GRRM also does what he wants, and he made that promise years ago.
So after the latest announcement that GRRM might (or might not) get done with Winds of Winter in 2017, I decided to stop waiting and finally just watch the series.
I started last night.
First impressions: Wow, they took the start of the first episode right from the book. The scene across the wall, and then having to behead the deserter in front of Bran, and then finding the direwolves on the way back.
Casting impressions: The Starks certainly look different than how I’d pictured them. Robb Stark is less handsome. Sansa is older than I was expecting and less pretty. Bran has longer hair than I’d pictured, and looks older. Arya and Jon Snow look pretty spot on though, as do Ned and Cat. The twin Lannisters: excellent choices. Both are very similar to what I pictured, even though I’ve never seen these actors before. Peter Dinklage does NOT look like Tyrion.
The King is spot on, as is Sean Bean as Ned.
Overall, well done. I even like the theme music for the series, and the opening sequence. In the books, I’m always flipping back to the map of Westeros. So making the main opening sequence basically a map of Westeros is a brilliant idea, and a way to show people the relevant geography over and over at the start of every episode.
It’s interesting that after staying with the book opening they switch to a first scene in King’s Landing where they show that Cersei and Jaime are somehow responsible for Aryn’s death. In the book that was a mystery to me until near the end of the book. And to introduce Tyrion, they have him at a whorehouse in Winterfell? That wasn’t in the book, but it’s certainly in keeping with the character, so I like it.
Overall, I’ve only seen 15 minutes, but very positive impressions.
Take it back or else your words are wind to me.
That reads like a post that lay sitting on an untouched computer for six years until someone accidentally hit enter. Even if you have never watched an episode, how can you avoid seeing what the actors looked like all this time? Posters on buses, dvd covers in the shops, award coverage of the actors walking down carpets of different colours, meme images, advertising everywhere; it boggles the mind.
I watched the second half of the first episode tonight.
Oh man, Khaleesi and her brother looked sooooo perfect. And Joffrey? Holy shit. Soooooo perfect.
I must say, the casting and the costumes and the look of the characters is really good.
I even like the changes to the script compared to the book so far. Like when Khaleesi’s brother says to her “I would let all 40,000 of Khal Drogo’s men fuck you if it meant getting the Iron Throne back”. Very nice.
I liked the changes to the scene where they read Lysa’s letter telling Cat and Ned that the Lannisters are behind Aryn’s death. Instead of Cat pushing Ned to accepting the position of hand of the King, they made it Ned’s decision on the TV show, and Cat is the one who’s still reluctant. I’m not sure why I like that change, but I do.
I have to admit, this is far better than I’d even hoped it would be. At least so far. I’m most impressed with their ability to sort of summarize things into single scenes as well. The books contain a lot of thoughts about what characters are thinking, and I like how they show those things here so far, boiling them down to essentials.
When I read Rock8man’s last post, I was wondering if there was a new episode released way too early, or a parody show or something else…just dont understand!
I know that the show diverges from the books later in the series, but so far, I’m amazed at how faithful it is. I watched the second episode last night, where the main events were the incident by the river with Joffrey, Sansa, Arya and the butcher’s boy. Even the setting was recreated so well, it was almost like it was plucked right out of my mind’s eye.
Also, I think I’ve finally figured out why Cersei looks so familiar. I think she played Sarah Conner in the TV show Sarah Connor Chronicles. Either that or Wonder Woman in that TV show. It’s been a while. But she’s a great choice for Cersei.
The only thing that’s throwing me for a loop so far is every time Tyrion opens his mouth and says something. He speaks in a sort of British accent. Which I never would have pictured from his dialogue in the books.
… All the Westerosi (except the Dornish) have British accents on the show, why would Tyrion be different?
Just as an aside, I listened to the audiobook versions of all the books, and they were (all but one) done by the excellent Roy Dotrice. Dotrice threw himself into the voice-work with such devotion that he actually developed “accents” for each of the Seven Kingdoms. Granted, they are all versions of American and English accents (the Wildlings all sound vaguely Irish), not to mention him using a Spanish accent for Bravos and some sort of Italian tone for Pentos, etc.
