Game Of Thrones: “A bad show disguised as a good one”– Part 1

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every single copy written by hand, in the old style

every single copy written by hand, in the old style

 

 

As I struggle to write this porn book, I thought you might enjoy an email from pastabagel.  The backstory is he refused to see it, thinking it was Lord Of The Rings again.  I told him I liked it, give it a chance.  He promised me attention to one full season.  Here is the result.

So while I disagree with him completely, sometimes you need a guy drunk on Haterade to show you things you wouldn’t have seen on your own.

 

— BEGIN EMAIL OF FURY AND WORMWOOD, BY PASTABAGEL ———–

 

   I watched the  season 1.  That the show is horrible is an objective fact not in dispute.  No one likes Game of Thrones.  What people like is the idea of it.  They like the idea of a show set in a medieval fantasy world that is more complex and adult than Lord of the Rings.  They like the idea of rich characters, byzantine intrigues, and stunning plot twists.  The success of the show rests entirely on its ability to give you the impression that it delivered on all those things without actually delivering on any of them.

Game of Thrones is written in such a confusing manner–an astoundingly thin plot driven almost entirely by deus ex machina papered over with an avalanche of characters, scenes, and, well,  words–that the viewer is by the end of each episode so bewildered that they are convinced that they just saw something complicated, intricate, and brilliantly plotted.  But Game of Thrones is simply a television version of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings.  Stare at one long enough, and you are convinced you can find coherent images among the splatters and streaks.  Likewise, the viewer–hereinafter referred to as “the victim”–is drowned in so much narrative noise that their brain sees coherent plot and character development points where there are none. To wit:

Season 1, Episode 4:

 

Theon Greyjoy : Couldn’t resist some northern ass ? If you like redheads, ask for Ros.
Tyrion Lannister : Come to see me off, Greyjoy ? Kind of you. Your master doesn’t seem to like Lannisters.
Theon Greyjoy : He’s not my master.
Tyrion Lannister : No, of course not. What happened here ? Where is lady Stark ? Why didn’t she receive me ?
Theon Greyjoy : She wasn’t feeling well.
Tyrion Lannister : She’s not in Winterfell, is she ? Where did she go ?
Theon Greyjoy : My lady’s whereabouts…
Tyrion Lannister : My lady ? Your loyalty to your captors is touching. Tell me, how do you think Balon Greyjoy would feel if he could see his only surviving son has turned lackey ? I still remember seeing my father’s fleet burn in Lannisport. I believe your uncles were responsible ?
Theon Greyjoy : Must have been a pretty sight.
Tyrion Lannister : Nothing prettier than watching sailors burn alive. Yes, a great victory for your people. Shame how it all turned out.
Theon Greyjoy : We were outnumbered 10 to one.
Tyrion Lannister : A stupid rebellion then. I suppose your father realized that when your brothers died in battle. Now here you are, your enemy’s squire.
Theon Greyjoy : Careful, Imp.
Tyrion Lannister : I’ve offended you. Forgive me, it’s been a rough morning. Anyway, don’t despair. I’m a constant disappointment to my own father and I’ve learned to live with it. Your next tumble with Ros is on me. I’ll try not to wear her out.

What happened in this scene?  How did the story advance?  How did the characters in the scene change?  Did the victim learn anything that matters?  We get the impression that honor is important to the people in the world, because Tyrion shames Theon with a reference to his father.  We get some vague reference to Westeros history in the line about the naval battle.  But that won’t matter (don’t bother to argue that it will later, I checked the GoT wiki’s, and I read the plot synopses of the books.  It never comes up again.)

This scene could have been rewritten like this:

Theon Greyjoy : I like whores and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Tyrion Lannister : Come to see me off, Greyjoy ? Kind of you. Your master doesn’t seem to like Lannisters.
Theon Greyjoy : He’s not my master.
Tyrion Lannister : Oh, but Lady Stark is?  How the mighty have fallen. Tsk tsk.  If only your father, the great Balon Greyjoy, could see you now.
Theon Greyjoy : Bite me.
Tyrion Lannister : I’d rather bite some whores. Come to think of it, there’s nothing else for me to do this episode, so I’ll go bang some whores.  Whores!

