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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Bad English Accent: Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Bad English Accent: Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones?
Aros
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So, I've watched a pretty heavy amount of British television since about '94. I think (for an American) I have a pretty good ear for the accent. I'm also a big fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones (best show on tv), and I think that Peter Dinklage deserves all the acclaim he's getting. But what is it with his accent?!?!

It can't be just me, can it? I haven't seen anyone else comment online; but really. It just sounds so forced and awkward. He over enunciates words like he's stepping around a porcupine. It really sounds to me like a bad Broadway impression of a British accent.

Has anyone else noticed this? Am I going crazy? Am I just too focused on Dany (a possibility)?

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Xavier
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It's a faithful Lannisport accent.
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Foust
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The English accent doesn't exist in that world. I find this an odd complaint.
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Aros
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Okay, wiseacres. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I've always thought it weird that Americans expect British or pseudo-British accents for roles like that.
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Jake
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Yeah, it really is odd, isn't it? We associate British accents (and really, quite a broad range of British accents) with aristocracy in this country, though, which I suppose is probably related to the fact that Aristocracy is something that is viewed as non-American, and as a key element of the society we rebelled against. It alway strikes me, intellectually, as ludicrous that British accents are used in shows depicting Rome during either the republic or the empire, but I wonder if it would feel wrong to me if they went with an American or Italian or made-up-but-consistent-and-well-executed-Latin accents.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Were you bothered by Kevin Costner's America accent in his Robin Hood movie? A lot of people were.

quote:
I wonder if it would feel wrong to me if they went with an American or Italian or made-up-but-consistent-and-well-executed-Latin accents.
One of the main characters in the old scifi show Babylon 5 had a "non-human" accent. It was much mocked by fans and detractors alike.
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Kama
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there is an interesting BBC article about exactly that: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17554816
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I've always thought it weird that Americans expect British or pseudo-British accents for roles like that.

Did it bother you that Charles Winchester in M.A.S.H had a British accent even though he was from Boston? It never bothered me, many Americans view a British accent as bringing as sort of credibility to aristocrat or intellectual figures.

But I could be weird, I grew up hearing British accents all over the place.

Edit: Of course GOT is loosely based on The War of The Roses so maybe British accents are an homage to it?

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Were you bothered by Kevin Costner's America accent in his Robin Hood movie? A lot of people were.

Wow, it's been a long time since I thought of that movie. I remember disliking quite a bit about it, but my memories are pretty vague. Wasn't that one one where Costner kind of tried for a British accent in some scenes, but not in others?

quote:
quote:
I wonder if it would feel wrong to me if they went with an American or Italian or made-up-but-consistent-and-well-executed-Latin accents.
One of the main characters in the old scifi show Babylon 5 had a "non-human" accent. It was much mocked by fans and detractors alike.
Are you talking about the Minbari accent Delenn sported? I spent about a season trying to decide whether Mira Furlan was a phenomenal actress who was successfully pulling off an alien with distinctly different body language and accent, or someone who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. I lean toward thinking that she was an actress of average ability who attempted something really cool, and pulled it off as well as her talents would allow. I appreciated the effort, though (or what I perceived as the effort, anyway).
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I've always thought it weird that Americans expect British or pseudo-British accents for roles like that.

Did it bother you that Charles Winchester in M.A.S.H had a British accent even though he was from Boston? It never bothered me, many Americans view a British accent as bringing as sort of credibility to aristocrat or intellectual figures.

I always assumed that the accent was an affectation on Winchester's part.
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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by Kama:
there is an interesting BBC article about exactly that: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17554816

Hey Kama! [Wave]
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Did it bother you that Charles Winchester in M.A.S.H had a British accent even though he was from Boston?
Nope. I wasn't even aware of that. I'm terrible at identifying English (language) accents. I didn't realize there was any disconnect there.

quote:
Wasn't that one one where Costner kind of tried for a British accent in some scenes, but not in others?
Kama's article would indicate so. I don't remember the accent at all, but I've seen people complain about the American accent.

quote:
Are you talking about the Minbari accent Delenn sported?
No, I'm talking about Lando Molari. The actor has a normal American accent, but Lando had an outrageous accent. I thought it worked, and was less silly than his hair.