He falls down a bit here and there (Tyrion’s sounds kind of like Churchill, but Jamie and Cersei are kind of Welsh-sounding; Davos just sounds like a Ren-Faire pirate), but he’s good enough that when a random Bother Without Banners is speaking, you might be reminded of another character (say, Robert Baratheon) and later find out that, yes, the guy is actually from the Stormlands.
All that to say that I was a little disappointed that the HBO show didn’t try a little harder to create a unique “voice” for the Westerosi regions.
Rock8man: I’m very excited for you that you’re seeing it all fresh and are able to binge on these first, what… 7 seasons now, being unsullied. You’re spot on about the opening sequence and you’ll find it varies show to show and year to year; it does highlight which of the areas and hence stories that particular show will be involved with.
It’s clear you’re a close reader of the books. And I’m happy for you that you’re already making peace with the choices that the show writers have to make to condense or speed up many of the plotlines and flavor from the book. As with the early Tyrion/Jamie/brother scene; a way to introduce characters that cheats the book but is entirely within keeping character. Also they clearly steered away from the ages of most of the children as given in the books in order to make more palatable for a TV audience.
I think you’re in for a great time. Keep an open mind; later seasons aren’t as faithful to the book as the first. But not in any bad way that I found. 10 hours per book, more or less, turned out to be a pretty good arrangement. Reading the books as you have be sure to enjoy how shocking some of the events were to HBO-only fans; like Ned’s public ‘trial’ and The Red Wedding.
Tin_Wisdom: I hadn’t thought about that in a long time, but you’re right; I remember wanting everyone to sound the way Roy Dotrice read them, his way of accenting, etc. Still, I think HBO was roundly and rightly hailed for putting a lot of thought into how the styles of dress, of architecture, of weapons and armor are different throughout the different kingdoms and across the narrow sea and bringing all that to life in a way that printed or audio books could only dream of.
So Robert is dead. The episode started with a conversation between Tywin and Jaime Lannister that was not in the books. Tywin is introduced to the show as he’s literally skinning a deer. I loved it. The dialog was fantastic too. The episode ends with Littlefinger saying “I warned you not to trust me” to Ned Stark after he betrays him.
I have to admit it at this point. The show is better than the book so far. Every extra scene they’ve added, and they’ve added about 2-3 scenes an episode, has been consistent with the books and has been excellent. And the scenes straight out of the books have been beautifully done. There was another extra scene in this episode that wasn’t in the books. It was between Theon and Osha, the wildling girl who tried to kill Bran in the last episode. Theon also got a couple of extra scenes in the last episode too. I’m glad they’re fleshing him out more than the first book did, considering what he does later in the series, and the big role he plays.
The last other additional scene in this episode that wasn’t in the books was Littlefinger training two whores. They tend to do that a lot, I’ve noticed. They usually add a sex scene that’s not in the books when they want to add a scene with exposition that explains things that we find out through character’s thoughts and recollections in the book. At first I thought it a bit crass, but now I’ve gotten used to it, and hey, why not, it’s a good technique.
So yeah, I’m convinced. At least for the weakest of all the books, Game of Thrones, the TV show so far has managed to improve on the book.
Crazy talk. Absolute crazy talk. :)
One of my favorite scenes in the first book is when Cersei meets Ned at the King’s Landing godswood and the conversation they have there. The show reduced it to a pathetic, “I was trained to kill my enemies [umm, no you weren’t]” “So was I!!!”
The show runners were way too enamored with their Winterfell prostitute, wasting way, way too much time on her IMO. They don’t get Littlefinger, or else they just used him as a vehicle for those sex scenes. Season 2 has one that’s beyond the pale of anyone’s taste (if I wanted to watch Caligula, I would).
Book 2 is the weakest in the series thus far. I rarely pick it up, and the only convo in it that really scintillates for me is Cat and Jaime (poor old dead Ned, who has shit for honor now?).
I got to Ned’s decapitation. I’m really impressed again at how much they seemed to have plucked it right out of my mind’s eye. It was very very similar to how I pictured it. They even presented it mostly from Arya’s perspective, like in the book.
They also got to Tyrion’s story. Except in the show, when he tells it, it’s not just to Bronn, but also to Shae. Again, I like that change. It’s going to make Shae’s eventual betrayal all the more delicious.
