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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » Finally got around to watching HBO's Game of Thrones

   
Author Topic: Finally got around to watching HBO's Game of Thrones
KayTi
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And I wonder if those who have read the series can tell me...is it all beheadings and creepy incestuous relationships? Because I was a little surprised, though I shouldn't be because I've read enough high fantasy in my life to know. Yet still...

It was lovely to watch, very beautifully filmed, and the actors are universally excellent. There was quite a lot of nudity, and aforementioned beheadings. And creepy brother-sister relationships. But glimmers of a truly interesting story are underneath (and the sex doesn't bother me much, but I wish they'd show just a bit less blood...) I'd just like to know a bit more before I commit to watching the series, though.

Did anyone else watch it? Enjoy it? Have any comments? Having never read the books I feel a bit at a disadvantage. For my purposes, I don't mind spoilers in the slightest so do feel free to name names and tell me what's coming.


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JenniferHicks
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I read Game of Thrones about three years ago. As I remember it, yes, there is a lot of sex, although most of the details happen off-page. Brother-sister relations, yep. And Ned does whack off a traitor's head.

So far, the show is fairly true to the book. This being HBO, the "adult" aspects of the story are going to be played up. It's no worse than True Blood. I've seen the first two seasons of that, and so I wasn't surprised by what producers are doing with Game of Thrones.


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redux
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I've never read the book but I've watched the two episodes that aired.

I'm not liking it that much. To me it's too much of a soap opera format with characters having no discernible goal or motive other than to exist for the sake of existing.

I also find it interesting that they don't shy away from decapitations and throats being ripped out, but the killing of a pet dire wolf occurs off screen. What was the reasoning behind that? It seemed an arbitrary decision. Violence against humans - OK. Violence against animals - not OK.

I also think my enjoyment factor is significantly diminished by being philosophically at odds with the theme of the story. To me the story seems to be saying "bad things happen to people because the world is flawed, the people who inhabit the world are flawed, therefore this is realistic and gritty."

I keep reading reviews about how GAME OF THRONES is wonderful because it's a "realistic fantasy." It's an oxymoron really - realistic fantasy.

Anyway, they say it is realistic because it depicts an imperfect world. The way I feel about it is if I want to watch an imperfect world I just watch the evening news. The reason I read and watch fiction is to transcend the imperfections of reality and find some meaning behind the chaos.

[This message has been edited by redux (edited April 25, 2011).]


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LDWriter2
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I haven't seen any eps. but maybe with the nudity I will...just kidding.

But

quote:

I also find it interesting that they don't shy away from decapitations and throats being ripped out, but the killing of a pet dire wolf occurs off screen. What was the reasoning behind that? It seemed an arbitrary decision. Violence against humans - OK. Violence against animals - not OK.

Its not the first time that idea has been expressed on the small screen. Even faking an animal's death can make it too real.

But I see your point about imperfect world's even though there are two sides of that. LotRs was an imperfect world so are most fantasy worlds but at the same time one can go overboard with the imperfections. Sounds like G of T is one of them. In my opinion that is.


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Grayson Morris
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Redux, indeed, that's pretty much exactly what the story is saying ("bad things...."). I think it either appeals to you, or it doesn't. I like it because (a) I like GRRM's writing style, and (b) I like not knowing how it will end -- no character is safe; there's no guaranteed "but it all worked out well anyway."

I also think the series will hit folks differently if they've not read the books. That said, I have seen the 15-minute preview (live in Europe, so haven't seen more yet) and it was quite true to the opening of the book. I'm not sure how easy it is to follow, and how much of the same feel comes through, if you haven't read the book first.


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Foste
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The episodes usually include up to nine chapters so at times the story feels crammed.

Overall I am happy with it, not only because I love Martin's books but also because the cast is excellent.

Yeah the world is rough, but some characters fight and strive to keep their values.

...anyone else irked that there was no snow at Winterfell? Just sayin'...


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Wordcaster
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quote:
...anyone else irked that there was no snow at Winterfell? Just sayin'...

It's been awhile since I've read the books, but I did notice that too. There's snow at the wall, though.

The show is great, but the passage of time is not portrayed all that well. It's like they find the direpups and 15 minutes later they are all grown up, but the kids are the same age and possibly wearing the same clothes too.


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LDWriter2
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If I recall correctly seasons last for years...or was that another series we discussed here.
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Wordcaster
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quote:
If I recall correctly seasons last for years...or was that another series we discussed here.

Hmm... Not sure how that would work. Seasons are based on "the year" (i.e. a planet orbiting around a star).

I need to reread these books. I just don't want to invest the time right now unless there is an end in sight. And I'm hoping the next book makes a comeback -- I didn't care for a Feast for Crows all that much.

[This message has been edited by Wordcaster (edited April 29, 2011).]


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LDWriter2
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I'm not sure how that would work either, but it is a fantasy land so it could be magic or something. But I remember reading that in one of the articles or comments I read about the series.

But as I suggested my memory might be getting that mixed up with another fantasy land.


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Wonderbus
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Yep, the seasons in a Song of Ice and Fire last for years. Seen the first two episodes of the tv show so far and to be honest I think they've made it far better than I could ever have hoped. In an ideal world they'd have been given the green light for 30 episodes and a billion dollar budget, but as it is I think they've done a fantastic job.

As for how can a fantasy be "realistic"; I think it's all about character and creating a living, breathing world. I love that there is no black and white in this book the same as there is no black and white in the world we live in. I think just saying that these books are about flawed people doing bad things to one another doesn't really do them justice. After all the cookie-cutter fantasy series about heroes on magical quests and fighting motiveless evil-doers, I just hope that this tv series and the books inspire more writers to follow in his footsteps.


