Watched the first 4 ep this weekend and I have to say it went far beyond my expectations. The 4th episode ended on such a high note, can't wait for the rest.
"The night is dark and full of terrors."
This is definitively the best series ever...
Ever since starting to read the books I'm not really all that amped to watch the series. I'm just about finishing up with book 1, and I think I'll pick up the series again once I'm done with the second book.
Reading the one book while watching the series is also getting my confused. The other night I watched the new episode, and just after it read again. I picked the book up again in a part where both Bran and Robb was in Winterfell, then couldn't understand what the hell Robb was doing back there so suddenly. Then I remembered I was reading the first book.
I'm also finding that reading the books gave me quite a bit more insight into characters in the series. My opinion on quite a few have changed, and those I liked previously I no longer like quite as much. Robert Baratheon being one of the characters I changed my mind about most.
Last edited by Zoop; 06-05-2012 at 12:54 PM.
Heh, Game of Thrones season 2 drinking game.
I'm yet to watch anything past episode 2, actually. I really should catch up.
Okay, so I bought the Season 1 DVD set after seeing all the recommendations in the Series thread, and I have to say, I don't really get it. Does it get better after the first season?
The only good highlight for me so far, has been Peter Dinklage himself. I don't get what the big deal is with the rest of it though, seems like standard fantasy fluff (with gratuitous nudity).
So does it get better, or am I better off just leaving this in my "not for me" file?
To answer your question, though, if you didn't enjoy the 1st season, don't hold your breath for anything different in the second.
Oh, and by 'fantasy fluff, are you referring to the genre as a whole, or to the typical fantasy television series?
To digress slightly: I am a writer myself, so I typically don't like the fantasy (and sci-fi) genre in general because I feel it encourages lazy writing (e.g. explaining things away by saying "it's magic" or "spacial anomolies" and the like), unless it's pulled off really well; but that's not really a reflection on the show itself, just my personal peeve about those genres. I think they have the potential to be interesting, but they rarely are (in my experience, anyway).
As a fantasy show, I think it is competent enough, and it doesn't go over the top with the silly stuff (read: magic, monsters and general silliness),which is good, it's just... nothing spectacular. It reminds me of the series Rome, but it feels more like a Rome-lite. The show seems far too smug and self-satisfied with its over-the-top, ridiculous dialogue, especially when it comes to the back-room politics, and most especially with the gratuitous swearing (how many times is the word "this word was filtered, so er... male chicken" mentioned? Is that really necessary? All the time? Really?). If you put Rome's dialogue (the shows are very similar in theme) next to this, GoT really stinks up the place. I really just don't feel the show is well written, and the story is extremely formulaic and predictable.
Maybe I got caught up in the hype, but I was bored for the first 4 or 5 episodes. My interest started piquing at the midway mark, and then kinda died out again at the end.
Dinklage is awesome as usual, and I feel his character is the show's only real strength. It doesn't pull punches with the character being a little person in a medieval setting, with the responsibilities someone of his standing has, and the character is genuinely interesting and likeable. I also felt that Khal Drogo was very competently acted, and the character and his whole situation added something different and unique (I'm a sucker for neat ideas regarding diverse cultures), but I quickly lost interest in the whole Dothraki situation when he died. I don't like the Khaleesi character at all; she's poorly acted, the character's development is really oddly paced (you hate him, now you love him, GO!), and to top it off, she's extremely annoying. Her brother's death was a nice come-uppance moment, but I attribute this to Khal Drogo being awesome, rather than anything to do with the Taer...Tar..those dragon people themselves..
Sean Bean is Sean Bean, always good to watch, but his character is a very typical fantasy "white knight", the one guy who everyone can count on to do the right thing... always. The fact that he ends up as a martyr just rubs salt into the wound. In a word, boring.
I don't care a whit about any of the other characters, none of them stand out at all, except Joffrey who we're very obviously all supposed to hate, which I think was also handled clumsily.
I think Arya's character has potential, but it seems kind of random whether or not she's important to the story at all (though what happens to her at the end is at least promising).
To sum up, I don't think the show is "bad", per se, it's just that, for me personally, it's nowhere near deserving of the praise it gets. I get that it's somewhat unique in a market saturated with unfunny sitcoms and boring drama series, but other than the fact that "omg it's an RPG on TV!", I just don't really see any reason to recommend it to anyone. *shrugs*
Last edited by KimmyKae; 06-05-2012 at 06:14 PM.
You know, I actually agree with you on most of your points. But for some reason, the show just exudes a sort of, I don't know, charm? And that's quickly catapaulted it to being my favourite on show on TV at present. Perhaps it's because I'm a complete fantasy noob, so everything that's taken for granted by most people comfortable with the genre is held up on a pedestal by me. Either way, I love the show, and I love the characters, especially the "baddies". I put that in inverted commas because, well, it's hard to define 'bad' in a show like Game of Thrones. With the exception of Joffrey, he's a stone cold bastard.
Season 2 is more of the same, but there's less emphasis on world-building and more placed on introducing new characters to the fold, as well as exposing us to more of the setting. I'm certainly enjoying it more than season 1, because the show hit the ground at a world-record beating gallop.
Ironically, I thought the show was pretty good due to the fact that it wasn't always predictable. Martin often did the exact opposite of what I was expecting to happen, and it was often stuff that I hated him for. In the end, even though I hated the twists, it's what set the story apart for me from others.
Then again, different strokes for different folks. I've just not really encountered anyone who wasn't mad about the show before.
Last edited by Zoop; 06-05-2012 at 06:34 PM.
