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[Book Spoilers] Lack of a Prologue Similar to the Pilot / Book 1


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#21 Ran

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:57 PM

Four episodes in to the series and we don't have an iota of all the stuff they dropped the ball on by not using Cressen properly or finding a better alternative than giving us a faceless character whose death served no purpose but, "Oh, she has powers". Were D&D more on their A-game, they would have made something better of it. They weren't, and they didn't.

No one's asking for the "whole prologue". But some sembelance of a connection to the character would have added much more depth. As it is, a number of people feel the Dragonstone sequence is rather flat because there's simply no time to connect to anyone. They're there and then they're gone.

#22 Francys Targaryen

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:17 PM

Ah, the prologue. Given the frequent complaints here on the westeros forums, they could have dedicated an *entire* episode to this chapter, and people would still think that the prologue was short-changed, and that Cressen did not get enough character development. Sigh.


It is not necessary to name her straight away - she looks distinctive. Some characters in season 1 were not named initially either.



You seem to be contradicting yourself here. Stannis was mentioned a lot at the end of season 1. His introduction was fine. I actually liked the way they did it... It was not clear who at the beach was Stannis (the Davos or Stannis actor), but when Melisandre called out 'Stannis Baratheon', the camera pans to him. Nicely done.


No, I think it was a good idea to start with the burning - it was a very striking image.

Overall I think Stannis got a perfectly fine introduction, given all the talk about him in season 1. I can buy that people think that more time should have been spent on Davos and Melisandre - Neither were named, but the essential points of them was made clear:
1.) They are both close advisors to Stannis, but with
2.) clashing viewpoints.
But both characters will receive a lot of screen presence in the first four episodes, which should clear up any remaining confusion for new viewers.


Davos was named.. when Cressen is talking to him about stopping Melisandre and telling stannis the "truth"

"He trusts you, Davos"

#23 Howdyphillip

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

This was the most glaring defect of the series so far to me. ACoK is my favorite book in the series, and part of the reason is for the pacing. I feel like that the very beginning is a perfect place to introduce new things in this series. Obviously GRRM felt that way as well, as he uses all of his prologues to introduce background elements that become more and more important as the series advances

All of the other changes have been subtle and have more to do with character nuances, or elimination of players so as not to give an information overload to the viewing audience. I understand and can appreciate that. This was a complete change in the flow of the story, and I didn't like it at all.

That isn't to say that this makes the show terrible by any stretch. this is just a place where the series could have been made better..

#24 Tywin's bastard

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:35 PM

No one's asking for the "whole prologue". But some sembelance of a connection to the character would have added much more depth. As it is, a number of people feel the Dragonstone sequence is rather flat because there's simply no time to connect to anyone. They're there and then they're gone.

That was a known complaint about the first 3-4 episodes of season one so I don't really see that complaint sticking out.

#25 Ran

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:47 AM

Yeah, but you have ten episodes to connect with the Starks. Cressen's role in that prologue is to connect him to Stannis in a way that adds depth and texture, and they had just one episode they could achieve that in.

Viewers are going to have much less of an understanding of what motivates Stannis four episodes in than someone who's just read the prologue of ACoK got. The writers flubbed it by retaining Cressen but not his function. If it had been an old, zealous knight, it would have been more understandable -- having a nameless maester do it is simply confusing when his motives for loyalty and disagreement are so weakly sketched.

A missed opportunity, as they say, but one that leaves that Dragonstone scene much less efficient than it could have been. Two-three more minutes with Cressen, or some other character than him who was better suited to the time they had to dwell on Dragonstone, would have made more sense.

#26 Catastrophe

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:38 AM

Good to know I wasn't the only one disappointed by the Dragonstone scenes. Aside from the rushed and one-dimensional portrayal of Cressen, they didn't do a very good job explaining Melisandre's beliefs, or how it differs from the other religions of Westeros. (Admittedly, part of the problem is that Season 1 never really described the Seven at all, so viewers don't really have anything to compare R'hllor to.) Same goes for Melisandre's conflict with Davos, we know they're at odds but we don't really get a good sense of why. They might be able to flesh it out more later, but that's the kinda thing that should've been established from the start, like it was in the book.

IMO, the Dragonstone scenes were the one low point of an otherwise spectacular episode. Although, I did like that the show had Stannis find out about Joffrey's true heritage from Ned's letter. When I first read ACoK, I was very confused about how Stannis could have known the truth about Cersei's children before Ned did, so I'm glad that the show is keeping things simple. It also makes it feel more like Ned's actions at least had some impact.

Edited by Catastrophe, 05 April 2012 - 05:44 AM.


