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TheKnightOfJests

Do the show writers hate religion?

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7 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

I'm one such. :)

Many of my friends are religious to different degrees, or at least have spiritual beliefs of one sort of another. Variety is the spice of life, in everything including this, imo. And any type of extremism bothers me, including fanatical atheism. 

As to the show's portrayal of religion, it bothers me because it feels patronising, and it feels very much like viewers are being spoon fed this notion that "region is bad". Which is the opposite of Martin does. 

Very well said. 

 

50 minutes ago, TepidHands said:

You don't have to be a racial minority to find racism offensive. I don't think you have to be a person of faith to find the show's treatment of religion cartoonish and superficial. 

Agree completely, it's like the two of you took the words right outta my head. 

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If anything, the show has portrayed Religion as it really is. I don't think the show portrays religious characters as evil because of their religion but it bring forth the idea that because of religion, innocent have died

its not that the show runners have anything against religion but they show the grey area.

After all, one of my favorites quotes from a movies is one from kindgom of heaven where a Hospitaller says, " I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of God. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is here "
 

High Sparrow is neither evil not bad. He fights for the poor, he feeds the poor, yet, he is not a completely holy man. He himself uses religion as a tool to gain power.

meli is trying to defeat the evil one. Her entire quest is basically to find Azor Ahai in order to defeat evil dead man. Yet, some of her action in the name of religion have crossed lines.

 

Borros too! He punishes those worthy but that's he ones that get to fight with him by trial of combat. Yet, there are plenty whom died because of his orders. 

In that regard, if anything, the directors have shown religion more realistically than GRRM has (as of now)

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50 minutes ago, xjlxking said:

If anything, the show has portrayed Religion as it really is. I don't think the show portrays religious characters as evil because of their religion but it bring forth the idea that because of religion, innocent have died

its not that the show runners have anything against religion but they show the grey area.

After all, one of my favorites quotes from a movies is one from kindgom of heaven where a Hospitaller says, " I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of God. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is here "
 

High Sparrow is neither evil not bad. He fights for the poor, he feeds the poor, yet, he is not a completely holy man. He himself uses religion as a tool to gain power.

meli is trying to defeat the evil one. Her entire quest is basically to find Azor Ahai in order to defeat evil dead man. Yet, some of her action in the name of religion have crossed lines.

 

Borros too! He punishes those worthy but that's he ones that get to fight with him by trial of combat. Yet, there are plenty whom died because of his orders. 

In that regard, if anything, the directors have shown religion more realistically than GRRM has (as of now)

Except just as there are fanatics, there are also average followers. Not everyone is a fanatic, and to just show us the fanaticism is bad storytelling. Mel, and the Sparrows probably had to be in the show, but lines like Davos saying [email protected](K the gods is not. There's so much unnecessary writing of characters bashing on religion, or their former religious beliefs, and some of it goes against the very same character in the book counterpart, the counterpart that is the actual source material............

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On ‎5‎/‎5‎/‎2016 at 6:23 PM, ummester said:

I do agree there is a certain bias towards atheism in the show, however - but this may be part of the story. The story itself is fairly cynical about humanity, verging on misanthropic. I personally think this is eventually going to play out as a kind of antithesis to other fantasy story telling - where magic always fades as humanity rises. I think this story is still trying to say that magic and humans are basically incompatible but humans will fade as magic rises.

Well said, particularly your statement on GRRM's story itself, regardless of D&D's subsequent interpretations, being 'fairly cynical about humanity, verging on misanthropic.'  From a certain perspective, the fantasy elements are there as a vehicle to allow GRRM to get away with indulging some of his less palatable misanthropic urges (e.g. his frequent allusions to human cannibalism and sacrifice).  Therefore, not only are we encouraged to deliciously suspend our disbelief, we are simultaneously invited to suspend our conscience, or whatever dainty remnant thereof remains in this day and age, and feast to our hearts' content on the spectacle of the taboo -- in the name of 'art.' 

Recently, in another thread where we were considering the meta-meanings of 'pies,' I considered the nursery rhyme 'sing a song of sixpence' which not only contains the grisly idea of baking living beings in a pie (even if it is cold-baking), but ended up with the maid having her nose pecked or nipped off by a blackbird once it had been released from the pie.  This takes on a further ominous meaning when one considers that alternative renditions of the rhyme have substituted the words 'naughty boys' for 'black birds.'  So often beneath the seemingly trite sing-song ditties and fables we've inherited there is usually a hidden layer of sex, death and psychopathy (worryingly, the latter is increasingly celebrated in popular and political culture).  Nursery rhymes and fairy tales are not children's stories, even if we sing or tell them to children.  They are a way for adults to gaze on the forbidden and on some level enjoy it, without being fully cognizant of what it is we're partaking in, full awareness of which might diminish the catharsis or oblivion sought.

