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Season 4 Impressions

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I went from not caring about Sansa to her becoming one of my favorite characters/storylines after that finale.

I had that impression after watching "Battle of Blackwater". I didn't think Sansa was in the finale, unless you mean episode #8 of season #4, where my reaction more the reverse, as it didn't seem like Sansa at all (but I was still intrigued).

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I will use your post as a springboard. I often hear that the torture scenes were too numerous from many people. I knew where we were going back in season three so they didn't bother me, but I can appreciate that those not in-the-know were bothered by them. I think there were three issues they had with those scenes in particular, and I will try to address them.

1. Torture Porn - I have never heard this phrase so often in my life. While I understand the thought, I disagree with it thoroughly. Let's break down the torture scenes.

Ep. 1 - no Theon

Ep. 2 - some torture, probably the nail thing was the most cringe-worthy but it cut away right at that time

Ep. 3 - no torture (that I can recall) Ramsay frees Theon and they have that underrated horse chase

Ep. 4 - no torture, Theon has a monologue and is taken back to the cross

Ep. 5 - no Theon, halfway through the season and we've really only had one episode of torture

Ep. 6 - to me this is the first real heavy torture scene, yet there is a surprisingly little amount of physical torture, most of the scene is Ramsay playing mind games with Theon

Ep. 7 - castration scene, we needed to see what lead to Theon being castrated but i won't deny that I didn't think this scene was well done, it went on too long and the naked women felt gratuitous, no physical torture done on screen though

Ep. 8 - no Theon

Ep. 9 - no Theon

Ep. 10 - sausage scene offers some dark humor and background after Roose's reveal, I can understand complaints about the name changing being quick and unimaginative but these are usually held by the same people who said we have too many torture scenes so I don't know what they wanted

Throughout there was psychological torture as well as physical torture, but I always felt that the physical torture was what they were mainly complaining about. There actually wasn't that much torture through the entire season despite people's protestations.

2. What's going on?! - I think this added a lot of frustration to the scenes, because a lot of viewers had no clue what was going on. Understandable, but overtly revealing that it was Ramsay would have pointed giant red arrows to Roose early in the season. Revealing Ramsay in season two and having Roose's story about what happened to Winterfell not match up in season three would have also created big red arrows. The books can bury stuff under endless food descriptions and heraldry information, but the show does not have that luxury. People started paying more attention to Roose mid-season, but they thought he was probably playing both sides. Revealing Ramsay too soon would have fucked that up. Oh, and those book readers who said "the Red Wedding had a building sense of dread that the show lacked." Fuck you. The entire Robb/Cat arc of season three had a building sense of dread. Most non-book readers I know felt like something bad was going to happen at the wedding before the episode; telegraphing would have lessened the impact. Their surprise wasn't that something happened, it was that something happened to that degree, which I think a lot of book readers would agree with.

3. "I don't care about Theon." - In season two Theon came across as arrogant, over his head, and trying to impress his father. In the end he clearly came across as someone torn between two sides and sort of bumbling his way through things. Tyrion in season two was also arrogant (show me a Lannister that isn't), over his head (he thinks Cersei is his main enemy, not the guy who accused him of trying to kill a kid which results in him being captured), and trying to impress his father (and what's he get for it?). Tyrion comes across as competent, but he is never torn between his loyalty. Heck, he sends Littlefinger to lie to Cat regarding releasing her daughters. Yet people sympathize with Tyrion and hate Theon. The show did what it could. And no, having Tyrion have Bronn kill a singer would not have changed the audience's opinion. I fear that if people didn't care about Theon's over the top punishment, what will they think about Cersei's?

Wow, that was a well written and a well researched response , the only thing i can add is the showrunners could have used the guessing game for learning his name because: 1- theon not knowing his capturers or the castle/area he was at and saying names like torrhen karstatk ,men who was with him in the army didn't seem plausible to me ( and i was a show watcher at the time) simce he was raised in the north capital.

