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  1. In principle I have nothing against show adapters using creative license. After all, it is a different medium; things that worked in a book series may not work on a show. That's fine. The problem comes when the show writers are clearly inferior to the book writer. It's a problem when you have a book writer, whose writing is amazing and comparable to writers of some of the best shows ever made (like The Wire and Breaking Bad), and then the book is being adapted by writers who could get no further than teen dramas on kids' networks. Take this, for example. Remember this season, when Brienne and Pod saw Hot Pie? Now, that was a unique creative approach by the show writers (as it hadn't happened in the books), and I'm okay with that. They needed to speed up Brienne's plot and that was a great way to do it on the show. Kudos. But then let's remember that actual scene. Hot Pie bores them by rambling on about kidney pie which Brienne is clearly irritated by. But then, outside (after Podrick suggests to her that they don't inquire for Sansa by name, because it would be dangerous), Hot Pie approaches them and says that he saw Arya. While he starts telling the story, Brienne looks impatient and says "the quick version!" See, the show writers are still trying to make her culturally relevant by being annoyed by the fat kid who talks about kidney pie, but they do it while she just got this miracle fucking lead about Arya that she couldn't have even dreamed about before. In the books, Brienne was barely getting scraps of info from all the pubs she visited, and any time she got something that even sounded remotely relevant in the loosest kind of way, she would squeeze every bit of information she could, in the most thorough possible way (as anyone should when looking for people on the Kingsroad). But because the show has to be culturally relevant to teens who get annoyed by fat kids, instead of sitting Hot Pie down and hearing every possible detail he could, she just says "the quick version please" and makes some haphazard baseless decision with Podrick afterwards. To top it off, she threw it in Podrick's face after he told her not to tell people Sansa's name... completely ignoring the fact that Podrick is completely right and, in the more likely scenarios, throwing around Sansa Stark's name to random pub people would have ransom-hungry brigands going on their own searches. But she uses that wonderful 12 year old logic of "it worked in this one miraculous case, so it must be the better option", even though book Brienne was smart enough to know from the get-go not to use Sansa's name directly. This is bad writing. It is the kind of writing that doesn't care about character consistency, and is even willing to make the characters bleeding idiots who are completely incompetent in their own task, just to make them more sassy and culturally relevant. GoT has been filled with this kind of writing ever since the show had become massive, and the producers changed their perspective on the audience that is viewing it. I don't care that they changed Brienne's plot arc from the books in that scenario, but I very much care that they switched the amazing writing from the source material with their cringe-worthy teen drama fitting writing. And it's just a massive shame to us "book purists", as you call us, that one of the best pieces of fantasy literature could have been adapted to a show whose writing is on par with the titans (The Wire, etc), but instead, has writing on par with what we would expect to see in Twilight. And those of us who see the show with the filter that can differentiate which writing points can be credited directly to GRRM and which can be credited to the show writers, we see that these writers are riding off the success of GRRM and if they even attempted their own show, it would crash and get cancelled after less than a single season.
  2. How are you doing a normalized average? (be specific please, I'll understand)
  3. Okay, there's your response to the people with the explanation-free criticisms that amount to "show writers are dumb, they don't follow the book properly". Now how about all those people who claim that the show simply has poor writing, and is basically riding off the brilliant source material to account for their success? There are plenty of people writing well thought out and reasoned criticisms for why all the dialogue changes and plot changes are basically garbage, and why this show will never come close to the quality of the television titans (like The Wire, etc). Every single scene that has been given praises for its good writing gets credit entirely from GRRM. What was the big dialogue scene last season? Jamie's tub scene. What was it this season? Tyrion's trial scene. The thing about the book readers is that we have the ability to control for the material that comes from the books when we evaluate the writing of the show. When you subtract out all the writing achievements of GRRM and simply look at the quality of the show writers alone, you see that the quality is no better than some c-list television show that would get virtually no fame. We have the ability to use that filter, but show-only watchers don't. They see the brilliant stuff whose credit goes entirely to the source material mixed with the garbage that the show writers produce, and don't know which stuff to credit to whom. These are mediocre writers adapting a titanic book series. I am a reader, but I compare GoT to The Wire or Breaking Bad a hell of a lot more often than I compare it to aSoIaF. And in those comparisons, GoT pales as a mere infinitesimal shadow every time.
