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Corvinus85

[BOOK SPOILERS] Battles

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Spartacus battles are fucking amazing:

Images are better than words:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjPhKSlvYeY&playnext=1&list=PL3C4E12D39FD428B1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JAtrwhoROM&feature=related

Even Titus Pullo fight in Rome, made by HBO, was better than the stuff in GoT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcECeLjwNlk

Spartacus was the Hollywood action kind of combat in a show that was purposefully exaggerating blood a lot. Not even in the same ballpark as GoT or Rome when it comes to tone.

The Titus Pullo fight is one I like but I can't really say that I think it's that much better than what I saw in GoT. He throws someone on a spear with way too little leverage to actually move a big man like that, he cuts limbs far easier than it should be, and so on. Now I can stop being critical when I actually watch the shows but when I try to be critical I see quite a lot of inaccuracies in all stage fighting as I have many years of competitive experience in martial arts. It's all about suspending my disbelief in order to be able to be entertained for me and that's what I try to focus on since finding errors is just annoying. GoT certainly has it's share of problems as well but not enough to make it harder for me to get into it than other shows. Mileage always varies of course.

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Borgias: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRcZLZFc-Pw& (from 4:30 onwards)

Tudors:

Both these are/were Showtime shows that have lower per episode budgets then GoT has. Borgias just recently finished its 1st season and has been renewed for a 2nd. It had about 2-3 episodes with scenes like that. So it is possible to achieve decent enough large scale shots on a cable TV budget.

GoT obviously put a lot of its budget into the setting though which means hopefully with sets and costumes for the most part done now they have more money to play with next season with less sets to build.

Wow, I should start watching Borgias again. For a limited budget, that scene was done very well. Lot's of character impact, but it didn't leave out battle stuff. Well, the actual battle was left out, we only saw some cannon shots...but WE SAW THE DAMN ARMIES.

That's all I really want from GOT. Right now, it looks like Robb is leading a dozen men around the Riverlands. I need to SEE the 18 000 to believe it, and fully grasp Robb's situation. His ascension to King isn't as powerful without realising just how many men he would have dominion over.

Whispering Wood...I just don't understand. Easily filmable, wouldn't have cost heaps. Just show us Jaime cutting through trying to get to Robb. 12 men on screen, maximum. At night. Easy. I'm just perplexed with how they didn't show us WW.

Hopefully, season 2 will amend this :worried: I loved the attack with Yoren and Arya, but I could stand to have that cut out. But Blackwater...ahgr. What if we don't even ever see Renly's host...it would cheapen the situation Stannis is in.

I love GOT and think it's a great TV series that really excels in a lot of areas, but it really needs to step it up in the battle-armies department. A lot of people got into this series because they like watching medieval warfare. Political intrigue is fantastic, but feels cheap when we don't feel anything is at stake, due to a lack of battles

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Hopefully, season 2 will amend this :worried: I loved the attack with Yoren and Arya, but I could stand to have that cut out. But Blackwater...ahgr. What if we don't even ever see Renly's host...it would cheapen the situation Stannis is in.

From a plot point of view i guess they could cut it out and have Yoren expire in another manner but i don't think they should as it's the sort of level of engagement that can be done very well for TV. Take the Sharpe TV show for example. Any time they tried to do battles the fact we were looking at a hundred dudes representing an army of thousands was painfully obvious but when they sent Sharpe off on his own and that same hundred could be used to represent two or three hundred... Well the show was at its best.

Your comment about Renly's host is spot on. That's a situation where comparative scale is very important. I keep reading so many people talking about the limitations of the TV medium and using it as an excuse for the shows shortcomings, especially in regard to amount of information that can be communicated. While it's true that it's difficult in regards to dialogue and hidden thoughts the visual medium excels at communicating tone and setting with economy and where Martin may take a page or two of description plus dialogue a single shot 5 second shot can accomplish much the same.

