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The Fattest Leech

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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1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

I  just saw a list of ranking of GOT seasons and they had 6 as #1?  I can't even remember anything that happened in season 6, but I am sure it cannot possibly have been better than season 4, 3, 2 or even 1, which always gets the short end of the stick because it wasn't massively budgeted.  I still rank it as the best season, best writing, most cohesive plot, laying down the foundation for the entire rest of the series.  

Until the final book comes out, if it ever does, and if I am still alive at the time,  I will continue to believe that GRRM missed a huge opportunity in failing to collaborate on the final season, maybe even the final two seasons, where more detailed input might have avoided the final train wreck.

I think something happened behind-the-scenes that made GRRM cut his losses and stop participating in the show's development.

Season 6 had lots of things occur.

  • Characters long separated began to reunite
  • Arya became a warrior, survived the FM cult, came back to Westeros and avenged the Red Wedding
  • Bran actually did stuff that made him worthy of being a main character
  • Cersei's big moments in the finale
  • The identity of Jon's mother revealed
  • Daenerys takes control of the Dothraki
  • The Battle of the Bastards
  • Daenerys rides a dragon into battle
  • Jon's resurrection
  • Margaery makes a deal with the High Sparrow
  • Dorne becomes "resalvageable"
  • Euron's introduction
  • Daenerys heads for Westeros

Season 1 is easily one of the two best seasons. I would say that season 4 is the second best.

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4 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

I think something happened behind-the-scenes that made GRRM cut his losses and stop participating in the show's development.

Season 6 had lots of things occur.

  • Characters long separated began to reunite
  • Arya became a warrior, survived the FM cult, came back to Westeros and avenged the Red Wedding. Her whole story with the FM was terrible and a wasted series of opportunities, but her killing the Freys was enjoyable. 
  • Bran actually did stuff that made him worthy of being a main character. He did?
  • Cersei's big moments in the finale.  Is that when she blew up the Sept?  That was a good episode despite many, many, many plot holes. 
  • The identity of Jon's mother revealed.  I hated the casting of R&L, and all the related flashbacks, and the show really made his parentage pointless since Arya killed the NK and Jon does not become king, so meh. 
  • Daenerys takes control of the Dothraki. I hated this. 
  • The Battle of the Bastards. Overrated and deeply stupid plotting around it.
  • Daenerys rides a dragon into battle. Is that the loot train?  That segment was very, very well done.
  • Jon's resurrection Meh. Yes it's important, I guess.
  • Margaery makes a deal with the High Sparrow. More Meh.
  • Dorne becomes "resalvageable" Meh. 
  • Euron's introduction. Double Meh. Poor and shallow characterization, another of the many late series wasted opportunities.
  • Daenerys heads for Westeros. A good scene but nothing  more. 

Season 1 is easily one of the two best seasons. I would say that season 4 is the second best.  My ranking goes 1, 4, 2/3, 5, 6, 7, 8. 

 

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1 minute ago, Cas Stark said:

 

I didn't say the things that happened in Season 6 were big things lol

All I'm saying is that a lot of stuff happened in Season 6 and that a lot of people found those things exciting and satisfying.

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1 minute ago, Prince of the North said:

Season 4 maybe wasn't completely horrible...until that excrutiatingly painfully contrived Brienne-Hound fight at the end. 

:bang: :bang: :bang:

That fight was so utterly stupid! And Arya telling the guards, “I’m Arya Stark!”, and the guards are like, “fuck off little girl”. So so dumb. But I also hated the battle at CB, Jaime & Cersei, and wasn't Craster’s rape fest s4 too? So, yeah, lots to be unhappy about. 

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19 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

The reason would be so the only end that the saga is likely to get, would happen with his input and guidance.

That is like saying an author should help fan fiction writers to do their vision and characters justice. George sold his stuff, and they ruined it long before they reached the ending. I mean, you can expect that there was some talk there about how or why they were doing things the way they did and there was a reason why George no longer wrote any scripts.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

Yeah you're right.

But the problem here is that Myrcella is just as important as Tommen is. Not only to the pre-Targaryen geopolitical structure of the Seven Kingdoms (if Daenerys needs something to fight, so does Aegon and Stannis) but also to the stories of Cersei and, to a lesser extent, Jaime.

