Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Mr Smith

Aiden Gillen and the Butchery of Littlefinger (Book Spoilers)

Recommended Posts

When it comes to character assassination, most of the discussion is inevitably about Stannis, given a series of poor writing choices last season. In the background however, Aiden Gillen has quietly been taking great dialogue and turning it into a series of creepy, ominous rasps that shatter the subtlety of the excellent material he has to work with. His mediocrity and lack of presence permeated parts of last season as well, but today's episode was the last straw for me, particularly as it overshadowed some outstanding work from Sophie Turner. Lets start with this ridiculous accent he's acquired. It didn't pop up until the second season (the first was by far his best, funny that). It reduces his flexibility in delivery, and makes every line he says sound creepy. But Littlefinger isn't always creepy; he has the ability to be charming, particularly when 'seducing' the trust of many noble lords and ladies. Next is his lack of presence. Admittedly, Littlefinger shouldn't actually have much of a presence; he's a man who stays in the background, offering a few choice words at opportune moments. Gillen misinterprets this completely, and tries to create a presence with exaggerated, sweeping movements, drawing far too much attention to himself. He was at his worst today, with him leaning in so close to Sansa he might have been a vampire trying to bite her, all the while rasping in her ear.



This probably sounds a little harsh, but no harsher than the various criticisms of D & D. In this case, I don't even put this down as a miscast by them, as Aiden Gillen was a perfectly adequate, though not outstanding, Littlefinger back in season 1. But he has now lost any sense of subtlety, and has turned the character into an outright villain rather than a man of highly ambiguous motives. He's two dimensional, and worse, he's boring.



Feel free to disagree.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree.



Hulking over Sansa like Nosferatu.


I expect him to break out in a Snidely Whiplash hand-twirl at any moment.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GRRM points out the biggest mistake the writers have made: nobody trusts Littlefiner on the show but everyone trusts him in the books. I wish that angle was played up better. He was very charming in the first season. After that, I don't know what happened.

ETA: Well, he was trusted with securing the Tyrell/Lannister alliance but the writers say in interviews he's not trustworthy which is wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree, the fact that he straight up told Cersei in a previous season that he knew of her twincest in front of guards was the first lapse. No way would the real LF ever do that or would he ever talk to Sansa about taking her away in KL with all the little birds in audience. Of course this has more to do with writing than his actual performance. Overall the series has been incredible but there has been a few things that have ticked me off with D&D. The fact that Robb and Talisa got married in the fashion of the seven, and it looks like the first reveal of Braavos will be through Stannis???? I understand adding to his story but why not go to Myr or Pentos? Now when Arya goes to Braavos it will be underwhelming because we've already seen it! I felt that was an important aspect to her story seeing Braavos for the first time through her eyes. The Bran and Rickon reveal was weak as well, sorry off topic but other than that and the skipping of several important battles(whispering wood, oxcross, NW vs others, and Reek switcheroo) D&D have done well.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand adding to his story but why not go to Myr or Pentos?

Presumably because they want him to deal with the Iron Bank of Braavos.

Regarding the original subject, I'm hoping that the extended interactions between Sansa and Littlefinger will lead to the writers putting a bit more variation into how they write the character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't agree more, his performance last week was cringeworthy. He was perfectly acceptable in Season 1 and has simply deteriorated each season since. I can't fathom how they can get Varys so right and Littlefinger so wrong.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GRRM points out the biggest mistake the writers have made: nobody trusts Littlefiner on the show but everyone trusts him in the books. I wish that angle was played up better. He was very charming in the first season. After that, I don't know what happened.

ETA: Well, he was trusted with securing the Tyrell/Lannister alliance but the writers say in interviews he's not trustworthy which is wrong.

I think this is purely the result of the two formats. I think George is wrong here.

George can leave things out because of the "point of view" nature of the novels, but the television show would really struggle with such scant detail on certain points.

Additionaly the audience will never ever trust Littlefinger again after what he did to Ned, so trying to uphold a sense of trustworthiness with him is futile with the TV audience.