This scene is typical of the series.  There are only ever two characters saying anything of substance, even if they are in a crowd.  And information content is wrapped in endless lines of pretentious pseudo-Shakesperian “My lord, me Lady” drivel.  In fact, the only thing about this scene that is unusual is that it doesn’t include the words “bastard” or “coward.”  So I guess it will be up for an emmy.

But because every single scene–every one bar none–is about either shame, honor, or pride, the victim is convinced that the characters have depth.  This is a variant of the same problem that all the superhero movies have.  Batman is dark, so his character has depth.  No.  Batman is a one-dimensional character.  Darkness is his only characteristic.  Sometimes more dark, sometimes less, but like a number line his character only moves one of two directions.  Ok, two dimensions.  Likewise, in GoT, a given character is more or less valiant, or more or less arrogant, or more or less spiteful, or more or less deceitful. But those are all single dimensions, each assigned to different characters.  That’s how he gets away with 10000 characters.  Each one has one dimension, and by having so many his story represents 10000 dimensions.

What people continue to be drawn to in this show is the clan identity aspect of it.  The idea that who you are is entirely determined by your position in the clan/tribe/family whatever, and you get a label that goes along with that and that’s who you are forever and ever amen.  You can usurp someone else’s role, push your way into another position, but you are forever “the guy how should have been down there but pushed his way up to here.”  And people like this.  It’s warm and cozy in a renaissance faire sort of way.  I know exactly who I am by virtue of my title.  They like to be part of something with a clear position in the structure with a limited set of traits and attitudes you need to exhibit, and a very fixed course in front of you.  Oh, you are a whore?  Then you should relish being a whore!  Relish it and delight in it even when the lord you are with denigrates and looks down on you for it.    Know your role and inhabit it.  There is no will to power here, no living life like a work of art. Who wouldn’t want to be in the position of power to say to another man “Bite your tongue, bastard,” as long as you know that there is an entire social structure in place to prevent him from smashing a brick into your face immediately after.

And of course there is the portentous purple prose scattered throughout the series, just to inject the appearance of drama, without every actually writing any.  “Winter is coming…”  Well, it isn’t winter right now, so yes, presumably its coming, because of you know, seasons.  “I am the Master of Coin.”  The master of the coin?  Really?  You’re the master of the coins, are you?  Keep flipping your coins, I’d prefer to talk to the Treasurer.  You know, the guy we named that because he looks after all of our treasure?  “Night’s Watch”.  “Children of the Forest”. The “Common Thing of the Generic Noun”.  “Slaver’s Bay” is the name of the place where the people who still have slavery live.

All of the families have coats of arms, in case the victim was worried that the story would stray too far their idealized notions of Viking and Anglo Saxon history.  Despite the fictitious world and its made-up mythology, enough of the characters have perfectly plausible-sounding British names like Lannister and Stark, Welsh names like Arryn, Scandanavian names like Jojen, and completely made up foreign sounding names like Dothraki.  This is a world where history turns on the pivot of the Scottish highlands, and where there are no blacks or asians to shatter the illusion.  40% of the characters have red hair, but they are called “touched by fire”.  I can’t wait until a chinese guy shows up with fireworks, a compass, and paper money and blows their minds.

There really is nothing positive that can be said about this series that can’t also be said about other epic fantasies, like The Dark Tower, The Wheel of Time, or Lord of the Rings.  It has more characters than all of those, but so what? That’s only a good thing if you just want to escape inside a world that validates everything you want to believe is true and doesn’t challenge your thinking about anything.  Would Breaking Bad have been better if we had 3 extra seasons of subplot devoted to the intrigues of Skinny Pete?  Maybe we should learn more about Walter’s mother, say, 10-20 pages of script each episode?  What about Ted Beneke’s kids?  I need 400 pages about them, their romances, and snide remarks.  We need to flesh out the universe of the ABQ.

There aren’t as many characters in the story of Napoleon as there are in GoT.  There aren’t that many pivotal characters in the History of Western Civilization.  And I know this for a fact because we usually get through European history in a year of high school with a 400 page textbook.  Not six years and seven books written by an undateable man with a hard on for feudalism.