quote:
I spent about a season trying to decide whether Mira Furlan was a phenomenal actress who was successfully pulling off an alien with distinctly different body language and accent, or someone who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. I lean toward thinking that she was an actress of average ability who attempted something really cool, and pulled it off as well as her talents would allow. I appreciated the effort, though (or what I perceived as the effort, anyway).
For a long time I hoped that she would end up playing Sister Carlotta in the mythical Enders Game movie.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
Are you talking about the Minbari accent Delenn sported?
No, I'm talking about Lando Molari. The actor has a normal American accent, but Lando had an outrageous accent. I thought it worked, and was less silly than his hair.
Ah, that. I initially thought that that was what you meant, but since you specified "non-human accent", and since Lando's accent strikes my ear as being distinctly Slavic, I thought that you must have meant Delenn (whose accent truly doesn't have an earth analog, that I'm aware of).

I thought that Lando's accent would have worked better if the other Centauri (some of them, at least) had had the same accent, or if reference had been made to him being from some province other than the one that all of the other Centauri on the show were from. In and of itself, though, I liked it.

quote:
quote:
I spent about a season trying to decide whether Mira Furlan was a phenomenal actress who was successfully pulling off an alien with distinctly different body language and accent, or someone who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. I lean toward thinking that she was an actress of average ability who attempted something really cool, and pulled it off as well as her talents would allow. I appreciated the effort, though (or what I perceived as the effort, anyway).
For a long time I hoped that she would end up playing Sister Carlotta in the mythical Enders Game movie.
I have no idea how she'd do in that role. I've never seen her in anything other than B5, that I'm aware of.

[ May 02, 2012, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: Jake ]

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Jeorge
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She was in Lost, wasn't she? And if I wasn't so lazy, I'd look up online to verify that she's actually Yugoslavian.

Okay, never mind, I looked it up. Yes, she's from Yugoslavia.

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Xavier
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quote:
It alway strikes me, intellectually, as ludicrous that British accents are used in shows depicting Rome during either the republic or the empire, but I wonder if it would feel wrong to me if they went with an American or Italian or made-up-but-consistent-and-well-executed-Latin accents.
One of the shows I watch is Borgias (set in Rome, about a family which started in Spain but moved to the Vatican). It has a crazy mix of accents within the cast, and within the Borgias family even. One of the sons is painfully British.
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Sa'eed
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I like British television as well, but what's ridiculous is the reflexive crutch on English accents to differentiate between the high born and lowborn in fantasy/historical series where it really isn't necessary. That's the problem, not that Peter Dinklage mangles it. The film "Amadeus," based on a British author's play, mixed various accents and the principal cast were played by and sounded like Americans, even Emperor Joseph II. Obviously this was done because the film's primary market at the time of release was the U.S, but it nonetheless worked out great and I wish producers/writers would've learned from it. Hell, they could sound like American even in dramas set in pre-Revolutionary War Britian. The accents we associate with that island only emerged after that time.
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Jake
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See, that would drive me up a wall. I don't care a whole lot what accent is used as long as it's executed well and consistently by all of the people who would reasonably be assumed to possess the same accent.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Ah, that. I initially thought that that was what you meant, but since you specified "non-human accent", and since Lando's accent strikes my ear as being distinctly Slavic, I thought that you must have meant Delenn (whose accent truly doesn't have an earth analog, that I'm aware of).
The actor described it as a "non-human accent". But since I am so bad at accents, I can neither agree nor disagree with you claim that it is distinctly Slavic.

quote:
I thought that Lando's accent would have worked better if the other Centauri (some of them, at least) had had the same accent, or if reference had been made to him being from some province other than the one that all of the other Centauri on the show were from. In and of itself, though, I liked it.
Agreed.
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Kama
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hey Strider [Smile]
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Sa'eed:
I like British television as well, but what's ridiculous is the reflexive crutch on English accents to differentiate between the high born and lowborn in fantasy/historical series where it really isn't necessary. That's the problem, not that Peter Dinklage mangles it. The film "Amadeus," based on a British author's play, mixed various accents and the principal cast were played by and sounded like Americans, even Emperor Joseph II. Obviously this was done because the film's primary market at the time of release was the U.S, but it nonetheless worked out great and I wish producers/writers would've learned from it. Hell, they could sound like American even in dramas set in pre-Revolutionary War Britian. The accents we associate with that island only emerged after that time.

