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Piper

Pilot content: what scenes?

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Another way of doing the first 2 episodes would be thematically.

Episode I would be about family, the Starks in particular; Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Sansa, Ayra, Bran, and Rickon (core Starks). Introduce them and their place in the world. You'd leave out Dani as she doesn't tie into the Starks. The threat of the pack being divided should be paramount here. I'd let Ned give his line "The pack survives while the lone wolf perishes" somewhere in this episode. It fits nicely with the finding of the cubs and Robert's offer for Ned to become the hand (and dividing the family). End with the family/pack being physically threatened: "The things I do for love" and snow falling on Bran's broken body (because nothing says Winter is Coming like a good snow fall).

The second episode would take the point of views of the outsiders. Jon, Tyrion and Daenerys fit into this perfectly, each an outsider in their world. We'd see a vicious Catelyn towards Jon (instead of the loving mother), a scared girl in the clutches of an abusive brother, and a dwarf surrounded by beautiful people. End with Dani finding that she may want to become part of the outsiders with her acceptance of Drogo ("No?", "Yes") and Ned becoming an outsider in Kings Landing.

Bonus Episode 3
How about politics and rebellion (juxtapose winning the throne with sitting on it using Robert's line about if he knew winning the throne would be such a pain he'd let the targs keep it). Here is where we see Robert's Rebellion in full (though we hear mention of it in the first 2, both from winners point of view and the losers) including Robert's victory over Rhaegar on the trident. We'll also need to introduce the two most political figures in this episode and give them their due; Littlefinger and Varys.

A really creative writer might take the seven faces and do each episode based off of one them (Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Crone, Maiden, Stranger) :D

I'd also like to see a tag line end each episode (similar to what Cowboy Bebop did). I'd rip them straight from Martin's prose :D

Just some thoughts.

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Yeah, such a small prelude about the rebellion would be fine with me, hopefully with better writing than the above, though. :P (Edit: oops, I meant arteliad's post, not Alaxk's. I like Alaxk's ideas actually but I think I'd still have Dany in the pilot.)

But I hope they keep the prologue. Bran's introduction is Gared's execution, which would be quite confusing if we don't know what he was deserting from.

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[quote name='The Scabbard Of the Morning' post='1588702' date='Nov 14 2008, 04.43']I think it's pretty important to the events of ACOK, especially with Asha and Euron and the rest of the Iron Men getting more important later on in the series.

But mainly I like the idea because then you can introduce everyone at Winterfell and even give a brief tour of the castle that ties naturally into the story.[/quote]


The interesting thing about this idea (starting on Pyke) is that it allows you to introduce Jorah. This allows the director/writer to actually tie Dani to the people on Westeros. To a casual viewer just using her full name, if only tied to mention of her families name, make her whole story seem so detached as to be distracting. I'd then have Ilyrio introduce Jorah to Dani, and then make Ilirio visually obvious to Arya in the scene in the dungeon in Kings Landing.


Pat E

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I'm against any jumping back in time. And the storming of Pike, the Battle of the Ruby Ford...battles cost too much. I'd rather not have them spend the production budget on something we never really see in the books and I've never felt the lack of. Especially when you'd be bringing in random child actors to play young Theon/Robb/etc. for only the one episode. Voiceovers, words on the screen at the beginning...if the story won't make sense without them, fine. If it will, leave them out. Some viewers won't really be paying attention to them, so don't use them as a crutch.

Definitely Others->Execution+Direwolves->Catelyn talking about Jon Arryn's death/Robert's coming, which seems like one natural end-point, but if you've got time, continue through Robert's arrival+the crypt>the feast>"The things I do for love." With a 13-episode season, I'd definitely want to get as far in as time allows, and it is a great image. That's already six scenes to fit into around 50 minutes of time, meaning you'd probably have to cut out Ned and Robert's ride, the Bran-Tommen fight, a lot of Arya and Sansa, a bit of Joff assholery. Oh, Lysa's letter is pretty important, too, after the feast...though maybe you could throw it in right before the feast. Seven scenes, then; that seems like it might be doable.

