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Season 4 Roundup

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I'm willing to cut the adaptation more slack because much of the criticism seems like a lot of armchair quarterbacking from people who don't work in TV, or from fans who are put out that their ship of choice and their favourites are underserved or that characters they loathe are depicted in a more positive light than they think the character deserves. (The resentment bubbling forth from the Tyrion haters and SanSan fans has been delicious.) It's hard to take a lot of it seriously, especially when many of the changes fans are whining about have to do with the realities of TV production or were dictated by production issues. (The SanSan fans are never going to get over Littlefinger getting to tell the story of Sandor's burns, even though it was a last-minute change the showrunners had no choice over.)

And really, one thing you're forgetting is that there's an informational asymmetry here. D&D know how the books end. You don't. They're therefore much better positioned to make judgment calls about what needs to be brought forward and what can safely be discarded, how the major POV characters still alive in the books should be written in view of the totality of their arcs. You're not.

You can't guarantee anything. It's kind of adorable that you can hold forth with such certainty about how an alternative way of doing things would absolutely have played better. Can I borrow your crystal ball when you're done with it?

Well said!

Choice 1 - 100% accurate, over wordy TV adaptation that lasts 1 ep

Choice 2 - edited adaptation that gets made. This my choice

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I agree with the above, the book and the adapted script are both written for two entirely different mediums. We may agree and disagree with certain changes, but when judging the success of the adaptation you have to take this fact into account. For instance;

Let's put it this way: if you had had to read about Theon's torture for a whole book (possibly more) before it became relevant to the plot, would you care about Theon?

Whilst I understand your point here, direct comparisons such as this are problematic. The fact is, you're right of course GRRMs way works best in the book, and reading the torture would have been far less impactful then discovering Reek in ADWD..

But we don't have to read about Theon's torture for a whole book. It isn't a book. Its television. These are two different mediums and it doesn't make sense to compare them without acknowledging this. They aren't trying their hand at re-writing it, they're adapting it to be entertaining and successful as a HBO television series.

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Well said!

Choice 1 - 100% accurate, over wordy TV adaptation that lasts 1 ep

Choice 2 - edited adaptation that gets made. This my choice

I am not sure what 100% accurate means, but given that HBO gives only 10 (to 20 ) hours to tell a novel's worth of story, if a literal transliteration, season one of GOT would consisted of chapter 1 of Game of Thrones!

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Well said!

Choice 1 - 100% accurate, over wordy TV adaptation that lasts 1 ep

Choice 2 - edited adaptation that gets made. This my choice

That's the epitome of a false choice, because most of the things that people complain about are not budget-motivated changes, or changes to make the show easier to film.

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Yeah some show apologists are being a little disingenuous in this thread: instead of having a go at people complaining about the WW arranging bodies in patterns or the unrepresentative criticism of show!SanSan (I know there is a thread on this atm in the General but it's Miodrag's, and I like Miodrag but he is at the extreme end of the book purist spectrum) and address legitimate concerns over the series, off the top of my head:

- Replacing key mentoring and character development for Jon in s2 with boner jokes from Ygritte

- Having Catelyn and Robb release Jaime and break a marriage oath despite not knowing Bran and Rickon were dead which puts those decisions in context

- Making Robb an idiot by giving him a cliched true love story instead of a question of honour like Ned

- Making Sansa an idiot in general

- Stannis, described by GRRM as a righteous man, outright murdering his brother and ordering a child to be murdered

- Tyrion having no apparent downsides to his character except for the family he belongs to

I don't see how any of that stuff is a product of the exigencies of adaptation (except I guess the merging of the shadowbabies) - the issues above arise because the writers removing GRRM's reasons for characters' actions and inserting their own, or removing GRRM's lines for a character and inserting their own.

We all like the show but some people seem to bend over backwards in trying to justify situations where the showrunners simply get it wrong.

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As for Theon... that was kinda the point, you know? He disappeared for an entire novel (well, two, considering that AFfC and ADwD were split), and when we see him again he's an entirely different character; he's not Theon anymore, he's Reek. GRRM deliberately does not show us this transformation, and the story is stronger because of it.

The problem is that we find out what happened to Theon through his inner monologue and memory. How are they to do that when they don't do flashbacks?

