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Venardhi

A script review. - SPOILERS

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Halfhand, five-seven mins of screentime is not a lot compared to an entire season's worth of episodes. Think about Sopranos. I'll reference Artie Bucco, a minor character with a large emotional impact in certain episodes. To garuntee that we gave a shit about him, the writers established his character early on, then during the episodes where they wanted you to feel particularly connected to him, they would first devote much of a full episode to his story arc, then cash in emotionally during a big crescendo. That was why it worked. That was why we cared. Sopranos earned every emotional impact from every character by putting in the work. It never just assumed the audience would care about a character because that character was on-screen.

Now, can the Thrones guys pull it off? Perhaps. I'm just very, very concerned. Bran's fall could so easily be an eye-rolling moment of seeming sensationalism.

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I didn't give a shit about Bran either but I hate him. Though I liked him more before he fell than after.

I was just getting interested in him when he got thrown off.

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1) I think people who think Ned is a dry humorless character with no personality have it all wrong.
Strangers only see Ned's "Lord's Face" This is a chapter is AGOT when Catelyn and Ned are alone when he is totally different. He definitely has a sense humor although we would never see it in the presence of a Lannister or at court because he would never let his guard down "his Lord's Face" in front of these. Even Tywin Lannister probably has a sense of humor- we've never seen it because he would never let his guard down either. Sir Kevan knows him as a completely different person but as we have never witnessed any of their private interactions we wouldn't see it.

2) I don't really get people who hate Bran. That's one seven year old kid who has 10x the balls any of us do.

3) Back to Ned: I agree with the person who posted that his martial skills must be pretty intense.
Arthur Dayne probably could have beaten any 3 or 4 above average fighters at a time and although he was most likely wounded at the time Ned and Howland did take him down.
Ned probably would have had similar training to the training of his next generation as he is dictating everything that happens at Winterfell. Robb and Jon were never known to be slouches with blade.

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[quote name='Halfhand' post='1688479' date='Feb 16 2009, 19.32']Plus if they can cast a cute kid with a lot of charisma, that could win over a large portion of the audience right out of the gate.[/quote]
Yes. And whatever about liking the boy hugely, its still a shocking event and that's what should grab people's attention. Attention is what you need.

[quote]I agree with the person who posted that his martial skills must be pretty intense.[/quote]
Except that GRRM has said Ned's skills aren't great. The 5 companions that died (plus Howland) could have been great fighters but Ned wasn't.

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^ It's not a matter of Ned being good or not, it's a matter of him boasting arrogantly about it to Jaime. That line grates on me quite a lot.

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[quote name='Padraig' post='1689206' date='Feb 17 2009, 04.39']Except that GRRM has said Ned's skills aren't great. The 5 companions that died (plus Howland) could have been great fighters but Ned wasn't.[/quote]
Eh, it's a forgivable change in my opinion. The script genuinely seems to be trying to build up the tension between House Lannister and House Stark. The book takes its time in establishing the enmity, but the show will need to establish it quickly and up front. It introduces the characters with clearly drawn sides, like a good pilot should. :)

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[quote name='Jojen's Ghost' post='1689397' date='Feb 17 2009, 09.21']Eh, it's a forgivable change in my opinion. The script genuinely seems to be trying to build up the tension between House Lannister and House Stark. The book takes its time in establishing the enmity, but the show will need to establish it quickly and up front. It introduces the characters with clearly drawn sides, like a good pilot should. :)[/quote]

Except that there aren't supposed to be "clearly drawn sides". That was one of the major characteristics of the books, [i]remember[/i]?

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[quote name='Aoede' post='1689741' date='Feb 17 2009, 20.05']Except that there aren't supposed to be "clearly drawn sides". That was one of the major characteristics of the books, [i]remember[/i]?[/quote]
There was clearly drawn antagonism at the beginning between the Lannisters and the Starks. That doesn't really change. And when we saw what happens to Bran, people will see that Ned's feelings are justified. :P

I don't care if Ned is turned into a great fighter or not (its not important) but I just wanted to clarify above that based on the books, he isn't. The ToJ scene doesn't justify the view that he is a great fighter.

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it didn't matter how much page space Bran had before his fall, i didn't care all that much about him at that point in the book. all we had learned at that point was that a)he's a kid and thinks like one which makes his narrative frustrating to many, and b) he likes to climb :|

as for Ned being a fighter. he was there with his men, his mens first priority was making sure their lord survived. sorry, but what that scene showed was how kick ass Howland Reed was as a fighter.

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You do not need to care deeply about Bran as a character, as a friend or person for the moment of his toss from the tower to work for the story. The act by Jamie is the inciting event of the entire story - the first true moment of conflict between a Lannister and a Stark for the reader/viewer. TV/Film storytelling does not work in the same way as storytelling in a novel. It is much more visceral and will NEVER allow one as deep immersion into a character - at least not within the context of a single hour or two - to ever know them as well as even a single chapter or two of a novel can. You cannot hear the internal dialogue of a person, you need to infer their thoughts and ideas and desires much of the time via the performance (and interpretation of the character) by the actor. It is more than enough for the viewer to despise Jaime (and perhaps also Cersei) for that act and the audience will hopefully automatically feel bad for Bran when he falls just by the very nature of the fact that he is an innocent child who already shows he is very brave and brimming with chutzpah.

A lot will depend on how likable the kid who plays Bran is. If they find some good young actor with the right qualities to make him someone you care about, it's quite possible all the audience will need is the right sort of goofy grin, or a moment where he reminds of a kid we know - our own child, a nephew, your best friend's son, whomever - so that they feel bad for what happens to him. This is what I mean when I say that this is a more visceral medium. There are often things you can't account for on the page. That being said, the framework for us liking the character does need to already be there on the page at least to some degree and I do think the script does this pretty well, as well as can be expected in a single 1 hour pilot.