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A flashback prelude seems like a waste of money, really. There's nothing wrong with the prologue, so why not use it? Personally, I'd like to see it and the execution playing in tandem, so the audience can figure it out on their own that the decapitated guy is the same one as in the other scene. That'd provide as smooth a transition as any.

Also, here's to hoping they leave Dany out of the pilot. I'd like to see her kept off screen (she's talked about by Robert a few times, so there should be some build-up to her on-screen introduction) until the Small Council gets the report in about Dany's pregnancy. Then the show can play catch-up with Dany's part of the story for half an episode if need be--though it'd probably be best if they split it up with other scenes rather than a solid twenty-five minute chunk of Dany. It'd be a more natural entrance to the show, and from there she could get her own stand-alone scenes that an audience is more likely to care about now that they know she's got assassins coming for her. If she's introduced before then, she'd only disengage people from the show. Quite frankly, Dany's earlier chapters aren't all that interesting, and I think seeing that much of the East in episode one will only make the North seem boring.

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This was a post from an old thread but I've never been able to get it out of my head and I think it would make a perfect pilot episode.

[quote name='Excalibur1027']]You guys have a pretty good discussion going on here. I too am somewhat torn on how the first episode/prologue should be handled. Well, I myself don't find my idea perfect by any means, but regardless, here's how I think the prologue should play out (sorry if it's a bit lengthy):

The prologue opens up with Eddard and co. at the Tower of Joy in a ferociously stormy rain (not sure if this is how it is in the book, but it’s how I’ve always imagined it.) We see a close up of Eddard’s group, ready and determined to confront the kingsgaurd. Next we see the Sword of the Morning and his companions, guarding the entrance to the tower. For a few seconds the parties just stare at eachother as thunder echoes across the sky.

Ned: (matter-of-factly) I looked for you on the Trident.

We see quick snippets of the sky view from the trident and the surrounding lands, followed up by some fighting and then the scene switches back to the tower.

Ser Gerold: We were not there.

Ser Oswell: Woe to the Usurper if we had been.

Next, we see some snippets of Robert fighting. After a while, the recklessness in which he’s regarding his opponents and the pure hatred and zeal in his eyes makes it clear to the viewer that he’s trying, desperately, to make his way towards someone we can’t see yet. Before this person comes into view (we get a vague sight of Rhaegar’s armor/chest) the scene switches back again.

Ned: When King’s Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your mad king with a golden sword and I wondered where you were.

We see a few clips of Aerys, looking quite the madman.

Ser Gerold: (angrily) Far away. Or Aerys would still sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.

We see our first look at the Iron throne and then a close up of Jaime in his white cloak, golden sword in hand.

Ned: I came down on Storm’s End to lift the siege, and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. (perplexed) I was certain you would be among them.

We see a glimpse of Storms End and some soldiers bending the knee, while others flee with the remaining Targ loyalists.

Ser Arthur Dayne: (determined) Our knees do not bend easily.

Ned: Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone with your queen Daenerys and prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with them.

Next we see a beautiful young girl, fear and tears in her eyes, being pulled by the hand of Viserys and their escort. They’re ambushed by the rebels and some fighting ensues. However, before we see the outcome, we’re brought back by Ser Oswell.

Ser Oswell: Ser Willem is a good man and true, but not of the kingsgaurd.

Ser Gerold: The Kingsgaurd does not flee.

Ser Arthur Dayne: Then or now.

The kingsgaurd done their helmets and draw their swords.

Ser Gerold: We swore a vow.

Martryn Cassel, Howland Reed, and the rest of Eddard’s men draw their own blades and begin to close in around the three knights in white. The Sword of the Morning and Eddard stare at eachother.

Ser Arthur Dayne: And now it begins.

Ned: (sadly) No, now it ends.

