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The Knight of Grasses

[TV SPOILERS] Post Certain Ep 9 Events - The Long-Term Viability of GoT

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I'm not sure if there's a better place to put this, so I'll put it here.

I'm worried. I've been reading comments from non-readers, and hearing about them from readers who have been watching with non-reader friends. Those comments are very critical of Ned's death. A lot of them have stated in no uncertain terms that they will not be back. It stems from a number of different things –

1. Some people just hate watching a show that rips their heart out. They want to be entertained. SOME sad moments are okay, but something like this crosses the line.

2. Some people are huge Sean Bean fans and feel that without him and his incredible presence, there isn't a reason to watch.

3. Some people haven't significantly connected with any of the other characters, and given that TV is character driven, there isn't a reason to stick around.

My personal feeling is that all of those sentiments have merit. Those are legitimate feelings. Sure, as readers of the book, we know that there is a treasure trove of great story and character development remaining in GRRM's novels. But non-readers don't know that. They're too blinded by their anger or sadness to respond positively to what often come across as arrogant appeals from GRRM fans.

Whether you agree or disagree with the sentiments, they exist. People are upset. They're leaving. The question is: will the show survive? We know they've been given a second season, which is good news. But none of us want to see the show end after season two.

What do you think will happen? Are a lot of these people just reacting emotionally when in reality they'll be back for more next year? Will the show pick up enough new viewers to offset the ones who bail and where will those viewers come from? Will there be other things that offset the loss of these viewers to create a sustainable series, such as high DVD/BluRay sales, or budget cuts? Is anyone else as worried about season three as I am?

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I'd guess that the vast majority of those people will be back. If a show manages to evoke that much feeling with viewers then it's worth watching - and smart viewers will realise that.

Some of my favourite shows frequently killed off key characters such as the Sopranos, Band of Brothers and OZ and all of these programs pulled in pretty impressive ratings despite character deaths. I wouldn't worry about it.

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I'd guess that the vast majority of those people will be back. If a show manages to evoke that much feeling with viewers then it's worth watching - and smart viewers will realise that.

Some of my favourite shows frequently killed off key characters such as the Sopranos, Band of Brothers and OZ and all of these programs pulled in pretty impressive ratings despite character deaths. I wouldn't worry about it.

I've seen some of those comparisons made. But with The Sopranos, imagine that Tony was killed off at the end of Season 1 (I never watched the show, but I know that he was the main character). Would it have had the run it had? Would people have come back?

That's how a lot of people viewed Ned Stark. Maybe not to quite the same extent as Tony Soprano, but not far off either.

I agree with your first statement - the smart viewers will be back. Those viewers will understand that Ned's death creates a much richer story line and opens the door for other characters to step into the void - characters that are more nuanced. My worry is that HBO doesn't get paid for the intelligence of its viewers. It gets paid for the number of eyeballs. I hope the show can survive the loss of the less intelligent ones.

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If the show didn't make many people connect to any character other than Ned, that's the show's failure. I didn't that impression myself, though. Almost all the actors are doing a great job, and I don't see how anyone can't be interested in what happens to Tyrion or Jaime, or Arya, or exactly what drives Varys to do what he does, or just what the hell kind of person this Stannis guy is everyone keeps bringing up.

But again, yeah, we've read the books, so we already know these are interesting characters worth reading about. I don't remember Ned's death coming as much of a shock when I read AGOT, probably because I'd heard to expect that sort of thing before I started reading it. I definitely felt

the Red Wedding though

- I never intended to drop the series, but I did put the book down for a while after a "what the hell" kind of moment. I imagine a lot of non-readers just had that "what the hell" moment a couple of days ago. Hopefully they'll come out of it.

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When I was reading, after Ned died, I didn't pick up my jaw for 15 minutes. I then immediately called my friend who had given me the book and yelled at him for a good ten minutes. I was not only surprised, I was PISSED.

Now, that didn't hurt enough for me to stop reading, but TV appeals much more to those with shorter attention spans. I think one source of consolation is that Lost thrived despite confusing the crap out of its viewers for six years. But network TV vs HBO...it's a different animal.

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Spoilers for future books:

I dont know. It was not only the story that kept me interested in GoT but also all the details and the POV format where you only know what the character know and you need to make up in your mind what actually hapened. In TV that is too explicit, yet at the same time you dont get to know what is going inside the character´s head. In the TV you dont have the dreams, the emotions, the conflicts, the desires, the memories and the stories that make the book great. Damn, I just finished reading Storm of Swords and Sansa remembers a memory from her childhood where she remember that Jory was laughing while stoping a fight between her and Arya. Jory, the guy who died fighting Jaime in 2 seconds while being stabed in the eye. In the book I felt sadness when Jory died because I KNEW Jory, just as I knew Rodrick Cassel, Maester Luwin, Old Nan, Micken and everyone that has some small importance for the characters. In the series? Cool, look at that move Jaime had against that Ned bodyguard. Im re-reading the books right now and I was shocked when Ygrite and Old Bear Mormont died because I didnt remember they died nor how. In the show I doubt people will bother.

I also think the series suffers because it doesnt let the moments breath. All scenes of importance are too quick and doesnt have time to develop themselves. It makes the series look like a documentary.