Someone suggested that 7 minutes or so of screentime isn't enough to do this, but that's not true. I will submit to you that in Star Wars: A New Hope, by the time R2D2 and C3PO got into the escape pod and blasted their way to safety they were already characters that many of us cared about. This was done through humor, through Anthony Daniels' (C3PO) perfornace, the way the action was directed and the simple fact that the camera was following them and their story, and also simply because the drama and prediciment they were in was interesting and very compelling. How many minutes were those two on screen by the time they blasted to safety? Probably no more than 5 at the very most - quite possibly even less.

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Good point Brude, but the fact that many screenwriters, directors, actors ect. just assume that "cute kid=awww" is a very dangerous pitfall. Put a kid on screen just to hurt him, and we wade into waters of sensationalism and gratuity. My greatest fear is for Thrones to become a nighttime soap.

The creators said "Sopranos on Middle Earth". I hope they revisit both and remember what made both so genius.

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[quote name='The Kreb' post='1690422' date='Feb 18 2009, 04.46']Put a kid on screen just to hurt him, and we wade into waters of sensationalism and gratuity.[/quote]
Well in this case, it can't be avoided. Some people probably wouldn't like it but hopefully for most it will work.

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[quote name='Aoede' post='1689741' date='Feb 17 2009, 15.05']Except that there aren't supposed to be "clearly drawn sides". That was one of the major characteristics of the books, [i]remember[/i]?[/quote]
Pod beat me to it and he has the right of it. The period of the book that this pilot covers has very clearly drawn sides of 'good' and 'evil'. The Starks are defined by images of justice and bravery while the Lannisters are colored by shades of incest, kingslaying betrayal, and general distemper. It's to GRRM's credit that as the story advances, we can find a bit of empathy for formerly despicable characters like Jaime and Sandor.

When my wife read [i]A Game of Thrones[/i], she was put off by the large number of characters that are introduced in the first few chapters. One of the saving graces, however, was that she could know that Stark = Good and Lannister = Bad. It's a much more comfortable approach to a book (or TV series) to be introduced to characters in this way. There will be plenty of time for character development once the story moves along.

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Am I wrong ?... Remember the story Meera tells Bran, in ASoS, about the Harrenhall tourney ? I had the clear impression there that Benjen was older, and Ned the "pup"... Also, a NW brother spoke then, asking knights to join, so "the quiet wolf" might have decided for the NW soon after....

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[quote name='Padraig' post='1695538' date='Feb 22 2009, 22.43']Yes. You have things backwards. Ned is the quiet wolf, while Benjen is the pup.[/quote]

Exactly. Remember that Ashara Dayne (the girl with purple eyes) and Ned were supposed to have fallen in love at that tourney, and that Brandon (the wild wolf, I believe) spoke to Ashara on behalf of the "quiet wolf" to get her to dance with him. That seems to indicate that Ned was the "quiet wolf".

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[quote name='pablonohablo' post='1700354' date='Feb 26 2009, 06.21']Exactly. Remember that Ashara Dayne (the girl with purple eyes) and Ned were supposed to have fallen in love at that tourney, and that Brandon (the wild wolf, I believe) spoke to Ashara on behalf of the "quiet wolf" to get her to dance with him. That seems to indicate that Ned was the "quiet wolf".[/quote]

Thank you for clearing this for me :) Now it makes sense, indeed. But who was that Lord of skulls and kisses, who was heavily drinking next to Robert ? I couldn't figure out...

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[quote name='Yvaine' post='1700507' date='Feb 25 2009, 23.30']Thank you for clearing this for me :) Now it makes sense, indeed. But who was that Lord of skulls and kisses, who was heavily drinking next to Robert ? I couldn't figure out...[/quote]
Sir Richard Lonmouth.

[url="http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/Heraldry/Entry/house_lonmouth/"]http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/Heraldry/E...house_lonmouth/[/url]

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[quote name='siyrean' post='1690342' date='Feb 17 2009, 21.23']as for Ned being a fighter. he was there with his men, his mens first priority was making sure their lord survived. sorry, but what that scene showed was how kick ass Howland Reed was as a fighter.[/quote]
We don't know yet what Howland Reed did to save Ned against Arthur Dayne but I very much doubt it was some sort of "kick ass" martial prowess. Remember, Howland Reed was being picked on by three squires at the Harrenhall tourney and he was defended by none other than Lyanna Stark with a tourney sword. If he was a bad ass fighter I doubt very much that would have happened. No, whatever Howland did to help Ned it was probably more along the lines of tricky (tripping Dayne up with a net at the right moment, etc.) or, perhaps, magical (attacking his mind through warging, changing the dirt under his feet to mud, etc.) :)

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I'm no big fan of some changes, but this script is incredibly faithful to the novels. If they're establishing conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters a bit earlier, that's fine. It's a TV series, if they don't draw in viewers and establish some kind of a major conflict the show's dead halfway through the season and we don't see more.

We also have to remember that we don't get into the character's heads, so some information that we might otherwise know is going to have to be told through dialogue, and there's a lot of information to give. Some of it will be awkward, hopefully they'll iron some of it out, though.

As for Benjen's age, they might not be making the character older. Maybe they just want him to LOOK older, perhaps to show that life at the wall isn't an easy life. It's tough, it makes you age faster, etc... And if he is played as being older, that will irk me a bit, but I'll deal.

EDIT: And looking over Jon's line about the pups in the script, Jon tells Ned the pups genders, the script gives a cue that Jon only continues because Ned makes his curiosity about why that matters clear (probably a look). So Ned's "what of it?" is still in the script, it's just a look, not dialogue at this point. Jon doesn't just randomly tell Ned how many children he has without being prompted to explain first.

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