I found it really satisfying both times I read it because of my reaction to Game of Thrones both times. After reading about Ned making all these stupid decisions for the sake of honor and doing the right thing, it seemed really just to me when he got his head chopped off in the book. But then Tyrion becomes the Hand in Book 2, and he also tries to do the right thing, but he does it in a smart way. He actually keeps track and tests who works for which player. He works behind the scenes to make sure he isn’t run over.
Sadly, that doesn’t gain him much in the end, but for me Book 2 was just so fun to read for all the developments at King’s Landing. There’s a lot of other characters and other things going on, but I always think of it as Tyrion’s book primarily, and that’s why it’s my third favorite after Storm of Swords and Dance with Dragons.
It’s not so much a matter of smarts vs stupid but that Ned had no business being in the capital. He was a complete neophyte with a personality that worked against becoming a player. He wasn’t stupid, I don’t think there’s anything suggesting GRRM was trying to convey that to the reader. When the direwolf pups were found, the mother had a stag’s antlers in her neck, which was obvious symbolism for Robert getting Ned killed.
Worth noting though is that while Tyrion played a better game he was still ultimately outplayed by Littlefinger and found himself once on trial with a whole lotta enemies willing to give false testimony against him (some out of personal animus and others to curry favor with his family, perceived as the real power).
True, I shouldn’t have framed it as smart vs stupid. But it was just so frustrating being given advice by Littlefinger and Varis and still being to reluctant to “become a player” as you put it.
And yes, in Storm of Swords we see Tyrion also outmaneuvered eventually. A lot of that was beyond his control though. When he got injured at the end of Clash of Kings defending the city against Stannis’ ships, being out of the game really hurt him and let Cersei and Littlefinger get ahead. It also hurt me along with Tyrion to see his father so easily believe others’ stories over his when he woke up. Tywin was so smart and yet couldn’t see that Tyrion was his worthy successor.
Ned isn’t stupid, just naive. He’s Martins harsh example to the reader that first no one is safe, and second this is a ruthless world.
As one of the best quotes from the book says “you win or you die”.
I finished Season 1. One thing I missed in the show is that they didn’t include the fact that Ned had planned for his daughters to escape by ship to send them North. And the reason that plan was foiled is because Sansa went to Cersei.
Other than that though, the show got most of the content out of the shortest book in the series into this 10 episode season, which is pretty impressive. From a production quality standpoint, I am a little bit disappointed that the show is clearly not all that high budget. There’s no major establishing shots of Kings Landing, not even artist renderings or CGI. Just close-ups of generic corridors and walls and courtyards. Same with Winterfell. The only thing kind of shown was the Twins and the bridge across the river. Plus I always judge the budget of a show by how many extras they get, and in Season 1 they clearly did not get huge crowds of extras, but they did a good job of implying huge armies with the people they had. I have to admire the work they did with their limited budget, no doubt about that. Even their uses of generic courtyards and woods and fields and rooms was well done in that it was pretty faithful to the book in evoking the same settings.
i just remember reading his confrontation with Cersei in the Godswoods in the first book, and wanting to cover my eyes, thinking “Nooooooo, why would you do that, you stupid, stupid man?” I was just so mad at him in that first reading for telling the Queen in advance about what he planned to do. It just seemed like something out of a B movie where the villain is told about the plans, and then the good guy gets killed first. Now, we both know that’s not what happened. Cersei didn’t just have him killed right after that so he couldn’t blab to anyone about his discovery. Her actual actions were more devious and very clever and kind of honorable in comparison to what I thought she was going to do.
You know, it’s interesting what they DIDN’T do here - we discussed this same thing a few years ago in the other thread.
I pointed out that the tourney scenes just seemed really craptacular, with just a few tens of extras clustered by the fences, hardly the crowds you’d get at a Ren-Faire jousting match nowadays and far fewer than you’d expect for a huge city like King’s Landing. At the time, the general consensus was that yes, it looked sparse, but extras are expensive (especially in costume), and we were all glad to see that they used the money elsewhere.
But the thing is, if you watch the extras features on the Season One disks, you find out that most of those folks aren’t extras at all – the actually added those (sparse) crowds in the establishing shots through CGI. Which means someone made the conscious decision to intentionally make the “commoners” few and far between in those shots for… reasons.
CG is an expense too.
Sure, but I doubt it scales the same.
Doubling the number of living extras probably roughly doubles the cost. Doubling the number of CGI spectators probably costs more, but I doubt it’s all that significant, comparatively.