The world created by GRRM and run away with by the D&D duo is a world where only one thing is celebrated -- Power.  Accordingly, the handling of religion predictably follows this pattern, whereby any given religion is principally interpreted as a means towards that end.  When Cat prays to the mother or the warrior for Rob's safety, hence his triumph on the battlefield, what she is really praying for is for the others on the opposing end to die, and for more power to accrue to him and hers.  The High Sparrow prays for a socialist revolution, reserving a special place for himself at its head dishing out degradation to those who overstep the bounds of his ordained propriety.  The Red God burns a child (someone who would've incidentally made an excellent queen) in the name of an empire, guided by an uncertain prophecy.  The Faceless Men supposedly restore the balance, but they also set the price both of their services and admission rights to their arcane and exclusive club of death.  

One might ask, what gives any of them that right?  Why is anyone endowed with such power?  And by whom?  The question posed by both the books -- written by a writer who is not of a medieval ethos but very definitely post-post-modern, whatever that will be more eloquently referred to in future -- and the visual rendition of our 'zeitgeist' in the wildly popular show which continues to grow in popularity regardless of its excesses, or perhaps on account of them, is whether there is any other reality, i.e. is there anything outside the eternal circle of power and predation?  Is only 'the ladder' real? 

Quote

Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.

As one poster put it:

On ‎5‎/‎6‎/‎2016 at 4:30 PM, Karmarni said:

Personally, I would also hope to see the show take the angle of moving up out of the darkness and into the light, getting more positive as more magic comes into play and that the final resolution has some upbeat characterization. So far, it's a bleak hope based on the show's history though. It seems terrible to think that this zeitgeist show is going to be all about boobs and gore and nihilism.

“It's easy to confuse 'what is' with 'what ought to be', especially when 'what is' has worked out in your favor” (Tyrion to Hizdahr; and on a meta-level D&D to us).

Despite the nihilistic trend, there is a current train of thought in ethics and other disciplines that premises a more 'humane' approach to the 'death of god' and the corresponding elevation of power as the principal virtue, namely that instead of saying that 'the ladder' is all there is, one might conclude that in a closed system in which meaning has become decentralised, the inter-relationships we have with others are all there is, thus preserving responsibility for how we impact one another.  Even the psychopathy exemplified by Littlefinger's mantra is an inter-relationship, one which simultaneously abuses while ostensibly disabusing itself of those same relationships! 

One thing I always enjoyed about both the books and the show was the excellent dialogue and relationship crafting.  Nowadays, however, in the show (specifically since season 5) there is less emphasis on developing conversations and relationships, to the overall detriment of the show and its 'morality,' if one can still use that term. 

For this reason, I fear Jon will indeed rise harder and stronger and be all revenge, power, kill, kingdom, cataclysm...and forget about what made him compelling in the first place, namely his relationships with others -- with Ghost, Sam, Arya, Ygritte, Bran, Aemon, Edd, Tormund, Mance, Robb, Catelyn, Ned, Tyrion, even Olly...with his memories, his ghosts, and with himself.  I fear he will lose the supreme quality which made him unique, although perhaps a tad gawky and ungainly as heroes go, in a torrid sea of despair -- his kindness. 

'You know nothing Jon Snow' ... in the end, will that refer to his life pre- or post- resurrection? 

Though he's back, I already miss him.

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5 minutes ago, TheKnightOfJests said:

Except just as there are fanatics, there are also average followers. Not everyone is a fanatic, and to just show us the fanaticism is bad storytelling. Mel, and the Sparrows probably had to be in the show, but lines like Davos saying [email protected](K the gods is not. There's so much unnecessary writing of characters bashing on religion, or their former religious beliefs, and some of it goes against the very same character in the book counterpart, the counterpart that is the actual source material............

What do you mean only fanatics? We have average believes. Jon snow, arya, Eddark, Robert, Cersie, Davos, Tyrion...these are average believers. Jon snow defends the realm of men and swore his oath by their name. Davos believes in the gods but he know they can be cruel. The Starks have a weirwood build in winter fell. 

 

What at are these people if not average believers? 

