Friday, May 3, 2013

A mid season reflection of A Game of Thrones that's chock full of spoilers

This really was not the "Epic" that I expected from the fight at
the Fist of the First Men and it still kind of pisses me off. However,
I know they have budget constraints. I suppose the whole severed
horse heads lying in a pattern in the zombie wasteland snow was
kind of creepy but couldn't they have done a little battle?
We're already halfway through season 3 of HBO's adaptation of A Game of Thrones and naturally, I have a few thoughts. Once I got past my initial disappointment from the season opener (called "Valar Dohaeris") I settled in to see that the episode actually did have quite a few gems. Sure, the whole White Walker scene at the end of season 2 really made me expect something epic. What I got was a fat Samwell Tarley running through some snow (how does he stay fat with no food around?) and then a quick cut to other characters...mmm okay. That was one of the best scenes in the book, but I guess if you wanna go cheap.... However, I really loved the juxtapositions in this episode which is how the cinema is different than the book. In cinema, you can show a scared Tyrion Lannister peering through bars at his sister the queen regent and then cut to a similar scene with a scared Joffrey in Flea Bottom peering through bars at the future queen Margery Tyrell as she wins over everyone with her gifts and her charm. A subtle yet awesome way of showing the power of the women in the world of the Iron Throne done easily with film; not so easily with print.
The Tyrells are the only family that's got any money and resources anymore.
I really like this family. I'd want to live in Highgarden if I was forced to choose
a place in Westeros. 1) It's warm and 2) the Tyrell's by all accounts are clever
and good rulers of the people (unlike the Lannisters who completely suck).
In episode 2 "Dark Wings, Dark Words" the HBO adaptation gives us the evolution of character. Brienne overcomes Jaime who used to be the best swordsman in Westeros. It's great foreshadowing for when he gets his hand cut off (further relegating him to a "has been"). Robb angers Lord Karstark by attending the funeral of his grandfather on Catelyn's side at Riverrun. So basically you see Robb is losing all of his support by being a good son. And Sansa finally gets some courage by confiding with the Tyrell's about what a monster Joffrey is. The Tyrell's aren't stupid, and truthfully, if I had to choose a house to ally with myself, it'd be with them. I especially love the evolution of Margery because she manipulates Joffrey like the horny and naive teenage boy that he is.
In episode 3 "Walk of Punishment" we pretty much see what power gives you in Westeros (and it's the ability to make everyone else miserable around you, which is technically joy by Westerosian standards). As a side note: is that why all these damaged people want to be king? So they can order everyone else around? Cause from where I'm standing, being king in Westeros really sucks. Anyway, Tywin orders Littlefinger (who really wants to bone Sansa--yes, Littlefinger is a grotesque but conniving man) to marry Lady Arryn (the hag that had the six-year old kid breastfeeding off her in season 1), Tywin makes Tyrion the Master of Coin, Mance Rayder decides that Jon Snow will scale the Wall with some other Wildlings, and Sam witnesses Gilly give birth to a son which he knows will die if Craster gets his mitts on the poor baby boy (Craster has got some deal with the white walkers to feed them baby boys in exchange for them leaving him alone). Oh and let's not leave out poor Theon who is being tortured because he really does deserve it. Daenerys makes a deal to buy an army of 8000 Unsullied...the best fighting warriors in the world, and it completely sets up what happens next week.
Episode 4 gave us this gif, which is totally a win in my book.
Episode 4 called "And Now His Watch Is Ended" is my favorite thus far this season, mostly because of the scene where Daenerys meets with Kraznys to complete the trade of a dragon for the Unsullied army. It goes bad for the arrogant and stupid Kraznys when Daenerys orders the Unsullied to sack the city, killing their former masters, and reclaiming Drogon as her own (the biggest dragon). Sure Commander Mormont dies, but it's completely overwhelmed by what happens in Dany's storyline. If anyone deserves to be queen of Westeros, it's her and I hope it happens. She has compassion, and I got to admit: the Targaryens (despite there being only one left in the world) are a power to behold. And at long last, we get the story of how Varys "The Spider" got cut and was made a eunuch. It's where I picked up the phrase "twig and berries" if that gives you an image, because that's what got removed when Varys was a little boy by some perverse sorcerer. Good thing that Varys is now powerful because just like all the other damaged folk in Westeros, he's able to get his revenge. Right after his story, he shows Tyrion the very sorcerer that removed his "twig and berries" still alive in a box. He had him shipped all the way from Myr; I can only imagine the suffering that man is going to endure...the least of which will probably start with having HIS twig and berries cut off. Yikes.
Grantland produced this awesome UPS label that shows the Master of Whisperers
missed the first delivery attempt of the sorcerer in the box seen in episode 4.
In episode 5 called "Kissed by Fire" the Starks have gone completely bloodthirsty. Arya wants revenge on the Hound so much that she almost takes it herself, and Robb cuts off the head of Lord Karstark despite what all of his advisers tell him to do. The best part of this episode though was the tub scene between Jaime and Brienne where he tells her about the mad king and what happens when a ruler has gone insane. The little bits about how the king loved to watch people force fed wildfire so he could watch them burn was awesome and how the first person Jaime chose to kill was the chief pyromancer followed by the cowardly king himself.  Another gem in this episode was when Loras Tyrell got laid by his squire. Sure the dude was a spy hired by Littlefinger, but holy crap, I must have watched that scene like ten times. I hope we see more of that in the future.
I like two things about Ygritte. 1) How she calls Jon Snow by first and last name.
2) How she always says, "You know nothing Jon Snow." And as this picture
proves, I guess that's not entirely ummm accurate. The scene in the cave
both on screen and in the book was pretty cool.
The amount of saturation that the television series A Game of Thrones has had in popular culture is kind of crazy to comprehend. Take for example Chick-Fil-A with their Mother-Son Date Knight promotion. Customers are encouraged to dress up in medieval garb and go on mother-son dates to Chik-Fil-A ala Cersei and Joffrey. Keep in mind that Cersei and Jaime were brother and sister, have an incestuous relationship, and resulted in Prince Joffrey while still married. I guess this is a more preferable choice than backing gay marriage. In my opinion, something hasn't sounded so wrong since KFC called their chicken a Frak Pack when Battlestar Galactica aired on SyFy. I suppose Chick-Fil-A wants to know how far sons can get with moms on the first date. Ewww.