  4. I gave it a 3. Sorry, I just didn't like this episode. Everything beyond the Wall was solid. Arya's last encounter with Brienne was solid. Besides that, there really wasn't much. For being one of the most powerful dramatic scenes in the entire book series, Tyrion's final scene was just... meh in this episode. I didn't feel Tyrion's dread after he basically killed her out of self defence and then said "sorry sorry sorry" afterwards. All I could think was "hail Tyrion, humble white knight of Westeros". His whole reason for visiting Tywin felt weird and contrived. Does he blame Tywin for his killing Shae? And why go up there to risk his life in the first place? I get that Tywin treat him like shit and sentenced him to death and all, but I just didn't feel his reasoning. I did in the book (with the basically crucial Tysha element that drove everything he did). I don't understand why they added the dialogue between Cersei and Tywin. Brienne and Sandor's fight was actually very well choreographed and enjoyable. But... why did it happen? Just for flashiness? It felt completely awkward and contrived, like they just had to fill a quota of fight scenes. How did she not find Arya afterwards? Just take a high ground and you'll see her going in any direction. It seems especially silly since Arya dwelled at his body for quite a while. I'm sorry, but the wight attack was just ridiculous. BTW, as someone raised in another thread, why even burn the bodies if the Others can animate their skeletons? Also, nice addition of the CotF being able to throw Super Mario fireballs. I wonder how the Children lost to the First men in the first place. Oh and obligatory "no LS". IDK, I'm not even that bothered by it. I am just very bothered that they took one of the most powerful, dramatic, morally grey scenes in the books, and completely watered it down because they had to make time for some pointless scenes. I'm okay with novel adapters using creative license and all, but it's just that every creative license they're taking is for the worse, by replacing fantastic writing with the mediocre "Dawson's Creek" style writing of the show writers. But it's not like I'm only rating it as a comparison to the source material. I was in the middle of watching a Sopranos episode when it aired so I paused to watch it. Then I finished that Sopranos episode. It was amazing to me to see the immense difference in writing quality between the two shows, GoT is just laughable in comparison.
  5. 6. So it didn't infuriate me as much as the last episode with its shitty writing/dialogue. It was what it was supposed to be - a full battle episode. I was okay with the changes they made as they had to, but premature RIP for Pyp and Grenn. However it doesn't come close to Blackwater (still my favourite episode). There wasn't much tension with these characters (as many have mentioned, the wall is a very under-developed plot in the show). It just didn't seem as compelling overall. Plus it's a little too bad they couldn't put much more in the budget of the siege on the wall, with the besieging army. That certainly didn't exhibit the scale it was supposed to. Certainly not the best GoT episode, but at least it didn't piss me off with shitty writing enough times.
  6. Nope. Read my post again. I said that Vikings and Spartacus beats GoT in sheer escapism and pure entertainment value, while The Wire, Sopranos, and BB beat GoT in narrative, character development, dialogue, and plot development. I value the latter traits far more than the former, so clearly I put the latter shows in much higher regard than the former. However, if I were either mentally exhausted or completely wasted off my ass and wanted some quick show to let loose, I might pick the former shows just out of the fact that they're fun and entertaining, and aren't too thought provoking.
  7. All right, I see what you're saying. To be honest, shows like Vikings and Spartacus have enough of that fantasy/escapist entertainment aspects for me, and they seem purer and more thrilling in those aspects than GoT. But then, GoT is much richer in character development, narrative, and dialogue than those shows, just a lot weaker than the shows like The Wire, Sopranos, and Breaking Bad. It seems like GoT is more of a jack-of-all-trades but best in none kind of show. I feel like Vikings and Spartacus are far better than GoT in terms of thrilling escapism and pure entertainment factors, and The Wire & Sopranos are far better than GoT in terms of dialogue and narrative, but GoT is far better than those aforementioned shows in the reversed categorical aspects, if you know what I mean. (Well, maybe it's not better than BB in escapism, because BB has quite a bit of escapism with Walter's insane machinations that should never work in real life.) The RW didn't feel like a big shock to me when I first read it (9 years ago) but it was a very tragic culmination of Catelyn's already very tragic story. (Actually the Oberyn vs Gregor fight was a much bigger shock; so was Arya "dying" until we see that she wasn't actually dead in her next chapter and Sandor just hit her with the flat of her axe... I admit I cheated and flipped forward to see future chapters and see if she was alive, lol.) That's how I felt about the RW, and from that, it read as a sort of deep tragic sadness that you sort of felt coming anyway because Catelyn's chapters were already so tragic at that point. I thought that the addition, in the show, of the Talisa fetus-stabbing, as well as the whole building up Robb and Talisa's relationship, was just a cheap way to get shocks and gasps from the audience. I'm not a fan of hinging your storytelling on shocking twists, and I feel like that's what the show is doing, far more than the books. But then, I supposed I'm biased in my perspective of the show red wedding, because I read it first.
