Planetary

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  1. How would you rate episode 209?

    I felt exactly the same way about Stannis going first up the ladder with no protection. The reason kings and generals didn't lead their armies from the front, historically, is because it generally turned out disastrously. For every Leonidas who dies heroically, there's a Brasidas who dies fighting over a stupid city like Amphipolis. But I think part of that is not really knowing WTF he was doing. Maybe I missed something. Did that battlement lead directly to the holdfast or was there some other directly strategic value there? The wildfire is where I disagree with you. That one bright blooming flower of green, with thousands of splinters spraying in every direction, was fantastic. I loved the reaction shot of the Hound, Tyrion and Joffrey with their faces bathed in green light. If GoT was gonna shortchange us on wildfire, that one scene was worth it. I'm also wondering if the show takes another detour and Davos is dead. The way it all happened, I would not be surprised.
  2. [Book Spoilers] EP 209 Discussion

    Purposefully filmed as a night battle. Benioff and Weiss said that was partly to stretch budget dollars, and partly because certain significant elements (the wildfire, the flaming arrows) look a lot more breathtaking at night. Good call IMO.
  3. Well said. You bring up an important point, which is that while the TV series is flawed, so are the books. On a forum like this, people are going to be reverential, but the books have some huge missteps and Martin ain't exactly Chekhov. Didn't Martin himself say in retrospect he would've done some of the things the TV show did? I remember something along the lines of him saying if he could go back and do it all over again, he'd make the Stark kids older, as they are in the show. There were other tweaks he admitted to as well. But as you noted, we should be grateful the show is on TV, that it's being done by HBO and not by one of the many awful cable networks, that we get an hour each episode without commercials, that the show was renewed because it's been successful, and that if all goes well, we'll be watching the show for years to come. In other words, be grateful Game of Thrones isn't Rome. And be grateful it's not on AMC, which would squeeze 25 commercials into every hour while skimping on the production budget. We have it pretty good right now.
  4. I also though the tower we see at the end is the House of the Undying, or part of it. On TV, it's a lot easier to get that jarring spatial effect if a character walks into a narrow tower and suddenly the inside is a vast room too big for the exterior....rather than using a low building and putting lots of stairs in it.
  5. Great episode. For those of us who have read the books, keep in mind that we have absolutely no reference point for people who know the story only from the TV show. It's very easy to forget how lost or overwhelmed people can get with a cast this big, a story that hops around so much, and all the things that are left unsaid in dialogue but are present only in the little details. The HBO folks get those little details right the vast majority of the time. And when they change something, it's almost always for the sake of leaner, more efficient storytelling. That's the reality of a 10-episode season. Regarding the raging over Roose and Ramsay, the changes are necessary. The audience has to see that Roose Bolton is Robb's bannerman and supporter, otherwise no one will care that some random dude they've never seen before goes and betrays Robb. The writers have managed to kill two birds with one stone — Bolton is established as Robb's bannerman, he's seen with Robb in several scenes, and in the meantime the audience gets to see much, much more of Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. My only nitpick is, where the hell is the Greatjon? My guess is it wasn't worth it for the actor or the show's budget to have him just hanging out in the background, but for the sake of consistency it would have been nice to see him this season among Robb's lords. Finally, Ygritte. Wow. Rose Leslie is gorgeous and I'm happy to see a real redhead, not a brunette with a bad dye-job. She was fantastic in this episode and I hope we see a lot more of her.
  6. The House of the Undying was almost all visual in the books. It's just Danaerys with Drogon, so there's almost no dialogue until the very end (in the blue heart room), there's no expository dialogue needed, and there are opportunities for some really fantastic, impressive visuals. This is probably the scene I'm most looking forward to seeing, even more than the Battle of Blackwater Bay...if they do it right, take their time, and really make the House of the Undying as freaky as it's supposed to be, it has the potential to be awesome. I really hope they don't skip over it like they've done with every battle scene to date.
  7. What Allan Ball and HBO did was elevate True Blood from a poorly-written book series with some great ideas to an amazing show that vacillates between visual poetry and trashy, guilty pleasure. The deviations on True Blood are almost always for the better. The deviations here are less stylistic, and more to do with the incredible task of diluting a huge volume down to 10 hours of TV. For the most part, they're doing a fantastic job. For instance, while Arya goes on quote a bit longer before she's captured in the books, does that really add much to the narrative? It was a smart decision to compact that sequence. I don't think HBO has the artistic license to seriously deviate from the books, and I don't think the ASOIAF fanbase would be as forgiving as Charlain Harris fans. LIke you noted, it can never be the same as in the books. For me, the books and the TV show both have their strengths.
  8. You're right. I've never complained about too much T&A in HBO shows, but last week was over the top, simply because it was every damn scene and they don't have the time to waste. But...the Renly/Loras scene still counts as sexposition. Sexposition is a hallmark of HBO shows, but constantly employing it like they do in GoT makes it far less effective than it would be if used sparingly.
  9. I really don't mean to sound cruel, but the actress was born in '96 dude. It's kinda creepy to read messages from mid-30s neckbeards describing her as "gorgeous." The device Tyrion is playing with in Pycelle's room is some sort of protractor, from what I remember. And Tyrion leaves two coins because the poor prostitute had to shag Pycelle. He leaves the first coin, turns around and watches the sorry old man trying to struggle, then reconsiders and adds another coin. To me, that screams, "Sorry you had to have sex with that dude, you deserve more money for that..." and not necessarily any Tysha connection.
  10. Fantasy and SF Recommendations: Stand-Alone Books

    Against A Dark Background was #$%ing art. If anyone ever claims that genre fiction is not literature, or SF is somehow a grade below because it's genre fiction, show them this book and let them eat their words. First of all, it's an amazing book. Second, the prose absolutely shimmers. It's rare, even in high lit circles, to find a novelist with the kind of mastery of language Banks has. And third...the dialogue, the wit, the sly little nods to the reader...wow. I can still remember the absolute hilariousness of King Tard the Seventeenth... Lord of Despite, Seventy-fourth of the Useless Kings, Lord Protector and Master of Pharpech, its Dominions, Citizens, Lower Classes, Animals and Women, Prime Detester of God The Infernal Wizard, Exchequer of the Mean and Guardian of the Imperial Charter. I mean, come on! Brilliant. Any SF fan who does not check out this book is really missing out. I can say a million things about how stylistically fantastic it was, or how absolutely hilarious it was in parts, but most of all it's epic space opera.
  11. Fantasy and SF Recommendations: Series

    Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds: 1) Revelation Space 2) Chasm City 3) Redemption Ark 4) Absolution Gap I love science fiction, and I really like space opera by authors like Iain Banks and Larry Niven. But Revelation Space is special. It's written by a former astrophysicist who worked at the European Space Agency. The series features plausible science based on our understanding of physics -- no magic warp drives, no FTL, etc. But it's not dry, because Reynolds is not just an astrophysicist, he's also a master of noir. This is science fiction that makes no grand assumptions about how society will change because of technology. There's no post-scarcity society, like in The Culture, and no unified humanity, like in Star Trek. Instead, people act exactly the same as they do now, with all the same motivations. People use technology for good, and they use it for evil. They use it for pleasure and they use it for violence. But Reynolds explores the dark side of that, and it's like a car crash you can't look away from. It's some of the most disturbing reading I've ever come across, and it's awesome. I would recommend Revelation Space to any fan of space opera, hard science fiction, horror science fiction, just plain horror...or anyone who likes good genre fiction.