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This show and story is much more gentle on religion, so far, than actual events and attitudes in real medieval  history. As for today, one example of fanaticism is ISIL and it is not fantasy.

 

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37 minutes ago, xjlxking said:

What do you mean only fanatics? We have average believes. Jon snow, arya, Eddark, Robert, Cersie, Davos, Tyrion...these are average believers. Jon snow defends the realm of men and swore his oath by their name. Davos believes in the gods but he know they can be cruel. The Starks have a weirwood build in winter fell. 

 

What at are these people if not average believers? 

Well Ned died, swearing something is different than actually believing (I'm sure a non religious has swore on the bible in court before) things like the Nights watch oath, and the lines "I swear by the old gods and the new" are different than a character actually being a religious person. Two best examples would be Sansa, who in the books prayed and honored the gods throughout all of them even after she heard about the red wedding, and Davos, who is super disturbed by Stannis shunning the Seven, and even believes the Seven are talking to him at the start of one of the books. Those are the book versions. In the show Sansa quits praying after the red wedding, and Davos has just recently said "F__K the gods". There are other examples, but these are the best two.

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The religious fanatic elements exist in the books, but the Sparrows are a lot more morally grey and sympathetic in asoiaf. It's made very clear that they're speaking on behalf of people who have genuine grievances with their lack of protection from their lords, and the smallfolk in the Riverlands feel abandoned by the Iron Throne. The smallfolk are gathering around the Faith because the clergy are a powerful element of feudal society whose doctrine says they're supposed to protect the weak and needy, and the Faith actually seems willing to give them a voice. The show writers haven't really shown much of that.

I think the Sparrows were inspired by the Levellers and the Diggers, which were real life peasant movements with religious elements in Cromwell-era England. They're very interesting and I can see GRRM wanting to explore that kind of thing. They were pretty dogmatic in the way they viewed the world, but are kind of sympathetic today because of their attitudes on feudalism and the rights of common people- which intersected with their religious beliefs in a lot of ways.

Yes, the Sparrows are chauvinistic and do some messed up stuff, but this is a feudal society and that sort of thing is endemic in Westeros. There are very few characters who don't hold a ton of backwards feudal opinions. Ned Stark probably has some uncomfortable views on women, commoners and other various things, but the writers don't boil him down to that. He's a complicated character and they respect that. When it comes to the Sparrows though, I think D&D let their own personal (modern) views of religion get in the way of doing the Sparrows justice.

I'm an atheist, but it makes me uncomfortable how D&D chose to adapt a very complicated and multi-dimensional religious movement from the books. They didn't get any of the nuance and apparently just wanted to write a  bunch of one dimensional fanatics to stick it to organised religion. I'd probably feel pretty alienated by the KL plot if I wasn't non-religious.

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21 minutes ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

The religious fanatic elements exist in the books, but the Sparrows are a lot more morally grey and sympathetic in asoiaf. It's made very clear that they're speaking on behalf of people who have genuine grievances with their lack of protection from their lords, and the smallfolk in the Riverlands feel abandoned by the Iron Throne. The smallfolk are gathering around the Faith because the clergy are a powerful element of feudal society whose doctrine says they're supposed to protect the weak and needy, and the Faith actually seems willing to give them a voice. The show writers haven't really shown much of that.

I think the Sparrows were inspired by the Levellers and the Diggers, which were real life peasant movements with religious elements in Cromwell-era England. They're very interesting and I can see GRRM wanting to explore that kind of thing. They were pretty dogmatic in the way they viewed the world, but are kind of sympathetic today because of their attitudes on feudalism and the rights of common people- which intersected with their religious beliefs in a lot of ways.

Yes, the Sparrows are chauvinistic and do some messed up stuff, but this is a feudal society and that sort of thing is endemic in Westeros. There are very few characters who don't hold a ton of backwards feudal opinions. Ned Stark probably has some uncomfortable views on women, commoners and other various things, but the writers don't boil him down to that. He's a complicated character and they respect that. When it comes to the Sparrows though, I think D&D let their own personal (modern) views of religion get in the way of doing the Sparrows justice.

I'm an atheist, but it makes me uncomfortable how D&D chose to adapt a very complicated and multi-dimensional religious movement from the books. They didn't get any of the nuance and apparently just wanted to write a  bunch of one dimensional fanatics to stick it to organised religion. I'd probably feel pretty alienated by the KL plot if I wasn't non-religious.

