Sure, but I doubt the sparse crowd at the tournament was an intended thing. I can’t fathom why anyone in the production would say, “This royal joust should have a lot less people spectating. Can we thin them out?” I have to assume it was a budget or time issue.
HBO had been very cautious about the entire series. There’s a reason it spent 5 years in gestation. The original HBO head who picked up the rights to the series (Carolyn Strauss) was replaced in 2008. Her successor wasn’t involved familiar with the material at all, and he was doubly doubtful.
We all know the story of the original pilot. It was terrible. It was a miracle that HBO greenlit the series. But at that point, they were probably thinking they had just blown $10 million on a pilot, and there was interest from foreign markets because fantasy is a genre that does well internationally. So they greenlit the series, figuring they’d get a single season out of it and be able to recoup some of the investment off international sales.
Remember, HBO’s big vanity project at the time was Boardwalk Empire, which premiered a year before Game of Thrones. Huge budget. Martin Scorsese. One of the main writers of The Sopranos. An HBO drama about New Jersey mobsters. That was the heir apparent.
David and Dan have said that they sometimes felt totally on their owns at times in the first season. They were completely new to being TV showrunners. No one had any idea how the show would be received, including them. Then, they were halfway into filming Season 1 one of their editors basically told them that all their episodes were coming in waaaay shorter than expected. They suddenly had to create an hour’s worth of new material with almost no more money in the budget. That’s how you get a lot of those not-in the-book scenes of characters interacting. It’s also why Tyrion’s battle got cut. The idea was that the camera would give you his perspective of following directly behind The Mountain into battle. Instead, he gets knocked out at the very beginning, and wakes up in the aftermath.
We all know the story after that. The show got off to a modest start, but now it’s HBO’s crown jewel. And the budget, along with HBO’s support, have grown considerably since then. It’s HBO’s critical and commercial juggernaut, and the network will give them pretty much anything they require.
And it shows. Think about some of the spectacular scenes from season 5 (Hardhome, Drogon rescuing Dany in the arena) and season 6 (the battle for Winterfell, Dany retaking Meereen) contrasted with stuff from the earlier seasons.
I just watched the first episode from Clash of Kings. It already shows. Wow, you can tell there’s a huge bump in production values. And lots of little changes from the books already. Too many to name or even pin down. But overall I’m still liking the changes.
Oh man, I can’t wait to see what happens next. Knowing the journey ahead is not dampening my enthusiasm at all. There was so much more kinetic energy in that season premier compared to Season 1. More energy. More excitement. Just like in the books. This is going to be so cool.
You’ll still see some really bad CGI here and there. There’s one scene in season 2 that really stands out in my memory, Robb’s army marching and his direwolf walks across the screen. They could no longer use the regular dogs for when they were supposed to be pups, so they CGI’d a larger version and it looked really fake. Just wait until you hit seasons 5 and 6, I think the CGI is damn near film quality.
Just finished episode 3. Is it bad that whenever we’re in Littlefinger’s brothel I want to press the fast forward button?
The second book is really getting compressed. I knew that was coming. It was much, much longer than the first book, and it has to be compressed into the same amount of episodes, after all. But I really wish Arya’s adventures weren’t getting chopped short so much. The Clash of Kings portion of her journey is my favorite, and it’s already gotten so many cuts.
Theon: I love his treatment. In the books he’s completely selfish. He’s helping Robb for a selfish reason, and he turns on him for a selfish reason. I always felt like it would have made for a better story if all those years growing up under Ned Stark had actually had an effect on him. If he had learned something from Ned despite himself. Sadly, that was not the case in the books, but it is on the TV show! The end result is the same. But I like this so much better.
P.S. What’s with Melisendre seducing Stannis? I don’t remember that. Was that implied in the books in an offhand way? For example, the books never had Renly confirmed as gay, but there were enough hints at it. But the hints were never confirmed in front of the reader because we never followed a character in the books who saw anything. Maybe it’s the same with the red lady and Stannis?
Smoke babies need fathers too! I’m pretty sure that they were boinkin’ in the books.
GRRM is subtle, sometimes too much so. Renly is pretty confirmed as gay. Loras basically admits his love and devotion to Renly in front of Jaime toward the end of book 3.
