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KatG
April 18th, 2012, 10:32 PM
Well I was happier partly because of some of the material on the episode -- I think the Theon stuff was much better in #3, and Yoren got a great send-off -- I think Francis Magee has been absolutely fabulous playing him. The guy playing Lorch was pretty good too. (The list, the list!) Much better use of Shae, Tyrion's game sweetly done, and I really love the interaction between Jon and Mormont, and Sam with Gilly. Brienne was perfect; I will not agree with a word against her. (Her blue armor comes when she's part of the Rainbow Guard in the books.) She was so big next to Cat, who did well too, I thought. And it was not a placeholder set-up episode after all.

But I was also happier with the episode partly because I have resigned myself. I have resigned myself to the fact that with this ambitious and broad an offering, they are sometimes going to be cautious and veer off into safer, less subtle and complicated choices with the characters; that they don't trust the audience fully and so build up story bits to keep main characters busy on the grounds that a t.v. audience can't deal with their temporary absence for long; and that as brilliant as they've often been at it, not all of the sex and nudity bits they throw in for HBO's sake are going to make sense. There can be some benefits to this -- Rob is going to have a little storyline this season and I think that's a good idea, (although this would have logically to me meant a good way to introduce the Tullys and the Reed children for Bran's story, but I understand the budget constraints.)

And where I don't see the benefits, I'm willing to lump it. I get a little garrgh when I see the changes but the next day I've usually accepted that's where the story is being taken. So Renly is not going to be the braggart tourney knight with some strategy skills and probably gay, and is instead going to be the weak, inexperienced gay guy with no strategy skills who is easily manipulated by the Tyrells. Stannis has been moved in relation to his gay liberal idealism as the hypocritical, self-righteous conservative, and Melissandre has gone from mysterious sorceress to standard temptress. Loras is decidedly petulant. And Margaery has gone from demure seeming smart girl trying to secure her family's interests to a scheming courtesan who runs around in brothel costumes. The last is halfway interesting in the scheming part, but again, the safer, more standard choice for t.v. shows.

One thing I like about Martin is that he does not just simply do female archetypes into groups of noble scrapper and femme fatale. But in a t.v. show, there is that tendency to go for that division and while the show has done pretty well with layering, it has been leaning into the standard archetypes a bit. And seems kind of unsure how to do their gay characters. But they are sticking to Martin's direction for the main stories, and they have, I think, done Sansa very well there. I love Arya, but she's the most traditional character in the whole saga. Sansa has a very different developmental arc and has to have a very different sort of courage, as Mike pointed out. It will be interesting to see what happens when her warg powers develop. The actress I think has been very good at the subtleties to play her.

In any case, it felt as if the season had gotten well and truly started now.

kged
April 19th, 2012, 04:17 AM
Stannis has been moved in relation to his gay liberal idealism as the hypocritical, self-righteous conservative...That's a very interesting observation. I wonder if it will play out that way, with allegories of Family Values v liberalism?

Luya Sevrein
April 19th, 2012, 07:36 AM
That's a very interesting observation. I wonder if it will play out that way, with allegories of Family Values v liberalism?

Probably not, since the guy's wife is 'sick' and 'disgusts him,' apparently, and they are unable to concieve children. It's more of a liberalism vs religion thing at the moment. And as for Stannis personally, I'm getting the feeling of logic vs. faith - he's a commander, he's done this before, he's good. But Mel is having none of that.

Palfrey
April 19th, 2012, 01:48 PM
So Renly is not going to be the braggart tourney knight with some strategy skills and probably gay, and is instead going to be the weak, inexperienced gay guy with no strategy skills who is easily manipulated by the Tyrells. Stannis has been moved in relation to his gay liberal idealism as the hypocritical, self-righteous conservative,

Inexperienced people are weak by definition. I don't think it's necessary to read Renly's sexual orientation into that. Robb comes across as uncertain in some scenes too. As for what you mean by mentioning Stannis and "gay liberal idealism" in the same sentence, I can only guess!

I don't see the story (either TV or book version) as having an intentional political/ideological/sociological slant. Pretty much all fantasy deals with those topics on some level.

KatG
April 20th, 2012, 12:16 AM
Inexperienced people are weak by definition. I don't think it's necessary to read Renly's sexual orientation into that. Robb comes across as uncertain in some scenes too. As for what you mean by mentioning Stannis and "gay liberal idealism" in the same sentence, I can only guess!

I don't see the story (either TV or book version) as having an intentional political/ideological/sociological slant. Pretty much all fantasy deals with those topics on some level.

No, inexperience and a person being weak willed are not the same thing. And Renly's gayness is not why he's weak willed in the show. In the books, he's quite strong willed, overly confident, skilled at least in tourney fighting, and almost certainly gay. In the t.v. series, however, they've made Renly very doubtful, insecure and even more easily led by a much more scheming Loras, as well as inexperienced at fighting. It's one of the biggest character changes from the book.

"his gay liberal idealism" referred to Renly, not to Stannis. Renly accepts a woman as a member of his guard, believes poor people should be helped -- at least previous to his revolution -- and is loved by the people as a populist, etc., and with Stannis, they've decided to do a temptation from sin sort of thing, which again, I'm resigned to but find largely tedious. I don't think they're trying to do a big parallel with modern day, but they've stripped the two men so far into two ideologies and in the books it was a great deal more complicated. The change in Margaery I wonder if it's going to seem redundant when they get to the Sand Snakes, but maybe they'll just cut out the Sand Snakes altogether. I hope that they don't fall into a trap of having to have good girls and bad girls.

So clearly they are making bigger changes this year, but they are also holding to the main story arcs, so it should be interesting.

Luya Sevrein
April 20th, 2012, 05:21 PM
I don't think Loras is scheming. I think he comes across that way, but he mostly seems annoyed that Renly has to bed his sister. But like many of the other Tyrells, he is trained to do what needs to be done and do so with a smile, like Margaery, she knows what she wants, what's best for her position and her House, whilst not being a fool to what is actually happening.

I don't really like show-Loras, but qith quotes like 'Once the sun has set, no candle can replace it,' in regards to Renly's death, I don't really think that he is scheming alone. It just depends how they play him after Renly dies.

I still think Renly had a totally lame death. /sigh

AuntiePam
April 21st, 2012, 11:14 PM
I don't think Loras is scheming. I think he comes across that way, but he mostly seems annoyed that Renly has to bed his sister. But like many of the other Tyrells, he is trained to do what needs to be done and do so with a smile, like Margaery, she knows what she wants, what's best for her position and her House, whilst not being a fool to what is actually happening.


And he also seems annoyed that Renly can't bring himself to do what needs to be done. My impression of Loras is that if he needed to put a baby in a woman's belly to strengthen his position, he'd hold his nose (or whatever needed to be held) and get on with it.

Palfrey
April 22nd, 2012, 05:49 PM
To be fair, we didn't get to know Loras very well in the books. The writers of the show are pretty much free to do what they want with him.

saintjon
April 22nd, 2012, 11:07 PM
I think that the Stannis actor really became Stannis for the first time this episode.

Danogzilla
April 23rd, 2012, 02:47 AM
minimountain!