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Rant & Rave Season 8 [Spoilers]: When you are cool like a cucumber, as evil as the mother of madness, but never as perfect as the pet!

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42 minutes ago, Le Cygne said:

This early review had Benioff and Weiss pegged. They continued doing the same thing, casually throwing out the horrors, and it kept getting worse, until they revealed their hand in the final season, there was no meaning to any of it at all.

It’s apparently a truth universally acknowledged by cable television writers that the rates of nonconsensual sex and mindless violence rise exponentially the further back in time one goes. The rationale, or even excuse, that shows with this philosophy offer is that the kind of racism or sexism they portray is historically accurate (never mind, of course, that Game of Thrones takes place in a fictional universe). In other words, these shows depict women who are treated like disposable objects and ethnic or racial “others” who wantonly destroy life because that’s the way it was.

But historical accuracy and fear of anachronism are not good excuses for representing racial and sexual politics in the way that Game of Thrones does. Deadwood began its run with some similarly shocking occurrences of sexual violence and racial caricature. But that show also offered blistering and uncomfortable critiques of the culture that enabled and encouraged those acts, and it offered layered portraits of women and ethnic and racial minorities who survived and resisted that dismal age.

There’s no evidence of such critique so far in Game of Thrones. Every act of brutality, every assaulted woman, every exoticized barbarian is presented for the delectation of the audience. No prostitute appears on screen without her bosom already exposed, no transgressive sex act occurs without the frame of luxuriant tapestries or the glow of moonlight upon it. This show’s historical misogyny and racism are purely aesthetic, and that’s a problem we should hope this series works out on the double.

These issues would not be excusable, but the viewer would have perhaps more patience with their resolution if this series showed even a remote curiosity about its own characters or a sense of adventure or energy in the telling of its narratives. Co-creator David Benioff, before making his way to television, wrote the screenplay for Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy. That film is fine as a historical epic, a rollicking action film, and a beefcake showcase for Brad Pitt, but as an adaptation of Homer’s The Iliad, it’s puzzling and unfortunately ham-fisted. Eschewing all that makes that epic poem so enrapturing (the politics of the gods, the nearly supernatural transcendence of warriors in battle, the ruminative pacing, the narrative incompleteness, the sense of time and exhaustion), Benioff produced a barebones version of The Iliad built of its least interesting parts.

The same lowest-common-denominator adaptation theory seems to animate Benioff and Weiss’s Game of Thrones. The show, for instance, does not in any way attempt to import the narrative innovation that defines Martin’s book series. That is, each section of A Song of Ice and Fire is told from the limited third-person perspective of a different character. In contrast to the Tolkienian sweep that Game of Thrones aims for, Martin produced a strangely intimate epic, grounded in the richness of his characters and their inner demons and angels. This, obviously, would be a difficult feat to accomplish for a cable television series, but if not on HBO, where? Game of Thrones has been incessantly called “ambitious” in its press materials, and, in terms of its obscene budget, it is. But the narrative structure of the series is not at all as ambitious as its price tag may suggest. Benioff and Weiss have chosen the easiest way to tell this story, and the show suffers from it.

https://www.slantmagazine.com/tv/game-of-thrones-season-one/

Sadly true, as it turned out.

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Martin’s recent Not a Blog post on the Emmy nominations that GOT received is a bit troubling. I guess it’s natural that he’s excited for the cast and crew but these words of his give me pause:

Quote

My congratulations to David Benioff, Dan Weiss, our producers, directors, and all the rest of our amazing cast and crew… those who were nominated and those who were overlooked alike, they all have reason to be proud. They came together to create the most popular television show in the world, and the most acclaimed, nominated, and awarded series in the entire history of television. And they did with a fantasy, a genre that previously had gotten very little respect. GAME OF THRONES changed television, and let us hope that all the fantasy shows that follow — some GOT prequels, many not — will take the torch we lit and carry it proudly.

His effusive praise of the travesty gives me a bad feeling. Maybe I’m over thinking things.

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2 hours ago, teej6 said:

Martin’s recent Not a Blog post on the Emmy nominations that GOT received is a bit troubling. I guess it’s natural that he’s excited for the cast and crew but these words of his give me pause:

His effusive praise of the travesty gives me a bad feeling. Maybe I’m over thinking things.