GRRM slyly had Melisandre in book 5 think to herself how her bed wasn’t being used much since Stannis had marched off to war. Now, that’s either because he’s not there to boink her or that she’s spending her nights looking into her fires and doing other witchy things. But, yeah, her birthing that shadow and it looking like Stannis and his subsequent enervated state for much of book 2 is pretty hard to ignore.
I have to admit, I’m starting to get resentful at how much they’re cutting Arya’s story. She’s already at Harenhall, and is going to be Tywin Lannister’s cup-bearer? WTF? That’s how much they’re going to compress this? They’re going to cut the whole part about Bolton running that place too?
Sigh. Looking at it objectively, I guess Arya’s adventures in Clash of Kings were not technically super important to the big story arc in the series, so they can be mostly cut out if you want to tell the big story arc as efficiently as possible. Looking back on it now, the biggest thing Arya’s adventures in Clash of Kings contributed to the overall story was provide you with an eye into the devastation wrought on the riverlands and that whole central area of Westeros by the war. And technically the show doesn’t need Arya’s story from the books to still show us that devastation.
But still, I’m just disappointed because it was my favorite part of the book, along with Tyrion’s moves back in Kings Landing.
So even though I’ve been pretty infuriated and bored with the Clash of Kings season in equal measure, I have to admit that when it came to the actually battle at King’s Landing, they did a pretty good job.
And that lead to a moment that’s still not explained after 5 books. In the book, I remember Tyrion is battling on the remnants of the burnt ships and after he’s doing well, he gets attacked, he thinks, by one of the King’s Guard. But everything’s hazy and he’s not sure. One moment he sees someone in that garb, next moment he sees his squire, Pod. It was all a bit confusing and he was an unreliable narrator.
Well, in the TV episode, there was nothing ambiguous about it. The member of the King’s Guard he pulled off Joffrey earlier definitely attacked him and was about to kill him when Pod rescued him. That’s… interesting, to see a definitive take on those events like that. I never really felt like we got an adequate answer for those events in the book, or even what happened for sure. Even Tyrion in Storm of Swords was suspicious and made inquiries, but never got satisfactory answers.
I wonder if GRRM plans to swing back around and provide us something in the last two books?
Still, it’s interesting that the TV show already provides a pretty clear-cut view of what happened. The member of the King’s Guard did indeed try to kill him before he got killed by Pod. And likely he was ordered to kill Tyrion by either Joffrey or the Queen. Hmmm.
Not at all, and if you read more closely it’s pretty clear Mandon Moore tries to kill Tyrion in the books. There’s no need for GRRM to ever revisit it. Tyrion just wasn’t able to connect the dots, conjure up any evidence that Moore was under orders from Cersei.
An interesting note on the Winterfell side of the story: The frog kids never came to visit Bran, and were not hiding with Bran underneath Winterfell when Theon took over. And Reek never joined Theon and therefore never took part in the takeover of the place from Theon’s hands. Interestingly, Winterfell was still surrounded by Northmen in the TV show, but Theon’s own men just betrayed him and left. I guess since they were changing the story so much, it would have been asking too much to get an explanation for how these men would have left the city when surrounded by Northmen in this siege.
They also don’t explain what happened to all the Northmen when Bran, Rickon, Hodor and Osha came up from the tombs to discover a dead and burnt Winterfell. I suppose in this version maybe Theon’s men lit the place on fire and then escaped somehow? So the Northmen surrounding the city saw that it was burning but didn’t bother to come in and clean up and try to repair anything? Just went home? They didn’t bother coming in and seeing the dying Maester who could have told them what was happening? And why did the Maester tell Bran and the others to disperse in case Theon’s men came back? Again, it made sense when Reek/Bolton’s bastard destroyed Winterfell, but since it was Theon’s men, I think the Maester would tell Bran to seek the surrounding Northmen for help or something, not to go to the Wall.
Trust me, it only gets worse. By seasons 4 + 5 you have characters acting so out of character it’s not even funny. Out of character to the books isn’t the problem; it’s that they act out of character even for their own TV versions.
Some thoughts on Season 3 so far (2 episodes in).