I will though, without the discussion getting too tangential, take slightly outraged offence at the above statement. Yes, I did note that you were clear in pointing out that excellence can be found within the scifi and fantasy genres, but I take issue with how rare you seem to think these examples are. If you're basing that generalisation on your, by your own admission, experience, you are most unfortunately missing out on a plethora of superlative writers and novels. There are writers currently working within those genres who are doing far more to advance the art of literature than almost any other fictional subset I can think of. I'll hold myself back from inundating you with names, but I'm seriously tempted!To digress slightly: I am a writer myself, so I typically don't like the fantasy (and sci-fi) genre in general because I feel it encourages lazy writing (e.g. explaining things away by saying "it's magic" or "spacial anomolies" and the like), unless it's pulled off really well; but that's not really a reflection on the show itself, just my personal peeve about those genres. I think they have the potential to be interesting, but they rarely are (in my experience, anyway).
I hear and completely understand the balance of your criticisms. I'm sure much of it originates from the difficulty of adapting the books to television. Concessions are made, and the medium dictates an entirely different set of rules when it comes to plot and pacing, and I'd agree there have certainly been missteps. It's also equally difficult for me to comment on the series as a whole, since I've read the novels far in advance. Knowing the intricacies of the plot, the future of the world, and having had the benefit of getting to know the characters as Martin intended, has meant that much of that knowledge, and bias, has transferred to the series.
Still, I'm actually going to go back on what I said earlier. Based on what you've said, you may actually enjoy the 2nd season.
My point of contention was merely the lazy writing the genres inspire, rather than any particular rules that are or are not adhered to by particular authors.
I think the series is good, but I don't think it's revolutionary. But then again, it's not bringing me nearly as much enjoyment as the novels are.
One of the primary reasons the Song of Ice and Fire books really sucked me in is because I love low fantasy, and it provided a really high quality read in that regard. Still not entirely happy with the presence of dragons, because those generally disinterest me (could link it to your lazy writing perception), but I'm a huge fan of the literary saga.
I do question some of your perceptions, such as Sean Ben's character, who admits to the false accusations of being a traitor prior to being executed - thus generally bypassing a lot the Martyr title.
Of course, I've not watched the series in it's entirety, so it's quite possible that a lot from the literary fiction was just lost in translation - considerably so in regards to motivation, though I make no assumptions that you would enjoy the source material any more.
Out of interest, as an aside - do you have strong perceptions on Genre Fiction versus Tie-in Fiction? Or do you generally avoid any fiction that's speculative/fantastical?
Edit; Woah, ninja'd in an odd way.
Sudden change of mind due to your mentioning of the characters you either enjoy or see potential in, a far less predictable story, and the introduction of new characters you may also find to your liking. It's only five episodes in, but it is in my humble opinion, the stronger of the seasons.
I have no aversion to any fiction, provided it is well-written and free of any attempts to absolve the writer of his duty to reach a satisfying conclusion by using a deus ex machina, or something similar.
As I said, I am not a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, because they've never appealed to me.
I'm open to suggestions though, if you've a recommendation.
Well, considering your lack of interest/appeal towards the genre, it may be tricky to recommend things I (we) enjoy. One may recommend something we enjoy, only for you to dislike it, while not thinking to recommend something else you may enjoy considerably.
I'm tempted to recommend the Song of Ice and Fire books, since many (if not most) of your dislikes regarding the series are addressed within the original fiction - and magic only starts to creep into the franchise by the second novel, and even then it's mostly a background element to the more important human interaction.
Anathem was a good read, I could risk recommending that. Speculative Science Fiction, but certainly not lazy. "Major themes include the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and the philosophical debate between Platonic realism and formalism." - to give a small taste.
And Perdito Street Station is another very interesting novelization - low science fantasy, and brutal.
But yeah, I'd have no idea how one such as you may enjoy them. *shrug*
On a related note, to those who read all the novels, how do you feel about the first one?
I've actually been finding it pretty boring. I put it down to me already knowing everything that happens in it, but I'm not ruling out the possibility that it simply isn't all that great. It feels a lot like its only purpose is to set the scene for the later books.
KimmyKae, I'd highly suggest you watch at least the first three episodes of S02 to see if your mind doesn't change any. I say the first three, because the first two are important, but they don't do anything spectacular, merely introducing new characters and storylines to bring viewers up to date. The fourth is where the series really started picking up speed for me, but the third one also comes close.
As has been said, though, GoT is nothing revolutionary. I just deeply admire it for Martin's attitude of doing whatever the hell he pleases. I know you don't agree on the point, but I found the scene where Ned Stark dies to be almost as hard-hitting as Gandalf's death in LotR. Only difference is that with Gandalf it evoked sad feelings, but with Ned it evoked pure anger. I've never really had such strong feelings of anger evoked in me by the actions of fictional characters, so even though I hated it when I saw it the first time, it was pretty much one of the bigger highlights of S01 for me.
KimmyKae, I don't normally enjoy fantasy but I love the Song of Ice and Fire. In as much as the vulgarity of the series adaptation comes across as unnecessary; Martin has created a rather brutal world of morally grey characters. For me the surprise in this world doesn't come from anything fantastical but rather how we are led through 'battles' without the usual good versus bad structure.
I couldn't even finish The Fellowship of the Ring, as a comparative sort of fantasy, so I would definitely recommend all the books. They also provide way more insight into the series. Even if the series is quite a faithful adaptation.
Which one should I get? I want to get the cheaper one but I'm not sure :(
What are the differences between these two sets?
Option 1 only has 4 books.
Option 2 has 5 books, in a collector's box collection.
I've been looking at the more expensive option myself, and I think it's pretty awesome value for money.