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Nargsmart

(Book and Show Spoilers) Does anyone think the show portrays some characters more positively then the books?

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And coincidentally, these tend to be females?

In the books, Cersi is a megalomaniac who's ONLY 'good' character trait is love of her children. And she hates, HATES Tyrion. This is in part because of the prophesy of the witch that she interpreted to mean that Tyrion would ruin her life and steal all she holds dear. In the show they bond over the whole forced marriage thing, and she is, if not friendly, at least respectful to Tyrion, at least in season 3. Also in the show they make clear that the kingsguard who nearly killed Tyrion was in fact sent by Joffery. IIRC this was never stated or even implied in the books, and I always figured it was Cersi given her attitude toward Tyrion.

It might be that just my interpretation of Cersi in the books was simply too harsh, but this is CERTAINLY not the case for Shae. In the books, Shae is an opportunistic whore. I mean that in a literal sense, merely a statement of fact. She is both opportunistic, and a prostitute. If she felt any affection at all for Tyrion at any point, it evaporated as soon as he could no longer pamper her and protect her, and she betrayed him in the worst possible way, humiliating him and essentially sentencing him to death with her testimony, then SLEEPING WITH HIS FATHER.

But in the show, Shae cares deeply for Tyrion. The way the show portrays her, she would never do that with out some serious pravocation and/or circumstances, which the show will probably provide, and the viewers will probably sob as she dies.

Daenerys seems to be portrayed as a messiah figure and her flaws are mostly whitewashed, but this might change in future seasons as her dragons grow less cute and more monstrous, and her ruthless streak emerges. Don't get me wrong, I love Daenerys, I cheer for her, but ASOIAF is so great because there IS no straight up hero figure, not even Daenerys, and the show should be true to that IMO.

Meanwhile, Stannis Baratheon, a character who in the books was borderline heroic in a kind of dark, do-what-needs-to-be-done sort of way is twisted in the show into a puppet of Melisandre and best and a hypocritical douche at worst. A show-only viewer might wonder why a nice guy like Davos even hangs around with this loser. What could he possibly see in this guy? There is no hint of Stannis's firm sense of justice, his conviction, his strength of will. He pretty much just does whatever Mel tells him.

The Hound, who was portrayed sympathetically in the books, is now simply a psychopath. While he was never cuddly in the books, a few choice nuances softened his character, making him fairly sympathetic. You got to see how much this guy's worldview was twisted by his horrible older brother, who was truly a monster. You can see him actively trying to be evil, because he thinks that's how he's supposed to be. But sometimes he just can't do it. In the show, he's like "Gee, I sure love killing people. Yep, killing people is awesome. I have no problem whatsover murdering anyone ever." Maybe this will change a bit in season four with his scenes with Arya, but I doubt it. I bet people will cheer when she leaves him to die.

It seems to be that the writers and directors of the show sat down and decided that the source material for Game of Thrones was not feminist enough, so they altered the characters to fit their vision. But then again, maybe I'm just a misogynistic pig whose HATRED for women has colored my own interpretation of the books. Thoughts?

(That last part was sarcasm btw)

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I actually believe the Hound is presented notably more pleasant in the show. In part because scenes like this one got cut from the show:

Tyrion was definitely presented better in the show. Ditto with Renly.

Really, most characters do appear better in the show, with Stannis being the notable exception.

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Not necessarily. Cersei and Daenerys are indeed portrayed more positively, but Melisandre has shown no sign of good intentions so far in the show. Right now, she just looks like a religious power-seeking fanatic. As for males, Theon, Tyrion, Jorah and the Hound have all been portrayed more positively in the show.

The show generally makes the characters less dark than they are in the books, and softens these characters' edges(Joffrey and Stannis being the notable exceptions).

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It is not about portraying positively.

They have just made a lot of changes. Whitewashing Tyrion for example, is not about portraying him in a positive light. It is just that they don't understand what that character is all about.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the main producers have a very superficial understanding of the source material.

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In fact, I would go so far as to say that the main producers have a very superficial understanding of the source material.

I think that's a bit unfair. For all their mistakes, they've gotten Ned and Dany's s1 arcs, Theon's s2 arc and Jaime's s3 arc just right. The essence of the story in the four examples I gave was preserved in the TV show. I agree that they misunderstand some characters(Tyrion, Sansa, Stannis, oh god, Stannis), although I think it's a deliberate intention of theirs to portray Tyrion and Cersei in a more positive manner. Perhaps this has something to do with a lack of confidence in grey characters drawing ratings? I don't know.