I find myself watching the show and saying “Ok, get to the point.”  And that’s precisely what the show is not about.  There is no point to get to.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  Westeros could be on another planet, or on Earth before the last ice age, or after an apocalyptic event in the remote future.  All are equally plausible and equally irrelevant.  The point of the show is precisely the excruciating scenes, that dance of shame and rank in a feudal kingdom unburdened Renaissance thought.

This is a bad show disguised as a good one.

 

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31 Responses to Game Of Thrones: “A bad show disguised as a good one”– Part 1

  1. Guy Fox says:

    I haven’t see the show, but this

    I find myself watching the show and saying “Ok, get to the point.” And that’s precisely what the show is not about. There is no point to get to. In the end, it doesn’t matter.

    sounds like every soap opera ever written.

    BTW, I miss Pastabagel and appreciate your relay service, but please tell him to come out from under his rock and post. He’s apparently got the time to write and the will to have it made public.

  2. JohnJ says:

    It’s about the journey, not the destination. (Full disclosure: I haven’t seen it or read the books.) This is probably why it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s not interested in going anywhere. I would imagine that the kind of people who like it are people who think that art doesn’t have to have a point.

    Which is why I would probably hate it too.

  3. ThomasR says:

    I read most of the first book before I got bored because nothing was happening. Later I watched one episode from the second season and got bored because nothing happened.

    I think Pastabagel’s critique (while a bit overblown) is accurate. This, I think, accurately diagnoses the problem: “Would Breaking Bad have been better if we had 3 extra seasons of subplot devoted to the intrigues of Skinny Pete?”

    Adding more characters will only be a good thing if they matter.

    • ThomasR says:

      And, just to show that I’m not inherently opposed to enormous books with hundreds of characters and literally thousands of side plots, I read the entire series of Malazan Book of the Fallen and loved it. LoTR is amazing, the Dark Tower was great, and the Wheel of Time was ok (like GoT, it got lost for a while).

      Honestly, my main objection to GoT is that it is nothing more than a political intrigue dressed up in new clothes. If you like petty politicking, then you’ll probably love the books and the show.

    • warriorchick1 says:

      Its the first book of a five book series that’s not finished. How much could happen when its an introduction. And you watched one random episode in the second season lol that’s just funny that you would use that as a point of it being boring. Not every episode can be action packed. Also the extra characters that are added do matter not only because many of the added characters play important roles but also for the same reason there are extras in movies. The main characters are not the only people that exist.

  4. Or says:

    Actually, I do wish they had spent time giving us a more substantial backstory on Walter White, and less time faking us out with foreshadowing implying that everybody was going to die when it was just fallen debris from a plane crash. His entire backstory: he sold his stake in Gray Matter before/after fucking his cofounder’s girlfriend/wife, and once upon a time he tutored a woman about the relative abundance of different elements in the human body… and the rest is history, folks!

  5. barrkel says:

    I’ve never watched Breaking Bad, nor any other current TV series other than GoT. I tend to only watch series that have already finished, so I can be assured of watching something complete.

    Nevertheless, I’ve been pressed into watching it by my GF. And it is a good show. It’s a good show precisely because of its lack of plot; because it doesn’t follow the deathly boring Hollywood “good guys win” (or, at least, “charismatic guys win”) predictability of almost everything else ever made in America. And of course, it’s not really made in America.

    The first episode seemingly kills a small child. That’s the first lesson that this is a different kind of TV show. Not long after, a major character – seemingly the main character – is killed off. After that, you know all bets are off; any character, no matter how important they seem to the “plot”, may die. And that makes their actions important in a soap-like way, rather than a story-arc way. It makes their lives more “real”, exactly because reality has no plot either.

    It many ways, it’s a facile trick; it’s a soap writ epically large. But soaps get large ratings not because they are “bad shows disguised as good ones”, but rather because they are a different kind of show, with a different kind of appeal. You have to judge them on their merits of the genre. And I suspect that’s what Pastabagel is really railing against, even though he knows it not; he thought he was watching a different genre.