  8. What's wrong with that type of comparison? I just finished Catch 22, a book about soldiers in WW2, and I find myself making comparisons between it and a Malazan Book of the Fallen, a series that, unlike aSoIaF, calls upon the supernatural in almost every paragraph, making it unmistakably high fantasy. But the style of soldiers using sardonic humour and satirically ridiculous scenario in the midst of a war whose grimness is borderline absurd is very similar between the two. If I were to compare a show to aSoIaF, it would be Breaking Bad more than any. Both are very much less about major overarching issues and more about intimate character growths. And both have that common element that they're able to build such a strong setting, through dialogue alone, between characters for whom the stakes are so highly established that you find yourself soaking every word of the conversations. Both aSoIaF and Breaking Bad carry this trait for me, but I can't say the same about GoT. So I'm curious, why do you enjoy GoT more than these other shows? It's not Malazan-like in that it flaunts the supernatural high fantasy elements everywhere it can, in fact, it's quite the opposite. For me, with GoT it's fun to revisit those "big scenes" like the Red Wedding, Oberyn fight, or the whole Blackwater episode. But I just can't imagine doing a full re-watch of seasons 2, 3, or 4.
  9. That's because: 1) The production value is still fantastic. Note that most of the criticisms (mine included) regards entirely the writing. You still have a massive budget making all the costumes spot on, the settings extremely appealing, etc. 2) The series is still based on a book series that's written amazingly. The credit for the great scenes, strong plot points, great dialogue, etc. goes 100% to GRRM. What do many people consider the best dialogue scene in season 3? Jamie's tub scene, which was a watered down version of his scene in aSoS. This season? Probably Tyrion's trial, which again, takes fragments of the amazingly written scene in aSoS. When it comes to the actual writing and plot, show-only viewers absolutely love the brilliant work that GRRM did, but cannot distinguish which parts were his and which were the work of the show writers. Book readers can make that distinction, and from what we can see (in terms of writing, not production value, etc), all the great stuff came straight out of the books, and in almost every matter that the show writers decided to take creative liberty, it turned it towards the worse. Look at my last post for two examples I had of big grievances in the writing (Ygritte shushing Gilly and Brienne rushing Hot Pie.) My grievance had nothing to do with the fact that they were creative licenses and everything to do with how badly written those parts were. You would never catch shitty writing like that in aSoIaF, or in shows like The Wire or Sopranos.
  10. Though I'm a reader, I base my criticism of the show (I gave this ep a 3 btw) based on my comparison of it to other shows. If you compare it to, like, The Wire or Sopranos, the writing is just extremely juvenile, lack any form of subtlety whatsoever, and is an obvious attempt to keep everybody in the audience up with what's happening, while insulting the intelligence of most of them. And it's not like I have an amazing memory and can remember characters two-three seasons later; I'm very susceptible to forgetting these kinds of details. But that's what recaps are for. You can't cater to forgetful people like me at the expense of the flow of the story. Even with my latest big grievance with the show, I compare it to the show Vikings, which is actually not all that well written, but at least is self aware. I compare Ygritte sparing Gilly to Ragnar Lothbrok sparing a little English child during a raid. Ragnar sees him, then covers him with a cloth and walks away, leaving us, the audience, to understand the painfully obvious fact that he spared him out of compassion, but doing so in a way that doesn't kill the actual impact of the scene. Ygritte, when she "shushed" Gilly (i.e. put her finger on her mouth and said 'shhhh') was the GoT writers needing to go the extra mile for us because we're such fucking idiots that we couldn't have figured out what happened had they gone the more impactful, and less cartoonish route of her just seeing Gilly and covering the curtains. Then, remember that scene with Brienne and Hot Pie? I'm totally fine with them feeling the need to condense her story (though it was one of my favourites in FFC), and having them use their own creative license to have her see Hot Pie. That's cool. And sure, maybe for that (not so) humorous angle, you can have her annoyed by his kidney pie speech. But then they continue that frustration in the most absolutely absurd way, when he comes back to talk to them (and she opens with 'not about kidney pie again') and tells them that he saw fucking Arya, then begins to tell her the story and she says 'the quick version, please'. Are you fucking kidding me? 'The quick version?!' You just got this miracle fucking lead of a guy who saw Arya with his own eyes, and you're so annoyed by his kidney pie story that you have to rush him? No, sit the fuck down and squeeze every little detail out of him that you can! But the show has to be all sassy and relevant, and relate to us by having Brienne get annoyed with the fat kid who talks about kidney pie. I remember, in FFC, how difficult it was for her to scrape any fragment of a minor detail from people, and how she grilled people down to every last detail if she thought she got just a scent of the right direction. This is not them being 'blasphemous' by straying from the source material (most of us critics are not that irrational). This is just bad writing. The thing that's most shameful to us readers is that a brilliant book series with amazing writing is being adapted into this high fantasy with teen drama level writing.
