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June 03, 2013

Game of Thrones Fan Reaction Compilation

There was some unpleasantness on last night's Game of Thrones. If you've managed to avoid the publicity of it up until now, I won't spoil it for you.

Though it would be a bad time to get on the train -- the producers made the whole show in order to get to last night's episode; this was the chapter of the book that convinced them to buy the rights. They've spoken for years about just wanting to do the series right to get to this episode.

In other words: It's all downhill from here.

My take on the episode? Not very good, really. I know it's cliched to say the book did it better. As a general rule, the TV show has been as good as the book, and sometimes better in some ways.

But the book built up a great deal of oppressive foreboding, clearly letting the reader know something bad was coming. I remember when I finally figured out This isn't right and then had a feeling of dread for 40 or 50 pages, hoping I was wrong about it. I kept looking for reassuring hints that I was wrong; instead I got further confirmation that evil was abroad, and so the dread escalated.

The show chose, instead, to cut out virtually all the foreshadowing and hints that not all was well. Thus choosing brief shock over drawn-out suspense and dread.

Based on the video below, I see they got their shock reactions; but the shock only lasted, it seems, for about a minute. The slow-build dread of the book, with all its foreshadowing that a tragedy was coming, lasted, who knows, 30 minutes or so.

So to me it's very strange -- they did the whole show for this one moment, and then, rather than stretching that moment out for 30 or forty minutes, rather than savoring the dread and ominous portents of it all, they just blew it on a quickie shock.

It's a shame-- once I read this part of the book, I really did understand why the producers felt they should buy the rights just to do this one scene. It's a great scene. In the book, I mean.

Eh, the whole season -- The Season that Really Matters, in the eyes of the producers -- has been a let-down. The previous seasons they cared less about were better done.

Maybe they loved this season to death. Maybe the novelty of the show is gone. Maybe it was just a bad idea to split one book into two seasons -- if you've noticed this year's pacing is slow and that the show seems padded, that's because it is. It was a long and eventful book, don't get me wrong, but turning into two full seasons has resulted in it being more plodding and slow than the book (and the book itself was often plodding and slow).

Maybe they should have just done one long season of 14 episodes, rather than doing two seasons of ten episodes each.

Previous seasons benefited by streamlining and compressing Martin's breezy, all-the-time-in-the-world writing into a tight little machine. This season actually exacerbates his pacing problems. (Though I'm glad we didn't spend 400 pages with Arya on the road, as in the book.)

This event, by the way, is about 2/3rds of the way through the book. So next season, unless they poach a lot from books 4 and 5 (which they might), will wind up being even slower.


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posted by Ace at 06:52 PM

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