That's what makes this show so perplexing to draw a conclusion on. For all the nuances from the books they miss or deliberately omit, some of the stuff they do, such as Theon's fall from grace in season 2 has been so good that it's hard to deny that they understood the source material in those particular instances.

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True that. Some parts of Theon's story, especially the episode 'what is dead may never die' are so extraordinarily good that they actually improve on the source material. Then again, this season Theon's story is pretty much rubbish, annoying and offensive.

I think the only way to explain it would be to chalk it up to different writers doing their own thing. Some are good, some are bad.

As for the series as a whole, I think it would not be too much of a stretch to say they have diverged too much from the source material. Too much Lannister screentime and whitewashing, King in the North, Stannis, Quarth and Quorin halfhand debacles in season 2, etc. For a book reader, it's hard to find good things about the show any more. This season I think the only parts worth watching are Jamie/Brienne at Harrenhal, Dracarys and the Red wedding was sort of ok.

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fact is, in the show they have less time to portrait a character, they have to cut a lot and many aspects get lost; and let's not forget that the books are narrated through POV characters, and this can easily influence the reader's perception

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With some characters the writers are completely on the mark. With others, they either misunderstand the character, dislike them or just decide to go in a different direction. For the most part I think they're doing a really good job with it, though. The worst is Jon Snow. He was great in Season 1. For S2/S3 he just comes across as a big doofus.

As for Tyrion, I think his arc is going to mirror Jaime's. Going from one extreme to the other.

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They do, but the only whitewashing that truly annoys me is Catelyns. Instead of making her a richer character like Cersei or Tywin with their extra layers, it makes her boring and simpler than she is originally.

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Also in the show they make clear that the kingsguard who nearly killed Tyrion was in fact sent by Joffery. IIRC this was never stated or even implied in the books, and I always figured it was Cersi given her attitude toward Tyrion.

As a matter of fact, they don't do anything like this. They make clear that Tyrion believes Joffrey ordered his death. Cersei doesn't comment this directly.

Both are unaware of the relationship of Ser Mandon Moore and Ser Vardis Egen during the handship of Jon Arryn, and that Moore may well have acted on his own.

It's always easy to charge a Lannister of attempted murder, wether it be by Varys or Lysa Arryn. Sometimes, even the Lannisters themselves seem to believe the accusations.

Edited for spelling

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I agree with all Nargsmart says: I always have the feeling that the show portraits a less harsh version of the characters in general. Anyway, the character that bothers me the most is Tyrion: I think his whitewashing was the most intense, and also the people around him (Shae and Cersei especially, as you say)

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Lena Heady interpreted Cercei more sympathetically (she says as much in the season 1 special features) so that's just personal opinion I think. And a lot of Dany's stupidity comes from her being 14 years old which, and the 'questionable' stuff that happens in her head. Oh and apparently her hating on the Starks is a big flaw (at least according to these forums).

One you missed though is Sansa. In the show she's this empty-headed puppet. Stuff happens to her; she has zero agency. In the books, after Joff kills Ned she gets way smarter and more mature, she actively mistrusts the Lannisters (all of them, including Tyrion) and she is totally and utterly alone. On the show she has her bff Shae (like wtf??), plus dear ol' Marg to show her how to be more accepting of Tyrion?! The end result is her looking like a stuck-up idiot while in the books she's a much more layered, complex character who displays immense growth.

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Sansa is the beautiful dumb blonde in the show. Every tv series has one.. nuff said.

This whole mess up of characters started from season 1 actually. And since no one really talked about it, it has deteriorated to the point where it is simply good guys and bad guys. Take the Littlefinger-Roz scenes for instance, what was the point of them. Couldn't they have fulfilled their nudity quota by having Tyrion wipe cum off Shae's face? No of course not, Tyrion is their golden boy.

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It is not about portraying positively.

They have just made a lot of changes. Whitewashing Tyrion for example, is not about portraying him in a positive light. It is just that they don't understand what that character is all about.

I agree for the most part. That the characters on the show lack the depth of the books. Show apologists will say that because we don't get the characters' inner thoughts that you can never portray them the same and that things have to dumbed down and there's no choice. But the HBO show has been changing character motivations significantly since the first season when it just is not necessary.

