Strider

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  1. I'd like to commend this article by Todd VanDerWerff on the challenges of adapting Martin's books to a television show. I give this last episode an 8.5. Overall I thought it was well done, but it also felt hasty at times and it did not have the emotional impact that I was hoping for. I want to applaud the HBO writers and directors for a splendid second season. I believe that many of the "critics" on this forum have been excessively harsh and naive in their criticisms. If the writers had not taken the creative liberties that they did, the show would have failed miserably. As I have said several times before, "Game of Thrones" must be appreciated on its own terms, not in terms of slavish rendering of the books. I suspect that George Martin understands this much better than many of his fans.
  2. I'm giving it an 8, as it was a developmental episode in several respects. It was solid. Good interaction with Asha and Theon. Theon is so lost. Good interaction with Cersei and Tyrion. Cersei should be afraid. She thinks she's so smart and devious; but Tyrion will have his revenge. I know that a lot of folks will complain about the "unnecessary" scenes between Robb and Talissa, but the writers decided to strongly develop the character of Jon this season--a decision with which I wholeheartedly concur--and this requires them to create a story line that did not exist in the books. By freeing Jaime, Catelyn has undermined her influence with Jon. Jon is now free to act on his erotic and romantic desires, duty be damned. I am still wondering who will accompany Rickon when the Stark boys leave Winterfell. Luwin remains my guess.
  3. A solid 9. This is great television. I suspect that folks who have not read the books are better positioned to appreciate how truly excellent this television show is. It's not easy for those of us who have read, and re-read, the books to enjoy the series on its own terms. The directors and writers should be applauded for how well they have adapted very difficult source material. They have made changes, both to narrative and characters. I have disliked some of them (I remain disappointed especially by the portrayal of Stannis); but have been pleasantly surprised by others (I love the changes they have made to Theon and his story). Only two more episodes left. I hate to think that I will have to wait another ten months before season 3 begins.
  4. I would describe this episode as solid. I gave it a 9. I loved the scenes at Harrenhal. Maisie Williams as Arya is making this character her own. I'm delighted they have brought Tywin to Harrenhal. He brings a wonderful presence to the show. Renly's death was good. I was not expecting it to be over-whelming; it was not over-whelming in the book either. The assassination happens all very quickly and neither Cat nor Brienne are sure what they saw. That sounds right. Stannis didn't bother me this episode, as he did in previous episodes. I continue to feel that the role was mis-cast. Tyrion continues to own the show.
  5. I give it a 9. I gave the first two episodes 7s and last week's episode 10. I am convinced now that the only way to appreciate and enjoy this series is to forget completely about the books and to stop all the comparisons. The series stands on its own and needs to be evaluated on its own terms. The writers have made changes to the source material, both to the narrative and to the characters. It's silly to criticize them for making changes. Of course they are making changes. All that is important is whether the series works. And on that basis, I have to give it a strong thumbs-up. HBO has given us a compelling story with compelling character. This is great television!
  6. I don't disagree. But Sansa has been traumatized. As others have observed, did you notice how much she looked like Cersei this episode? She is doing her best to identify herself with her captors, to make herself less vulnerable. She is saying all the "right" words. Hence the importance of Sansa's scene with Shae. She is desperately looking for an ally. Tonight's episode brilliantly and subtly expressed the plight of poor Sansa.
  7. Yes! Anyone who is expecting a word for word adaptation is doomed to disappointment. Folks here need to experience and judge the HBO series on its own terms. Forget the f*****g books and enjoy, or not enjoy, the series as it has been given us. This second series has many flaws (though I think tonight's episode was excellent), but these flaws cannot be identified and properly assessed until we stop comparing the series to the books. The writers have made changes, both to characters and narrative, and will continue to make changes. That they do so is absolutely essential. Tonight's episode has renewed my enthusiasm for the show. It was really well done.
  8. HBO-Shae is uninteresting because book-Shae is uninteresting. The writers would have done well to have eliminated her completely from the story, but once they decided to keep her they had no choice but to deal with her. I thought that her scene with Sansa was touching. Why? Because the scene was not about Shae but about Sansa. This poor young woman is totally traumatized. She is suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Sansa needs a friend who is not Lannister. Shae represents a future, the possibility of sanity. A thin reed, indeed, but still a reed. Give the HBO writers credit here.