We're told Drogo is this great Khal but tbh i've not felt it from the show. He seems to have a khalasar of about 40 and frankly the extras they've brought in are pitiful looking (potbellied and skinny armed) which really doesn't communicate what's special about the Dothraki and his Khalasar in particular. Despite watching in HD i'd never even have noticed the CGI revellers pasted into the background of his wedding feast. I realise daytime shots are hard but a night time one could have been mocked up cheaply i'd have thought.

Spartacus was the Hollywood action kind of combat in a show that was purposefully exaggerating blood a lot. Not even in the same ballpark as GoT or Rome when it comes to tone.

Agreed. At least agreed that this isn't the sort of combat GoT should be going for. Unfortunately i'd say they've failed to set that tone. The Dothraki fighting especially has been risiculously ornate and swoopy and lacking deadly intent or efficiency.

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Spartacus battles are fucking amazing:

Images are better than words:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjPhKSlvYeY&playnext=1&list=PL3C4E12D39FD428B1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JAtrwhoROM&feature=related

Even Titus Pullo fight in Rome, made by HBO, was better than the stuff in GoT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcECeLjwNlk

Excellent examples. Whatever you might think of Rome or Spartacus fighting, whether it was unrealistic or not - there is no escaping the fact that the fighting GRRM described in the books was deeply unrealistic as well. Frankly, GoT's fighting has probably been as unrealistic in its own way, just WAY more boring and shoddily put together.

It can certainly be done but I have to say that the CGI looks quite apparent at times in those videos even at the very low resolution of 360p. It's hard to compare to a show I've only seen in HD. I also felt it was a bit jarring to have long scenes of large visuals with armies standing near each other, only to switch to solely very close up footage when the action started happening. I'm not saying it was terrible but it shows that there are problems with all choices.

Of course both approaches have problems, but the approach GoT took was inferior on every level of storytelling. And I don't see what there is to find jarring about switching from long visuals to close ups. All movies do that.

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I said swordfights, not battles. But it does help to dispell some of these budget myths.

It's hard to find the scenes on youtube, since generally, the one on one fights in Borgias were not Hollywood-esque, or drawn out like GoT, but over in a quick and brutal fashion.

Basically, most of the killing was done by Sean Harris' character Michelotto Corella, and he would just rip through people. His attempted assassination of a cardinal in the bath house, and then having to slaughter his way past the guards when he failed, was far more quick and visceral than anything GoT has managed.

Honestly, how Harris' Michelotto character fights is exactly as I'd pictured Bronn to fight like, ultra quick, deadly and efficient, and they both possess the same builds.

The sword fighting in GoT looks like something done in 1993 on the BBC.

For the Tudors, the sword fight I had been thinking of, was a wooded skirmish during the French campaign, and I could not find it on Youtube. But it was on the same kind of scale, and number of soldiers on each side, as they would have needed to do the Whispering Wood justice.

In any case. The fighting in GoT should have been explosive and over the top in its impact and brutality, cause that's how GRRM wrote it, even if meant emulating Rome or Spartacus (with perhaps a bit more restraint on the CGI blood) Instead, we got choreography less exciting than the Three Musketeers.

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As has been said before, the principal cost of the production has been the size of the cast. Over 200 speaking roles (some people have said there's 500, but unless they're counting every background murmur in every crowd scene, that seems to be a gross exaggeration) in two locations with the cost of moving the cast and crew between two countries is a pretty big expense. Almost all of the other shows mentioned (and others that aren't, like Camelot) are filmed in a studio with the locations used fairly nearby.

At the same time, I don't think it's entirely unfair to say that D&D have not succeeded in getting maximum bang for their buck. Sod the other cable shows, look at the BBC's Merlin. In Season 3 they had large-scale battles using Massive (the same software used for LotR). The close-ups were very poor (bad idea to use CGI soldiers for close-up work) but the mid and long-shots looked excellent. The battle for Camelot with the red-cloaked guards holding the gate against an enemy incursion were pretty well done. And in another episode involving similar battle scenes they simultaneously did CGI shots of a dragon (not the best, admittedly, but they've been saying they need to upgrade the dragon CGI model for two years now, so they should have improved it) and a whole load of shots of people fighting animated skeletons.

