[BOOK SPOILERS] Episode 105 discussion
Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:42 AM
Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:46 AM
Littlefinger clearly owns too much people here. Renly's look after he made the 'have your friend' joke showed clearly that he could be blackmailed. Which makes homosexuality or at least his relationship with Loras a 'bad thing', and I'm not sure if this was the indicated in the books as well.
Well for the royal family I'd say it's a bad thing. I'm sure lords would be happier marrying their daughters to someone that is actually likely to produce hiers. They made it very clear Margaery wasn't touched by Renly but was apparantely banging someone else which may explain why the Tyrells were okay it but still, makes him almost as uneligible a husband as Stannis. Well maybe that'a littl to strong but you get the point.
Yeah, i think they were trying a little hard to differentiate themselves from the Water Dance (which actually does look natural)
Edited by DurararaFTW, 16 May 2011 - 11:47 AM.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:47 AM
I must have missed it, but what evidence is there in the book that Ned is only an "average" fighter, at best? Nobody really talks about his fighting ability, and Ned is too humble to brag even if he is good.
We know that he looks down on tournaments as men playing war and doesn't put much stock in them.
We know he survived a meeting with the Sword of the Morning. It wasn't an even fight, but he survived.
We know Jaime because is the best fighter in the kingdom because everybody says so. That doesn't necessarily make it true. People know he is the best because he has won a bunch of tournaments, not because he has defeated any great fighters that we know of in open battle.
I'm not saying Jaimie sucks and Ned is the best swordsmen ever, but I certainly find it plausible that Jaime's prowess is overblown due to people's tendency for hyperbole, and Ned's prowess is disregarded because Ned isn't a braggart. I also find it believable that Ned could defeat Jaime in a fair fight, even if only 3 times out of 10 or something. I never got the impression from the books that Jaime would be able to cut down Ned in two seconds without breaking a sweat.
I did get the impression that Jaime's perceived prowess was largely based on reputation, which in turn minimized the number of people willing to challenge him, thus building on his reputation for being too good for anyone to want to challenge.
Though I guess we do have Jaime cutting through like twenty guys to get to Rob in the Whispering Wood. That is pretty impressive and goes to him being an excellent fighter. Still doesn't mean that Ned couldn't hold his own against him.
Of course, this is all just personal opinion, unless George has explicitly stated that Jaime would totally pwn Ned because Ned is only average and Jaime is like the best ever.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:58 AM
I didn't like it as a translation of the story -
Petyr & Varys - why the need for the tit-for-tat exchange? Even not having read the books it has been shown that they both play the game from whispers, secrets & information. The "I know that you know that I know that you..." takes away from their joust. Good scene in the show, removes some ambiguity that made the story stronger.
Cersei & Robert - I enjoyed the peevishness that defined Cersei & Robert; the kumbaya, chance for reconciliation just seems out of place considering the contempt she was showing him (quite rightfully) in prior scenes. Others have posted that this may be to have the "ohmigod" moment from a different light when she does turn later. If she does.
Loras & Renly - similar to Petyr & Varys, do we need to be bludgeoned? From nothing, to a glance to shaving & a BJ. I enjoyed the subtlety from the book and was looking forward to seeing more build up - the quick looks like at the tournament, "excuses" to get away.
I loved the internal views of the Eyrie, that distance shot just didn't seem to fit with the description - the long causeway may make it harder to take, but not impenetrable as many describe it.
Loved the scene with Tyrion coming to Cat's rescue - and not having him all of a sudden be a warrior.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:59 AM
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:00 PM
This one, however.... now I understand it's difficult to put out an episode like this every week and you need build-up episodes (like the last one) for episodes like this to come to fruition, but wow. Loved every moment of this episode. Loved the new scenes: Robert & Cersei being my favorite. Loved that they showed Jaime and Ned actually battling! Loved the exchange between Littlefinger & Varys. The Renly & Loras scene was .... interesting. I'm intrigued to see the tv series making this relationship explicit and sets the stage for the season 2 beautifully when according to the tv series, Loras (apparently) convinces House Tyrell to throw the might of Highgarden behind Renly.
As for scenes following the books, I'm glad we got to see more of Tyrion's witty mouth ("Oh, did I kill him too? I've been very busy man!"). The Eyrie looked cool, and it's a shame we didn't get to see Catelyn's journey up to the Eyrie which was documented so well in the books. We would have seen another one of Robert's bastards during the journey up.
Things felt like they were moving here, and with a focus on King's Landing, I think the character development, the political intrigue, and plots all shined masterfully here. For a casual reader like me and possibly among non-reading audiences, I should think this episode works very well.