  11. S4 is only considered "very good" because the second half of aSoS was the most exciting fragment of the series. GRRM gets all the credit for that. The actual writing quality of the show has been slipping continuously. Season 1 was tight, and I would certainly consider it the best of the series. Their writing certainly hasn't improved, it has only gotten better source material to call upon. And season 4 is exceeded by the worst of BB, not just the best. But then, BB didn't really have an "off season". Should this episode really be rated better than some crappy soap opera? Sure it has higher production value and special effects, but the writing and dialogue didn't seem any better to me TBH.
  12. Hear hear. As a show, I don't compare GoT to aSoIaF, I compare it to the likes of The Wire or Breaking Bad. Because of the constant plot contrivances, high school drama style dialogue, and about as much subtlety in delivery of ideas as a caveman knocking out his potential mate to drag her into his abode and have sex with her, GoT will never come close to the quality of some of the best shows. The thing is, the books are very high quality in those regards. I have absolutely no problem with creative license at all. GoT is a show and aSoIaF is a book series. Not only am I okay with, but in fact I encourage cutting scenes and characters or making plot changes to fit the show structure better. It's just that, sometimes, those changes they make are based in their shitty writing and inability to keep things consistent. So when we say "they should have just stuck to the way the book did it" it's because it would have been a hell of a lot more elegant, dramatic, clever, and consistent than the way they did it.
  13. I was, all in all, very frustrated with this episode. A lot of it just reminded me of how downhill the writing in this show has gone. First there was Ygritte "shushing" Gilly with her finger. Even the show Vikings, which isn't "supposed" to be as well written as GoT, had the subtlety of just letting Ragnar conceal the little English kids so his raiders wouldn't see him, and then walk away. They show didn't have to bash us over the head with the fact that he was sparing him out of compassion. And Ygritte simply looking at her, then closing the curtain and walking away would have been both subtle and powerful, with us taking in the obvious realization that she's sparing her. But "nay" say the GoT writers.... the audience with under 20 IQ wouldn't understand what happened and we certainly can't leave any audience member behind, so like in a Saturday morning cartoon, they add that "shushing" detail just to clue us all in. Danaerys banishing Jorah was way too rushed and haphazard. The writers realized that they didn't do any setup for it at all, and thought "oh shit we're near the end of the season, we have to do it quick!" So *boom boom*, and two quick scenes and five minutes later, he's banished. It was one of the most emotionally charged scenes in the book, and in the show it felt like she was just dealing with another shepherd with burned sheep. The symbolism of the beetle scene just barely relates at all to the forthcoming scene, or anything in the near future with Tyrion, really. I mean, the best thing I can really connect it to is Gregor Clegane, who takes lives without much consideration. Was Oberyn's spear supposed to be the donkey's leg that kicked the cousin to death? Either way, for such loose symbolism, that scene didn't at all deserve the time it got. Especially since the fight scene seemed pretty rushed and could have had its own set-up. Finally, what was with Oberyn dancing around like a fairy-princess in a manner that doesn't at all apply to a real fight? I'm okay with his initial display to impress the fans, but after that, twirling your spear around is not how you utilize its range to keep your opponent at bay. Not that he really cared about doing that. While the book went through such painstaking detail about how he constantly tried to keep Gregor out of swinging distance with his spear, and even mentioned that one time he put himself in serious danger when he did slip into distance, show-Oberyn must have gone into Gregor's swinging distance at least 10 times, because he cared more about making a fancy impressive display than actually keeping himself alive. And what with his being able to do triple figure-skating spin jumps which are completely unrealistic in the scope of a fight, all immersion is lost, because we don't get to understand the intricate points of his danger. For example, in a normal fight, if someone was knocked to the ground and the oppressor had the height advantage, we'd understand that the other guy is in a bad position. But what about Oberyn... is this a dangerous position that he'll have to work hard to get out of, or will he be able to just do one of his triple spin jumps out of it? Whoops, there he goes. Anyway, those are my major grievances. They handled Oberyn's death well, and it was one of my favourite scenes in the book series. However, as a whole, this episode was pretty bad.
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