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Game of Thrones, HBO series

Daenerys' wedding night was... rather worse on screen than it was on the page. But in retrospect -- considering Dany's whole life has basically been child abuse -- I'm glad they didn't pretty it up. It really should be awful. (In the books she's thirteen. And winds up having a great time. Which is not good.)

Lena Heady as Cersei (the queen who's screwing her brother, for those not yet able to keep track) is good so far, as is the woman playing Catelyn (Mama Stark). Not enough Peter Dinklege/Tyrion yet.

Knowing what's coming makes all this rather more intense, which is interesting.

Edited to add: HBO's already renewed the show on the strength of the opening night ratings... wow.
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My understanding of the wedding night scene in the book was that even though she was forced into the marriage, her "barbarian" husband was at least trying to be sensitive to her feelings. His asking of "no" was to make sure she was ok with it (that part didn't even make sense in the show). This basic courtesy was more than she ever got after a lifetime of being treated as her brothers' property, so she at least tried to go along with it.

In the show it's just kinda rape-y, and I'm guessing 'cause they just don't have time to do nuance on a shot this dense with characters and plots.
O.K. my problem with the premier of "Game of Thrones" is very simple.

My fucking cable went out TWICE during the recording. I didn't know it until yesterday.


Obviously, I have no idea what I did see. There was one pale white, think gal who was marrying the barbarian. I recall she always looked unhappy and didn't say much.

I'll find out when it's repeated. This is HBO, in this week they'll be repeating it I am sure. I have a real advantage if I can find it again before Sunday
I think they're airing it like crazy for exactly reasons like this, hyp, but that might only have been Monday.

The girl you're thinking of is Daenerys (Dany) Targaryen, and she's always unhappy because she's had absolute shit for a life. Getting married off and raped is just the latest....
I have a real advantage if I can find it again before Sunday

Hypatia, if you get HBO, you probably also get HBO OnDemand, in which case you can just look it up in the OnDemand menu (Premium channels --> HBO --> Series) and watch it at your convenience.
Just saw the second one. To me it felt stronger than the first, but much of the strength lay in the foreshadowing, so I don't know how other people felt about it.

It does seem, however, that something important is missing: Jon Snow's direwolf. I know he'll be back but at the moment the albino wolf is missing.

Title sequence is growing on me. As is Tyrion -- the slapping scene and the books-as-whetstones scene were fantastic.
Before I saw one second of this show I just assumed Tyrion would be the favorite character amongst viewers, especially those who haven't read the book, because he's an amazing actor and he's the underdog.

If I wasn't reading the book (almost done!) I would probably have found some of this episode boring (I don't love animals enough to be sad when they die on TV like so many people I know).

Favorite part was the dead butcher's son. I liked how that while Ned was upset by that, he wasn't TOO upset. One thing I appreciate about the book is that it reminds us that while these powerful people play their war and politics, it's the regular people that get screwed over.
A theme Martin doesn't abandon. It's worth remembering that Tyrion slaps his nephew around for not paying his respects, and then walks into the hall and demands breakfast.

And yet Jory -- Ned's henchman, with no lines in this one -- has that beautiful/sad moment with the Stark girls. Ordered to get them to bed, he hugs them first, and (if you've read the books) you remember that he's known them since they were born, and probably loves them like he would his own kin.

They seem to be getting a lot of little details right, which I appreciate, and adding a couple more that work pretty well too. So far the absence of Ghost is the only major fault I've got.
I think the Ghost thing is way too nitpicky. There are a lot of wolves, each that need some screen time to reflect their personality in relation to their owners, and two of them have to get gone by end of the 2nd episode.

Ghost will almost definitely get screen time during Jon's time at the Wall, which- and I'm totally guessing here- will probably get shoe-horned into just one episode.

My nitpick is pretty much the entire Dhaenerys/Drago thing. It all just looks... silly. I mean it's all silly 'cause it's fantasy, but this dragon-girl amongst the Mongols bit is simply not translating well on the screen for me. I think a lot of it has to do with the sexual element, which played corny while reading it and that aspect of it is magnified when visualized (and mangled).

At least the girl is really pretty though, so there's that.
I'll be trying to get to episode 2 this weekend, if there is time.

As one who did not read the books, I admit I can tell I am missing a lot of subtlety. I have a lot of "how did they get there/what's up with those two?" moments. The characters are a bit stereotypical for fantasy, but it's easier to take them seriously than in most fantasy I've read or seen.

It's definitely fantasy (not my favorite genre) but I haven't laughed at it yet, and that is a good sign. I think this is one that will keep me watching for awhile, if only to see if I can eventually figure out this story. What is up with the Wall? You send your prisoners there, and yet have volunteers? You can't retire from this job, I take it, or have any kind of family? Why wouldn't criminals just walk away or not care much about the job? And why would a family consider it honorable service? I get that the guy may not have really known his peers would be criminals, but why wouldn't his family have told him?