  9. Outstanding episode. I give it a 10. Yes, I know that book-Margery is not so wise in the things of the world as is HBO-Margery; but I find this a welcome change. Tyrion still owns the show.
  10. I tend to agree that the writers probably should have cut out many of the characters and events in order to create a more focused story. A Song of Fire & Ice may simply not be adaptable to the screen without radical surgery. But can you imagine the cry and hue such surgery would have generated? I hope that if the series lasts long enough the writers will give serious consideration to dramatically eliminating many of the narrative threads and characters from Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons. These are the two weakest books in the series, almost qualifying as narrative failures. I don't know how they can be integrated into a compelling cinematic story. Bottomline: we who love the books need to give the writers plenty of slack. They need the freedom to make a successful adaptation, which probably means more departures from the source material, not less. But I am enjoying the second season. The production values are exceptionally high. We'll just have to wait and see if the writers can pull everything together.
  11. Yes. You have touched on my single serious criticism of the second season. I am not a purist when it comes to TV/movie adaptations of novels. Novels and film are two very different mediums. Most importantly, Martin's Song of Fire and Ice novels are particularly convoluted and unwieldy ... and long. Successful adaptation of these books will require often drastic creative decisions, including changes to the narrative, creation of new characters, and changes to the established characters. This is all expected. We cannot rightly expect faithfulness in all the details. If we who know the novels (I've read them all twice) are going to enjoy the HBO series, we must find a way to bracket what we know and to enjoy the series on its own terms. This is difficult to do, I know. Quite frankly, I find most of the complaints about changes and additions to be nit-picky and even silly. Has LIttlefinger's character been severely distorted by his encounter with Cersei or by the revelation of his ruthless pimpery. Of course not. Has Stannis's character been severely distorted by his violent bedding of Melisandre. Of course not. Has the story been ruined by Craster offering the newborn to the Others. Of course not. Yes, liberties with the text have been taken; but as I said, the series needs to be appreciated on its own terms and not judged by meticulous conformity to the novels. Many (most?) of the viewers do not have the advantage (or is it disadvantage?) of having read Martin's books. But that being said, I am extremely disappointed so far with the series' characterization of Stannis. He is being presented as a weak, even desperate man. Would the book-Stannis have ever said this line? Book-Stannis is a formidable warrior and commander, known for his steely will. Even to Melisandre I do not see him as ever confiding doubt and fear regarding the possibility of victory. Others might fear or anticipate defeat but not Stannis. Am I wrong? Or am I being nit-picky, too? :)
  12. I'm willing to give him a chance, but I've been disappointed so far. He does not communicate strength and power, only inflexibility and weakness. Book-Stannis is the most formidable commander in the 7 kingdoms. So far I have not seen this side of him. Is this because of the actor or the script? I am not one to complain about script departures from the book. I think they not only are inevitable but desirable, especially for these books. I'm willing to give the writers a lot of slack. But I hope that Stannis gets better.
  13. I'm surprised that so many people are criticizing Stannis for succumbing to lust. Egads, this duty-bound, puritanical, moralistic man of power is as tight as a drum. Of course sex for him is going to be a lust-explosion. It doesn't matter that this dimension of Stannis's personality is not portrayed in the books. We are talking about a man of power. Do you think he has no libido? Edit: I see now that a thread is dedicated to this topic, so I will repost my thoughts there.
  14. I pretty much agree with this assessment. I agree that these were welcome and acceptable changes. The strength of this episode is that it brings the charge of incest to the fore. The sin, or at least the allegation of the sin, has been published. The great secret is no longer a secret. Everything now flows from and revolves around this sin. This is a change from the book, but I think it will be a strength in the television show. Cercei, Jaimie, and Joffrey now find themselves rendered even more vulnerable because of the allegation. It has empowered their enemies. It is driving Cersei to further acts of desperation. As I watched the episode, two literary allusions came to mind: Herod and the massacre of the innocents and Lady MacBeth. It's all very Shakespearean. I give the episode 7/10. The episode was a bit too episodic for my tastes--and I was very disappointed with Craster and his keep--but I trust that subsequent episodes will build on and develop the themes of this episode.