Just as they are about to fight, we get a bunch of images thrown at us: soldiers fighting on the Trident, the duel between Robert and Rhaegar, Jaime drawing his sword (to Aerys surprise) and killing the mad king, the Starks/Lanisters entering and pillaging King’s Landing, Jaime sitting on the Iron Throne with a smile on his face, Robert and Cersei getting married, Dany and Viserys heading out to sea on a ship, and then, just as Eddard and Dayne are about to cross swords, a woman’s voice screams “Eddard,” and we’re brought to the present. Ned is atop a horse and traveling with his sons to execute a deserter, his eyes closed in remembrance.

IMO, this is enough history to let the new viewers know that there was a war, the rebels won, this Aerys guy was crazy and his own sworn sword killed him, Robert clearly hates the guy he was fighting, the true queen and prince escaped to sea, and something significant happened at the ToJ.

Now, from here on out, the scene plays out just like the book, except right before Garret is executed, and Eddard is proclaiming the man’s death sentence, the boys start to question why he ran away and why he looks so distant. Then, as Eddard is still speaking, we get a close up of Garret’s blank face, and we see the events of the prologue. Except now, after “Wraithmar” chokes and kills Wil, we see him and the other wraiths draw their attention to Garret, who they now notice is hiding in the shadows, terrified by what he’s witnessed. He starts to flee, and the wraiths give chase. Garret is very close to his horse (did they have horses? I forgot) and he’s just about to saddle up when we see that Wraithmar is right on his tail, raising his blade and ready to swing. However, as he’s bringing it down, the scene changes back to the present and the blade changes to Ice, decapitating Garret.

Everything from here on out happens pretty normally: Theon kicks the head, Jon and Robb talk about fear/bravery, and then Bran asks his father “if a man can still be brave if he’s afraid.”

Another close up of Eddard. We see rose petals blowing across the sky and Eddard, close to tears, kneeling beside a blood stained bed. The screen fades to white and we hear the words “Promise me, Ned.” After a few seconds, we hear Bran call out “Father?” and we’re once again brought back to the present. Eddard composes himself, and answers “that is the only time a man can be brave.”

The scene with the wolves plays out the same, but after Jon says his great line, and the group departs toward Winterfell, the camera pans back and focuses on the distant north, hinting that something (the Others obviously) terrible is at work.

Finally, they get back. Ned talks about Ice/honor, Cat displays love, Cat tells Ned about Jon in the crypts, the king arrives and we recognize Robert, the woman he was wedding, and the guy who killed the other king. Robert and Ned talk about the rebellion, the Trident, Rhaegar, and Lyanna. All this talk reminds the viewer of the things they saw in Eddard’s flashback and they have a better (still not complete, but enough that they won’t be lost) understanding of the history of Westeros and how Robert became king. Also they can still show flashbacks of the rebellion since not that much was given away. Only the basic details. Robert offers the Hand position to Eddard and the prologue ends with Eddard alone in the crypts, (whispering "Winter is coming" to himself or something) and us wondering what his answer will be and what will happen next.

IMO, here are the good/bad things about my idea.

Good things about this approach:
- We get a much appreciated view into Westeros history, the characters, and where the story currently is.
- The prologue is kept intact, and we get an idea that there’s a distant, but impending danger not of this world.
- We see Dany (kinda), so her first appearance doesn’t seem so strange and out of place because we already have somewhat of an idea that she’s important.
- Like the book, it sets the viewers up to think that Eddard is the main (used loosely) character.
- Instead of an Old Nan/story telling narrative, or a flashback with no narrative at all, the event at the ToJ serves as a narrative for summarizing the rebellion.

Bad things about this approach:
- We see the complete events at the ToJ, meaning that it would be tedious to see it again when Ned dreams. However, maybe we could simply witness more of the fight instead. smiley2.gif
- Bran’s 1st POV sort of becomes more leaned towards Eddard and Garret. But I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal. The talk about honor/bravery/knights is still there between Bran and Ned.
- Relies a little to heavily on flashbacks.