Merlin's budget is extremely modest, but as well as all of the above, they also have the added expense of filming in two separate countries (the studios are in London, the location stuff in Northern France, not the cheapest country in the world to film in, though not as bad as Italy). I believe the budget of Merlin is somewhere on the order of $2 million per episode, or one-third that of Thrones. Taking into account the fact that HBO are getting the use of the studios for free, they've made 50% of the budget back through foreign sales alone (not counting fresh subs or online/DVD sales) and they're getting additional local funding, I think it's clear that the show is not being run as lean and efficiently as it should be. If it were, they could be doing some pretty amazing stuff with CGI, even if nowhere near the order of LotR.

The biggest problem is that the CGI team they used had six people on it, which was a bit lame. Shows like BSG and B5 back in the day had vastly more CGI crewmembers. So it's no wonder they haven't done any CGI battles, as with six people they're probably struggling to do just composite shots (and Episodes 8-9 had a ton of composites in them, more than people probably realise; the scene with Rodrik and Cat looking at the Stark camp had a number of boats in the lake, all of which had to be digitally removed in every frame of every second) and the odd CG matte shot.

For Season 2 they're going to have 30 people. So hopefully we should see a lot more impressive stuff being done.

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So mistaking a force 1/10th the size of the actual force is believable? The whole ruse works in the books because Robb commits the MAJORITY of his forces to the battle. This way simply makes no sense. Any non-retard would have scouts for miles around his encampment. How these scouts can't tell the difference between 2,000 and 20,000 is mind boggling.

This part at least I'll buy the way the show did it.

Tywin is a good military commander, but he's not infallible. He already has word from his scouts that 20,000 are marching towards him. Then on the morning of the battle, his scouts see Northmen cresting a ridge, a full night's march closer than expected. They're not going to stop to count, they're going to run for their lives to rally the Lannister camp. And Tywin is going to stumble out of his tent to a frantic report from the scout, and he'll order his army into battle.

Will he figure it out pretty quick? Sure. But by then Robb's main force is miles and miles away, and its too late to matter.

Also, much was made in the book of people like Blackfish being skilled at eliminating enemy scouts to cover movments. Why could that not be the case here?

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Having now seen the full season, there are a lot of departures from the book. Some major, some minor, and most of them I totally understand, or at least accept.

The battles in ep9 are the only thing I am disappointed in from the whole show.

Partially it is the fact that they were skipped entirely. Of course I was hoping for an epic scene, who wouldn't be? The complete lack does not bode well for the Blackwater.

Partially its the way things are changed. Tyrion was at least brave in the battle, if not terribly effective, and it give shis character credibility, which he now loses going forward.

My biggest issue is that non readers don't really know what happened. They don't know that Robb fought a major action in WW, then another one at Riverrun. We barely know that RR was under siege, much less that the siege was broken by an inferior force or that Robb now has the alligence of the river lords. We didn't see more of RR then a stone wall or two.

I understand budget limits. But still. Disappointing

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It seems reasonable to guess that Game of Thrones burned a fair sum of money on the pilot episode that had to be almost completely re-shot (and switching one of their main shooting locations to boot). But Werthead's point is a very important one; the size of the cast is frankly staggering, way above and beyond what any of the other named shows are attempting. It's also amazing to think they only had six CGI artists, and I didn't even consider that the artists had to do things like remove boats from lakes that looked perfectly empty in the show (good job!).

The optimist in me thinks a lot of the cost (certainly not all) of the 1st season won't be as costly in the second due to re-use of pre-existing sets (not free, but cheaper), costumes, production work, and certainly I don't expect them to have to re-shoot practically a whole episode. With a similar budget I think we're going to see a smoother and more confident production with fewer missteps and a better product overall in the 2nd season. Which is good because I think Season 2 has more challenges than Season 1 and they're going to need to be more efficient with their money this time around.