Really? I wouldn't say mangles, but it certainly pulls me out of the show sometimes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ois_9HGsfkU

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TomDavidson
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You know what pulls me out of the show? The ludicrous number of contrived opportunities for sex scenes. Compared to that, the accents don't even rate.
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Jake
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Yeah. The sex scenes in GoT feel really grafted on to me. If I were shooting the show I'd have had three at this point--the initial one that Bran sees in the first episode, one between Ned and Catelyn, also in the first episode (I think; maybe that would go into the second) and the one between Theon and the ship captain's daughter (in which I'd have had Theon be just as awful to her as he was in the book. Not having him be so really robs the scene of its narrative purpose. If I were going to clean Theon up and make him more sympathetic the way they are in the show I'd have probably skipped the scene entirely).
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Bella Bee
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Speaking of 'non-human accents' that's what Deanna Troi was supposed to have - the actress was trying to make her sound odd, because she thought a London accent on an alien would be silly (clearly not a fan of Doctor Who).

She kind of phased it out later, though.

But yeah, there's such a big accent range in the UK, and so many people who spent time in different places and have got a sort of mid-Atlantic or British-Australian/Caribbean mix, or whatever, most things are acceptable.

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Xavier
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Yeah. The sex scenes in GoT feel really grafted on to me. If I were shooting the show I'd have had three at this point--the initial one that Bran sees in the first episode, one between Ned and Catelyn, also in the first episode (I think; maybe that would go into the second) and the one between Theon and the ship captain's daughter (in which I'd have had Theon be just as awful to her as he was in the book. Not having him be so really robs the scene of its narrative purpose. If I were going to clean Theon up and make him more sympathetic the way they are in the show I'd have probably skipped the scene entirely).

What about Dany and Drogo? I can think of at least three sex scenes between them that were in the book that I'd prefer to be preserved. 1) The initial "No, No, No, Yes" one. 2) The one outside when she takes control. 3) The short one at the lake with her pregnant after eating the horse.
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Jake
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Oh, right, Dany and Drogo. I agree with you that all three of those scenes are necessary as well.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Speaking of 'non-human accents' that's what Deanna Troi was supposed to have - the actress was trying to make her sound odd, because she thought a London accent on an alien would be silly (clearly not a fan of Doctor Who).
That was just Marina Cirtis eventually succeeding in mastering an American accent. (She's Greek.)
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SteveRogers
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I'm hoping the impending HBO series based on American Gods by Neil Gaiman can at least have the decency to get the accents of the various characters/entities correct.
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mr_porteiro_head
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What is the correct accent for an American Odin?
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Jake
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British?
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Bella Bee
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quote:
That was just Marina Cirtis eventually succeeding in mastering an American accent. (She's Greek.)
Ya. No. Her family is originally Greek. She's British. The accent was bizarre.
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Oh, right, Dany and Drogo. I agree with you that all three of those scenes are necessary as well.

What about the one that conceived the smoke monster from Lost?

There have also been a few others that helped establish how terrible characters are, namely many of Littlefingers' and the ghastly Joffrey sex scene a couple episodes back. Not strictly necessary, but they did build character. It's not like they have 1000 pages to do it.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Yeah. The sex scenes in GoT feel really grafted on to me. If I were shooting the show I'd have had three at this point--the initial one that Bran sees in the first episode, one between Ned and Catelyn, also in the first episode (I think; maybe that would go into the second) and the one between Theon and the ship captain's daughter (in which I'd have had Theon be just as awful to her as he was in the book. Not having him be so really robs the scene of its narrative purpose. If I were going to clean Theon up and make him more sympathetic the way they are in the show I'd have probably skipped the scene entirely).

What about Dany and Drogo? I can think of at least three sex scenes between them that were in the book that I'd prefer to be preserved. 1) The initial "No, No, No, Yes" one. 2) The one outside when she takes control. 3) The short one at the lake with her pregnant after eating the horse.
Yeah. The best part is that they not only add unnecessary sex scenes, but they also change and ruin the sex scenes that are actually in the books ("no, no, no, yes" becomes "cry, cry, cry") Nice twist there, HBO!