Also, the differences between the television adaptation and the books catch me by surprise all the time, however, I really like them. For one, they condense a lot of the stuff that I think should be cut from the books. I am a little concerned though that Daenerys' storyline has petered out. I honestly cannot recall another scene in the books that really excited me outside the fall of Astapor. There's a scene in A Dance with Dragons that happens two novels later (which could be three seasons from now before its filmed) wherein a relatively minor character gets barbecued by a dragon. We do have an interesting Dr. Mengele-esque character that's been introduced. But A Feast for Crows was mostly boring, introducing a ton more characters that I could really care less about. I guess we can look forward to a ton more Cersei development. And it's become apparent from watching this season that the writing is all over the place. They're literally taking scenes from book 2 and book 4 and kind of weaving it all together to produce their version. I don't expect the show from here on out to be contiguous at all with the events written by George.
Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. I'm pretty sure these two will eventually
be King and Queen of Westeros. I suspect Jon is a Targaryen anyway. Once
that comes out, she'll have to marry him, because Targaryens like to keep it
in the family if ya know what I mean.
With the way things seem to be heading for Robb, I wonder if any of the powers that be in Westeros realize that the Starks are the canary in the coal mine. Their whole family crest is "Winter is Coming." And it really is coming. You couldn't foreshadow it more. Just about everything has said this particular winter is going to be the worst one on record, with monsters that the world hasn't seen in a thousand years and a cold to last a decade or more. And when Robb metes with his destruction that everyone knows is coming, doesn't that mean that all of their fates are collectively doomed? With all the plotting and infighting going on over a stupid Iron Throne, there's no way any of the houses will have the strength to repel what shows up on their doorstep when the snow starts coming. And I think that's the point. In fact, the only person "gaining" actual power and not "losing it" in some way or another is Daenerys.

Perhaps it will come that she lands on Westeros at some point in the future, sees the butchering that the White Walkers are doing, and when those undead try to take her down, she introduces them to her three gargantuan dragons, and then proceeds to burn them to ashes. I suppose that would be a scene worth waiting for but then I'm just speculating.

Has anyone else noticed that there is no royal in Westeros that hasn't been wronged in some way? I think that's odd. Surely there is some character that hasn't been crushed or stepped on, but I went through the list and I was like...ummm nope. If life is that hard at the top, imagine what it must be like for the common folk.


  1. I saw reflection and expected the Challenge Reflection!
    I've still only seen season one of Game of Thrones (no HBO and not paying for it for one show) but one of these days will catch up.

  2. It's an awesome show, though the budget constraints are a drag. With how well the DVDs/Blu-rays sell, I don't see why they can't put more money into it to do it even better.

    The way books 4 and 5 are written, they won't be able to separate them and will have to blend the storylines and maybe cut a few. I know a lot of people get annoyed at all the characters and plot threads, but I love the complexity and wish more fantasy stories could be this great.

  3. I love your recaps. It's awesome when a film adaption can do justice to a book. I especially love this comment: how does he stay fat with no food around?

  4. The most ironic thing about the whole series is Martin turned to books after realizing he could never tell the kind of story he wanted as a television show. Hollywood would never buy a show like this in the 90s which shows just how much the industry has changed in the past two decades.

    Since they are splitting season 3 into two series there's really only one place they can end and I can't wait to hear the reaction. I know I almost stopped reading at that point but the ending of book 3 is possibly the most satisfying thing I've ever read.

  5. Despite I recently watched the first two seasons of the show and episode 1 of season 3, I still know only about a third of the names you mentioned. I'm sure I'd know them if I saw them but I guess since I haven't read the books it's hard to associate the names in print.