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I've worked out a way they can make up for not showing WW and Jaime's capture (missed moment of awesome much?) - in the bandit fight where Cleos dies, instead of Jaime taking Cleos' sword from his corpse to fight Brienne, he could get one earlier, then kill a few bandits in chains with some deadly efficiency. Then Brienne arrives and tells him to put down the sword. Jaime says "why? Ive been in prison for months, half-starved and out of practice. I'm unarmoured and in chains- what danger could I be" *pointing to the dead bandits* "ask them". Jaime laughs, makes a dickish scathing remark and attacks.

Reminder/first actual evidence that Jaime is dangerous, plus reminder that he has been imprisoned for months right before the fight. Not as good as this scene plus WW but better than adding to the Jaime- humiliation in combat-conga that is his current fighting on screen followed by being beaten by a girl

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Having now seen the full season, there are a lot of departures from the book. Some major, some minor, and most of them I totally understand, or at least accept.

The battles in ep9 are the only thing I am disappointed in from the whole show.

Partially it is the fact that they were skipped entirely. Of course I was hoping for an epic scene, who wouldn't be? The complete lack does not bode well for the Blackwater.

Partially its the way things are changed. Tyrion was at least brave in the battle, if not terribly effective, and it give shis character credibility, which he now loses going forward.

My biggest issue is that non readers don't really know what happened. They don't know that Robb fought a major action in WW, then another one at Riverrun. We barely know that RR was under siege, much less that the siege was broken by an inferior force or that Robb now has the alligence of the river lords. We didn't see more of RR then a stone wall or two.

I understand budget limits. But still. Disappointing

...and I have to agree. I was watching the ninth episode with a number of people and many couldn't mask their disappointment. While I agree the acting in the series is good, one viewer put it best: "since reading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire I've dreamed of seeing (the Battle at the Green Fork) for years. Now that this has happened, I may never, ever see it."

Ant that's the short of it. Even a badly done scene would have been better than nothing at all. Tyrion's getting knocked on the head is an obvious cop-out. And while series like The Tudors and Spartacus at least attempted to portray battles in a way that made them entertaining, Game of Thrones' entire first season fails to deliver -- and yet the boards over-hyped the production with promises of "A budget to be reckoned with."

That's the biggest disappointment -- if the entire first series can't at least make an effort to live up to the books, I must say I truly sympathize with members of the community who feared this event from the get-go, and whose voices apparently weren't heard. I feel it's necessary to to acknowledge that.

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That's the biggest disappointment -- if the entire first series can't at least make an effort to live up to the books, I must say I truly sympathize with members of the community who feared this event from the get-go, and whose voices apparently weren't heard. I feel it's necessary to to acknowledge that.

Anyone hyping the budget for this show was delusional. Remove your fanboy goggles and take a cold hard look at the show in terms of finance. Boardwalk Empire, a superior show in terms of production values, had an $18 million pilot directed by Martin Scorsese. That's $18 million for one episode. And Boardwalk Empire was much more of a risk than Game of Thrones. GRRM's books are almost perfectly written for television, beloved by fans and critics, and written during a time when fantasy and medieval fantasy are popular. No one had a clue about Boardwalk Empire but HBO took a risk with it. And Generation Kill, a seven episode mini-series that HBO assumed would make very little profit, had a higher budget than Game of Thrones first season which was guaranteed to make HBO a killing.

Game of Thrones is HBO's best money making licensed show to foreign television stations. Stations that pay HBO to broadcast Game of Thrones pay a hefty premium, the most for any HBO show to date. And the subscriber base is massive for HBO around the world now. And HBO is making money off of the latest run of books that say "now an HBO show" on them and the books are flying off of shelves. And the DVD and Blu-Ray pre-order sales are already very strong.

