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Loras

[NO SPOILERS] On Benioff, musical chairs and white horses.

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I have spent a certain amount of time criticising the director of Episodes 1 and 2, Daniel Minahan, and I really wanted to continue the theme through this episode as well.

I was wonderfully impressed with Benioff as a director. During this episode he had a number of the most impressive scenes of the series to date.

The Theon horse chase looks to have been inspired by Peter Jackson's 'The Fellowship of the Ring' - down to the white horse and Theon being chased by men in black. I found the chase incredibly powerful and would give this single scene the accolade of the series' best action scene to date. It was truly movie quality.

The staging of Dany negotiating with Master Kraznys was another stroke of genius. The colours and the location were brilliant.

The musical chairs scene - which ironically featured no music - was beautiful!

I think that being the man to envision the characters from book to screen has certainly benefitted Beinoff. Though nothing should be taken away from the incredible job that he has done on this episode.

(Not to mention Jaime's hand shining in the firelight for the first half of the Jaime/Locke scene - amazing!)

What did everybody think?

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It should be noted that while DGA rules meant only one person could be credited as director, Benioff and Weiss both directed the episode together, whatever the DGA says.

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I agree with you, except I didn't like the musical chairs thing.

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Aside from the closing credits punk music, which surprisingly many people actually liked, I too quite enjoyed the direction. Not the best this series' had, but a definite improvement over the bleak direction from the past couple episodes.

Though I do wonder how much creative liberty these directors have, and how much is actually directed by them, instead of second and third crews. I'd bet my money that Benioff & Weiss have the final cut in every episode, which makes it unfair to chastise a single director for all the woos in any given episode.

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I, too, had to notice the particular framing of Jaime's hand. :P Very well done. The whole episode was. Ignoring pacing, choice of music, and all of the other elements that others found controversial, I found the episode to be one of the best *directed* in the entire series thus far.

The Theon horse chase looks to have been inspired by Peter Jackson's 'The Fellowship of the Ring' - down to the white horse and Theon being chased by men in black. I found the chase incredibly powerful and would give this single scene the accolade of the series' best action scene to date. It was truly movie quality.

This was probably one of my favorite scenes. The white horse against the vague, muddied landscape right before the chase began was an incredibly striking image. Shots like that go a long way towards emphasizing just how nightmarish and surreal his situation was, and the chase that followed and the scene right after was positively gut-wrenching and incredibly tense. I was cringing and watching through my fingers on the first viewing.

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I agree it was a well directed episode although I don't really agree with your criticism of the first two episodes. I liked the opening scene in particular I thought the angle in which the boat caught fire was very aesthetically pleasing.

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Yes, I was very impressed by the direction in this episode. The camera work when we see the body part pattern left by the White Walkers was also pretty good.

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I really liked this episode, too.

I loved the camera angles in the scene with Dany and how they followed Dany's line of sight as she looked up at the dirty, sad slaves looking down on them by panning the camera around with her as she turned. It really helped express her disgust with slavery without having to include any dialogue of her saying how she feels.

In fact, I think this episode did a fantastic job of conveying important messages without dialogue, and the musical chairs scene you mentioned was the best. No one had to speak a word for that scene to be great.

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The direction was marvelous--I wish they got to direct more episodes. The chase scene was beautiful, from the moment Theon cantered into the green field. The framing when the Boy walked up was wonderful too--you're seeing it over the torturer's shoulder, and for the first time Theon's "savior" looks menacing.

Not using music during the musical chairs scene was a great move, as well as how they set it up and staged it. Nice little moments, like Varys sticking his tongue into his cheek when Littlefinger was talking.

IIRC, the slaves were in a square, not a boulevard. However, I think the line-and-file of crucified bodies was very striking. Good choice.

Basically, please direct more episodes D&D!

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I agree, I was pleasantly surprised at Benioff and Weiss' directing ability, given their subpar editing in episode 2. Best shot scenes were Hoster's funeral and Theon being chased.

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I really enjoy how the opening shot of the episode was done in one take. Hoster's boat moves down the lake, camera moves to Robb and Blackfish walking out of the lake, Edmure enters the frame, lights his arrow and shoots it, all in one take. I'm definitely not a fan of directors over-editing the shots which was why I found the cold opening where Sam fights the Wight to be poor. There had to have been a dozen cuts within a 15-20 second window.

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I really enjoy how the opening shot of the episode was done in one take. Hoster's boat moves down the lake, camera moves to Robb and Blackfish walking out of the lake, Edmure enters the frame, lights his arrow and shoots it, all in one take. I'm definitely not a fan of directors over-editing the shots which was why I found the cold opening where Sam fights the Wight to be poor. There had to have been a dozen cuts within a 15-20 second window.

There's actually lots of cuts in the opening scene this episode as well (32 cuts in 2 minutes) with several 1/2 second clips clumped together in a few spots. There isn't actually anything intrinsically wrong with fast cuts, it's when they're done badly that you notice them and it's disorienting and looks terrible.

The main difference is that this wasn't a heavy action scene, the cuts were all between what little action there was to show different people's reactions and to show the arrows hitting/missing. Contrast this with episode 2 where the cuts were in the middle of sword swings.

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E3 was my favourite episode so far but I think that was more because we were past the slow opening section and into the meat of it more than because D+D are amazing directors. Having said that, I still thought that overall it was well directed, better than I expected. My only problem was there were a few scenes where you could imagine D+D behind the camera, patting themselves on the back and congratulating each other on their "genius": The musical chairs, Pod and the Whores, the "jarring juxtaposition" of the end credit music. Hell, apart from the last one I thought they were good ideas but it was kind of obvious that D+D were just a little too pleased with themselves and self-indulgently let those scenes drag on longer than they should have.

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Do you just picture them doing that every time you disagree with a scene?

Kind of strange...

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Mention to the opening of the episode too : this opening sequence-shot was amazing !

Edit : beaten to it ! ^^

And yes, Jaime's hand "shining" by the fire during the dialogue was... well... pure gold !

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Do you just picture them doing that every time you disagree with a scene?

Kind of strange...

Did you read the fact that I liked 2 of those 3 scenes? They were good concepts but for some reason D+D felt they were good enough to stretch past the point that was necessary. Pod and the whores was funny, but we didn't need 7 minutes of it or however long we got, we didn't need 3 scenes to get to the punch line.

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The stark image of Theon on his white horse against the slate hills and grey sky might be my favourite 'image' from the entire series so far. It made Westeros feel huge and real. My second favourite is Theon's baptism.

I'll just echo everyone else on the serenity of the first scene. Wonderful/

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I loved the Theon horse chase. Don't care if it's not in the books. As television, it was wonderful to watch.

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