    • barrkel says:

      I feel compelled to add that I found shows like Lost unwatchably boring, Sopranos was semi-decent but a bit of a bore and increasingly was just stylistic pablum, not far off Mad Men (which, in my mind, is already finished). The Wire was the best of a bad lot, and that was pretty patchy and overly preachy in many places. Just to let you know where I’m coming from.

    • AndrewSshi says:

      The thing is, though, that GRIM AND GRITTY ALL THE TIME doesn’t necessarily imply good or even original storytelling. Grimdark is basically what a thirteen-year-old boy thinks is good and original storytelling. Now then, PB is actually wrong about the overall thrust of things, but not for the reason you’re describing.

    • Guy Fox says:

      The soap-like importance you describe is, I think, called melodrama. Consider: had Darth Vader died without having turned on the emperor and wanting to express his pride in Luke to Luke, then it would have just been Good triumphs bloodily over Evil. But because there was that redemption, and Vader got another dimension, that was what made it compelling and distinguishable from a garden-variety action movie. It’s why Spock has to be half-human, and Data from TNG had to be so sophisticated as to aspire to humanity. But if it’s just stereotypes (Ranger vs. Dwarf vs. Berzerker vs. Wizard vs. Thief) vanquishing each other, then you got nothing.
      Might I recommend the latest vampire vs. werewolf flick or Arab TV dramas (Abu Dhabi & Syria put out the best)?

      • reignofbrain says:

        Game of Thrones is not spectacular. It doesn’t try to be concise and the books are an even bigger burden of verbosity. But adding 1000 1-D characters and all of sudden it is a simulation of your life. What you do is a sum of who you are and the situations that influence you – situations that are most of the time out of your control yet put into motion by the thousands of people who we know nothing about.

        Everyone is a Hero in the story of their life. Real life is not clear cut Hero’s jounery. You don’t get to choose where we are born and what problems we inherit. We don’t know when our journey will end, let alone finish. And Game of Thrones is able to convey this feeling fairly well by ending the lives of seemingly pivotal character, because real life favours no one.

  6. RobotBastard says:

    “They like to be part of something with a clear position in the structure with a limited set of traits and attitudes you need to exhibit, and a very fixed course in front of you. ”

    Which is a pretty classic nerd thing, actually. Despite their insistence that you should make your own path and define yourself for yourself, what they really want is to just be told who they are. Because that way they don’t have to worry that they’ve picked the wrong thing, that some other choice would have made them happier or fit them better. If someone picks out the pants for you, then it doesn’t matter if they’re too hot or they stain easily or they make your ass look fat. They were chosen for you, if they have problems it’s someone else’s fault.

    • AndrewSshi says:

      Thing is, this sort of lifeway isn’t being offered up as something awesome; it’s pretty clear that hey, this is what a late medieval court and its mentalities and ethics (such as they are) look like, and it’s terrible. It’s the same as showing us that Tony Soprano is a terrible person. If you come away from The Sopranos or Mad Men with fantasies of being Tony Soprano or Don Draper, you’ve 100% missed the point of both shows (as I believe that TLP pointed out several times). It’s the same with GoT. Almost nothing in GoT carries the feel that, man, this would be pretty nifty.

    • Face Bringer says:

      I would add that this is a classic jock thing, too. Sticking with a team because it’s your home team (especially if you follow that team obsessively) is similar with a nerd sticking to dwarven tanks in WoW. I would argue that Christians and other religious types think this way, too. Yes, I am a nerd who likes Game of Thrones, but that shouldn’t color this point.

      • RobotBastard says:

        It’s not a question of sticking with “your” team. It’s a question of having a team to stick with at all. The worst thing in the world for these people is the idea that there is no team. Even if it’s a terrible team that sucks, even if they’re the lowest man on the totem pole, being on a team is better than not.

        Not to say they won’t switch, if they think another team might be better. But if the alternative is solitude then they’ll stay right where they are.

  7. jmdubois says:

    How the hell is Jojen a ‘Scandinavian’ name?