I will predict that many characters will die before I'm much aware that they were there. It is a very large cast. And I'm very bad with names.
Well, I can answer a few of your questions about the Wall: sometimes people have non-criminal reasons to get away from home. Jon, for instance, knows that he'll never rise any other way, because of his bastard birth -- but in the Night's Watch, no one cares if you're a bastard. Or at least no one's supposed to. Also it used to be a much, much more honorable service -- because it used to matter much, much more. The Starks have sent a lot of their family to the Wall, and Benjen (Ned's brother/Jon's uncle) is just the latest in that tradition, which Jon is trying to carry on, even if he's not (officially) a Stark.

As to why no one runs away... well, we've already seen one guy from the Watch run, and he got killed for it. The main reason is that behind the Wall you have the Starks, which applies in a few other ways, too. There's a really close relationship between Castle Black (the headquarters for the Watch) and Winterfell.
The reason deserters get killed is because they make a vow. These kinds of vows is a major theme in this saga:

- Members of the Watch make a vow to serve for life, remain celibate, etc. They're supposed to only have allegiance for the Watch because anything else would be a distraction. If they have families, other political ambitions, property, etc, who's going to protect everyone else from all the monsters out there?
The fact that they lost some cred over the millenia is similar to the Rangers in B5 between Valen and the final Shadow war: they're "honorable" but most people kinda don't care about 'em, but then it turns they should have all this time.

- Jaime Lannister, the sister-fucker/kid-mutilator, is resented as a "king slayer" because he was a member of the king's body guard corps, and therefore had to break an oath to kill him, even though that same king was everyone's enemy. That's why he's hated for helping them win their own war.

- That knight that serves the dragon brother/sister amongst the Mongolian-types, he's kinda stuck there because he swore allegiance to their house and they're his rulers, even though they're stuck in the middle of nowhere.

So I finished the book last night and if there's one thing I could say about it, it's f'n LONG. And my god there's 6 more. Now I remember why I stopped with this genre a while back. I'll probably take the 2nd installment with me on vacation next month.
I'm reading book one now, too, after a long hiatus from fantasy. But from what I'm seeing on HBO so far, this is fairly different, and really good stuff!
You make a good case for the books, GKE, if you still want to read another. And it gives the series a potentially long run, if it's a hit on HBO.

Thanks for the explanations, it really helps. Me, at least. I'll rewatch episodes after I've seen a few, too, and likely pick up on more. I'll also concentrate better since my workload will go down significantly.

I really hate animals in tv/movies being hurt or killed. And it's not like a good cry over a sentimental movie (phooey on any who laugh at us "criers" :p). Should I stick with the second episode, skip it all together, or what?
We're holding out hope for it eventually not being depressing.

Incidentally, Martin finished writing the fifth book yesterday, so the series marches on.

I wimped out. I didn't watch the last 10 minutes of the second episode. :)

The series will keep me watching as I decide if I just don't want to watch another series with this much violence and testosterone in it. :)

The other thing that might not work for me in this: for a male-dominated storyline, they have some interesting female characters, but in a kind of limited way. But they haven't gotten much to do, the characters still feel like they are being introduced before they are devloped too much al over the place. So far the children are the more interesting group of characters to me than the adults.

If they are killed off before they become interesting, I'll know what kind of series it is planning to be. If not, this could have potential.
Best actor on the show: Arya's. Holy moly this girl is a find.

Ok so we also got Littlefinger (Governor Carcetti!) and Arya's fencing teacher.

I know I bitch about the fast pace and the need to condense everything but there were three instances where that really stuck out:

1. Starks' arrival to King's Landing and Ned learning the the treasury is broke. That was like: "Let's have a tournament but we're ok oh no the end." Learning your entire kingdom is ruined financially would be a HUGE revelation to Ned (and it's treated as such in the book) but because of the rushed need to get to other stuff it's just... there.

2. They had Tyrion break up the gang-up on John Snow instead of one of the Watch, as part of accelerating John Snow's rise to full on Watch member (we're already getting Sam next week according to commercials). This was expected though.

3. The stuff with Daenyres and her brother was not just rushed but clunky. I didn't understand why she stopped everyone, and they didn't clarify why making him walk was such a big deal, though they might do that next week when his whole angle plays out.

The scene with the king talking shit at everyone and Jaime's "let them all burn," I don't think that was in the book. If not, that's a smart scene to add, helping establish what's what in this world, because it's about to expand even further.

Varys casting is pretty good. Can't wait to see who they get for daddy Lannister.

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