Sort of the way they ramp up the gore and violence on some scenes (Hey there, Jory and Yoren's death scenes, respectively!) and simultaneously grossly underplay the things that really were horrifically gruesome in the books (Robert's mortal wound, Sandor's face). Good job on those priorities, HBO!

I saw the episode with Joffrey and the whores the other night, and all I could think was "It's a good thing this season is so long that they have time to include all the important scenes and characters from the books and have enough time left over to make up crap like this! Wait a minute..."

It's frustrating that the writers of the show so clearly, deeply misunderstand the books, and completely distort the characters therein. Damn.

On topic, Peter Dinklage's Tyrion is, I think, the best thing to come out of this show. He's certainly the only character from the show who occasionally pops into my head-canon when rereading the books. I hear him reading dialogue from the later books, that Dinklage has never actually spoken, and I don't mind his accent at all. [Smile]

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Oh, right, Dany and Drogo. I agree with you that all three of those scenes are necessary as well.

What about the one that conceived the smoke monster from Lost?

There have also been a few others that helped establish how terrible characters are, namely many of Littlefingers' and the ghastly Joffrey sex scene a couple episodes back. Not strictly necessary, but they did build character. It's not like they have 1000 pages to do it.

While I did like the metaphor of their having sex knocking pieces off the board, I'd probably have skipped it. The whole setup for that scene irritates me, really; they changed Stannis' character pretty fundamentally.

The sex scenes that Littlefinger have been in have all felt like tiresome ways of inserting sex into the show to me, and the one with Joffrey didn't seem necessary. It would be more than clear enough that he's a monster without having that scene there.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I'm hoping the impending HBO series based on American Gods by Neil Gaiman can at least have the decency to get the accents of the various characters/entities correct.
The more important question: just how much sex will Shadow have?
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
On topic, Peter Dinklage's Tyrion is, I think, the best thing to come out of this show. He's certainly the only character from the show who occasionally pops into my head-canon when rereading the books. I hear him reading dialogue from the later books, that Dinklage has never actually spoken, and I don't mind his accent at all. [Smile] [/QB]

Dinklage is definitely doing a good job with the role. I'm incredibly impressed with the girl playing Arya, too. She looks almost exactly how I pictured Arya looking when I first read the books, and is doing a good job with the character.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by Bella Bee:
quote:
That was just Marina Cirtis eventually succeeding in mastering an American accent. (She's Greek.)
Ya. No. Her family is originally Greek. She's British. The accent was bizarre.
Nevertheless, her initial accent wasn't an affectation. Her lack of one later on was.
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Bella Bee
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Not going to get into this since I don't actually care, but the actress' real accent is full on London normally (don't remember which bit of London), and that weird accent was nothing like any London accent at all.

I just thought it was funny since so many sci-fi and fantasy actors have to put on a fake British accent of some variety, and this was someone covering one up.

And there's no such thing as the 'lack of an accent', though I get what you mean.

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Xavier
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quote:
Dinklage is definitely doing a good job with the role. I'm incredibly impressed with the girl playing Arya, too. She looks almost exactly how I pictured Arya looking when I first read the books, and is doing a good job with the character.
Yeah I keep telling Niki that Arya is the only "perfect score" for me. She says for her Dinklage as Tyrion is perfect, but I'd rate him "very very good" or "excellent".
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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I'm hoping the impending HBO series based on American Gods by Neil Gaiman can at least have the decency to get the accents of the various characters/entities correct.
The more important question: just how much sex will Shadow have?
I'm hoping the amount of language and violence in the novel will counteract any additional sex scenes which might be added. In addition, I believe Neil Gaiman is, if nothing else, writing the pilot, so I'm hoping the show will be free of the HBO sex factor for the most part.

As for the accents, I recall some of the other characters being described as having very specific European accents, so I'm really hoping they just don't Americanize all of the characters.