  8. King Eternity says:

    I’m so confused by the blatant stupidity of the article that I’m concerned I’m missing something. Is there some meta at work here that I’m failing to pick up on?

    That conversation with Theon establishes that he is an outsider, the son of an enemy (and not just some political rival family, a seriously bad guy) and that Theon is confused and torn between his blood and his environment. It’s actually quite economical in establishing Theon’s character in that small conversation. Right? Isn’t that obvious? What am I missing?

    “…just to inject the appearance of drama, without every actually writing any.”
    Really? No drama? C’mon guys, let me in on the joke please.

    • Graufreud says:

      Yeah, I don’t really get the whining here. It’s just that you have to keep watching the series to see Theon’s arc develop. GoT has quite a few useless scenes (most of them involving Theon, incidentally), but this isn’t one of them.

  9. Herr Surth says:

    “What happened in this scene? How did the story advance? How did the characters in the scene change?”

    I would argue that this criticism (sans the too “obfuscated by tons of characters”) would fit Breaking Bad exactly. Rewatch season 1: Walter White has never transformed – he was always Heisenberg (i.e. a colossal asshole), the only thing that changes is to whom he is being an asshole (well, partly; he is ALWAYS an asshole to Jesse). The cancer and the meth are obviously unimportant, everyone’s figured that out, but the only development was going from “tries to assert his agency by randomly destroying a fellow douchebags car” (s. 1) to “tries to assert his agency by randomly opposing Jesse or Gus”. In both cases, even, he is “proven right” by the end of the episode by hackneyed writing so that the audience still cheers for him – which is why the douchebag comes back again and again in the episode and behaves extra douchebaggey, and which is why Walter’s retarded plans always work out. YOU SHOW ‘EM, HEISENBERG.

  10. TheOneDave says:

    Sorry this might be a bit long, and also sorry if I come off as not liking pastabagel, I do normally like his stuff – but my God, he couldn’t be a lot more off base on this. Let’s take the points in order:

    1. People only like GOT because it’s adult LOTR.

    This is a odd point that he makes a couple different times. As though just being as good as LOTR would be a bad thing. LOTR is the second best selling book of ALL TIME. Movies about it made decades after it’s release made approximately a shitzillion dollars… How is “adult LOTR” an insult?

    2. Dialogue is pointlessly long, and purposeless.

    I liked your trick with the Theon/Tyrion scene – look I can do it too!

    Act 3, Scene 1

    Hamlet: Should I kill myself? Well… maybe I shouldn’t.

    And… scene. The improvement practically leaps from the screen. If dialogue serves no decorative purpose, and the occasional dialogue flair can’t be used to draw someone emotionally closer to a character, why even have dialogue in a story at all? What’s wrong with; “And then Theon and Tyrion exchanged words concerning prostitutes, loyalty, and old battle, and parental disapproval.”

    That scene was a particularly poor choice since along with establishing character points like the tension in the Theon/Stark relationship and Tyrion’s morality (the sarcasm in the “burning soldiers” line) it also sets up Theon’s romantic idea of few against many (seizing Winterfell) foreshadows Tyrion giving the order to burn soldiers at Blackwater, and notes Tyrion’s frosty relationship with his father, one of the most important relationships in the story.

    3. All the characters are one dimensional.

    I grant that some are. What about Jaime pushing a little boy out a window then leaping into a bear pit to defend a women he has every reason to hate? What about Daenerys going from little more than a sex object for men to barter with to the most powerful woman (probably person) in the Free Cities? Arya’s ferocious hate for her enemies, but bond with the Hound? Jon Snow’s conflict between the Night’s Watch and the people over the Wall? If Eddard Stark and Joffrey Baratheon are cardboard cutouts they’re hardly representative.

    4. People only like it for the clan aspect. A defined role in society.

    That is an element of the appeal for 90% of popular fantasy.

    5. The titles are stupid, and the names are recognizable English, or Scandinavian, or they’re not…

    I don’t even understand this – dude what do you want him to name people? A series of random consonants?

    “I present the High Lord, Rfthnwsg!”

    You think is more pretentiously stupid than “Treasurer”. Can we split hairs a little more? And how does this critique not apply doubly to Tolkien?