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LDWriter2
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Thought some of you Martin fans may like this link.

http://tinyurl.com/3h3lgec

Or the column that the link leads to anyways.

I've read "Windhaven" many years ago and liked it very much, well most of it. I'm not too sure about the ending.

And I have seen "Wildcards."


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KayTi
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Gave up on it already, after 2 episodes. It pushed too many of my "don't push these" buttons. There's a word for it that some writers talk about - like the anti-cookies or something. Yeah, so anyway, too bad, as it is filmed beautifully. And I just love Sean Bean. <3
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jcavonpark
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I might check it out. Is the incest really that played up though? I've seen other shows do it, and plenty of movies, so I don't see how it could be that bad. Then again, I haven't seen the show so I guess I can't say.

I'm not sure why that stuff would bother people though. The actors obviously aren't related, so why let yourself get creeped out to the point you can't watch it? Eh, maybe I'll feel differently after I watch it.

Just as a side note, creepiest incest scene I've ever seen? Gladiator, where the prince/king basically tells his sister they are going to have a kid together, whether she wants it or not. It's horrible because not only is it incest, but it's also essentially rape. Craziness!


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KayTi
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jcavonpark, it wasn't that part only that led to our abandonment of the series (my husband agreed, we were both over it.) There was sexual violence, lots and lots of actual violence, violence against children, killing of animals, etc. etc. Pushed too many of our anti-buttons. It's really a gorgeously made series, but I don't care for the style of filmmaking that's basically showing things just because they can (nor do I care for it in writing, either, which is either why or a result of the fact that I read almost exclusively in the YA/Middle-Grade age range now rather than grown-up fiction. I don't need yet another freaking rape scene to have to try to read past without mentally emblazoning that in my mind. Ack!)


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Wordcaster
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If you've read Sookie Stackhouse and then watched True Blood, you can pretty much gather what HBO's content will be for A Game of Thrones.

A lot of the graphic scenes depict what is in the novels. I agree that much of it would be best left to the imagination, but I am enjoying the series nevertheless.


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History
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I believe the adaption is very close to the book, both in narrative and spirit. I am enjoying it greatly.

I have owned the first three books in hardcover since they came out but had not read them. The HBO series cured me of this oversight.

While reading THE GAME OF THRONES, I was amazed at how closely the mini-series follows the book to the point of including the same dialog. The plot surprises of the first seven of the ten television episodes were wonderful for me, since I had not read the book. But after the last episode I could not wait a week and finished the book to find out how it all ends.

There is a lot that occurs, and I am curious as to how they will depict it all with only three episodes remaining. I do not believe they can.

As a would-be author, and a long-time reader, I found some of the basic assumptions of writing and reading challenged by the book. I will not provide spoilers, but my impression of the novel is that there are no Main Characters--i.e. no protagonists or antagonists--all are very human with human motivations and tendencies for both good and ill behavior. I believe the entire tapestry of of GRRM's world is the "MC." I find this innovative, and I (stuck in traditional molds) am not yet sure I "like" it--but it continues to grab me.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[This message has been edited by History (edited June 03, 2011).]


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Wordcaster
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I can't think on any other novel without protagonists or antagonists (although I would consider the viewpoint characters the "main characters"). After the first three novels I thought the concept was brilliant, but now I fear (especially after the fourth novel) that the story won't arrive at a satisfying conclusion. I wonder if it has anything to do with GRRM's slowing pace at releasing subsequent novels.

I've long forgotten the details and will probably wait till all is done before restarting the series.

I am still loving the show, but I wish they didn't need to show so much sex -- perhaps a strange comment coming from a guy -- but with an hour episode, every precious minute is important and I feel like too many details are being missed or brushed over. My wife (who hasn't read the books) keeps saying she's confused -- and she's the one who normally has to explains things to me

:-)


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History
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Just read THE HEDGE KNIGHT, a novella that takes place 100 years prior to THE GAME OF THRONES. A great tale, one of those I both love and hate because it makes me wonder why I even bother to write.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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MartinV
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Things have become quite interesting. George is coming to my country in less than a week...
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MartinV
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Well, I met George R R Martin in person. Other than being tired for standing in line for 5 hours (he was signing the books for that long) it was a great evening.
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Osiris
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Well, I am totally with KayTi on this one. Mind you, I have played many a violent video game, had to dissect a human brain in college, and seen plenty of other undesirable things, but I find that shows like this forget why many viewers are watching in the first place: to escape the real world's problems.

Maybe having children changes attitudes about this stuff. Game of Thrones is just another example of a trend to extreme violence. When I tried to watch Spartacus Sand and Blood I felt the same way. Ditto with Walking Dead. These shows push the envelope passed my own tolerance and I just end up dismissing them, regardless of how well made they are.


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MartinV
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I didn't mind an occasional sex scene, but some felt a bit forced as if the director or whoever is in charge didn't had any previous experience with such scenes. It's like reading an amateur written book; you don't know what it is but it feels clumsy. Feels like someone saying: "Look, everybody, I'm not afraid to tell my actors to strip. Strip!"

I got the same feeling with some fight scenes. At least the injuries looked real enough. There's nothing more off-setting than a person shrugging off a blow that would split their skull in real life.


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rcorporon
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Watched it and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Reading Martin though makes me really feel like a crap writer . He's one of the masters of the craft.


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