Taking into account his opinion of Lost him praising GOT is just sad... It reeks of selling himself to hollywood

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, divica said:

Taking into account his opinion of Lost him praising GOT is just sad... It reeks of selling himself to hollywood

He is not praising GoT. He made a few statements (most acclaimed, record awards noms, etc) that are correct. But nowhere does he say, "GoT is awesome, fantastic, superb and deserves all its accolades". ;)

ETA: seriously, what would you expect him to say??? He uses facts, but never gives an actual opinion. 

Edited by kissdbyfire

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

He is not praising GoT. He made a few statements (most acclaimed, record awards noms, etc) that are correct. But nowhere does he say, "GoT is awesome, fantastic, superb and deserves all its accolades". ;)

ETA: seriously, what would you expect him to say??? He uses facts, but never gives an actual opinion. 

Yeah you are probably right that he is being factual but considering what a train wreck S8 was, it seems a bit strange that he’s making the effort to remark (factual or otherwise) on the shows achievements. He even has a special shout-out for those hacks... it seems a bit strange for him to do that if he really hated the way they butchered his work. I understand Martin has to keep the suits at HBO happy considering he’s still working with them.

Alan Moore didn’t want his name on any of the adaptations of his work, and rightly so considering how awful most of them were. He took the money but didn’t want the association. And as @divica said, considering Martin’s criticism of the ending of Lost, even indirectly acknowledging that abomination is somewhat hypocritical of him. 

ETA: Again, I’m probably reading too much into it, and it’s quite natural for him to be appreciative and congratulate the cast and crew, but somehow reading that post of his, I also feel he’s making an effort to calm the storm and acknowledge D&D for their work. 

Edited by teej6

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Also, Dragon chap doesn't think the Netflix thing will necessarily be that bad. Apparently they can't ruin any current projects, and Netflix's oversight won't let them get away with things like "BAD &&&^^%%%^&&**", etc.

AND, here's the interview where Natalia Tena speaks her mind about the last season of GOT. Faye Marsay (Waif) and she are at the beginning, so you won't have to wait long:

https://play.acast.com/s/wwqt/7fc94960-3bd2-4008-9bc7-c9eef0f38ba0

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27 minutes ago, Count Balerion said:

Also, Dragon chap doesn't think the Netflix thing will necessarily be that bad. Apparently they can't ruin any current projects, and Netflix's oversight won't let them get away with things like "BAD &&&^^%%%^&&**", etc.

AND, here's the interview where Natalia Tena speaks her mind about the last season of GOT. Faye Marsay (Waif) and she are at the beginning, so you won't have to wait long:

https://play.acast.com/s/wwqt/7fc94960-3bd2-4008-9bc7-c9eef0f38ba0

Got to hand it to Natalia Tena.

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1 hour ago, teej6 said:

Alan Moore didn’t want his name on any of the adaptations of his work, and rightly so considering how awful most of them were. He took the money but didn’t want the association.

IIRC, Moore always forfeits any of the money he might get from the adaptations over to the comic's artist. 

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Just now, Minsc said:

IIRC, Moore always forfeits any of the money he might get from the adaptations over to the comic's artist. 

Yeah, he definitely did that for the Watchmen adaptation. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, teej6 said:

Yeah you are probably right that he is being factual but considering what a train wreck S8 was, it seems a bit strange that he’s making the effort to remark (factual or otherwise) on the shows achievements. He even has a special shout-out for those hacks... it seems a bit strange for him to do that if he really hated the way they butchered his work. I understand Martin has to keep the suits at HBO happy considering he’s still working with them.

Alan Moore didn’t want his name on any of the adaptations of his work, and rightly so considering how awful most of them were. He took the money but didn’t want the association. And as @divica said, considering Martin’s criticism of the ending of Lost, even indirectly acknowledging that abomination is somewhat hypocritical of him. 

ETA: Again, I’m probably reading too much into it, and it’s quite natural for him to be appreciative and congratulate the cast and crew, but somehow reading that post of his, I also feel he’s making an effort to calm the storm and acknowledge D&D for their work. 

Note, he's using the words "our" and "we" with respect to the show. He's also referring to prequels plural, even though HBO said only one.

What does his praise for the show mean for the books? Nothing, I don't think. He is just making a case to win more empty awards here.