Like others, I was underwhelmed by the tournament since I imagined much bigger scales than were shown on tv. But that's a small flaw for an otherwise brilliant episode. And without a single scene with Jon or Dany too.
The only other complaint I have would be the infodump we receive back in Winterfell. The Bran scene and the added Theon / Ros scene seems out of place. I understand they have to set up the Greyjoy backstory but I thought they did that already last episode. Why do we get more here which didn't seem to fit in the larger vein of this episode?
Edited by Caine, 16 May 2011 - 12:09 PM.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:09 PM
People need to realize that the POV of the books is a storytelling technique to get us in the heads of characters, but that it's not necessarily meant to keep us in the dark about things. There are things that are meant to be revealed over time (Jon's Parentage, most likely), but there are other things that weren't spelled out, but were still no less plain.
For example I can't believe we had someone in the first thread complain that we saw Varys and Illyrio, because it was ambiguous in the book. That was in no way ambiguous in the book. Arya just didn't know who they were. But we had 500 pages or so of story before hand and only 2 characters had been described as those 2 looked. It was meant to be clear who they were to us...just not to Arya.
As for R+L=G (Renly+Loras=Gay), I must admit that I didn't realize it right away. Though I did pick up on it sometime in the 2nd or 3rd book and it was basically spelled out for you by Feast, I can see why many people wouldn't get that one right away.
I have no problem with the way it was portrayed on the show. Yes, Loras is a stick-figure and should probably have some hardness somewhere on his body other than between his legs, but really he was supposed to be very skinny and boyish. If he didn't have his shirt off he would have been fine.
I enjoyed the Robert Cersei scene immensely. I don't need my Cersei to have no redeeming qualities or moments. And even if the marriage is loveless, its a relationship of 17 years, you'd expect some ability to have a civil conversation from time to time. The fact that the only thing they can laugh about together is how pathetic and doomed their marriage rings true to me.
I didn't get the impression that Jaime was trying to kill Ned, but its hard to show that either way on screen. As a viewer I just take him at his word when he says to take Ned alive. I didn't get the feeling that whatever fight Ned put up against Jaime was meant to be indicative of how things would go if Jaime set out to kill him.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:19 PM
Not that Ned is bad- we haven't seen him fight but he does hold the Sword of the morning for at least a while. But he is a lord. He doesn't fight for a living. He has duties and children and was a general and canonically not as good a swordsman as his brother anyway. Jaime's job is to kill people. He is an active knight, all he does when not guarding is training or fighting in tournaments. No matter how good Ned was when he was active, there is no way in gazillion years he would beat a Jaime whose purpose is to be stop people killing the king by killing them first. It would be like Tyson coming back and legitimately expecting to beat Haye or Klitscko with no warm up fights and minimal training. It's romantic. But it wouldn't happen.
More importantly, Ned's ability now to fight is utterly irrelevant, but Jaime's is. And if he isn't seen to be really good at it, like at least as good as wonder-Stark, then all the fear of him killing Robb, Brienne looking good by matching him, Blount's cowardice in facing him off later, everyone's fear of him and his actual value to house Lannister are all going to look really really stupid. In the short term of providing an average fight they have made it really hard work to make Jaime's future development and plot pay off. He is used to sorting out all his troubles with his sword. If he can't do that in the eyes of the viewers now then what difference will losing his hand make and how will it elicit his change towards thinking and introspection? He defines himself primarily as a fighter, and so does every other character. This was the show's chance to let the audience do that. Now he'll just look arrogant and deluded as well as a jerk
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:24 PM
As an example illustrating the above, I recently defeated a kendo sensei in a tournament. He was 5th dan, a sensei who's been practicing for close to 20 years or so (vs my 5 years of experience) with a lot of tournament experience (he also won quite a few of them), and has a very competitive style. In most circumstances, he would roflstomp me in less than a minute. But not only did I hold my own, I actually ended up beating him 2-1. (For those wondering, we usually split the participants per grade, but this was during a team match, and all grades are mixed up in that case.)
This does not mean I'm better than him. He would beat me probably 9 times out of 10, if not more often. But that doesn't mean it's impossible for me to beat him, or that it's impossible for me to put up a good fight if I do lose.
Edited by Morrigan, 16 May 2011 - 12:27 PM.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:27 PM
- What the heck do those behind the show have against Barristan Selmy? He's not in any of the council meetings, he gets left off of scenes where he should be in... It's a nitpick, but still something I don't like.
- Was initially disappointed that the tourney was so abridged, but then realized that they didn't really need to show it all and eventually I decided that condensing it the way they did was all for the better.
- I still can't get myself to warm up to Littlefinger too much. In terms of delivering the lines, the portrayal is good, but his expressions are so flat in everything I've seen him in.