Honestly, your last sentence is pretty much the reason for the topic. It really is alienating. It wasn't noticeable in the other seasons that much (a few things here and there), but once season five started, and D&D had free range to pretty much do whatever they wanted, it started to feel like the were just pressing their opinion on everything. It makes me wonder if scenes in earlier seasons where I just thought they added in the line for  drama (Sansa saying she doesn't pray anymore, etc) was part of that too.

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1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

and the visual rendition of our 'zeitgeist' in the wildly popular show which continues to grow in popularity regardless of its excesses, or perhaps on account of them, is whether there is any other reality, i.e. is there anything outside the eternal circle of power and predation?  Is only 'the ladder' real? 

That's the real question, isn't it? Is there any meaning to existence, outside of what we invent for social cohesion, beyond our base instincts and survival?

Here is the thing - and I'm sure the show and books are heading this way - humans only really learn through pain. When we get out of control or excessive in our abuse of the planet, or each other, we need a kick up the backside to pull us back in line - we seem incapable of controlling our own selfishness, as a species. Just as our economies need depressions and old forests need bushfires, our society's require destruction and reconstruction.

The nihilism serves a point, to make us realise that sometimes humanity itself needs to be reborn. But, it needs to be killed first. I think GRRM and the show will eventually get there - but only after the utter destruction of Westeros, the melting of the Iron Throne and further debasement of the characters such as canabilism and so on. A dream of spring will end with the chosen few embracing a future that totally disregards the corrupt past.

ASoIaF is the story of the Apocalypse, or the Ragnarok, retold for a modern audience - and it couldn't really come at a better time :D

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47 minutes ago, TheKnightOfJests said:

Well Ned died, swearing something is different than actually believing (I'm sure a non religious has swore on the bible in court before) things like the Nights watch oath, and the lines "I swear by the old gods and the new" are different than a character actually being a religious person. Two best examples would be Sansa, who in the books prayed and honored the gods throughout all of them even after she heard about the red wedding, and Davos, who is super disturbed by Stannis shunning the Seven, and even believes the Seven are talking to him at the start of one of the books. Those are the book versions. In the show Sansa quits praying after the red wedding, and Davos has just recently said "F__K the gods". There are other examples, but these are the best two.

Ned is dead but he was your average believer in he gods, no?

Davos only recently said that because of his dealings with fanatics.

the nights watch not only swear an oath, but they can choose to say the oath in front of specific places. Jon and sam both said the oath beyond the wall in front of the old gods tree. They are average believers 

also, I was trying to point out that the directors of the show are not trying to make religion look bad; they don't dislike it either. They have painted religions perfectly well. Quite like I would expect to see in antiquity and medieval era. 

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7 minutes ago, ummester said:

That's the real question, isn't it? Is there any meaning to existence, outside of what we invent for social cohesion, beyond our base instincts and survival?

Here is the thing - and I'm sure the show and books are heading this way - humans only really learn through pain. When we get out of control or excessive in our abuse of the planet, or each other, we need a kick up the ass to pull us back in line - we seem incapable of controlling our own selfishness by ourselves. Just as our economies need depressions and old forests need bushfire, our society's often require destruction and reconstruction.

The nihilism serves a point, to make us realise that sometimes humanity itself needs to be reborn. But, before it's rebirth, it needs to be killed first. I think GRRM and the show will eventually get there - but only after the utter destruction of Westeros, the melting of the Iron Throne and further debasement of the characters such as canabilism and so on. A dream of spring will end with the chosen few embracing a future that totally disregards the corrupt past.

ASoIaF is the story of the Apocalypse ot the Ragnarok retold for a modern audience - and it couldn't really come at a better time :D

I don't really think any of the wars and devastation in asoiaf are shown as "necessary" for humanity to learn. Reading the Jamie and Brienne chapters in A Feast for Crows, you get a real sense of how wasteful and needless these conflicts are, and how tragic the results are for the smallfolk. In the books before, we've mostly seen the conflicts through the eyes of the people calling the shots, who'll never even meet most of the people affected by their decisions. But then in Feast for Crows we start seeing the scale of tragedy that the common people are going through- there have been hundreds and hundreds of tragedies as bad as the red wedding in the Riverlands alone, but nobody cared because the dead didn't have the right last names. Most of these people just want to live in peace, and I don't get the impression that they're corrupt and need to be reborn or whatever. Their problems come from the social order in Westeros.

I'd say GRRM definitely wants us to think that feudalism in Westeros needs to end, but human society as a whole needs to be wrecked so it can try again? Really doubt he's going for that angle. The show feels more nihilistic than the books, and that includes how it seems to view religion...