    6. It’s all white people.

    This is a reasonable critique, though I’ll note it’s more HBO’s issue than Martin’s.

    7. The show doesn’t get to the point.

    That there is no point, is precisely the point. Martin is trying (you could argue how successfully) to present a picture of how real world power often works. Namely, that stupid inconsequential crap like who’s boning who and how someone feels about their dad can be a reason for the most consequential things in the world, if they happen to be things felt by powerful people. The capriciousness of it all is the message that he’s trying to send.

    Anyway, I gotta leave too quickly to think of an ending that isn’t totally anticlimactic, so again, I do like PB’s stuff generally, and hopefully this essay length comment doesn’t get me banned or hunted down and murdered or something…

    • RobotBastard says:

      “dude what do you want him to name people? A series of random consonants? ”

      Martin picked the names for a reason. He didn’t just use a series of random consonants. The question is, what does it mean that the names he picked are faux-Northwestern European, as opposed to faux-African or faux-Southeast Asian?

      “That there is no point, is precisely the point. Martin is trying (you could argue how successfully) to present a picture of how real world power often works. ”

      Except for the part where the first scene of the first book–like, the very first thing anyone experiences in this world–is that Monsters Are Going To Kill Us. Like, not some metaphorical potential, not some mysterious unknown, not some phantom menace used to keep the power structure in place. Actual monsters that are actually out there and actually eat you.

      Then we have dozens of thousands of pages where they never appear again.

      This would be as though there were a story about World War II, and in the first scene the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and the rest of the story is about the city council of downtown Omaha Nebraska.

      • Bonechimes says:

        Please stop. We darkies are not so helpless and lost that we need people like you to courageously fight for us against the shadowy menace that is fat white-haired fantasy writers.

        George R R Martin decided to write a story with a faux-European Middle Ages setting, probably because he wanted to, and he seems to have done more research into the topic than most other fantasy writers out there. I do not want, nor do I need him to arbitrarily shove in token blacks just to avoid hurting my feelings (or, more likely, the feelings of listless overly-educated whites who have decided to use our collective plight as a totem in the service of The Identity). And despite this, he still managed to devote a significant chunk of his later books to fleshing out the faux-Moorish culture in the setting far more than I had initially expected him to.

        Martin has made a series of books that have resonated with women, ethnic minorities and history majors more than any other piece of work in the genre, and as a minority history major and fantasy/sci-fi nerd who has always felt more than a little bit alienated by the shameless whitewashing that comprises most of the genres… deal with it?

        As far as schizobagel’s criticism re: the focus on tribalism, I hope he realizes that one of the whole points as the series progresses is just how sand and salt those pillars of identity really are. By the latest book, the Starks, one the oldest and most powerful family brands in the setting, is obliterated. Arya, Sansa and Bran find their freedom specifically by discarding their family brand and developing their own skills and personalities independent of it. The Lannister brand is quickly tearing itself apart, and in the service of maintaining its brand has inadvertently chased off its most valuable and dangerous member. Etc.

        I do understand how exciting it is to identify as The Contrarian, however, so perhaps I should cut pasta some slack?

        • King Eternity says:

          Haha, wow! One of the most insightful and useful comments I’ve ever seen on this site, zero pretentious wankery and an evil burn to boot? Give this guy a job!

          Not that I’m suggesting you don’t already have a job ;P

        • honky says:

          fucking boom. as an illiterate overly hand wringing apologetic white majority might say.
          thankyou for a little (insightful) perspective on what matters…

  11. walruss says:

    I’m a huge fan of pointing out flaws in even fiction I like, especially if those flaws help me understand myself better as a person.

    And certainly Game of Thrones (the show at least) is whitewashed, often exploitative, and often fails at pacing. It’s an ambitious project, and a project that assumes that its audience will be white males. Martin’s books have faults of their own, but it is his characters and plot points that give the show any whisper of broader appeal, however small that appeal may be. If there wasn’t a pre-published book to keep them in line, I’m sure that HBO would have focus-tested all that mess out, and the show would be worse for it.