#27 Tywin's bastard

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:00 AM

Yeah, but you have ten episodes to connect with the Starks. Cressen's role in that prologue is to connect him to Stannis in a way that adds depth and texture, and they had just one episode they could achieve that in.

You'll have more than ten episodes to connect to Stannis. Cressen is an irrelevant character on the whole so complaining about that he isn't fleshed out himself seems fairly pointless. I don't disagree that they could have given more information right away (although I'm not privy to the information of how it would effect other aspects of the episode) but it's not a new situation for the show in my eyes.

#28 BabyMeraxes

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:58 AM

Seriously, I wouldn't have cared if they'd only shown Patchface. WHERE WAS PATCHFACE? I was also pretty excited to see baby Shereen and her greyscale.

#29 DaveSumm

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:03 AM

It's an extremely well established TV formula: pre-credits mystery, post credits main characters show up and explain mystery. Stuff like The X Files did this week in week out, so I think this is pretty ingrained in people's heads. I really think all the confusion around these scenes would've been resolved if it'd been pre-credits. Book readers: happy. Non book readers: intrigued, but not feeling they've missed something because its pre-credits and they don't expect to have it fully explained yet.

They could have started with Cressen in the sept, praying to the seven with a few lasting shots of the various seven statues. Then have Davos show up and tell him to come down to the beach, a quick plea from Cressen to help him stop this happening and a line about it being 'the woman's' influence, then the burning of the seven (which the audience would immediately recognise). Then Cressen attempts to kill her, she survives, credits. We understand the significance of burning, we understand Cressen's motivation, and we know Davos is also having doubts about her. Done.

Then another scene later where instead of composing the letter, it is Stannis's reading it back to Davos and he raises his concerns about the 'under the light of the Lord Rhillor' line or whatever it is. a) a scene with only Stannis and Davos would clearly be awesome. /cool.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' /> It cements Davos's feelings about Mel, and completely explains for any still unsure that Stannis is Robert's oldest brother.

#30 Lord Varys

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:01 PM

By the way, Ran, is the Lord of Light named 'R'hllor' in later episodes? The fact that he was only called 'the Lord of Light' makes it rather difficult for the non-book audience to realize that

1. Melisandre is a foreign priestess

2. her religion is foreign

3. fanaticism is not common among the religions of Westeros.

#31 Catastrophe

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:46 PM

Agreed. It also creates the problem of having viewers associate Melisandre's deity with the Judeo-Christian God, whereas the books make it fairly obvious that the Faith of the Seven is the most direct analogue to Christianity. It might not seem like a big deal, but such associations are an important part of the story's subtext, and changing them around will cause viewers to have different responses to certain characters and ideas.

#32 Jaxom 1974

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:07 PM

This.

This is a TV show. It is a pointless waste of time to turn the entire prologue into a scene. We don't need to care about Cressen or his motives or his life or his opinions. He's just some worthless character that dies 5 minutes in and is never heard from again. Yes, his story worked great in the book when we could hear his thought process and reasoning, but everything in his chapter can easily be introduced in another way. I read some complaints that not all the characters were named.... I had the same complaints last season about some of the characters not being named (Theon, Selmy, etc.) and later realized that the show runners knew a hell of a lot more about it than I did.


You'll have more than ten episodes to connect to Stannis. Cressen is an irrelevant character on the whole so complaining about that he isn't fleshed out himself seems fairly pointless. I don't disagree that they could have given more information right away (although I'm not privy to the information of how it would effect other aspects of the episode) but it's not a new situation for the show in my eyes.


Have you guys read the book? Cressen isn't "irrelevant on the whole" nor is he not heard from again, as Davos references him on more than one occasion, especially in light of the contrast between Davos and Melisandre in relation to who has the ear of the king. Much like the comet, Cressen's role in the prologue is to be a harbinger of the forces we're being introduced to and the apparent power wielded by Melisandre and her god.

Cressen shouldn't be simply dismissed. That his story was altered for the show can be accepted and forgiven, but the execution of the alteration fell very very flat.

#33 Tywin's bastard

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:10 PM

Agreed. It also creates the problem of having viewers associate Melisandre's deity with the Judeo-Christian God, whereas the books make it fairly obvious that the Faith of the Seven is the most direct analogue to Christianity. It might not seem like a big deal, but such associations are an important part of the story's subtext, and changing them around will cause viewers to have different responses to certain characters and ideas.

R'hllor is actually pretty close to the Judeo-Christian god in several aspects. He's heralded as the one true god to follow to the polytheistic people, those opposing get burned and he has an evil counterpart. Martin isn't quite so simplistic that only one of his religions is an analogue to that religion.