Having said that, the show's characters DO trust him. Cersei did, and truthfully probably still does (her scene was about power, not trust with him), Tyrion trusted him, Robert trusted him, Tywin trusts him ... In fact most of the players left in King's Landing save for Varys trust him in some way.

The difference really is we don't get points of view in the show, we get a more objective look, giving him a much less trustworthy appearance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't agree more, his performance last week was cringeworthy. He was perfectly acceptable in Season 1 and has simply deteriorated each season since. I can't fathom how they can get Varys so right and Littlefinger so wrong.

Agreed, the voice is terrible ... It just gets raspier for some stupid reason!

Maybe he's auditioning to be the next Batman?

As for book comparisions ... I disagree ... Varys is as much different in the show as he is in the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, sucks to say it but Gillen has been increasingly awful since season 2. The OP nailed it; it's the raspy voice, the teatrical movements, the overtly creepy/mustache-twirling vibe.



It really, really took me out of the scene in this episode. I honestly couldn't focus on anything other than that cringe-worthy performance.



I just don't see how is it that no one has told him how horrible that voice comes off, really


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't GRRM once say on his LJ, that he based/his Littlefinger has a lot in common with Jay Gatsby, whilst the show creation was another matter entirely?


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tbh, I think LF is cartoonish IN books. And even though I like him, there are moments when he's so insufferable to read because he's so full of himself. In his last scene of Feast, when he's telling Sansa about his plans, it's like the villain monologuing before he gets killed.

Now I think about it, he reminds me of Fiona in Josie and the Pussycats, the movie (yeah, I've seen the movie...). Fiona sets up a humongous plan involving the government, the FBI, the police, Hollywood and the music industry, even trying to kill two of the Pussycats and brainwashing Josie, with the only purpose of broadcasting a subliminal message during a massive pay-per-view concert that orders people to think she's cool because she was unpopular in High School.

Josie and the Pussycats is the best movie ever!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is purely the result of the two formats. I think George is wrong here.

George can leave things out because of the "point of view" nature of the novels, but the television show would really struggle with such scant detail on certain points.

Additionaly the audience will never ever trust Littlefinger again after what he did to Ned, so trying to uphold a sense of trustworthiness with him is futile with the TV audience.

Having said that, the show's characters DO trust him. Cersei did, and truthfully probably still does (her scene was about power, not trust with him), Tyrion trusted him, Robert trusted him, Tywin trusts him ... In fact most of the players left in King's Landing save for Varys trust him in some way.

The difference really is we don't get points of view in the show, we get a more objective look, giving him a much less trustworthy appearance.

I agree with your take on it here. I think because the audience lacks POV insight, which for most characters in King's Landing they revealed that they trusted LF but were also wary of him. Also agree that after the major reveals of his connection in Ned's death - ther was no way the audience was going to trust him ever again even if characters in the book still do.

It's more difficult to show that trust the show - and he comes across over the top skeevy when in the books he was also skeevy but from the point of view of others who each had their reasons for listening to Littlefinger and needing / wanting connection to him. He was always wheeling and dealing like a bad car salesman with really good one liners. I just think it's very difficult to portray that well in the show even with a super great actor. Aiden Gillen may have been cast more for his looks (which is IMO a dead ringer for LF) than for his ability to pull it off well. Then again it could be bad directing or dialogue. I don't find his raspy accent as offensive as others do but maybe I'm just being more tolerant.

There were some great interactions between him and Varys in previous seasons - some of the sharpest verbal sparring they had in the show, really. With his change of plot, his character has seemed to go downhill ever since.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stop bashing the actor! I find it too harsh that people blame the actor - its not bad acting at all, the actors just do what the directors are asking of them. This episode just had some poor directing, tywin shouting that noone is allowed to leave kings landing for example. It looks like they shot this scene seperate from the others probably not even at the set. Why else wouldnt they show tywin yelling it out while standing beside his dead grandson.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stop bashing the actor! I find it too harsh that people blame the actor - its not bad acting at all, the actors just do what the directors are asking of them. This episode just had some poor directing, tywin shouting that noone is allowed to leave kings landing for example. It looks like they shot this scene seperate from the others probably not even at the set. Why else wouldnt they show tywin yelling it out while standing beside his dead grandson.

