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Xray the Enforcer

[BOOK SPOILERS] EP101 Discussion, Mark II

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Because I can't stop rewatching...

A number of people earlier commented on how the king's party only had Lannister banners when they rode in, and how it seemed out of place. Right after Arya jumps up on the cart, there's a shot of the riders coming right-to-left. The first two riders clearly have Baratheon banners. It goes by very quickly; there's a cut to the middle of the group and the camera then lingers on the Lannister banners before moving on to Joffrey and the Hound.

Beyond that, there's a few moments where the Baratheon banners are flapping in the background behind Ned and Robert, but they definitely seem under emphasized.

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Clarification, I didn't mean that I think everything looked fake. Rather, the backgrounds were very very sharp and focused - I mentioned in the previous thread that when Dany, Viserys and Illyrio are walking in the garden, the bush to the left is as much in focus as the actors. It makes it hard for me to forget that I'm watching a production, instead of being completely immersed in the show.

Sorry, that was actually in response to the guy who said the direwolf scene looked sound-stagey.

To be honest, I wasn't really paying attention to cinematography. Was watching on someone else's large HDTV, whereas I don't have an HDTV and will be watching subsequent episodes in standard definition on kind of a crappy TV. Hopefully in the future when the DVDs come out, I'll have something better to watch them on.

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Does anyone else think it will be harder to keep the characters as "grey" as the novels? Will the show be able to make fans root for other families besides the Starks? I root for the Starks, but I do have backups.

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I was surprised that HBO attempted to put as much as they did into episode 1. I felt like the Prologue + Winterfell + Dany's marriage was a bit much. I was pretty worried that if you didn't already know who these characters are that it would just feel like a mess. I think it would have been easier to follow if they had stayed in Winterfell, and only expanded out to meet Dany in a later episode. I suppose that it had valuable sex appeal, and it is certainly a key part of the story, but seeing as how Dany still hasn't made it across the sea four books later, I think we could potentially wait on her plotline for at least one episode.

I think that doing so would allow more explanation of what's going on with Ned+Robert, a little more time introducing the main characters, and expanding a few key scenes. Jon and Tyrion's talk at the feast and The Things I Do for Love were both good scenes, but lacked the punch they could have had if they were a bit longer.

That said, the things I expected to be good, were good. The acting is great, most of the details are correct, and overall it feels like a good start to what could be a very special story.

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Did anyone else not like how HD and overfocused the settings were? I thought that it made the scenes look somewhat staged.

Regarding Cersei and Bran's fate, I think she was counting on shutting him up for awhile, and hoping that if it came out later, the recollections of a 7 year old boy wouldn't be trusted enough to actually hurt them. That would be more believable on screen, I think, if the actor playing Bran was 7 as he is in the books. Seven year olds are pretty easily scared/impressionable. Obviously, the allegation is so huge in its implication that anyone repeating what Bran said to make it "an issue" would know they were making an enemy for life, which would be pretty dangerous. Especially if the allegation was not believed and Cersei and the Lannisters had the backing of the throne.

In a way, Cersei's logic on this isn't bad given that one person had already died to cover up this secret barely a month before. Two deaths, back to back, relating to the Hand might lead folks to ask more questions, and certainly would convince the Starks to start digging. Maybe just shrugging off what Bran had seen as being inaccurate -- if he ever did repeat it -- was the better course.

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Overall, I enjoyed it. I loved all the Stark children, Robert was hilarious and perfect, Viserys stepped off the page and came to life, etc. That being said:

I didn't like the Others, at all. They didn't look anything like how I envisioned them - and why are the white walkers black? And I honestly liked that whole scene much better as portrayed in the books, with the duel and then Waymar's wight killing Will. As it was, I was left wondering why they let Will go after beheading Gared in front of him. And also (okay, nitpicky but what else am I here for?) I didn't understand why they beheaded Gared - a headless wight does not sound very useful.

I also didn't care for the Dothraki, or Dany and Drogo's wedding night. And why were Jon Arryn's eyes bugging out when he was laid out?