So even if you were to cut the Sand Snakes, I think some degree of internal Dornish plotting involving Myrcella is necessary. Why? Because Cersei needs to be pushed over the edge.

If Myrcella should play a role there, they could have just brought her and Trystane to KL for some shit to happen there - one could also drawn out Cersei's mental issues some more, or build those up by introducing things like Maggy's prophecy earlier in the narrative.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I think she will barely escape the city, establish herself in Casterly Rock with the Westerlands seceding from the Seven Kingdoms, striking an alliance with Euron (he chose to attack the Reach instead of the Westerlands which are next door to the Iron Islands...interesting) and retake the city with Euron.

Yes, this is the main clue for the fact that George has been setting up things for a Cersei-Euron alliance for quite some time now. He even briefly came up as a potential husband for her when the court learned about Euron's original rise to power on the islands (back in ASoS).

My assumption is that Cersei will flee KL by ship rather than on foot/with horses (because that would force her to cross the war-torn Riverlands, making it almost impossible for George to create a plausible scenario where she isn't captured by the Tyrells or falls in the hands of some Riverlords/outlaws). She doesn't have the forces left to serve her as escort on such a long journey.

By ship she could intentionally or unintentionally (the Ironborn capturing her ship) meet with Euron on the Arbor after he has crushed the Redwynes and taken the island. There they could celebrate their marriage, have their proper coronation as king and queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and then Cersei could return to the Rock to assemble an army there.

One expects her children will both be dead by then (Tommen could die during a 'rescue attempt'/attempt to take him with her when she escapes. But if the Faith were to publicly denounce her children as incest-born bastards then one or both could still be around - they wouldn't be a great danger to Euron in such a scenario (but he might still secretly have them killed then).

They could then eventually also attack KL but it would take essentially all of TWoW for Cersei just to get to Casterly Rock - she could prepare something via ravens and all, but even if the army was ready at the end of the next book it would take quite some time to get them through the Riverlands to KL to try to retake that city. Whether this works or not will depend on what Aegon does in the meantime and how his campaign is going to go.

Vice versa, I expect Euron to sack and burn Sunspear after taking the Arbor, to send a message to Aegon and Arianne (whose move is going to be considerable blow to his plan to take the Iron Throne). And once he has teamed up with Cersei he will have no use for Dany anymore (who he will either see as lost or dead by that point) which could pave the way for him and his armada teaming up with the fleets of the Three Daughters to prevent Dany from coming to Westeros. I expect the biggest blow against Daenerys will come from Euron long before she even arrives in Westeros. Her armada will be most vulnerable at sea - on land they should be pretty much invincible.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I think a lot of people forget that in A Song of Ice and Fire, the Lannisters are still very, very rich. Cersei can declare a trade war on Aegon or hit him with the medieval version of economic sanctions. Aegon doesn't have the food to feed King's Landing - much less the rest of Westeros - and he doesn't have the money to buy food or the credit to take out a loan to buy the food. The Iron Throne is bankrupt.

Yeah, Aegon may turn out to be Rhaenyra 2.0, losing his grip on the Iron Throne in the end because he doesn't have sufficient coin. Illyrio is going to help him, of course, but an empty treasury and all those loans are going to become a considerable problem. Especially in winter.

And if the Lady of Casterly Rock were to declare for the King on the Arbor Euron's campaign would suddenly look much more promising.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

Cersei and Euron definitely have a chance to retake the city. And I think once they do, Cersei's wrath will be terrible to behold. She would blame everyone in that city for her defeat. I would hate to live in King's Landing with the two of them calling the shots.

If she ever came back to power there one could likely see mass executions on a much greater level than those happening after the restoration of Aegon II.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I think Jaime (if he survives the Lady Stoneheart episode, which I think he will) will go back to Cersei for a little while only to leave her conclusively when it's clear that she is beyond his help and undeserving of his love. Those who deserve his help and love will be fighting the Others. But more on that later...