Now, the TV series forgot all these small awesome details and focused on the story, and the story is Starks VS Lannisters. They even added extra scenes showing Jaime and Ned having conflicts between themselves. ANd the good guys lost. Now, when that happens in movies I usually end up hating the movie. No matter how realistic it is, if the good guys lose I will hate it. Its fiction, Im old enough to know that reality isnt like that. And Im glad GoT isnt like that, but because its deep, complex and has a lot of imagination. The TV series doesnt. Not only its suposed to be LOTR meets Sopranos, they dont have any good battle and they ended up killing the main series anchor.

Ill keep watching but I think many people will drop it.

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I think that's why the episode focused as much as it did on Tyrion and why they saved the Tysha story for it. He's had the best lines throughout the series. They've got the last ep to build up all the remaining characters.

The problem with next season is after this season ends big for Dany

she has basically nothing to do for a very long time. Asking a tv audience to endure a totally separate plot line that just goes on and on for years is a lot.

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as much as i love this books i think ned's death will hurt the show tbh. we stuck it through because we knew these characters inside and out. we were in their heads and knew their every fear and desire. in television you don't get that. you see these characters from the outside and the few enough that are likeable you route for. ned stark was the main character for this show. maybe not so much in the books but for the tv show he was the man. now that he's gone i can't see the vast majority of non-readers sticking around because of arya, tyrion, jon, robb, and dany. if you asked a reader of the novels if they would stick around the answer is most definitely yes. that is because we know these characters inside and out and want to see them progress through the story. i can't see non-readers having as much of an emotional attachment to these other characters and thus, not sticking with the show.

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I think that's why the episode focused as much as it did on Tyrion and why they saved the Tysha story for it. He's had the best lines throughout the series. They've got the last ep to build up all the remaining characters.

The problem with next season is after this season ends big for Dany

she has basically nothing to do for a very long time. Asking a tv audience to endure a totally separate plot line that just goes on and on for years is a lot.

Heck, asking that of book readers is a lot. I would always groan to myself whenever I saw Daenerys at the top of the next page. I did enjoy her chapters more the second time through, but they're still so detached that it's hard to get invested in them.

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As long as the cgi looks good, I think we will have a finale with a lot of excitement.

Also,

there will be Tyrion headed to Kings Landing to straighten Joff out, I think that will be handled with heavy emphasis on Tyrion taking charge of things and correcting mistakes and will keep people interested in next season

as well as the Starks winning the war. I think that the series will end with a hint of excitement about the coming season and with a promise of vengeance for the Starks. Season 2 will be the key to the series survival.

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No doubt there will be people who drop the show because of Ned's death, but I think we overestimate their numbers due to disproportionate press coverage. Most people who put so much emotion into the show are now committed to seeing its resolution, much like the readers were. Plus all the press coverage about what a controversial move this was can only be a good thing, I think.

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[mod] If a thread isn't marked specifically as BOOK SPOILERS, assume that it's a NO SPOILER thread. From now on, please put all book spoilers (and Ep 10 spoilers) under the spoiler tags. Thank you. [/mod]

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I think it's a legitimate concern. Ned is the main character, or hero, in the first book and his quest doesn't end well. Without some investment in the other characters, I can see why viewers that haven't read the books would feel a little bit alienated.

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Not worried.

A lot less people will leave than claim they will. And a lot more people will prostelytize between now and Season 2. DVDs will be lent as the buzz continues.

Furthermore, what's the point in worry? The story's not the same without these things. There should be zero discussion of changing major plot points -- there's no point in a GoT series that changes for a perceived worry that people won't like the story (which I think is silly anyway).

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I think it's a legitimate concern. Ned is the main character, or hero, in the first book and his quest doesn't end well. Without some investment in the other characters, I can see why viewers that haven't read the books would feel a little bit alienated.

I have no idea why you think there would be no investment in other characters. I had a friend write me today and say "I like how they transitioned the focus from Ned to Robb." Dany, Tyrion and Jon, at minimum, get as much screen time. Yes, none are as noble, but most are more entertaining.

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i can't see the vast majority of non-readers sticking around

Really? The "vast majority"? Good lord, I had two friends I was watching with express relief Ned was dead because "He was an idiot" and "I was tired of his whining." Ned Stark felt like the central character because he fit the heroic profile, but I doubt the "vast majority" of the non-readers even thought of him as their favorite character, much less the only character they cared about.

This is a set of viewers who love Raylen Givens, Dexter, Stringer Bell and Al Swearengen, right?

I guess I really don't understand the doom and gloom.

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My friends are legit threating not too watch the show in the wake of Ned's death. I even warned them that someone verrrry important would die this season. I think its pretty funny and I also think that they'll relent and eventually keep watching. the shows too good not too just stick it out and by now.both of them have picked up the books and are 100 or so pages in.

People actually reading the books will help keep viewers I think to

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Well not to worry Ned fans! His son Rob really takes after him and will likely fill the void in your hearts.

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I honestly think (and hope) it will get more people into the books, especially with the year long wait between this and the next season. They already have an emotional attachment, negative or positive, either generate interest.

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Ned Stark felt like the central character because he fit the heroic profile, but I doubt the "vast majority" of the non-readers even thought of him as their favorite character, much less the only character they cared about.

well the non-readers that i've talked to all said ned was their favorite by far. sure they liked jon and tyrion, but ned was the man. also, i didn't say he was the only character i felt non-readers cared about. what i did say was i got the impression that they didn't care enough about the other characters to keep watching. since there is only one episode left i'm sure alot of people will tune in for it. but the second season is already been green-lit so who cares. we'll at least get two seasons.

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