Whew! Well there’s my opinion on the prologue. Comments?[/quote]

[url="http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?showtopic=15123&st=140&p=606027&#entry606027"]http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?showt...mp;#entry606027[/url]

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[quote name='PatEllis15' post='1589421' date='Nov 14 2008, 15.27']The interesting thing about this idea (starting on Pyke) is that it allows you to introduce Jorah. This allows the director/writer to actually tie Dani to the people on Westeros. To a casual viewer just using her full name, if only tied to mention of her families name, make her whole story seem so detached as to be distracting. I'd then have Ilyrio introduce Jorah to Dani, and then make Ilirio visually obvious to Arya in the scene in the dungeon in Kings Landing.[/quote]

I think this'd be a great way to start off Epp 2, after leaving Dany out of the first Epp. It connects the reader to Characters we've already seen Robert & Ned, intros Jorah 2X and then we get some good catch-up with Dany, before we shift to the Trident scene and Joff/Sansa/Arya's drama. Maybe throw in some John & Tyrion on the Wall. Then end with the death of Lady.

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One thing that must be established is Bran's wish to be a knight of the kingsguard. This must happen before Robert and his court shows up.

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I think the current prologue is excellent and if they do it right it will hook anyone who watches it into the series, the same way it hooked many of us into the book. Dany really doesnt need to be included in the first episode, the Starks are the first ones you get attached to in the books, let that sink in to the viewers as well.

If you throw too much cutting back and forth between the POVs there just wont be enough character development for people to feel attached to the characters. That is one thing the LOTR movies did pretty well when the fellowship got split up.

Something else that worked well in LOTR was the in the beginning where it showed flashback of Sauron's downfall. They could do the revolt in a very similar fashion, though it doesnt have to be in the first episode.

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EDIT: original comment moved to more appropriate thread

I like the idea of working the TOJ scene into the first episode. It would really tie things together and make the first episode more dramatic.

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When we read the books - we didnt have a prologue of past battles and I dont see why they would change that in the TV series. Just like the books, they'll introduce the audience to the past rebellions and histories of Ned, Greyjoys, Kingslayer, Mad King, Robert and co once we have some connection to some of the characters and the universe they inhabit. No use giving a history lesson in the in the first episode.

Use the current prologue, the execution, introduction of the starks and direwolves, Robert and his family, the feast and then "things I do for love". In 50 or 70 mins, you can get to know both of the key families, a bit about Westeros and passing mention of Dany via Robert's conversation with Ned. But dont bring in Dany until Ep2 or 3. But she should definitely be mentioned in the pilot so that when she does appear - the audience has some knowledge of who she is.

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The more I'm thinking about it, the more I realize you [i]have[/i] to include Lysa's letter. I only brought it up as an afterthought at first, but it's so important. You have to do it after Robert offers Ned the position of Hand (which can be done in the crypt along with talk about Lyanna, Wylla, maybe Dany) but before Bran falls. It makes a big difference in Ned's decision to go south, it's where they decide to send Jon to the Night's Watch, it adds that extra bit of pathos when Catelyn gets what she wishes for in a way she would never wish for, and it drives the plot for the entire first book (or in this case, first season). 'Who killed Jon Arryn?' is HUGE. And you can bring up Bran wanting to be a knight of the Kingsguard while they're discussing the letter, as well as deciding on Sansa's engagement, maybe do a little more info dumping about Lysa and Littlefinger while you're at it.

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My take on it, you start off with the book prologue. It has action and the like and it succeeds well enough in pulling you in while introducing you to this looming threat before delving into the character drama. Starting out in a flashback isn't really necessary as they could just as easly tell the many bits and pieces from the past in short, cheap flashbacks spaced throughout. I also disagree with showing Dany in the pilot. Give her the beginning of the second episode and keep the seemingly random and possibly confusing events from the one episode which will decide whether or not the series is picked up.