Oh, Jaime will end up with Aegon, in my opinion, to become another version of the Kingmaker Criston Cole, making him both a mortal enemy of Tyrion (due to his connection with Dany) and Cersei (because he turned his back on her, their children, and his house).

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I also think that Cersei will either be deluding herself into thinking she is pregnant or faking a pregnancy.

No idea about that one - but I find the idea intriguing that she might be pregnant with Euron's child for a time. Considering the nature of the guy she might abort it, though. Or kill it with her own hands when they have a falling-out - which they likely will.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I think that Cersei will end up becoming like Robert: fat, debauched, willfully blind and empty inside due to grief and PTSD. Euron will do to her what she did to Robert: Cersei never loved Robert and used him up until the day came when she had no more use for him. I think the Valonqar is actually Euron and that Euron will be the one to kill her.

That I find not very likely. I don't think for a moment Cersei is going to be exploited by Euron - or the other way around. These guys are both people who know what they want and that they could do great things together while they goals are more or less the same. Neither will love the other, they will be united in hate and a desire to destroy - but it might turn out to be a workable partnership for a considerable time (sort of like Roose and Walda get along very well).

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

If Jaime survives The Winds of Winter (honestly, it can go either way), I think Jaime will either die in the war against the Others, be executed by Daenerys for being a kingslayer at some point or be killed by Euron at some point because Jaime might either be the only thing standing in between Cersei and Euron (aka Her Certain Death)

The Others thing will be the thing that severs the good guys from the bad. Those who team up to defeat them will be good guys (and should/might be able to overcome whatever differences they may have) whereas those who refuse to help save humanity (or backstab their efforts) will be the blackest of villains. Euron and Cersei are the primary candidates for the latter category, possibly Ramsay and Roose as well, if they live long enough.

Jaime's kingslaying should come up in some fashion long before Daenerys arrives - with Aegon. And he might very well pardon him considering the fact that the Mad King wasn't Aegon's best friend when he was an infant (Aerys II was merely his grandfather, not his father, and he happened to pass over Aegon in the line of succession and used him as a hostage against the Dornishmen) and Jaime could provide them with crucial information to undo a King Tommen or a Queen Myrcella.

Pretty sure the valonqar is going to be Jaime - but whether that means a literal or metaphoric strangling/death I have no idea. I'm kind of confident that Cersei and Jaime will die together somehow, possibly killing each other.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

Speaking of Euron and Cersei holding the city against anyone with a better claim.....….I don't see that being too much of a problem because the people of King's Landing will likely be powerless to stop them and mad with starvation at that point. Winter will be in full swing, the Second Dance is going to weaken the city and maybe King's Landing had a zombie problem. I also don't see it being a problem because I think Euron is a powerful skinchanger who will eventually be able to take control of hundreds of people. Thus, Bran can basically step in and have his Big Hero moment that makes people want him as their king.

There live hundreds of thousands of people in KL, and we saw how they dealt with five dragons during the Dance. Euron and Cersei certainly could take a depopulated or defenseless KL, but it is difficult to imagine that they could hold it for long, especially not when other armies/fleets come to threaten the cities (along with dragons). One also has the new power of the Faith to consider - Aegon is likely going to win the sparrows to his side, and they will never stand for an Ironborn king or the rule of a Queen Cersei.

One could, perhaps see Euron/Cersei take the city while everybody else is fighting the Others in the last battle, but their success there would then be about as lasting as Napoleon's return to power when he fled from Elba. Because the gang defeated the Others should make short work of them.

And it should even be easier if they got to power before Daenerys arrives - people might love Aegon, but nobody in KL is going to love Euron/Cersei.

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1 hour ago, kissdbyfire said:

:bang: :bang: :bang:

That fight was so utterly stupid! And Arya telling the guards, “I’m Arya Stark!”, and the guards are like, “fuck off little girl”. So so dumb. But I also hated the battle at CB, Jaime & Cersei, and wasn't Craster’s rape fest s4 too? So, yeah, lots to be unhappy about. 

Oh, you're definitely right!  I was just trying to come across a little diplomatic there.  Really, the whole thing gets exactly zero benefits of the doubt from me anymore:P

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6 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

 

Until the final book comes out, if it ever does, and if I am still alive at the time,  I will continue to believe that GRRM missed a huge opportunity in failing to collaborate on the final season, maybe even the final two seasons, where more detailed input might have avoided the final train wreck.