2-learning his name and forgetting his idendity is a much bigger deal and its more intriguing thing to watch but instead of us seeing torture that leads to the theon/ reek transformation we'r just seeing the change as a a side effect ( least they gave it more focus in season 4 )

And i'm glad that d&d sticked to there guns , GoT is supposed to challenge the viewers the same way the books did only diffrence is we don't have access to the minds of characters to learn of what they been through and to be fair they succeded in making it good television ( some great quotes from ramsay , and they used the kyra escape plot from.the books in a great way) and they established ramsay as the character to hate after joffrey hit it.

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Season 4 is definetly the most disappointing season and my eyes. It contained so many of the best moments in the books and while it delivered on most of the big moments wonderfully (not all), everything around them suffered from poor pacing, weird character choices, weirder plot choices and pointless changes from the books.



Take for example Watchers on the Wall. It is one of my favorite episodes of the entire show, and yet I feel like so many of this seasons problems could have been fixed by having this episode earlier in the season. If episode 409 was instead moved up to episode 405 or 406 then you wouldn't have needed to have all of the pointless early Stannis scenes, the illogical and wasteful plot line of Jon going North of the Wall and you would have time to include the offering of Winterfell by Stannis and the election of Jon Snow as LC which was desperately needed to complete his arc this season. I just think they get so caught up in having a big episode 9, that they ignore what actually works best for the plot as a whole.



There were just so many strange plot choices this season as well. Such as having the Ironborn coming out of nowhere and sailing around the entire continent just to be quickly turned away 10 minutes later. Or Arya and the Hound reaching the Gates of the Moon just turn around and start walking back. Or having Brienne and the Hound happen to run into each other in the middle of nowhere. Or having Jon accurately guess exactly where Bran is in the massive area North of the Wall. These decisions are just so illogical that they take you out of the story and just makes the world feel small.



Along with the weird plot choices there were a number of character changes that were frustrating. From Jaime giving into Cersei in the White Tower, to Littlefinger killing Lysa without a plan, to Tyrion and Jaime leaving on good terms so many of the character changes from the books just felt wrong.



Also its "Only Cat" dammit. I'm sorry if the show audience is stupid enough to forget her name. You don't change one of the most famous lines from the series willy nilly.


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Also its "Only Cat" dammit. I'm sorry if the show audience is stupid enough to forget her name. You don't change one of the most famous lines from the series willy nilly.

I sympathise. I really do. But Only Cat isn't one of the most famous lines from the series. If you were to do a poll and asked everyone who read the books, I am absolutely certain there'd something like, I dunno, 1%, maybe two, who'd know what the hell you're talking about. It's not even the line that's famous per se; it's the convenient shorthand for the scene where Littlefinger kills off Lysa. Just like Edd and his block long in the fetching or Doran's Fire and blood. The words themselves are just some cool sounding one-liners and nothing more.

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I sympathise. I really do. But Only Cat isn't one of the most famous lines from the series. If you were to do a poll and asked everyone who read the books, I am absolutely certain there'd something like, I dunno, 1%, maybe two, who'd know what the hell you're talking about. It's not even the line that's famous per se; it's the convenient shorthand for the scene where Littlefinger kills off Lysa. Just like Edd and his block long in the fetching or Doran's Fire and blood. The words themselves are just some cool sounding one-liners and nothing more.

I didn't know what it meant before I came here, and my husband had no clue what I was talking about. We both read the books, but people around here are overstating the importance (and famousness) of this particular line.

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I sympathise. I really do. But Only Cat isn't one of the most famous lines from the series. If you were to do a poll and asked everyone who read the books, I am absolutely certain there'd something like, I dunno, 1%, maybe two, who'd know what the hell you're talking about. It's not even the line that's famous per se; it's the convenient shorthand for the scene where Littlefinger kills off Lysa. Just like Edd and his block long in the fetching or Doran's Fire and blood. The words themselves are just some cool sounding one-liners and nothing more.