    That said, the majority of the criticisms here fall flat. The critique of the scene between Theon and Tyrion is especially off-base. I happened to think that scene was a little too ham-fisted, but nobody ever does exposition in televisions and movies right, and the problem with producing a show based off of A Song of Ice and Fire (or any sufficiently complex fiction) is that there is just so much exposition. But claiming that we learn nothing new about the world from that scene is utterly ridiculous:
    1) We learn there is yet another character: Balon Greyjoy.
    2) We learn that he is prone to rebellion, that he isn’t above dirty tricks (burning a fleet while it sits in port), that he’s dangerous, and that he doesn’t play the odds.
    3) We learn that Balon Greyjoy is still alive, and that his son, Theon, is a well-kept prisoner of the Starks.
    4) We learn about the contempt Theon has for his position, and the way other people in the world view him.
    5) We see, first hand, that Tyrion and Theon both cover up for their insecurities via womanizing, and perhaps are invited to make a comparison between the two characters.

    This scene alone sets the stage for Theon’s reunion with his father in season 2, his father’s unprovoked attack against the Starks, Theon’s inner conflict about whose side he’ll take, and how his insecurities will push him too far (and his mannerisms, which are obviously not included in your text analysis tell us that he’s too big a wimp to follow through).

    There is actually some truth to the idea that the “nuanced” characters are often underdeveloped (especially in the show). Most characters begin as stock fantasy tropes and either are changed and moved in some way by the events of the story, or they refuse to change and die. But after a time, “character who subverts his trope” can easily become a trope of its own if the author isn’t careful. That’s likely why the books begin to break down after book 3 or 4. It’s certainly why the show, which doesn’t have infinite pages (and apparently an infinite time limit), fails so often to deliver interesting characters.

    And the “flowery dialogue” is silly. The only way it could sound sillier is if they didn’t use “flowery dialogue.” Sometimes you just deal with genre conventions because they take so much effort to break away from. That said, if the worst I have to put up with from an otherwise good television show is some butchered Victorian, I’ll call it a win.

  12. LanaStark108 says:

    I’d quite disagree. Game of Thrones is my absolute favourite Tv Show of all time. I guess this is because I have read all of the books and I am in love with the plot. The awesome thing about the series is that there are so many prophecies and plots and twist. And if you haven’t watched at least up to episode 9 of season 1 than I guess you would have reason to find the series boring. But trust me….it gets Better. George R.R Martin, who is the author of the book the series is based on, is an excellent author and this series that he has written is full of mixed awesomeness. The fantasy genre in the series is incredible and the thing about the series is that you never know what will happen. It’s not predictable at all. Even the villains win and the heroes die. Even if the character is a well loved one, they aren’t afraid of killing them off. And of course, it isn’t a good thing to have your favourite character die, but it made me want to continue reading or watching the series to the end. The prophecies in the story are so serial and they all make sense so I would most definitely praise George on his imagination and plots. It’s also fantastic that the show does not stray too far from the books as well. The show does have very explicit scenes but if your mature and diligent enough, try to ignore them. As George R.R Martin says
    “I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off,”
    So as you can probably tell, I am very passionate about this series and I would seriously recommend that you continue watching. But of course, it all depends on what you like.

  13. lumzi23 says:

    Spoilers

    “By what right does the wolf judge the lion?”

    I was watching the first two episodes or so of season 2 after a long hiatus from the series when I found this review. Reading through it I was starting to see myself agree on some subconscious level. The content of the episodes seemed to validate with the arguments he was making: Pointless violence and horror “just ‘cuz,” pointless everything, one dimensional characters etc.

    However, even then I realised that some of his arguments were just plain stupid. “Not as many characters in the history of western civilization?” “Only 400 pages?” Well there aren’t as many pivotal characters in Harry Potter and we got 7 books out that series. The Bible has more and it is basically one Book! Is it one or the other.

    “One dimensional Characters?” Maybe.

    Maybe not.