Now, for the stuff I liked (which is most everything else). I really liked the scene between Jaime and Cersei in KL, and the scene with Arya and Sansa embroidering. Viserys may quickly become a favorite character on the show - there is something so maniacal and entertaining about his portrayal. I loved it when the Dothraki rode off and he came running forward asking what went wrong! I also appreciated the scene where Cersei admires Sansa's dress and says that she has to make her something - it really showcases how charming Cersei is to Sansa and why Sansa trusts her to a fault.

I did miss the practice session between Tommen and Bran, and the argument over live steel between Robb and Joffrey. I would have liked to see the Baratheon children interact more with the Stark children.

I'll watch it again later tonight because I know quite a few things slipped by me - overall, I like the books more but I will definitely enjoy the series too.

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You can join me at my barricade: I'm not madly in love with it either.

That said, I found it impossible to seperate from the books. I'm just too immersed in them, and have been talking about them too much for too long. I have absoloutely no idea what the experience is for someone who dosen't consider every nuance in everything from the portrayal of Cat or Drogo or Robert to the exact average northern summer temperature part of a complicated ongoing debate in which they hold considerable emotional stake :P. So I don't feel like its giving me anything new, as such, and 'seeing the characters brought to life' is just not a need I have, apparently. They're alive enough on the page for me. :dunno:

I do think the production by and large looks wonderful though and that much of the acting is compelling, especially some characters that are a bit marginal at this point in the books, like Viserys or Arya. And I enjoyed the shirtless bathhouse scene probably more than was strictly necessitated by the demands of characterization. But other things felt off or a bit hokey. I look at it mostly as a vastly expensive piece of fanart, at the end of the day.

The translation to screen often leaves some disappointed. I know what you mean. While I definitely enjoyed the show, I never had a hunger for a television version of Ice and Fire. I'd be more pleased, actually, if the series suddenly went poof and the next three books dropped into my lap instantly. Baller!

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Ned and Jaime's scene at the feast was good. Jaime cutting off Ned in his own hall, helped in the foreshadowing the Lannister and Stark feud. It wasn't in the books but I thought it fit well.

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The first time I watched it I was a bit distracted by automatically seeing what I imagined from the book and there was some bit of comparison. I won't say much for that view because I was a terrible viewer that time (a viewer that isn't doing his best to be immersed has failed his part). The second time I viewed the episode, with a good deal of time between, it really came alive on another level because then I only saw what was there, no distracting mental images that no show can ever compare to. Perhaps I just got one of Syrio's lessons.

The acting is overall superb and I don't feel anyone is doing less than good. I was a bit worried about a few voices feeling that Dinklage overplayed his accent but after the first episode I can't agree with that. I think those few people got hung up on how he's chosen to portray his character, rather than truly being about the accent. Someone that I feel deserves praise, but hasn't quite gotten enough, is Sophie Turner as Sansa. I think she is just spot on with her character.

I think the scenery looked very good and it will only look better the more I get used to seeing it. Extremely high production values that pretty much made me forget I'm watching a TV series and not a high budget feature film.

All in all they've really done well with the extremely tough task of putting this on the screen, especially given how much story they have to fit into the first two episodes to set up for the rest. The sort of negative things I can think of are mainly of the nit-pick type and those sort of things aren't interesting, plus that they make me seem like I don't understand how hard making adaptations is, so I'll skip that.

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Wow, the title sequence is awesome!

Overall, I thought it was great. Every single character introduced so far seems to be very well cast, and the locations are all brilliant.

I thought the 'new' scene with Tyrion and the hookers worked really well - it helped clearly and concisely demonstrate Jaime's affection for his brother, and it remained true to the spirit of Tyrion.

Obviously there were more differences to the book, but I didn't come across anything too unpalatable. (As others have mentioned, the Drogo-Dany wedding night scene is a bit grim, but I can't really see any way around that without using up a few more minutes of screen time.)

Very impressed with the Godswood scene. And a little disappointed that we didn't get to see more of the heart tree.

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Regarding the old kings in the crypt.