I don't think the director is going to tell him what accent to use! That said, I've seen him in a few things, and his latest voice does seem more like his real irish voice with raspy undertone. He sounded somewhat similar (and again a bit odd) as David Morrisey's mate in the serial 'Thorne'.

He should have been the perfect choice for the role, can't blame casting choice really, but somehow he hasn't quite clicked into the part like almost everyone else in the show. I think the dialogue for him has been fine and the storyline had to be presented a bit differently for the format as mentioned upthread ('butchery' and 'character assassination' are already in the self-parady territory on this board!). It's his rather wooden delivery that's the problem most of the time isn't it? It's is a bit odd - he should be doing better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion he's creepy even in the books, I can't count the times he is referred as "sly" (or similar adjectives)

As for the trust, what does Ned think about him?

You would be the last man I would willingly include in any party, Lord Baelish.

That said, I think Aiden Gillan's performance is too grotesque.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly suspect the change in voice since season 1 is a production request "Make Baelish more sinister" and Gillan has responded by attempting a gravelly voice. I am with those not impressed and who just don't buy into it. I don't blame Gillan for that though.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually the gravelly whispery aspect of the voice was present even in season one. He often talked in a much more conversational British-sounding voice but even then he would occasionally go into the more scratchy voice. He just let that dominate his characterization more and more. He still goes into the softer voice that he used most often in season one in season three and in this episode for some lines. I don't know what his rationale for going back and forth is but whatevs, that's just what he does.



I'm used to it and have gotten to be fine with it. Especially after noticing that his accent inconsistencies actually started as early as when we first met him (they were much less noticeable of course, but they were still there). He's been consistently inconsistent, if you will. I don't know if that's necessarily reassuring but hell, he's our LF. And he does do an excellent trolling face.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen one theory on here about the change in accent (I apologise I can't remember who it was, so I take no credit for this) that maybe it has changed because he is now away from KL and doesn't have to maintain his "court" voice so has reverted back to his low class accent. An interesting concept, would be nice to see an interview with Gillan or director to talk about the change in this character. I really like him in the books so want to see him done more justice in the show.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, Aidan Gillen's performance isn't as bad as all that. For example, I really enjoy every dialog that he shares with Varys, even though none of these scenes originally appeared in the books. To me, they are prime examples of what can be so rewarding about the show's "add on" scenes.



To my mind, the absolute worst Littlefinger scene was his confrontation with Cersei, (a prime example of what can go very, very wrong with the show's add on scenes). Even in this instance, what went wrong with this scene was more due to the fact that the dialog and blocking was so clunky and unsubtle, rather than it being a case of poor performances of the actors involved. It was a misguided attempt at demonstrating Cersei's power base, and shouldn't have been done at all. Its awfulness wasn't really due to Aidan Gillen's acting.



In this most recent episode, I thought that he successfully drove home just how cringeworthy Littlefinger's obsession with Sansa is. Here's our long suffering Sansa finally believing that she has escaped the nightmare that was King's Landing and that she is being brought to a place of safety from where she will eventually be allowed to "go home," only to find that she is now at the dubious mercy of Littlefinger, who is far, far worse a fiend than she imagined. Baelish is a very creepy dude with huge issues and no appreciable sense of morality, and I thought that Gillen was quite effective in conveying that in this scene.



I'm not overly fussed with the whole accent issue, but then I'm also not bothered by Peter Dinklage's accent either. Perhaps my ears just aren't sensitive to what so many others find jarring about the delivery on the part of these two actors. In my mind, I just put it down to "regional dialect differences" and leave it at that. :)


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...