- Great scenes in general with regards to the Catelyn storyline. That Hilltribe attack seemed to come too much out of the blue, though; but it was a nice action sequence with Tyrion being fucking hardcore. I loved the "I'm willing if she is" line from the book, but it didn't quite fit in so quickly after the fight the way they did included it in this episode.
- I thought the scene with Bran was well placed and well done. The child actor playing Bran is impressing as much Maisie is portraying Arya.
- Not exactly comfortable seeing Varys in three consecutive scenes that occur in completely different places and times. Varys w/ Ned... then Varys in the dungeon right after that... then Varys with LF right after that one... it messes up the flow/timeline of the episode a bit. But I will say that Varys was pretty great in both the scenes with Ned and LF. I also found it odd how LF claims that he saw Varys both with Ned and in the dungeon... what are the odds of that??
- Another nitpick: I think Arya could have easily fit through the gates that were locked in the dungeon. Just thought I'd mention that. LOL.
- During the Varys+LF scene, I found myself thinking that there are too many scenes throughout the show that merely consisted of two characters purely engaging in a dialogue to move the story forward. Lazy screenwriting, imo.
- LOL @ Arya vs. Castle Guard banter and Arya being mistaken as a boy 2x
- That shot of the Eyrie after Catelyn & Co. met their escorts was breathtaking, although not as daunting and overwhelmingly huge as I pictured it.
- Council meeting re: killing Dany was well played straight up from the book. That was a compelling scene. If only they hadn't left out Ser Barristan.
- Unfortunately Omitted Scene Award: The part in the book where Mya escorted Cat up Stone, Snow & Sky. I really wanted to see that.
- WTF Changed Scene Award: Lysa and Robin in a throne room arguing with Catelyn in the presence of... well, pretty much everyone. Lysa and Cat should have been speaking privately in Lysa's chambers. Quite a jarring change from the book, but I'll be damned if the lunacy of Lysa and the oddness/fragility of the child wasn't characterized perfectly. Excellent view of the Vale too from Tyrion's cell. Oh... and that was definitely a prosthetic boob.
- Renly & Loras... whoa that was too much..
- Interesting scene between Robert and Cersei, but I feel like it did well for the show. It was a nice insight into their relationship - how they know it's fucked up and they can talk frankly about how fucked up it is because they basically don't care or feel for each other. Then it contrasts that to how hurt Robert still is from losing Lyanna. I thought this scene was well written drama.
- Final scene was so much lacking in drama, action and tension compared to the book, but I suppose it was done well enough. Damn Jaime Lannister. Reading the end of that chapter from the book and even seeing the ending of that episode made me rage so much.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:27 PM
I'm watching with a couple people - my wife and a friend - who have not read the books. I could tell from their reactions what they picked up on and what they didn't, which, to me, is a good gauge of how well they're creating nuance for the non-readers.
- The scene in the Eyrie was well done. It was immediately obvious that both Lysa and Robin are messed up.
- The fight with the mountain clans looked great (although I thought Catelyn could have done a bit more to hide herself), but we missed something in the setup. My friend asked, "Who are these guys?" when they appeared out of nowhere and started attacking. I realize there are time constraints, but it hurt the scene not to have any clue who the mountain clans were.
- While I was disappointed not to get more of the tourney, the Loras/Gregor/Hound scene was great (apart from the back-and-forth between Renly and Littlefinger, which I thought was a bit blatant). I've seen a few comments saying that it wasn't obvious how big the Mountain was. I disagree. My friend remarked that he looked HUGE, and asked me if Gregor was a total ass. I told him that he had no idea.
- The dragon skull was a bit confusing to non-readers when we first saw it, but then he remembered the exposition from Viserys last week and realized what it was. It was kind of a neat moment. I didn't really care for the Viserys bath scene - I thought the time could have been used for other things - but it was necessary. It shows that the writers really know what they're doing.
My own observations:
- I have to watch it again, because I got lost in the scene with Littlefinger and Varys. At one point I just threw up my hands. Who's watching who with the what and...huh? Even knowing what's going on I didn't know what was going on.
- I really liked the Robert/Cersei scene at face value, but I hope it makes sense based on what they do with Cersei's motivations.
- I enjoyed the confrontation between the Winterfell men and Jaime to end the episode.
Overall, probably my favorite episode.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:27 PM
Lysa - ick. IMHO, it was overdone and implausible. She didn't suckle Sweet Robin in public in the books and I don't see her vassals putting up with her if she did. They could have had a brief private scene with her and Cat during the next episode and put it there, it would have been more believable.