#34 Tywin's bastard

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:12 PM

Have you guys read the book? Cressen isn't "irrelevant on the whole" nor is he not heard from again, as Davos references him on more than one occasion, especially in light of the contrast between Davos and Melisandre in relation to who has the ear of the king. Much like the comet, Cressen's role in the prologue is to be a harbinger of the forces we're being introduced to and the apparent power wielded by Melisandre and her god.

Cressen shouldn't be simply dismissed. That his story was altered for the show can be accepted and forgiven, but the execution of the alteration fell very very flat.

Just because he fills a function doesn't mean that he's important. That's the big problem with all these discussions, that people confuse what's actually important to tell the story and what's there to just make the story deeper and (hopefully) better.

#35 Lord Varys

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:55 PM

R'hllor is not like the Judeo-Christian god. He is part of dualistic pantheon. There are two gods in R'hllorism, R'hllor and the Great Other.
The Judeo-Christian god is alone, and his 'adversaries' are destined to lose. This has not to be the case in R'hllorism since the Great Other is also a god and thus R'hllor's equal, his eternal adversary.
I'm quite sure no one here wanted the Prologue to be one 15 min long scene (in fact, I for one don't like the tendency of the series to show the characters only in one scene per episode).
But concentrating on the theme of two people fighting each other to convince another to 'the right thing' would have been coherent with other parts of the episode/season (Stannis, Mel, Cressen/Davos; Joffrey, Cersei, Tyrion; Balon, Theon, Asha; Theon, Balon, Robb; Daenerys, Jorah, Xaro, Pyat Pree), and would have introduced those concepts much better than, say, Cersei slapping Joffrey, or that weird Cersei-Littlefinger-scene.
The burning of the idols could have been at the beginning of the second episode, or at the end of the first. Giving us Cressen, Davos, Stannis and Mel, and the situation in Dragonstone in the Prologue, and then the poisoning and the burning in the end would have been much more powerful. You can care about a guy you only get a few glimpses of, if the writing is good.
The way they introduced us to this whole thing did not even include the fact that some of Stannis's followers do not embrace R'hllor. In this episode
Spoiler
nothing of this sort happens. Even Davos doesn't have a clear opinion on this subject. 'What's the truth?' What kind of crap is this? Davos Seaworth would have answered 'I always tell him [Stannis] the truth.'

Edited by Lord Varys, 05 April 2012 - 08:56 PM.


#36 Xerox in 4 Parts

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:10 PM

If they were going to use Cressen at all it would've been better to use him for his primary purpose which is to shed light on Stannis. As they did not it would've been better to cut him and uncram the Dragonstone scenes. I don't care where it was in the episode though.

#37 Caro99

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:37 PM

i was surprised there was no dragonstone as well as the opening scene-prologue. i get that it's important for people who have only ever watch the series to see some familiar faces first, so overall i was okay with them keeping dragonstone for later. i like the sequence they had for changing one scene to the next. and since (except i think a little bit for master cressen) i liked the preformances of stephen, carice and liam.
in the end i'm happy that they kept dragonstone for later for another reason: being a big fan of the Hound i was very happy that the first thing we see and hear for S2 is him <3

#38 Kaitscralt

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:56 PM

Why would a bookless audience want to watch an old man wander around who has no impact whatsoever on the story?

#39 turdle

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:30 PM

i was actually hoping that they would not start the season with the prolog. but i think it would have been cool to end the episode with the death of cressen. i thought ending the episode with the bastard slaughter was neat, and an interesting choice, but it could have been cool to split the two dragonstone scenes up throughout the episode, and end the episode with mel standing over a dead cressen. i think that would have helped to emphasis the scene (by putting it at the end).

#40 Envie

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

Just because he fills a function doesn't mean that he's important. That's the big problem with all these discussions, that people confuse what's actually important to tell the story and what's there to just make the story deeper and (hopefully) better.


I'll agree with this in part. They can't possibly fill out every single character's importance from the books. They had to sit down and decide which characters could be dropped for the sake of filming a series. The brief focus on Cressen was enough to hammer home the point: A Maester dies trying to poison a powerful priestess of another religion and is futile in trying to stop her or the conversion of Stannis and his people to her religion.

I'm not sure if people are more annoyed that Cressen's role was downplayed or that he drank the poisoned wine first which is also a minor detail that was ok to change for the sake of the flow of the scene. In order for it to have gone like it did in the book, a lot more backstory and info from Cressen's point of view would have been necessary for it to make sense. Everyone who is a show fan but not a book fan seemed to think the scene was fine and said they understood Cressen was the Maester trying to stop a 'heretic' from taking over Stannis and Dragonstone. That's all the more purpose he needed to play in my opinion.