A 20-25 episode season with fully animated direwolves and massive battle sequences would have still made a profit for HBO. A smaller profit but profit nevertheless. Either HBO played it safe with the show or they are milking the show for money. Considering that most HBO dramas get 12 episode seasons and this show got only 10 it's likely that HBO neutered the show for a paycheck at this point.

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A 20-25 episode season with fully animated direwolves and massive battle sequences would have still made a profit for HBO.

I would be very interested to see the figures in which you are basing this statements. Is there anyway to know the profit HBO earns for a particular series? I'd certainly love to see a detailed budget of the production.

A smaller profit but profit nevertheless.

If this was true, I guess any shareholder of HBO would be very angry had they decided to order a season of 20 episodes.

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Interestingly, one of the recent interviews with D&D saw them saying explicitly that the reason for the lack of a Green Fork battle sequence wasn't money, but filming time. The last two episodes were recorded towards the end of the overall filming of the series, and they didn't have the time built-in to do it justice.

Consider that the two battles in Braveheart (the bridge-less Battle of Stirling Bridge and Falkirk) took 4 and 2 weeks respectively to film. Helm's Deep took something like 3 months to film. Even Philippi in Season 2 of Rome took a lot of time to film compared to the amount of screen time that was shown. The filming time to screen time ratio with battles is hideously low, and on a very stretched TV filming schedule it's quite a hit to do that. They could have had the battle fill up the whole time of the Bronn-Shae-Tyrion conversation, but it would have taken a month to film and likely $10 million minimum. The scene they went with instead cost very little and was filmed in a day. So you can kind of see why, from the production standpoint, they went with that.

Should they have aimed higher coming out of the gate? Should they have prioritised the Battle of the Green Fork, set aside the money and time to do it? Maybe. But on top of the other enormous costs of setting up production and building sets, we don't know if they were really capable of delivering it. For all we know, the producers had the choice of doing the battle or having Sean Bean. And the Battle of the Green Fork's importance to the narrative is in what it establishes - that Robb has the makings of a great military strategist and has stolen a march on the Lannisters - not in what happens during it (though it establishes Tyrion in having a certain physical bravery no-one was expecting, but that can be established in the Blackwater battle instead).

Personally I think they could have done more and perhaps been a little more ambitious, but given the constraints they were under, the reasoning is understandable. The good news is that everything we've seen for Season 2 so far indicates they do want to at least try to do the Blackwater properly: they want people who can sail, they want soldiers and military re-enactors, and the teaser trailer for Season 2 shows wildfire enveloping the logo. So, whilst I doubt we'll see the battle as in the book, I think we'll get a fair bit more than what we've seen so far (but for that we may have to sacrifice other battles, most notably the battle at the fords near Riverrun).

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Interestingly, one of the recent interviews with D&D saw them saying explicitly that the reason for the lack of a Green Fork battle sequence wasn't money, but filming time. The last two episodes were recorded towards the end of the overall filming of the series, and they didn't have the time built-in to do it justice.

Consider that the two battles in Braveheart (the bridge-less Battle of Stirling Bridge and Falkirk) took 4 and 2 weeks respectively to film. Helm's Deep took something like 3 months to film. Even Philippi in Season 2 of Rome took a lot of time to film compared to the amount of screen time that was shown. The filming time to screen time ratio with battles is hideously low, and on a very stretched TV filming schedule it's quite a hit to do that. They could have had the battle fill up the whole time of the Bronn-Shae-Tyrion conversation, but it would have taken a month to film and likely $10 million minimum. The scene they went with instead cost very little and was filmed in a day. So you can kind of see why, from the production standpoint, they went with that.