So here's how I'd do it. First scene you focus on the prologue. Night Watch, Others, blah blah, fight, death, wight resurrection and poor black brother about to be attacked when the scene cuts to the survivor looking over a snow bank or some such, growing horror on his face.

Cut to short title sequence. Personally, I say forget the drawn-out opening credits. Give us the series and/or episode name and save the credits for the end.

Cut back to beheading. We see the same man's face only it's light out and he's being shoved down to the chopping block. Cue bravery debate, head soccer, Eddard's short speech and make sure we get a small bit of time with both Rob and Jon. Start heading back for Winterfell, find direwolves, end scene on Jon holding up Ghost.

Cut to Eddard and Cat talking about Lysa and Jon. We're led to believe this is a couple weeks later. Cue suspicion and mystery and all that then out the door for the king's arrival. Short flashback, Robert all ruggedly handsome in shiney plate and a war hammer with a big goofy grin on his face making some happy comment about fighting.

Cut back to present. Robert the fatass with this big expensive royal train. Same actor as flashback, just put him in a fat suit and give him a gross enough beard to hide any irregularities. Gives big huge dumb smile, bitches at Cersei a bit, walks with Ned down into the crypt. Flash to Lyanna and all her beauty, smiling warmly at the camera. Flash back to her face, now stone. Convo between old pals, sadness, Hand of the King, blah blah, end scene.

Cut to the big banquet. Long scene introducing some of the key players and showing off some of their personalities. Arya and Bran playing around while Rickon tries to join in, Rob grins at the group, Sansa tries to shush them, Joff sneers and Cat ends it with a harsh glare. Meanwhile tension between Robert and Cersei, much to Jaime's seeming amusement and Eddard's annoyance. Give a cameo to Mance then back to Jon gettng wasted and Benjen talking to him about the Watch. End scene with Tyrion's grand introduction to Jon.

Cut to Sansa and Arya next day, Arya and crappy sewing, Sansa making fun of her and being all snooty about it. Sisterly fight, Arya runs, goes to watch the training with Jon. Show them being closer, like the loving brother/sister type. She sits on his lap to watch, he musses her hair then they watch. Bran beatng Tommen a little more fiercly than he should, getting scolded then climbing away on the walls, laughing while everyone looks on helpless. Then it's Joff and Rob. Joff wants to use sharp swords, Roderick says no, we hear the first of the Hound's snide comments and barking laugh and then they storm out leaving Arya and Jon with bemused looks.

Cut to the next dawn. Bran looks out his window as everyone rides off for a hunt and he can't join. Climbs out the window and we're given a sweeping image of Winterfell for the first time as well as the surrounding land and the hunters as they fade from view. Focus then on strange tower light. Cersei and Jaime wrestling, "Things I do for love," end pilot, cue credits

Oh yeah. Also include some scene of the wolves growing and being taken care of or some such. Bad move introducing them only to forget them. Next episode they can start following everyone around, but at this point I think they're still too young. Perhaps the scene before the climb so we're given more than one event that day. A bit showing each of the wolves being taken care of in their own special way then a short convo between Eddard and Cat or someone debating the wisdom of wolves as pets.

Whadoya think?

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You don´t need to have Daenerys in the pilot; that would be overtaxing and confusing. Lots of other series have presented important characters later in the season, and made them likable. LOST have like 15 important characters and patiently produced centric episodes for every one of them instead of mixing everything together. As long as her name is mentioned in advance, she´ll be OK.

Late presentation of important people and places will happen anyway: think of Dorne, presented only in the last book and probably pretty important for the plot. Think of Theon, important in book 2 but with very little time in 1. Think of Aerys, we only get how really mad he was in last quarter of book 2.

And you don´t need Others either. Magical inmortal enemies and cute magical puppies are two fantasy cliches. They are actualy the only ones there are in ASOIAF, but they get packed together at the very begining. Someone said no action = no viewers. Fantasy cliches are worse. The combination of the two almost made me stop reading. Luckily, Jaime/Cercei came together in a tower and saved the day.