(Blank stare)

The show didn’t get bad because Martin chose to leave and focus on the books: Benioff wanted to push the show into such insane, drastic deviations that Martin wanted no part of it.

do you realize, conceptually, that this never was a “happy collaboration” between Martin and Benioff, but that Benioff always had dictatorial creative control?

the later seasons were bad for the same reason Talisa was bad in season two:  they wanted to “show off the actors”.

I know this, because in interviews they openly admit “we rewrote it to show off Richard a Madden as a romantic lead”.

there are no other reasons.

but you’re turning this around and saying nothing bad would have happened if Martin stayed on season five onwards?  He wasn’t in control, Benioff always ignored him even in the early seasons.

none of this happened due to negligence; Benioff WANTED to write actor pandering, because he’s a con man and complete celebrity fanboy who thinks...who has STATED....that “showing off the actors’ faces emoting with no dialogue is what good writing is”.

.....I’m sorry I sound angry: I’m angry at myself, because I used to think the same things - I totally bought the lies in seasons 1 through 3, all the shiny behind the scenes videos....produced by HBO itself, meant to put a positive spin on it and present Benioff as a brilliant showrunner that had a warm, congenial relationship with Martin.

that was all propaganda.  We got duped by HBO’s PR machine.  Benioff was always a fraud.  They knew after the pilot failed.  And in the cold logic of business, it was easier to put a positive spin on a disaster than it was to admit the mistake and cut their losses.

 

Edited by The Dragon Demands

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Well, the showrunners had creative control because GRRM sold it to them, so that too is on him.  But, the truth remains that the show went totally off the rails once there were no more books.  This tells me that any hope of a decent ending had to involve more information and details from GRRM.  It doesn't matter that Dan and Dave are hacks, I've known this since season 3, it matters that if this is the only ending to the series that ever exists, then George should have sucked it up and gotten more involved again, even to writing the final episode. 

Benioff is a a talented hack, which is why the show was good when he had good books to draw from, and why it was mediocre when he had the last two mediocre books to draw from and why it sucked when he  had  no books but a few random end points that GRRM gave him.  And, realistically,  you cannot call the most popular show in the world for the last 5 years a 'disaster' it was a massive global success that has made HBO tons and tons of money, and also a huge critical success, which is exactly why no one ever reigned in the worst elements of D&D, why HBO crossed their fingers that somehow the final season would at least be decent.  It wasn't.  

 

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26 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Well, the showrunners had creative control because GRRM sold it to them, so that too is on him.  But, the truth remains that the show went totally off the rails once there were no more books.  This tells me that any hope of a decent ending had to involve more information and details from GRRM.  It doesn't matter that Dan and Dave are hacks, I've known this since season 3, it matters that if this is the only ending to the series that ever exists, then George should have sucked it up and gotten more involved again, even to writing the final episode.

With this setting, this wouldn't have made it better. George is not that great a writer, either. He needs to rewrite his stuff over and over again to provide good content. The idea he could have saved this thing by writing the last episode is ludicrous.

26 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Benioff is a a talented hack, which is why the show was good when he had good books to draw from, and why it was mediocre when he had the last two mediocre books to draw from and why it sucked when he  had  no books but a few random end points that GRRM gave him.  And, realistically,  you cannot call the most popular show in the world for the last 5 years a 'disaster' it was a massive global success that has made HBO tons and tons of money, and also a huge critical success, which is exactly why no one ever reigned in the worst elements of D&D, why HBO crossed their fingers that somehow the final season would at least be decent.  It wasn't. 

That's like saying junk food is good because many people eat fast food.

It was pretty decent while it had the characters (sort of) from the books and was following the same plot (which is pretty good at sucking you in, possibly more on screen than in book form) but people continuing to watch content which starts to suck and more less and less sense has nothing to do with them finding it good - but rather with them having grown accustomed to watch, them becoming to invested in something preventing them from stopping, them wanting to know how it ends even if they no longer care much about it, etc.