Catelyn begging Ned not to leave for King's Landing. Cersei claiming she had one of Robert's kids stillborn and crying right next to the boy where should be wake up he might recognize her. Having Drogo rape Dany over and over. Renaming characters because apparently fans are too stupid to differentiate between Robert the sickly boy and Robert the King. Or fans can't spot the difference between Osha and Asha so now we get 'Yara'. Beating the viewers over the head with Renly and Loras being gay. Littlefinger being such an obviously skilled player to the point where he's almost a comic book villain. Shae....I can't even.....

Things are changed to make them less complicated and more obvious to the viewer. If viewers are considered to be so stupid that they can't even follow two characters with the same name how can you possibly expect them to understand the motivations of morally inconsistent characters?

The results seem to be that more characters are whitewashed than others. When HBO wanted to simplify the characters it just happened that making whitewashed versions was more commonplace. I don't think that they deliberately set out to say "okay let's whitewash Tyrion and Cersei and Catelyn". But when they said "simplify those characters" the easiest way was to whitewash them.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the main producers have a very superficial understanding of the source material.

I think that they actually do. At least D&D do. You get the sense that they know the books well enough in interviews. But their goal with this series was to make ASOIAF their own and have it reflect their own views and less of GRRM's intentions. They want the show to be simple. You can tell from the DVD commentaries and interviews that they understand the book depth but find shortcuts the easier approach.

The books have so many subtle references and theories. Alleras, R+L=J, Euron's egg and the Faceless Men, Bael the Bard, Oberyn poisoning Tywin, Knight of the Laughing Tree, Frey Pies and the Rat Cook, the visions and foreshadowing in the House of the Undying, Jaqen and the Alchemist, Arstan's identity, and so on.

The show makes everything too obvious. It's not the whitewashing that is the problem. It's the repeated simplification and refusal to move the show out of the shallow end and into the ocean of depth that the books have.

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They do, but the only whitewashing that truly annoys me is Catelyns. Instead of making her a richer character like Cersei or Tywin with their extra layers, it makes her boring and simpler than she is originally.

Cersei a rich character? She's a comic book villain in the books, especially in AFFC, where every paragraph of hers felt like she was saying "look how evil I am".

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Cersei a rich character? She's a comic book villain in the books, especially in AFFC, where every paragraph of hers felt like she was saying "look how evil I am".

To be fair, I think Danolf is saying that because Cersei is somewhat of a comic-book villain in the books, "white-washing" on the show has an enriching effect. Unlike Catelyn, who is more complex in the books and becomes less complex with "white-washing"

I find myself less irritated (by far) by show Catelyn, but perhaps that is because so much less time is spent with her. Maybe she should have stayed complex and irritating.

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And coincidentally, these tend to be females?

I will repeat myself again.

Once one casts a real live actor there is the strong possibility that , that actor's personality will have an influence on the teleplay writers, or even in spite of the scriptwriter. What adapts from the page will influence the show runners and the various episode directors.

So I don't think one can draw the distinction, the actor's character will inhabit a different dramatic characterization than that on the page. I can't think of a film or TV adaptation where this has not taken place.

Even when this has had effect on the prose narrative it has not bothered me, in some cases there are improvements in the dimension of the character.

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I'm curious why so many people are so insistent that the David and Dan 'misunderstand' the characters. Who says you understand the characters? Who says there is only one way to interpret a character or a scene or whatever?

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Daenerys seems to be portrayed as a messiah figure and her flaws are mostly whitewashed ...

Because nothing says whitewashed like immurement and immolation?

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It is not about portraying positively.

They have just made a lot of changes. Whitewashing Tyrion for example, is not about portraying him in a positive light. It is just that they don't understand what that character is all about.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the main producers have a very superficial understanding of the source material.

He's not been whitewashed as much as some make out. His plan burned thousands of men alive - battle or not, that is massive red in your ledger as the Black Widow might say.

Yes, they have made him more sympathetic and arguably wittier, but that is because they foresaw that he was one of the keys of getting the show to work, which they clearly pulled off. His portrayal is one of the highlights of the series that has made it popular with the wider audience and critics.

Just because they have not adapted a character exactly doesn't necessarily mean they don't understand it. Copying characters exactly from the books is doomed to fail. They may have just considered it preferable for the show to do him and some others in slightly different ways. Tyrion is one of the characters 'we' identify with, and that requires careful handling to keep the audience on-side. I think Dinklage is perfect at playing the character as written.

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