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We’re gonna do something a little different today. We’re gonna talk about Game of Thrones and how to receive it at the end of its run, which we’re rapidly approaching now. The title of this post implies I’m going to be negative about the show, but it’s quite the opposite and so the title is kind of sarcastic as I watch people get really over the top about what they think the problems with the show are now that it’s “off book”. I usually only write movie reviews on this blog. I don’t know why that is. I have a lot of blogging ideas, but maybe not enough energy? I often think “hey, I’m gonna write something” and then I don’t. A time or two, I’ve had more ambitious writing projects for this blog and they just kind of petered out. Speaking of which, the biggest one was my Season 2 recaps which I was writing like five years ago and never finished. Remember those? I got to the sixth episode, way further than I remembered before checking.

Anyway, this is not that. I’m not looking to recap this latest season. I’m more looking to defend it, I guess. To explain it. To process it alongside all the people trying to do the same, but with an emphasis on addressing some criticisms it consistently gets that I think are more or less invalid. But I will also talk about the criticisms that are completely valid and perhaps even stumble across a few that you haven’t already heard or thought of. So this, in some ways, will be a sketchy overview of the entire show but using examples specifically drawn from this latest season and probably a little from last season as well. Keen eyed readers will notice the connection here is that these are the so-called “off book” seasons and there are plenty of reasons for that. So let’s start with there, eh?

But before we do, a little disclaimer. In some ways, this post may seem confrontational but I’d argue that it’s no more so than any of the negative reviews I write where I make you feel bad for liking shitty movies. You should feel bad. I’m not sorry. In this case, I am really just going after the laziest criticisms of an exceedingly good show while also making room for what I see as real problems with it. It will be easy to accuse me of erecting strawmen to make my arguments, but Game of Thrones is so water cooler at this point that we might as well be drinking Dornish wine out of the fucker. This means that it’s pretty easy to find the discussions where people are saying the things I refer to. You’ve likely thought them or said them a time or two yourself. I know I have. If you don’t want to give me the benefit of the doubt, check out reddit or Facebook (any social media platform really), the comments sections on sites that recap/review individual episodes, etc. Go ahead, this can wait.

It goes without saying, or should, that what follows are my opinions based on my observations and reasoning. I may get some details wrong, or I might miss something or fail to anticipate a solid counter-argument. Please let me know by commenting below. It would be fun to have a higher level discussion about this show than comparing it to Dungeons and Dragons. Also, don’t get the idea that I just love this show and everything they do. I have my beefs with it (Tyrion, for example), but this first part of what is planned to be a series of essays is going to be more in the form of apologia and will contain less direct criticisms. They’re coming, though, I promise.

1uhame

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Theon_and_Bran

Bran’s dream come true! Read the rest of this entry »

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And so passes Renly.

It’s been a while, again, since I did one of these. Been playing a lot of Skyrim lately, though, and it’s put me in a Game of Thrones sort of mood.

The fifth episode’s major theme is ambition. We get a sort of summary of most of the major players’ ambitions or, failing that, the lengths they are or may be prepared to go to see them through. The question on the table is, “what is the cost?” and this is the show when it comes to showing the full ticket price of ambition. Read the rest of this entry »

Roose Bolton, super duper not nice.

It’s been an even longer time since I wrote one of these. In fact, I was going to give up but I’ve been thinking of the show lately and how I still haven’t managed to get in a complete second viewing. Also, Justin convinced me I should keep writing these so here we are. Read the rest of this entry »

Jon won’t be pretty much longer at this rate.

It’s been a while but I’m back with episode 3 of Game of Thrones season 2. This episode picks up right where the last one left off with Jon receiving a stern lesson in the difference between what is right and what is expedient, and how they are seldom the same thing in Westeros. The Old Bear knows Craster is up to no good, but the man is a necessary evil while the Watch focuses on much worse shit. Including the shit Craster pays tribute to. White Walker shit. Shit.

This is all part of Jon’s education not only in leadership but also on the role of heroics in a world like his. Jon’s a romantic at heart but it’s being slowly worn out of him by all he’s experienced since leaving Winterfell. The show makes his story feel a lot more clearly one about “coming of age” than the books did. I’m sure I’ll talk more about it, but it’s one of the key reasons I think Jon is a more immediately likable character in the show. I didn’t really get into Jon until even after the Qhorin Halfhand stuff (later in Season 2, you’ll see!) where most people, especially young men, like him right away because he represents something of ourselves. I never got that with the books so much. Jon always felt like the vanilla protagonist that usually centers fantasy stories, even my own. I always thought that was boring for A Song of Ice and Fire but Martin always meant for us to see Jon grow up into the man he’ll eventually become. Read the rest of this entry »

Manners. They matter.

Episode 2 of season 2 of Game of Thrones is slightly more focused than the first one. This is because the important work of rallying the narrative forces and propelling them forward into the new cycle of the story is largely done. With more room to get into what this season is going to focus on, individual scenes are longer and have more room to breathe which means that there are a few less of them in this episode than in the previous one. That said, this is another episode written by Weiss and Benioff which means it’s more than adequate at juggling all the disparate characters and subplots that make up the ugly, beautiful web of Game of Thrones. Dany only gets one scene this time while Robb, Catelyn, Joffrey/Sansa and Bran/Winterfell are left out altogether. When the show is able to shuffle things around in order to focus, it is truly at its best. Even reducing or removing a couple of threads temporarily makes for a less breezy, more substantial episode. Read the rest of this entry »

Some blogger types on movie newsy sites have been commenting on the released images from the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman which is one of two competing “Snow White Reimagined” movies coming down the pipe.

The image in question.

What you see there is Kristen Stewart in Gondor drag. That’s a joke Devin Faraci made to great effect over at Badass and I have basically no problem reusing it here (quality, yo). Obviously they are going for a big, expansive fantasy direction for this time-honored tale. They’ve said as much even, as Devin and others have reported. Devin also points out that Joe Roth is the producer responsible and he also made Alice in Wonderland last year which featured its own titular Disney “princess” in shiny mercurial armor lopping the head off a fucking dragon. Since he’s also making the upcoming Oz the Great and Powerful I suppose people will be expecting the Eowyn treatment for Dorothy. Read the rest of this entry »

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