You can see how many people were pissed with the stuff when they turned on the thing in the last two seasons and especially at the ending. That was the point when people realized that the thing smelling like shit and tasting like shit actually was shit.

GoT didn't become a cultural phenomenon because of the great writing or a lot of awards - it did because of the Red Wedding, basically. That thing shocked people, and many people started to talk about it then. But that was basically the point when the quality of the show already started to drop.

And I daresay that a channel like HBO isn't dependent on George R. R. Martin to create good content. They could have made much better stories without drawing from unfinished books - a lot of mediocre writers could have done better than these two guys, simply by not making all their mistakes.

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1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

Well, the showrunners had creative control because GRRM sold it to them, so that too is on him. 

[gravely]

...Yes.

[stares wistfully out the window]

1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

But, the truth remains that the show went totally off the rails once there were no more books.  This tells me that any hope of a decent ending had to involve more information and details from GRRM.  

….They went off the rails BEFORE they ran out of books.  Season FIVE was when this began, in earnest.  Burning through books four and five in one season.  Even then, bits of book material were interspersed in Season 6, often held to be some of the better bits.

I've seen that going around in simplistic answers online, self-reinforcing echo chambers:  "they ran out of book material" - did they run out of book material with Talisa in Season 2? or the lack of Tysha reveal in season 4?  They CHOSE to remove these things.

I've talked about this a lot in my documentaries:

George R.R. Martin had a big meeting with them during Christmas 2012 in which he told them his outline for all future books.  

We know this because they've admitted to it.  Bryan Cogman talked about this in some detail (that is, specifying when it happened).  

...you seriously think that either A - Martin didn't have an ending outlined, or B - he wouldn't give it to them, or help them make it on-the-fly for the TV show?

"The Truth" is that Martin has an outline for how the storyline ends for all the major characters....and Benioff hubristically chose not to use it.

You seem to be trying to convince yourself this is on Martin for "not telling Benioff".  It's on Benioff for refusing to listen to Martin. 

He truly is that arrogant.  

1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

why it was mediocre when he had the last two mediocre books to draw from

Oh...

I know what you are now.

….Season 5 doesn't even closely resemble books four and five....if the parts of season 5 you thought were bad were TV-Dorne and the Sansa rape, those are inventions of the TV show.

Book four gave us Arianne Martell.  Season 5 gave us "you want a good girl, but you need....."

you blame the quality of the fourth book for TV-Dorne?

…..what did you personally consider bad about season 5?  Or did you just embrace the talking point that "it's the books fault" without pausing to accept "this isn't like what the books did".

Blind faith in D&D's ability to "make money" wasn't a good thing, it was a recipe for disaster...look where it got them....

Edited by The Dragon Demands

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

With this setting, this wouldn't have made it better. George is not that great a writer, either. He needs to rewrite his stuff over and over again to provide good content. The idea he could have saved this thing by writing the last episode is ludicrous. 

….well I agree in the sense that "good writing" takes YEARS.  That's why GRRM's books were so great, or why LOTR was great:  they were the product of years of writing.

The idea that GRRM would sweep in and somehow …..figure out a great ending for this saga, AS THEY WERE WRITING SEASON 8 or something...?  That's...that's a fairy tale.  Pure fantasy.  

If anything, what all this proved....is that GRRM was correct for taking his time.  That Benioff COULD NOT "write as good of an ending, but different" on his own, in only four years, by abandoning Martin's outline.

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1 minute ago, The Dragon Demands said:

….well I agree in the sense that "good writing" takes YEARS.  That's why GRRM's books were so great, or why LOTR was great:  they were the product of years of writing.

Oh, I didn't mean to say George sucked as a writer or was bad, just that he needs his time to produce good material. That was always the case especially with some of his later and really great short stories ('The Skin Trade' seems to have taken him as long to write as some of the ASoIaF novels if you transfer the writing process to short story needs).

1 minute ago, The Dragon Demands said:

The idea that GRRM would sweep in and somehow …..figure out a great ending for this saga, AS THEY WERE WRITING SEASON 8 or something...?  That's...that's a fairy tale.  Pure fantasy.