You are probably right. I'll admit that it was probably just a personal nitpick. I just brought it up because it annoyed me but it isn't a problem that I had with season I had as a whole unlike the other things I mentioned.

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I didn't know what it meant before I came here, and my husband had no clue what I was talking about. We both read the books, but people around here are overstating the importance (and famousness) of this particular line.

Of any line really. What sticks out for me aren't one-liners but beautiful and well-written passages, for example septon Meribald's speech or the great Tower of Joy sequence. There are many such examples in the books.

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Theon's Season 3 scenes were definitely "redeemed" in retrospect, at least in my opinion. I'm not one of those who hated the scenes for all the "gratuitous" torture, but I can sympathise with people who disliked them. Now, having watched Season 4 and Alfie's phenomenal transformation, I'm pretty convinced that leaving Alfie out of S3, or de-emphasising the torture, wouldn't have worked nearly as well. I'm glad D&D decided to stick to their guns although they had "internal" behind-the-scenes opposition to their decision by some involved in the production process.

It's interesting, pretty much everyone seems to be praising the Theon/Reek transformation. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to criticise Alfie Allen because he did a decent job and did what was expected of him, I just wish they'd had the guts to go further and closer to the book Theon/Reek. I remember seeing a theatrical play of The Hobbit before the films of LOTR were made, and the guy playing Gollum was great, but it was obviously theatrical and limited by the medium. If they had portrayed Gollum like that on the big screen, it would have looked a bit naff. What I'm trying (admittedly badly) to say is that in comparison to the book Theon/Reek, the screen interpretation looked a bit theatrical and a bit naff, closer to the Gollum I saw portrayed on a stage than to the Gollum of Peter Jackson's films.

In short I would have liked to have seen a greater physical transformation as well as a mental one.

I think showing the torture allowed them to get away with portraying such a theatrical Theon/Reek, as we saw what happened to him (although I wholeheartedly agree with those who say the transformation was far too easy). If they had left Theon out of season 3 and reintroduced him in a similar way to that of the books and made him almost unrecognisable, I personally would have preferred it. I do appreciate the amount of extra financial stretching that might have entailed though.

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I think it would be quite difficult to capture that terrible physical transformation that Theon went through without a lot of make up. Same reason Tyrion kept his nose.

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This is not only a financial question

Heavy makeup or a green sock on the nose, just like coloured contact lenses, would seriously tamper with the acting, that is what the actors said.

And so we got those extraordinary acting performances by Allen and Dinklage, far more important than the perfect look

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Also, I think GRRM took it too far with the disfigurement: by the time Myrcella was Darkstar'd and Brienne Biter'd, I was way over it. I get it: harsh, bleak, grim world etc. But I still think it's been overdone.


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All decent points, I just felt they could have done more. I found it more difficult to believe the psychological transformation without the physical to match, that's all. It just felt more 'stage play' and less 'cinematic' as an interpretation.


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Season 4 is definetly the most disappointing season and my eyes. It contained so many of the best moments in the books and while it delivered on most of the big moments wonderfully (not all), everything around them suffered from poor pacing, weird character choices, weirder plot choices and pointless changes from the books.

Take for example Watchers on the Wall. It is one of my favorite episodes of the entire show, and yet I feel like so many of this seasons problems could have been fixed by having this episode earlier in the season. If episode 409 was instead moved up to episode 405 or 406 then you wouldn't have needed to have all of the pointless early Stannis scenes, the illogical and wasteful plot line of Jon going North of the Wall and you would have time to include the offering of Winterfell by Stannis and the election of Jon Snow as LC which was desperately needed to complete his arc this season. I just think they get so caught up in having a big episode 9, that they ignore what actually works best for the plot as a whole.