Scene between Sansa and the Tyrell grandmother where they’re asking how Joffrey is: sooooo well done. Just like in the book, I got chills down my spine. Just the palpable relief that Sansa expresses at being able to express herself for once. Also I’m glad that they didn’t have a bard singing over them during the scene to keep from being heard. I don’t think that would have been very good television.
Scene between Catlyn Stark and Robb Stark’s wife: the guilt she feels for not accept Jon Snow as her son, and saying this misfortune has befallen their family because of her inability to accept him? Again powerful stuff, even though it chaffs a little, since it wasn’t in the books. Not only that, Catelyn was actually one of the characters whose thoughts were open to us. And she never expressed such a regret even in her head, did she? Still, I enjoyed the scene.
The Scene where Shae is being so protective of Sansa Stark as her handmaiden, even going to Tyrion for help, to help protecting Sansa from Littlefinger. Shae is a pretty badass character on the TV show. It’s going to hurt deliciously all the more when she eventually betrays Tyrion, I guess, but I’m loving this change to Shae.
They finally met the Frog people! Bran has been united with Jojen Reed and his sister finally. Quite different from the book, but I’m glad the characters didn’t get totally cut. They just got cut from Book 2.
The torture scenes with Theon: So yeah, this is stuff from Book 4, but I suppose it was happening during the events of Storm of Swords.
The fight between Jaime Lannister and Breen of Tarth: Great stuff. Again, straight out of the book, but well choreographed and entertaining to watch.
Storm of Swords is the best book, so I’m happy to see they’re doing a good job so far.
Ok, I sort of get what this show is doing now. They don’t just introduce characters when they were introduced in the books, they introduce them only when they become pivotal to the plot. Like in this 3rd episode of Season 3, they finally introduced us to the Blackfish. And I have to say, the guy seems a lot more badass than I had imagined him from the books. But the point is, they didn’t introduce him back in Season 1 when Catelyn took Tyrion to the Eyrie. I think that’s when he was introduced in the books. But in the TV series, they introduced both him and Edmure(sp?), Catelyn’s brother, at her father’s funeral.
It’s a good technique! I still think they did Book 2 a huge disservice by cutting out my favorite parts of it. But they’re winning me back now by how they’re handling Book 3 so far.
The Blackfish isn’t give a lot of dialogue in book 2 or 3, but he’s the reason Robb’s campaign was as successful as it was.
I’ve reached the 5th episode of Season 3 last night. Littlefinger discovers the Tyrel plot to marry Sansa to the Knight of Flowers (?!?), which leads to Tywin telling Tyrion and Cersei who they have to marry. And Jon Snow breaks his vows. And the Hound wins his trial by combat. And Jamie reveals to Brienne why he slayed the mad King. And Rob Stark beheads Karstark for killing the Lannister children in their care.
It’s all done really well, I have to admit. Not 100% of the scenes, but enough to be commended. And yet… it feels too … rushed maybe? I wonder if I would feel that way if I hadn’t read the books?
To be fair, they’ve got a LOT of material to cover, since Book 3 is so massive. I just wish they’d taken their time and split Book 2 and Book 3 over two seasons each instead of compressing them so much. Or at least Book 3.
The show cut poor Wyllis and the middle brother out the story, so Loras is the heir to Highgarden.
I watched S3 Ep 8 tonight, Second Sons. The biggest event was Tyrion’s wedding to Sansa Stark. And boy they changed it, and I hated this change.
Remember in the books where Joffrey takes away his stool, so Tyrion tugs on Sansa’s clothes, hoping that she will bend down so he can put the cape on her? But in her head Sansa has already suffered enough indignities and won’t suffer another by bending down? And Tyrion gets more and more and more resentful as she refuses to bow down and he unsuccessfully tries to reach her.
Well, in the TV show, he asks her to bend down, and she does it.
Bah. He even gets to express himself and explain himself before that scene, so that him and Sansa understand one another. This is like a fan fiction version of how this wedding should have gone.
And yet, he still gets drunk at the wedding, inexplicably. Even without the indignities.
Sometimes I hate this show.
GRRM supposedly referred to the show sometime last year as fan fiction (or maybe the year before). You’ve seen nothing yet. You know nothing, Rock8man. :D