Yeah, reminds one of religious conviction ... 'If Jesus had been there! He could have saved us!'

And one really wonders why George should help the show get a better ending? It was no longer his story. I in his position wouldn't have done it. It is really like saying every author dealing with a bad/shitty adaptation were morally obligated to help the guys he sold the rights to to make a better story (he already did that when he sold them the rights).

1 minute ago, The Dragon Demands said:

If anything, what all this proved....is that GRRM was correct for taking his time.  That Benioff COULD NOT "write as good of an ending, but different" on his own, in only four years, by abandoning Martin's outline.

Even if you ignore all the shitty writing, weird/nonexistent dialogues, facial expression stuff, etc. the fact remains that even for their gutted story the number of episodes they made were far too few to even remotely properly adapt it. Even the best writer in the world couldn't have made a master piece out of that mess after season 5.

And it is really telling how they dragged the thinnest of plots throughout entire seasons (like that Littlefinger-Winterfell conspiracy stuff both in, what is it, season 5 and then season 6 or, even worse, that High Sparrow plot which was there for two entire seasons, no?) while things that would have needed time like various romances, character development, campaigns, etc. were rushed - not to mention utter shit like the wight hunt, etc.

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There was a sharp drop in quality beginning in season 5, and then another drop in season 7, and off the cliff in season 8. I even rewatched the first episode of season 5 recently and while the show still had some veneer of goodness and a few good lines and good individual segments, it was already completely off kilter in terms of characterization and plot. 

This first drop coincides, roughly, with the end of Storm of Swords material, the next drops coincide with the show running out of all book material except whatever ending the author gave them.  

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1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

There was a sharp drop in quality beginning in season 5, and then another drop in season 7, and off the cliff in season 8. I even rewatched the first episode of season 5 recently and while the show still had some veneer of goodness and a few good lines and good individual segments, it was already completely off kilter in terms of characterization and plot. 

This first drop coincides, roughly, with the end of Storm of Swords material, the next drops coincide with the show running out of all book material except whatever ending the author gave them.  

I'd say the quality always dropped down whenever they invented some shit for themselves. It started with 'nice Cersei' in the second episode, the changes to Catelyn, the Dany rape in the pilot, etc. Most blantantly shitty in the first couple of seasons is the Qarth plot (which essentially is reused again later with the broke Lannisters pretending to be rich).

And, frankly, both season 3 & 4 were shitty adaptations of ASoS. They contained a lot of garbage that had nothing to do with that book - a ridiculous battle at the end (although I think I liked the giant), a moronic Littlefinger, the ridiculous Robb-Talisa nonsense, a Red Wedding framed as a twist not as approaching doom, a Mance Rayder that was essentially a joke, Cat being sorry that she didn't care for the milkman's child, Stannis suddenly having a wife and daughter, etc.

There were some good scenes in there (the Jaime stuff in season 3) but aside from that I don't recall much.

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2 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

 

This first drop coincides, roughly, with the end of Storm of Swords material, the next drops coincide with the show running out of all book material except whatever ending the author gave them.  

But season 5 Dorne and Sansa were not from book four.  You can’t blame this on book four.

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19 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd say the quality always dropped down whenever they invented some shit for themselves. 

Exactly.

though I distinguish between “making up a scene that probably happened offscreen in the books” ( round out Renly a bit more) and “this didn’t happen in the story verse of the books”

Edited by The Dragon Demands

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4 minutes ago, The Dragon Demands said:

Exactly.

though I distinguish between “making up a scene that probably happened offscreen in the books” ( round out Renly a bit more) and “this didn’t happen in the story verse of the books”

Sure, that one scene between Renly and Loras in season 1 where they are together could have happened (although I'd have preferred the real Renly in the show - a dashing young man, looking like Robert in his prime, popular with the people, and accomplished tourney knight and entertainer of the people, with a carefully hidden pragmatic/ruthless streak beneath his pleasant surface to the colorless nice guy we got in the show).