Book statues were customized to the likeness of each man, with his iron sword laid upon his lap. The oldest swords have rusted away, leaving just a stain on the old stone. I don't recall the kings having statue direwolves depicted with them in the crypt. Direwolves haven't even been south of the Wall in over 1000 years. (If I am wrong please correct me).

Show statues (we get a good look at two of them at 29:04) are holding spears, not swords, and have a direwolf at their sides. They also look identical, as if cast, instead of carved specifically for each man. They also look like they are in much better condition than the statue of Lyanna, despite being much older. This is very puzzling and perplexing to me.

The spears, especially, bother me, because I have long nurtured a theory about a future plot twist involving those old IRON swords (placed there to keep the ghosts bound to the crypt). After all, nobody carries iron weapons anymore, and they are, along with fire, the only things harmful to the Cold Baddies...and the crypt just happens to have a large cache of iron swords.

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Here's a question I don't remember from the books. Robert puts a feather on Lyanna's hand. Why? What is the significance?

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Viserys may quickly become a favorite character on the show - there is something so maniacal and entertaining about his portrayal. I loved it when the Dothraki rode off and he came running forward asking what went wrong!

Me too! I think Harry Lloyd managed to put in a lot of the vulnerability and pathetic-ness that you only sort of retroactively extrapolate on re-reads with Viserys, knowing how it ends. (while still being amazingly creepy and cruel.) I loved the the really casual way he said "Make him happy" in particular - nasty and threatening, but wry and almost begging at the same time.

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Regarding the old kings in the crypt.

Book statues were customized to the likeness of each man, with his iron sword laid upon his lap. The oldest swords have rusted away, leaving just a stain on the old stone. I don't recall the kings having statue direwolves depicted with them in the crypt. Direwolves haven't even been south of the Wall in over 1000 years. (If I am wrong please correct me).

Show statues (we get a good look at two of them at 29:04) are holding spears, not swords, and have a direwolf at their sides.

Book statues: "Their likenesses were carved into the stones that sealed the tombs. In long rows they sat, blind eyes staring out into eternal darkness, while great stone direwolves curled round their feet." You are correct as to iron swords laid upon laps, with the oldest ones rusted away.

As for direwolves south of the wall, from Bran's first chapter:

"Theon Greyjoy said, “There’s not been a direwolf sighted south of the Wall in two hundred years.”

“I see one now,” Jon replied."

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Maybe I missed something but was the stark toddler in it?

It would have been nice if more of the characters were introduced, like theon etc.

I admired the shot of danny's arse. The camera moved inches lower to let us have a good look. Nice work.

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Maybe I missed something but was the stark toddler in it?
Rickon's shown briefly in the scene with Bran practicing archery.

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Regarding the old kings in the crypt.

Book statues were customized to the likeness of each man, with his iron sword laid upon his lap. The oldest swords have rusted away, leaving just a stain on the old stone. I don't recall the kings having statue direwolves depicted with them in the crypt. Direwolves haven't even been south of the Wall in over 1000 years. (If I am wrong please correct me).

Show statues (we get a good look at two of them at 29:04) are holding spears, not swords, and have a direwolf at their sides. They also look identical, as if cast, instead of carved specifically for each man. They also look like they are in much better condition than the statue of Lyanna, despite being much older. This is very puzzling and perplexing to me.

The spears, especially, bother me, because I have long nurtured a theory about a future plot twist involving those old IRON swords (placed there to keep the ghosts bound to the crypt). After all, nobody carries iron weapons anymore, and they are, along with fire, the only things harmful to the Cold Baddies...and the crypt just happens to have a large cache of iron swords.

As the poster above said, there were statues of direwolves in the crypts.

As for your theory, I doubt it. There's little difference between iron and steel and both are forged in a similar manner so one shouldn't be more linked to fire than the other. The Others are not spirits of the dead and we've already found something they are vulnerable to (obsidian) so I doubt the iron swords have any relevance. If they were to play a big part I also suspect GRRM would have brought it up.

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Maybe I missed something but was the stark toddler in it?

Yeah only he looked more like a six year old than a three year old. You see him laughing at Bran when the Stark kids are introduced and I think he is present when the King rides in...but I wasn't looking for him so I could be wrong on that account.

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