Should they have aimed higher coming out of the gate? Should they have prioritised the Battle of the Green Fork, set aside the money and time to do it? Maybe. But on top of the other enormous costs of setting up production and building sets, we don't know if they were really capable of delivering it. For all we know, the producers had the choice of doing the battle or having Sean Bean. And the Battle of the Green Fork's importance to the narrative is in what it establishes - that Robb has the makings of a great military strategist and has stolen a march on the Lannisters - not in what happens during it (though it establishes Tyrion in having a certain physical bravery no-one was expecting, but that can be established in the Blackwater battle instead).

Personally I think they could have done more and perhaps been a little more ambitious, but given the constraints they were under, the reasoning is understandable. The good news is that everything we've seen for Season 2 so far indicates they do want to at least try to do the Blackwater properly: they want people who can sail, they want soldiers and military re-enactors, and the teaser trailer for Season 2 shows wildfire enveloping the logo. So, whilst I doubt we'll see the battle as in the book, I think we'll get a fair bit more than what we've seen so far (but for that we may have to sacrifice other battles, most notably the battle at the fords near Riverrun).

If not for that interview, I never would have even considered filming time as a hindrance to showing the battle sequences. It makes a lot of sense though. I truly hope they priorise battles for season two however, and, judging by all the facts (that I bolded in your post), it looks like they are. I'm sure we all won't be hugely dissapointed with losing battles like the battle at the fords, but having a half-assed battle of the blackwater would be devastating.

In a perfect world, I'd love to see the battle with Yoren, the battle at the fords, Renly's tourney, Theon's taking of Winterfell, every damn battle scene in ACOK done splendidly, but at the end of the day, I'd be happy with just an awesome, awesome screen version of the Battle of the Blackwater. And all that I've heard in interviews and such has got me tentatively hoping that it won't disappoint, and will be great to watch.

On another note, I wonder what other battle scenes will make it into season two, and in what fashion. We all tend to focus on the Blackwater, but what about Theon's taking of Winterfell? I'd love to see that on the show, and it would really drive home that tragedy, the "more beautiful past being destroyed" theme.

I don't have much hope for Renly's tourney however. Shame, as I thought it really got across the whole "they are the knights of summer, and winter is coming" message.

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In the book Winterfell's fall happens off-screen and we only realise what's happened when Bran is brought before Theon in the grand hall, and then Theon reminisces about it in his POV later. So whilst there is scope for them showing the attack, I think they'll more likely go with Bran's POV in the show as well.

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Season 2 Blackwater predictions. To all those saying that HBO won't screw us over on the Blackwater. Here's how they'll do it.

The Hound tells Tyrion of the horrors outside the walls and deserts. Then a long talking scene with Sansa happens. Tyrion gives a long speech to his men and is seen charging out of the gates with his men. Fade to black. He wakes up in a bed and Pod tells him of his heroic deeds and how Renly's ghost saved the day. Davos gives a long speech and then commands his lone ship to enter fiery haze with everything obscured by smoke. Fade to black. He wakes up in Sallador's ship and is told of what happened. No actual fighting happens.

I'll repost this after the Blackwater airs.

I enjoyed reading this post... sounds a lot like how battles were handled in Season One. ;)

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I enjoyed reading this post... sounds a lot like how battles were handled in Season One. ;)

That's how I'd prefer it to happen.

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I honestly think we'll see the battles in Season two. I've just finished the first four books, and there's no way someone thought about making this show without thinking about the battles as well as the supernatural creatures

(dragons, giants, the direwolves needed for the dreams, etc)

that would be required to adapt it properly.

Too much of the plot in season two revolves around the preparations for Blackwater to not include it. Whereas in Season One, the Green Fork and the WW are effects of a largely character driven drama (and they aren't really the climax as much as Ned's death is), ACOK is much more plot driven. To remove Blackwater is to remove the climax of the book. So much of the book becomes pointless if Blackwater doesn't happen/isn't shown.

That they ran out of time in shooting makes a bit more sense, and

with Sean Bean and Mark Addy gone, and Coster-Waldau in chains and unseen for the majority of the season

, you're talking about a much larger available budget, even with the possibility of name actors for characters like Stannis and Davos.

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