

And now I've probably stepped over a line and being an asshole again by sharing this. To be fair the writer apologised after I did, and things are apparently cool -and I full well appreciate the apology, and again, I was out of line, but still I was kind of reeling, and as I saw that you had answered my comment about GoT, I kind of flinched. Apparently my rage over the problematic elements in GoTcan easily touch a nerve... but since it was you, I should have known better ;) Thanks for reminding me that liking something doesn't have to mean that we have to like or condone every element in the thing we like.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on April 20th, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, seriously there is tons cut out of the books! But Littlefinger's brothel-coaching is apparently ALL IMPORTANT. *eyeroll*

Dany is compelling in the tv series! Dany was the site of some of the worst misogyny in the books so I was pleased with some adjustments there. In that way I can appreciate the television decision making. However, Cersei's the opposite ... see it's amazing you describe her as having 'some backbone'. In the books, she really IS queen of everything!! At least she carries herself as if she is. And frankly it's far more powerful. She is unlikeable but I'm a fan of writers allowing their characters to BE unlikeable sometimes. Her power was really tangible in the books and it's so diluted here, I hate it :(.

Oh Jon ... well you have a sympathetic audience in me here. Because I hate the actor so much. And yes, the tv version REALLY emphasised the son-killing as the worst bit. In the books it's more subtle. We get Jon's internal perspective when he first finds out about the women, and he's uncomfortable from the very start. Then when he's there he observes it all at close hand and it's more like it all boils up in him to to the point where even though he *knows* they're supposed to turn a blind eye to it all, he can't, and the baby is just the tipping point. But here the tv series first of all wrote a clunky script around it and then handed it to that TERRIBLE actor, who couldn't convey shit, let alone subtleties of reaction. So it definitely skewed it more misogynisitcly than the original.

But I know how it is. People are passionate about what they love and it can be very challenging to have someone with a critical view of that character. I've shied away myself from posting about GoT for the same reason--I think my feelings could hit other people's nerves, and I probably wouldn't comment in someone else's journal post about it for that reason. But I just got to the point where I had to at least put my own feelings on record. :( Because it does get a LOT of adulation! And my own feelings are at odds...

It's always kind of a shock when something like that happens online, because in an ideal world we'd all be able to tolerate some criticism without taking it personally. But I know myself I'm sensitive around my very favourite characters, we're all human. Sometimes we don't know all the reasons why something is particularly special or important to someone--I try to remember that. Even when sometimes I'm all 'you like THEM???? SRSLY????!!!' ;p