"Game of Thrones changed television!" The takeaway is even if you throw lots of money at garbage, eventually people will start smelling it.

Edited by Le Cygne

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Guys, you are not getting subtext. George is not praising the show himself, he is stating the facts. The man is smart. He also writes Littlefinger's and Varys' dialogue in the books...

And while it would be remarkably easy for George to publicly gut the show, he doesn't seem to be the kind of guy doing that - especially since he got infamously rich due to the entire project. For a man with his background it would be really bad form to take literal tons of cash and then spit in the faces of the people who, in the end, made him very rich. And in the end that's just fictional content. Most people in George's shoes would care more about the money - and the benefits that come with being very rich - than they would about a faithful adaptation of their works - especially when they know fully well how unlikely a prospect that is, anyway. In addition, there are the new projects to consider as well as the details of his deal with HBO and with the details of his original agreement.

But I'm pretty certain that on an artistic level George cannot have any respect for what the show did to his story and his characters - no self-respecting person could. This is a different matter, though.

How early and how thoroughly George distanced himself from the show on an artistic level one can see if one goes back to the earlier seasons and looks at the sudden change of the scripts in the credits being 'written for television' rather than merely being 'written' as they were in the earliest seasons. This didn't just suddenly pop up because the producers had overlooked it earlier, it popped up because somebody wanted to make it clear that this was an adaptation, not writers coming up with original content.

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17 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

He is not praising GoT. He made a few statements (most acclaimed, record awards noms, etc) that are correct. But nowhere does he say, "GoT is awesome, fantastic, superb and deserves all its accolades". ;)

ETA: seriously, what would you expect him to say??? He uses facts, but never gives an actual opinion. 

He could say nothing.  He could omit the 'we' and 'us'.  It has been clear for a long time that GRRM made his peace with the show as an adaptation, about the time he started talking about the show is the show, books are the books, and Scarlet's children....and since then he has basked in the success of the show again and again.  

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1 minute ago, Cas Stark said:

He could say nothing.  He could omit the 'we' and 'us'.  It has been clear for a long time that GRRM made his peace with the show as an adaptation, about the time he started talking about the show is the show, books are the books, and Scarlet's children....and since then he has basked in the success of the show again and again.  

He could. But I thought this recent post of his was very much in keeping w/ previous ones, even ones done after the show went off the rails. I also see no reason whatsoever for Martin to not bask in the show’s success tbh. I mean, what’s done is done, and enjoying the success of the show is one of few positives he can take out of it, truckloads of cash another. 

Also worth mentioning is the fact that the show was a success because of him, because of his story. It turned to shite once David and Dan started to believe they were super duper awesome, but still, it only got there because of Martin and his story. IMO.

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Posted (edited)

Bottom line is Game of Thrones is NOT one of the best shows on television.

What he said didn't ring true, because he didn't tell the whole story.

He speaks of acclaim, nominations, and awards, without mentioning the rest of the story:

There was an enormous amount of criticism, from both viewers and reviewers. There were many shows far more deserving of nominations. There was a voting change that makes the Emmys "a glorified people's choice awards."

He speaks of lighting a torch for others to follow, without mentioning others came first.

There was notably LOTR, a very faithful and successful adaptation of JRR Tolkien. And that one has an ending, and the ending was well-received.

BTW here are the ballots, there were many more worthy nominees:

https://www.emmys.com/ballots/2019

Edited by Le Cygne

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20 hours ago, divica said:

Taking into account his opinion of Lost him praising GOT is just sad... It reeks of selling himself to hollywood

GRRM is nothing if not a world class rationalizer.  He raationalized himself right out of finishing his own story, and then rationalized that it didn't matter anyway, so it shouldn't be that surprising that he has now, and for some time, been rationalizing that GOT is great, he said as much on the 60 Minutes interview where he called it more faithful that 97% of adaptations. He has always gloried in it's success and the Emmys, that is nothing new.  The people who were hoping he would call out the show and state for the record that XYZ won't happen in my future books were fooling themselves.  Whatever distaste he has for GOT and how it went off the rails in season 5, he has subsumed into the same locked door of his mind where he put the issue of failing to get Winds out in 2015.  In my opinion.