  6. I loved the fourth episode when Daeny takes over the Unsullied and speaks their language. Legendary scene :) I will watch the 5th season this weekend after I download it.
    Unlike previous seasons, this one was much easier for me to watch and less confusing for us who haven't read the books, and the direction within the episodes was significantly better without the unfocused episodes from previous seasons.

  7. I think Jamie Lannister has really developed this season. I'm especially curious to see what will happen between he and Brienne. That would be an interesting duo Can you imagine that cat fight that would ensue between she and Cersi???? How interesting would that be. Though I think Cersi would win in the end. Brienne's honor will probably lead to her doom at some point.

    Old lady Tyrell is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Not much of anything gets past her. It seems that Margeri has inherited her grandmother's ability to read people. She's playing Geoff like a violin.

    I'd like to see more of Tyrion. He hasn't been developed much this season. Though, giving him the power of the coin is probably the equivalent of sitting on the federal appropriation's committee. The position holds a lot of power. It will be interesting to see if he takes advantage of it. He and Arya are my favorite characters.

    I've only read Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings. To the best of my recollection, the series followed both books to a T. I'll have to buy the sequel. Maybe I'll get the privilege of reading a book without knowing how it will end.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this update. I really love the show. Seriously, by Sunday I'm jonesing to watch.

  8. My family is really enjoying the show and we've all read the books so it's a great Sunday family night.

  9. Thank you for the reflection of HBO's Adaptation of Game of Throne.
    I thought that we were supposed to write a reflection on the A TO Z Challenge. Great Job, on your theme of Star Wars ! Congrats.

  10. I wrote a post a while back where I said the same thing about Dani- I can't wait to see her on that throne. My fav scene this season so far was when she commanded her dragon to light up that smug prick after he insulted her continually and she took command of the Unsullied.

  11. If you would be my friend on Facebook, you would know that I feel pretty much the same way about all of this.

    The scene with Jamie in the bathtub is a perfect example of how, every once in a while, storytelling is better in film than in literature.

  12. Been loving the show. I'm guessing books 4 and 5 will be told as seasons 5 and 6 of the show. I read last week that the producers said they aren't going to wait on Martin to finish the books - they already know how it ends and aren't going to slow down. I'm very curious as to how that will unfold.

    And the budget is smaller than I'd like. But what they so show on screen is excellent.

  13. Has Joffrey been wronged yet? God knows I'd love it if he had but I can't remember anything.

    Love the recap and LOVE the gif with the fire behind Daenerys. Even though I knew exactly what she was going to do since I've read the books, the scene was still totally awesome.

    And I hope you're right about Jon and Daenerys because that's what I've been thinking for a long time. Assuming Jon is still alive. Martin really surprised me and, if I'm being honest, totally pissed me off haha, at the end of Dragons.

  14. I'm still running a year behind. I don't have HBO, so I only watched season two on DVD in April. It's a good series, but there are so many story lines it's hard to keep it all straight and, yeah, care about them all.

  15. When I read the first book in the series, I wondered the same thing, since everyone has something bad happen to them. Everyone.

  16. I don't want to read any spoilers but Mrs. C. and I wouldn't think of missing game of Thrones.

  17. I'm glad you called out a spoiler alert, because one of these days I'm going to catch up on the whole Game of Thrones series and I don't want to know what's gonna happen. So sorry, Michael, but I couldn't read your post today.

  18. Oh man, my comment got eaten!

    I just wanted to say that I was gutted they cut out the battle at the Fist too. That part in the book made me cry, when Mormont raised his sword and repeated the vow of the Watch and all the brothers did the same - "I am the sword in the darkness, I am the watcher on the wall." It was so moving! And we lost that in the series. At the same time, I think they didn't want to upstage the main characters, especially since Jon is off getting laid and Sam's a quivering wreck. Cinematically, it doesn't jive, you know? So I get it, and their budget constraints, but I still wish things were different.

    I loved Dany's triumph in Astapor although I felt that they small scaled that too. I mean, she's supposed to have 8000 soldiers and they show about 200. I was gutted about that. I wanted to see some carnage, damn it! Especially knowing all the horrors those slavers inflicted on innocent people.


  19. My dad adores this show but as much as I wanted to love it, I just couldn't watch it. A phobia of execution does not mix well with a show where they cut someone's head off in the first five minutes of the first episode.

  20. I must confess, I'm uninitiated. I've neither read the books nor read the shows. My geek cred is suffering. I should probably get on that.

  21. Have not seen Game of Thrones, but heard lots about it. Will see how I can catch it.

  22. I'm watching this on DVD as it comes out so I haven't seen season 3 yet. I tried not to peek as I scrolled down but a few things caught my eye... :)

  23. I really need to climb out from under my rock and check this out. Thanks for the reminder.

  24. Game of Thrones has not been on my "to see on Netflix" list, but now it will be. Thanks for the review, although I skimmed and didn't read it all since you kindly pointed out the spoiler alert.

  25. I don't actually watch this show, but I had to comment because I love the clever images you included. Plus, animated gifs are awesome, and the one you have here is really cool. :)