But there are other things like that Robert-Cersei failed love story scene (which they later contradicted when they had Cersei being in love with Rhaegar as a child) or even the Varys-Littlefinger exchanges. Such things could have been used to move the plot along and hint at hidden motives, instead they just didn't add much of substance. One could have an exploration why Varys didn't say anything about the dagger lie, for instance, or later have another meeting between Varys and Illyrio, continuing the Targaryen connection there, etc. Also things like making Alliser Thorne a nice guy - who not give the actor the chance to make him a genuine prick, that's something good actors can do, etc.

By the way - Targaryen incest and the dragon names are sort of treated the same way as what you pointed out for Jaime-Cersei being twins in the pilot. There is a throwaway line of Cersei's during her conversation with Ned when he meets her about the twincest that the Targaryens married brother and sister, but Dany never deals with the marriage concept of her own family in the books (which certainly was an issue of both Viserys and Dany in AGoT when they did the Dothraki deal, both having expected to marry each other originally) - this doesn't even properly come up when the truth about Jon comes up.

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57 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd say the quality always dropped down whenever they invented some shit for themselves. It started with 'nice Cersei' in the second episode, the changes to Catelyn, the Dany rape in the pilot, etc. Most blantantly shitty in the first couple of seasons is the Qarth plot (which essentially is reused again later with the broke Lannisters pretending to be rich).

And, frankly, both season 3 & 4 were shitty adaptations of ASoS. They contained a lot of garbage that had nothing to do with that book - a ridiculous battle at the end (although I think I liked the giant), a moronic Littlefinger, the ridiculous Robb-Talisa nonsense, a Red Wedding framed as a twist not as approaching doom, a Mance Rayder that was essentially a joke, Cat being sorry that she didn't care for the milkman's child, Stannis suddenly having a wife and daughter, etc.

There were some good scenes in there (the Jaime stuff in season 3) but aside from that I don't recall much.

Absolutely, other than a handful of scenes and a few streamlining moves all of the plot and characters they created for the show were terrible and stupid, some worse than others. Although while there were many problems with seasons 1-4, especially 3/4, on balance they were engaging and good, with for me anyway, the good substantially outweighing the bad.  The scales started to tip the other way beginning in 5, and got worse and worse every season from then on.

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9 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Absolutely, other than a handful of scenes and a few streamlining moves all of the plot and characters they created for the show were terrible and stupid, some worse than others. Although while there were many problems with seasons 1-4, especially 3/4, on balance they were engaging and good, with for me anyway, the good substantially outweighing the bad.  The scales started to tip the other way beginning in 5, and got worse and worse every season from then on.

I think @The Dragon Demands makes a pretty good case with the idea that their obsession with showing off actors/things they think the actors they cast would be good at essentially shaped the story they told. There was no concept there to actually properly adapt the story and just went along with the scenes/things they thought would be cool, without caring to tell a coherent story (or coherently changing it so it fit their vision/the confines of a TV show adaptation).

In season 1 they really adapt in some cases, not having actors for the characters they write about when they do. That's how Littlefinger is still somewhat subtle, which is especially evident in that scene where he just looks curiously when they decide to pardon Ned and allow him to take the black. That was a clue that he arranged the execution later, one assumes - something the show never again touches upon.

I recently rewatched and then read 'Rosemary's Baby' - and that's really a great example for a great movie adaptation. The novel is pretty good but what makes the movies scary as hell is that Polanski really adapted the subtlety of the story. Hinting at the hidden door in the closet in the beginning, weird scribblings about witchcraft in the new apartment, some background story, the husband being an actor (meaning he can fool Mia Farrow), things happening of offscreen but having consequences on the screen, etc.

A lot of George's politics - essentially the heart of what a 'Game of Thrones' show should have been - would have been that kind of subtlety. Us getting clues that something was afoot and some perceptive people being able to figure it out before it happen - which, in case of the Red Wedding or Littlefinger's eventual betrayal of Ned - would have created more substance. Just think how Sansa's story in ACoK and ASoS could have gone if we had had only subtle clues that Littlefinger wanted Sansa for himself, that he might be behind the Dontos fellow. Or how the Sansa-Willas marriage plan fell through. The nice guy Littlefinger we have in the books could have easily enough been the scariest TV villain of the decade. Instead he became a laughingstock.

Or what they could have done with the Mandon Moore mystery, etc.

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