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OK, Emmys. Probably people know this already; but it's intriguing that three actors (or two actresses and an actor, to be picky) successfully applied for nomination without any help from HBO: Alfie Allen (Theon), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne), and Carice van Houten, whom I hope I'm not misspelling (Melisandre). There was a Dragon video about it not long ago. One wonders what's up with that.

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1 minute ago, Count Balerion said:

OK, Emmys. Probably people know this already; but it's intriguing that three actors (or two actresses and an actor, to be picky) successfully applied for nomination without any help from HBO: Alfie Allen (Theon), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne), and Carice van Houten, whom I hope I'm not misspelling (Melisandre). There was a Dragon video about it not long ago. One wonders what's up with that.

You’re good with the spelling. 

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Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 

If GoT were to actually go down in history as the fiasco the not insignificant amount of people who cared about story content saw it as? Fantasy, as a high power, high dollar attractive for tv would be done. 

The industry works in cash for cash. The money you put in needs to be seriously multiplied. Once you consider the brutal monster the GoT budget became? Either it is considered the greatest thing ever on TV or things will become weird and stilted in the fantasy tv content world.

Still, the work that was done is groundbreaking. Worthy of best ever podium? I don't think so. 

So if GRRM needs to support it and believes the pros outperform the cons? 

TV, even in this climate of viewers being spoiled for choice, is still a game of popularity. And the viewers worried about quality of content are very easily dwarfed by the multitude of casual viewers who tuned in to GoT to watch spectacle and shock value.

So pile on the Emmys and the recognition for all parts of the show, not just the honestly amazing, all of it. Warts and all. Or D&D and all.

It's survival time. Those casual viewers have ling since tuned out to watch something new. Without the Comic Con brouhaha, the record Emmy nominations and the repeated shoutouts to D&D's new ventures and contracts, who of those millions who shutdown sportsbars to watch a fantasy series cares about GoT anymore?

The sad thing? We can't say for sure that without D&D's fireworks and tits 'technique', GoT would've appealed to the same general public that made it so enormous. 

It would've, might've, been a better, more faithful adaptation, but it most probably wouldn't have hit 'telenovela' following in a generalistic audience.

Like as not, GRRM, old hat at the TV business, has made his peace with the facts. 

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Posted (edited)

Tolkien got there first. (BTW this is meant to go with my post above.)

 

Edited by Le Cygne

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You won't see me claim LotR was perfect. Far from it. I still occasionally break out the extended edition dvds and bonge he damn thing. Yes, in one sitting. Green goop ghosts and all, yes.

 Peter Jackson and co. did the unthinkable and made fantasy feasible, big budget wise and quality too. They put well over a generation back on 'reading the classics' and for once, well over the original fan base flocked to theatres, bajillions of copies were sold, new marathon traditions were established.

What I'm going for with my last post is that, for GoT, initial fumbles or no, the potential for cult following and respect as a TV show was there. Somewhere along the way though, the sacrifice for more viewers and increased popularity was... the fantasy itself, the inner machinations of the characters. Sure there were dragons and a mythos built on magical threat, but it was an action show. Sure there was plot, but it was soap opera style intrigue worthy of local shows that win International Emmy awards. (!) Watched by the same crowds flocking to a title fight, championship game or the latest blockbuster. Once you get to that point you drink the cup to the end, knowing the bitter is in the last few drops.

Mass entertainment has repeatedly shown to not give a bleeding fig about consistency or lasting quality. LotR had the amazing luck of being done in one sitting. Despite it all, the 'money' would've spoken louder if the time had been given for 'them' to interfere.

See: The Hobbit.

GoT ran for way too long to not be 'improved' by the industry itself. Despite the effort and quality of work of so many of those involved, I personally will always prefer to be a cynic even when looking back.

GRRM's 97% comment rings especially true once you dive into the obscure realm of 'adaptation' in so many countries and litteratures and traditions.

'Os Maias' - arguably one of the densest romance novels on the 'must read if you want to pass English', or Portuguese as the case might be, must've been 'adapted' over a dozen times or more, not counting actual community theatre. The complex intergenerational conflict and social critique tends to stay at a couple anecdotes or is plainly ignored.

The scandalous incest sex and mistaken identity fiasco remains really popular, though, and mostly turns an over five hundred page dry as dust novel most highschoolers hate with a fiery passion into an NC17 screwfest between Carlos and the woman he inicially doesn’t know is his sister. Sound familiar?

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