I really loved the Robert-Cersei scene. People keep talking about how Cersei was changed from the books, but my impression of the AGOT Cersei before her subsequent dumbening down and crazing up was actually very close to what they are showing here. And of Robert too, really - people keep saying that he is a bigger dick in the show - but IMHO he is exactly like the book Robert.
The scene wonderfully summed up their relationship - as is hinted in AGOT and then confirmed in AFFC, evil psycho or not, Cersei was prepared to give him a chance in the beginning. He blew it completely, never even tried to make up for it, and ugliness ensued.
Now a different woman wouldn't have gone to the extremes of preventing common kids (though she may very well have taken a lover too), and may have tried for longer, but that's Cersei for you.
Frankly, I deplore the extent of deconstruction of Cersei in the books - IMHO she would have been a much better character if she remained at the AGOT level of competence/evilness throughout. And didn't get any stupid prophecies. If they go that way in the series, I'd only applaud.
I am unsure about the tack they took with Renly/Loras, but the scene certainly introduced Tyrells as political force to recon with and established that they are also not slouches at intrigue. I don't know why they had to sissify Renly for it, but oh, well.
Ditto re: beefing up Ned's fighting prowess - but it is more difficult to show that somebody is a good general/strategist at the time of peace, so whatever.
On the whole, a very enjoyable episode, IMHO.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:28 PM
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:35 PM
my only gripe is apparently one that isn't share by anyone else. The fight scenes seem extraordinarily sloppy for some reason. These are supposed to be the most bad assed of bad asses and they are wielding their swords like hollywood actors on their first run through the choreography. But like I said, I'm apparently the only one. I must have an image in my head that isn't accurate at all.
Then there's also the fact that if a fight always flows smoothly between two, or more, fighters the entire time that's also unrealistic. You'll even see the best martial artists in the world have some "clumsy" exchanges because they happened to attack each other at the same time in a way that just made both attacks fizzle.
As for your mental image, that's of course going to be better because the books can describe the characters exactly how the author wants it, while you have the limitations of actors in these kind of productions. I do, however, think you are underestimating how hard it is to make things look good and by extension how bad actors look the first time through the choreography.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:37 PM
Edited by Morrigan, 16 May 2011 - 12:37 PM.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:37 PM
That is a good point, and I had not thought of it that way. They have certainly downplayed Jaime's prowess in the series. I think they can still demonstrate it with the Whispering Wood, so I don't feel all is lost. Also, for the non-sword-fighting-connoisseurs among us like myself, I have no idea if that fight scene was an example of good swordsmanship or not. It seemed to me like it was two really good swordsman evenly-matched. I don't think it necessarily detracted from their ability to portray Jaime as an excellent fighter later on.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:37 PM
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:39 PM
I lol'd. Also agree with the general sentiment expressed here. My interpretation from the books is that Jaime would beat Ned in a full fight, but I never got hte feeling that Ned wouldn't be able to hold his own for a while.
Other random comments about the episode:
Like the added Cersei/Robert scene. After reading all the books, my thought about Cersei and Robert's marriage is that she wasn't thrilled about it, but was willing to give it a chance...until Robert showed no interest in her by being unable to move on from Lyanna and hitting anything that moves. So I don't mind a couple scenes like this that make her seem more sympathetic
Also liked the LF/Varys scene - it kind of shows that these two are the real players making the moves and pulling the strings.
Loras/Renly - Sort of enh on this one. Didn't expect HBO to be as subtle about it as the books, but that was pretty blatant I'm not overly put out that they looked a little soft; it drives home the point that they are 'knights of summer' that have never really been tested.
So next episode would be the Tower of Joy dream (unless they go light on KL scenes next time, which is possible given what else needs to be covered) Will be interesting to see how they handle that in light of the theories that it feeds in to. I do wonder if they might skip it altogether; they haven't been big on showing dreams and flashbacks at all.
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:42 PM
Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:44 PM
The tournament was underwhelming. It went off much better this episode than last, but they completely failed to give it any sort of context. We only saw 3 people total riding, and didn't hear about a single other pairing. There was no real "conclusion" to it either, since the Hound was never mentioned as even being a part of it and Loras withdrawing. Would have loved to see them mention that it was the semi-finals, and have them show the Sandor/Jaime (especially for Robert to be able to mock him!) before the Gregor/Loras match, followed by Loras conceding to Sandor instead of the weird hand raise for the crowd deal.
The Sandor/Gregor fight was fun, but seemed REALLY slow. Like bad stereotype about knights using 20 pound swords and not being able to move in armor slow.
Really enjoyed the Lyssa/Robin scene. I was sure they wouldn't show the suckling, but was (un)pleasantly surprised. I always pictured Lyssa more like Queen Mary from the movie Elizabeth though.