    I am sorry but if Jamie Lannister is 1D, then so is a Nonahedron. So is the bloody moon! If the Lion and Wolf line (and the entire scene leading up to it) didn’t gut you like a fish you are made of stone. If you can watch Game of Thrones up to that point and not find anything, SOME little thing, that is superlatively worthwhile and interesting then, plainly speaking, you don’t know what you are talking about or have other issues with the show (likely relating to its horribly violent and debauched nature) which is fair I suppose: lots of people don’t know what they are talking about. :p

    No really, you don’t know what you are saying. You may say it better that most (better that me) but are talking nonsense. Yes, yes, opinions, but for real. Dude.

  14. warriorchick1 says:

    I don’t know how you can say something has no point if you haven’t watched or read the books. If you read all the books the point becomes clear that’s the point. I’m sorry but I don’t want to read a book where in the first chapter it tells me the point of the book. Also if you read the books you realize that some of the characters that seem pointless do have importance. Like beric dondarion he make seem like he’s taking up space but he comes back in the 3rd book with an important role. Or little finger why is he in this book but little does anyone know that he’s one of the most dangerous characters in the book. And theon may seem usless but if wasn’t for him bran would’ve never left to discover his destiny. And making fun of terms like winter is coming or the children of the forest again you have to read the books to understand what they mean. Winter is coming is the slogen used by the starks to represent how serious a family they are. And also the seasons in the game of thrones are not normal. Summers last years and so do winters. And the children of the forest isn’t even a term they are a race of people that look child like. Please excuse the author for being original. And I’m sorry but I never knew soap opera like stories to have dragons and creatures that are overcome with greyscale, undead, people that can take over animals bodies, creatures that look like children but live for hundreds of years, people that can shapeshift, and a man that can see the world through trees. Not to mention the army of ice creatures that can only be killed with dragon glass. Sure that sounds like a story with no point and so much like a soap opera. A word of advice read the book before you form your opinion cause its like saying you hate apple even though you’ve never even tried them.

  15. sadash says:

    Its complete nonsense! Watch Legend of the seeker…waaaay more interesting and amazing. But had less of a marketing budget then HBO series. It is free on Hulu and to buy on Amazon
    http://www.hulu.com/legend-of-the-seeker after 7 8 episodes… It was THE BEST SHOW I HAVE SEEN. And I work in the industry:-)

  16. Youngnastyman says:

    I’ll admit that I love game of thrones. I know the show isn’t perfect and I don’t blame people for hating it. However, this guy types utter nonsense. The title of this should be: “Bad criticism disguised as insightful”.
    “An astoundingly thin plot driven almost entirely by deus ex machina…” It’s a building plot and it’s far from thin. He may not like the story arcs, which is fine, he may not be able to follow them, which is also fine, but then to call the plot “thin” because one of those reasons is just stupid. Saying the plot is almost entirely driven by deus ex machina, is even more stupid. I’m guessing that he wasn’t able to follow most of the plot (everything seems to be coming out of nowhere then), or he doesn’t know what a deus ex machina is. There’s a few in GoT, but not very many.
    Also, the example he provided shows me he just didn’t understand most of it. They were building Theon’s arc (maybe a bit clumsily) for what happens in the next season. Yes I know.. Hard enough to keep track if stuff carries over from episode to episode, let alone from season to season.
    Then he goes on pretending to know why people like GoT: “the clan identity aspect”. Really? He didn’t like the plot, so he thought that couldn’t be the reason why people liked it, and thus he came up with that? That’s laughable…
    He hates GoT, we get it. I don’t care about that, but giving stupid reasons that don’t hold up, so he can have an excuse for his hatred is just.. typical of a hater really. Look, I can do his little trick too: “Jesse Pinkman is a 1d character. All he does is whine and do stupid shit so that Walter can solve it .” We all know it isn’t true, and Breaking bad is much better than that, but it is exacty what he’s doing with GoT.
    It might not have to be the show per se that he hates. Perhaps he likes another show better and feels like he needs to break down everything that comes close to that show, convincing himself and others that that show still is the best thing ever made. It’s not very far fetched seeing the time he put into these e-mails, he clearly betrays an obsessive nature. Perhaps he just decided to hate GoT beforehand because of its popular following.. Whatever the reason for his hate, he should learn to express it clearer, or atleast.. more honestly.

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