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It is VITAL that they nail the "pups in the snow scene"... do this right and they will get the hooks into alot of viewers. Reading AGOT for the first time, I was pretty much at the mercy of GRRM after that scene.

If they do NAIL it, the scene does so many great things for the story, especially in setting the stage for Jon Snow as a sympathetic character you just want to root for... you can even try to explain the significance of the antler stuck in the direwolf - but that could be overly complicating things for the first time viewer.

Damn, this is gonna be fun to follow.....

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[quote name='Matarreyes' post='1590389' date='Nov 15 2008, 20.21']And you don´t need Others either. Magical inmortal enemies and cute magical puppies are two fantasy cliches. They are actualy the only ones there are in ASOIAF, but they get packed together at the very begining. Someone said no action = no viewers. Fantasy cliches are worse. The combination of the two almost made me stop reading. Luckily, Jaime/Cercei came together in a tower and saved the day.[/quote]

some people also read/watch fantasy because its fantasy. you need to bring out the Others early because otherwise the starks rambling about winter coming is really no big deal. it's the same with Dany, though i dont think she needs to be in the pilot you need to know about her early, its done that way in the books for a reason.

otherwise you get to book 4/5 others are coming from north, dragons from the east, all out of no where wtf is going on? bring em out early, hint at em, build up the anticipation and then voila.

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Matarreyes,

[quote]Fantasy cliches are worse.[/quote]

No they aren't. Not when you're presenting a well-written fantasy series.

I'm sure mileage varies by the individual, but to the broader HBO-viewing public, if they're told that they're going to be watching an epic fantasy, they expect to see some actual fantasy. The prologue provides some nasty violence and presents the face of one major part of the series (which is about ice as much as it is about fire, after all) with a very clear "this is fantasy" message. Same with the direwolf pups (and the dead she-direwolf).

As George says, the pilot script's very faithful. I imagine it contains the prologue.

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ASOIAF may be described as an epic fantasy book, but IMHO it comes closer to a [i]fictional[/i] historic drama the same way Star Wars is actually an adventure movie and not a cience fiction one. You can count the fantasy subplots on your hands, and others and dragons both haven´t done much so far but extend promises that they will be crucial at some point. On the other side politics, treasons, drama and warfare are in abundance, as well as descriptions of medieval lifestyle and mentality.

The term fantasy is a double-edged sword in itself. Think that LOTR, Narnia, Harry Potter are recent "fantasy" examples for an average viewer, and those are pretty different from ASOIAF. Newcomers who start watching this and get the warm feeling at the sight of a noble family and their puppies may be disappointed and worse - put aback - when all sh*t and gore comes crashing down. I had a personal experience trying to convince a person who liked the begining and then stopped reading, disappointed and "disgusted". Once a couple of episodes roll by, everyone will know what kind of stuff to expect, but the pilot have to weight the two extremes pretty carefully.

Just saying.

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[quote name='Matarreyes' post='1590418' date='Nov 15 2008, 21.15']Newcomers who start watching this and get the warm feeling at the sight of a noble family and their puppies may be disappointed and worse - put aback - when all sh*t and gore comes crashing down.[/quote]
You'd think seeing an eight-year-old watching Theon kick around a decapitated head might dampen those warm feelings. That scene'd be much more effective as tone-setter on screen than on paper, I think.

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[quote name='Matarreyes' post='1590389' date='Nov 15 2008, 20.21']And you don´t need Others either. Magical inmortal enemies and cute magical puppies are two fantasy cliches.[/quote]
The show's fantasy. It's dark fantasy, but still fantasy. I'd rather they get that fact out of the way in the pilot instead of trying to pretend it's something else in the hopes they will grab an audience they won't lose later. And unless the only people watching are fantasy readers, which given the venue shouldn't be the case, they aren't going to know shit about fantasy cliches.

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