There were just so many strange plot choices this season as well. Such as having the Ironborn coming out of nowhere and sailing around the entire continent just to be quickly turned away 10 minutes later. Or Arya and the Hound reaching the Gates of the Moon just turn around and start walking back. Or having Brienne and the Hound happen to run into each other in the middle of nowhere. Or having Jon accurately guess exactly where Bran is in the massive area North of the Wall. These decisions are just so illogical that they take you out of the story and just makes the world feel small.

Along with the weird plot choices there were a number of character changes that were frustrating. From Jaime giving into Cersei in the White Tower, to Littlefinger killing Lysa without a plan, to Tyrion and Jaime leaving on good terms so many of the character changes from the books just felt wrong.

Also its "Only Cat" dammit. I'm sorry if the show audience is stupid enough to forget her name. You don't change one of the most famous lines from the series willy nilly.

Pretty much this

I'm not so fussed about deciding to maintain a positive Jaimie/Tyrion relationship depending on where they plan to take things, but they needed to reference Tysha more and the reasons for going up to the Tower of the hand were absurd "why did you sentence me to death?" really, well he did offer you the wall but you insisted on trial by combat and glared at him triumphantly remember so you forced his hand

All the other stuff was pretty much right, Littlefinger is being over/mis-acted, he should seem perfectly normal and non-suspect and while I can understand they want to do a whole Sansa protege arc he wouldn't be stupid enough to put himself in such a hole. And the whole "Jon's wine" thing needed to be a bit more subtle

I also felt the QoT admission was poorly done, it's like they are catering for a dumbed down audience, they need to keep with the tradition of the books and throw subtle and indirect clues in there more, one of the things about the books and should be the show is that people obviously discuss different theories for hours on end citing evidence etc

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Needed t





I think it would be quite difficult to capture that terrible physical transformation that Theon went through without a lot of make up. Same reason Tyrion kept his nose.





Yeah he virtually looked the same, I can understand the need to not allow Makeup to obstruct actor performances but he needed the be changed a little bit, eg just give him a craggly white/grey haired wig and he would have been fine without too many lost teeth etc


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Take for example Watchers on the Wall. It is one of my favorite episodes of the entire show, and yet I feel like so many of this seasons problems could have been fixed by having this episode earlier in the season. If episode 409 was instead moved up to episode 405 or 406 then you wouldn't have needed to have all of the pointless early Stannis scenes, the illogical and wasteful plot line of Jon going North of the Wall and you would have time to include the offering of Winterfell by Stannis and the election of Jon Snow as LC which was desperately needed to complete his arc this season. I just think they get so caught up in having a big episode 9, that they ignore what actually works best for the plot as a whole.

I agree. It's pretty ridiculous how two seasons weren't enough to finish Jon's ASOS material. I guess they felt putting the 'season climax' at episode 9 worked so well for the previous two seasons (Blackwater, Rains of Castamere), that it was worth trying again.

On-set photographs suggest they're doing it again, with 5x09 being Daznak's pit, though at least the pacing should work better.

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Season 4 is my most favorite season thus far, funnily enough for the stuff D and D added: Oberyn's scene with Cersei (could easily have been him trying to feed her paranoia for her childrens' safety), Craster's Keep, the attack on Castle Black, the extra stuff with Roose/Ramsay and Locke...but I do think combining the major plot points from season three with season four, making the RW a mid-season thing, would've made for one really exceptional season as opposed to a so-so season three and a mostly great season four. I don't quite see the significance in Theon's physical appearance having changed all that much...Alfie's Reek performance is an excellent indicator of how badly he's suffered under Ramsay. It worked fine in the books, but it wasn't a deal breaker, like say Leaf or Bloodraven's appearances (which are the low points of the season for me, as is the lack of Tysha backstory...I am hopeful that it might come up with Tyrion in season five, however).


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Odd decisions in terms of plot and there are mostly a lot of writing mistakes in this season and in season 3 with regards to drastic character changes in Cat and focusing a lot on Robb which sort of bugged me in season 3. Though My biggest problem was likely what they did to the Dornish material that really started to piss me off.


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