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Coddis,

The hopeful way many readers interpret GRRMs prose never ceases to amaze me :D

If it's only the social order that's wrong, then the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant would feel heroic. Rather, they feel like another nail in the coffin.

Sure, the downward spiral of Westeros is driven by those in power - hence why they are utilised as the POV characters. But the apathy of the small folk, up until the desperation that lead to the Faith Militant, is complicit.

I don't doubt he he is going for that angle - why is it only a Dream of Spring?

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10 minutes ago, ummester said:

Coddis,

The hopeful way many readers interpret GRRMs prose never ceases to amaze me :D

If it's only the social order that's wrong, then the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant would feel heroic. Rather, they feel like another nail in the coffin.

Sure, the downward spiral of Westeros is driven by those in power - hence why they are utilised as the POV characters. But the apathy of the small folk, up until the desperation that lead to the Faith Militant, is complicit.

I don't doubt he he is going for that angle - why is it only a Dream of Spring?

I've just never read asoiaf in that way. I reckon it'll be tough and bittersweet when it ends, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

 For me, a character that drives it home is Jamie. He examines himself and lets go of the things he used to value himself by, the lens of chivalry and knighthood he viewed everything through- but he starts to replace them with new values, new priorities of what matters. Losing his sword hand and his relationship with his sister, two things that have always defined him, doesn't destroy him. It makes him re-evaluate himself so a better Jamie might emerge one day.

The Starks go from tragedy to tragedy and it seems like all their honour and idealism did nothing for them. But then as the books go on, you start to get a feeling that there are people willing to fight for them because of what they stood for, that their "naive" honour has been vindicated and there's a chance the things they valued will allow them to regain the things they lost. 

There's been all sorts of tragedy in the Riverlands but the Sparrows represent a bit of hope- there's a feeling among the smallfolk that terrible things have happened to them, but there's a potential to put the future right and make sure things change. 

In asoiaf, things that die and get reborn tend to come back "wrong."  IMO, Westeros's hope for the future is in re-evaluating and changing itself rather than being destroyed and rebuilt. I think the Sparrows are an important sign of that.

tl;dr I think GRRM is a romantic at heart ;)

 

 

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48 minutes ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

I reckon it'll be tough and bittersweet when it ends, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Yes, I think there will be light at the end of the tunnel also - a New Dawn after the Long Night, type of thing. I guess where we differ is how tough and dark it will get - bittersweet can have a lot of bitter and a tiny bit of sweet or vice versa.

50 minutes ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

In asoiaf, things that die and get reborn tend to come back "wrong."  IMO, Westeros's hope for the future is in re-evaluating and changing itself rather than being destroyed and rebuilt. I think the Sparrows are an important sign of that.

They come back wrong because the thing that died was corrupt - let's see how it goes with Jon.

50 minutes ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

tl;dr I think GRRM is a romantic at heart ;)

I think he is a naturalist at heart - which mean he has to be a little misanthropic, in this modern age, because humans and nature are more in competition now than they have ever been.

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48 minutes ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

I reckon it'll be tough and bittersweet when it ends, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Yes, I think there will be light at the end of the tunnel also - a New Dawn after the Long Night, type of thing. I guess where we differ is how tough and dark it will get - bittersweet can have a lot of bitter and a tiny bit of sweet or vice versa.

50 minutes ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

In asoiaf, things that die and get reborn tend to come back "wrong."  IMO, Westeros's hope for the future is in re-evaluating and changing itself rather than being destroyed and rebuilt. I think the Sparrows are an important sign of that.

They come back wrong because the thing that died was corrupt - let's see how it goes with Jon.

50 minutes ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

tl;dr I think GRRM is a romantic at heart ;)

I think he is a naturalist at heart - which mean he has to be a little misanthropic, in this modern age, because humans and nature are more in competition now than they have ever been.

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1 hour ago, CoddisTheGoddis said:

I think GRRM is a romantic at heart ;)

Yes.  Only a diehard romantic is capable of being that ruthlessly cynical!

 

33 minutes ago, ummester said:

I think he is a naturalist at heart - which mean he has to be a little misanthropic, in this modern age, because humans and nature are more in competition now than they have ever been.

A wordsmith is not a naturalist!  There is a paradox here:  human nature is nature.  How can we be in competition with ourselves?

By the way, what are you: a 'naturalist,' a 'romantic,' or something else...?!

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