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
Dinklage is definitely doing a good job with the role. I'm incredibly impressed with the girl playing Arya, too. She looks almost exactly how I pictured Arya looking when I first read the books, and is doing a good job with the character.
Yeah I keep telling Niki that Arya is the only "perfect score" for me. She says for her Dinklage as Tyrion is perfect, but I'd rate him "very very good" or "excellent".
: nod : I'm definitely with you there rather than Niki.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
In addition, I believe Neil Gaiman is, if nothing else, writing the pilot, so I'm hoping the show will be free of the HBO sex factor for the most part.

I'm kind of curious to see how he handles the scene with Bilquis in the first chapter.

[Edit - huh. I could have sworn that that took place in the second chapter]

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Aros
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Eh, I don't get what all the concern over the sex and violence is. I think they're doing a great job. It's a freaking adult show.

Way better than the books. And almost perfectly cast (Jon Snow is a little meh).

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Bella Bee
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quote:
I'm hoping the amount of language and violence in the novel will counteract any additional sex scenes which might be added. In addition, I believe Neil Gaiman is, if nothing else, writing the pilot, so I'm hoping the show will be free of the HBO sex factor for the most part.

I just hope that the scene in which that one goddess consumes that guy's entire body with her bajingo like a venus fly trap is not shown in graphic detail. The description in the book was terrifying enough, it freaked me out and I'm a woman - I dread to think what it could do to a rather sexually nervous man.
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SteveRogers
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There are some things in the book which could conceivably stretch the limits of television appropriate even provided the show's broadcast on HBO, so I'm not sure. Neil Gaiman has a fairly successful past writing scripts/screenplays, so I'm just hoping he has a deft enough hand to adapt his own work.
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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Eh, I don't get what all the concern over the sex and violence is. I think they're doing a great job. It's a freaking adult show.

If I'm gathering correctly based on what I've read about the show here and elsewhere, the primary issue with the sexual content is the way in which it may detract from the content in the original novels purely because it's on HBO; by which I mean, they can show such things without regard for whether it's true to the source.
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Aros
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A show can't detract from a novel. That's just silly. It exists as a work of art unto itself. That said, it has to pursue other avenues of characterization (as opposed to the LENGTHY exposition in these particular books). That it chooses to do so through sex and violence is merely a bonus.
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SteveRogers
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I wasn't trying to take a position on either side of the fence because I've neither read the books nor watched the show; I was just attempting to take a stab at what I imagine most people's issues with the sexual content to be. I'd guess they think it takes away from the merit of the series as an adaptation of the other work; I know I personally have a hard time looking at an adaptation individually of the source material, so I can see how that might be a concern, provided that's the meat of the complaint being made.
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Dan_Frank
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The girl playing Arya, physically, isn't nearly horse-faced enough. And her acting has been improving but first season was pretty unimpressive.

Aros: The mind boggles. You are so totally, fundamentally wrong I have no idea where to begin! [Big Grin] Anything in particular that stands out to you as substantially better in the show? Of the top of my head I think the HBO writers have done their damnedest to distort the portrayals of a host of characters... Sandor, Tyrion, Petyr, Dany, Drogo, Jon, Robb, Renly, Loras, Varys, Cersei...

Many of these distortions could be argued to be necessary for the new medium... one or two of them really are, and the rest would be argued wrongly. And just for fun, a couple of them have no such justification at all, and were done apparently just Peter Jackson style, for the giggles of changing a masterpiece.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
It alway strikes me, intellectually, as ludicrous that British accents are used in shows depicting Rome during either the republic or the empire, but I wonder if it would feel wrong to me if they went with an American or Italian or made-up-but-consistent-and-well-executed-Latin accents.
One of the shows I watch is Borgias (set in Rome, about a family which started in Spain but moved to the Vatican). It has a crazy mix of accents within the cast, and within the Borgias family even. One of the sons is painfully British.
I've met the director and some of the production people and cast, because they shoot it here. The director is quite clear on the point that he finds consistency in accents to be, a) asinine and anti-historical, b) narratively problematic and c) pretentious. And as a matter of pure practicality, since many supporting roles are cast in Czech Republic, insisting on some version of the queens English would be expensive and probably pointless. His attitude, which I took from a talk he gave at the American center a while back, was that Rome is, and was, a place where accents and languages were fluid, and casting classical British actors (a la Rome) rather smoothes over that part of the ambiance.
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