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Yeah some show apologists are being a little disingenuous in this thread: instead of having a go at people complaining about the WW arranging bodies in patterns or the unrepresentative criticism of show!SanSan (I know there is a thread on this atm in the General but it's Miodrag's, and I like Miodrag but he is at the extreme end of the book purist spectrum) and address legitimate concerns over the series, off the top of my head:

- Replacing key mentoring and character development for Jon in s2 with boner jokes from Ygritte

- Having Catelyn and Robb release Jaime and break a marriage oath despite not knowing Bran and Rickon were dead which puts those decisions in context

- Making Robb an idiot by giving him a cliched true love story instead of a question of honour like Ned

- Making Sansa an idiot in general

- Stannis, described by GRRM as a righteous man, outright murdering his brother and ordering a child to be murdered

- Tyrion having no apparent downsides to his character except for the family he belongs to

I don't see how any of that stuff is a product of the exigencies of adaptation (except I guess the merging of the shadowbabies) - the issues above arise because the writers removing GRRM's reasons for characters' actions and inserting their own, or removing GRRM's lines for a character and inserting their own.

We all like the show but some people seem to bend over backwards in trying to justify situations where the showrunners simply get it wrong.

I agree with you that in some parts of the series you miss a line or more from the book and consider they should not have changed that scene so much, but to discuss this we would need to talk talk about every scene in particular. For instance, would you say that the staying of Arya at Harrenhal is better in the books or in the series? I liked that they focused a little bit on describing Tywin Lannister, even though if they made up some things, but that brings about the problem of not knowing who Roose Bolton is.

Although I agree with you, I must also admit that this is the first series in which I find myself saying " Hey! This is exactly (or almost) what he/she says in the book".

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Yeah some show apologists are being a little disingenuous in this thread: instead of having a go at people complaining about the WW arranging bodies in patterns or the unrepresentative criticism of show!SanSan (I know there is a thread on this atm in the General but it's Miodrag's, and I like Miodrag but he is at the extreme end of the book purist spectrum) and address legitimate concerns over the series, off the top of my head:

- Replacing key mentoring and character development for Jon in s2 with boner jokes from Ygritte

- Having Catelyn and Robb release Jaime and break a marriage oath despite not knowing Bran and Rickon were dead which puts those decisions in context

- Making Robb an idiot by giving him a cliched true love story instead of a question of honour like Ned

- Making Sansa an idiot in general

- Stannis, described by GRRM as a righteous man, outright murdering his brother and ordering a child to be murdered

- Tyrion having no apparent downsides to his character except for the family he belongs to

I don't see how any of that stuff is a product of the exigencies of adaptation (except I guess the merging of the shadowbabies) - the issues above arise because the writers removing GRRM's reasons for characters' actions and inserting their own, or removing GRRM's lines for a character and inserting their own.

We all like the show but some people seem to bend over backwards in trying to justify situations where the showrunners simply get it wrong.

- Agreed on Jon. The stuff with the Halfhand was way too quick, but I'll give them a half-pass since apparently filming in Iceland was brutal. Although I suppose that's their own fault as well.

- Robb doesn't release Jaime. Catelyn does because she fears her two daughters will never be returned to her otherwise and she doesn't know if she'll see her sons again. So it's only ok for her to make that decision if Bran and Rickon are dead?

- The question of honor is just as stupid. Getting killed and losing a war because you couldn't besmirch the honor of one woman you fucked in weakness is probably worse. Eddard's precedent is to do your duty and take care of your bastard, not to break an oath to spare the honor of one woman (Hence no one knows who the hell Jon's mother is supposed to be).

- I re-read aGoT recently. Sansa is even more stupid in aGoT, and only gets slightly smarter in aSoS by the time she has lost everything and essentially abducted. Her aGoT chapters were so fucking stupid I had to skip a couple.

- Stannis doesn't murder his brother in the books?! Stannis doesn't initially seek Edric to burn him? What books are you reading?

- Tyrion's downsides are definitely downplayed. I hope they accurately portray his descent after the PW and trial.

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- Agreed on Jon. The stuff with the Halfhand was way too quick, but I'll give them a half-pass since apparently filming in Iceland was brutal. Although I suppose that's their own fault as well.

Why would the stuff with Qhorin have been any harder to film than the stuff with Ygritte?

- Robb doesn't release Jaime. Catelyn does because she fears her two daughters will never be returned to her otherwise and she doesn't know if she'll see her sons again. So it's only ok for her to make that decision if Bran and Rickon are dead?

It's not "okay", but it's context for why she makes the choice, same with Robb sleeping with Jeyne.

- The question of honor is just as stupid. Getting killed and losing a war because you couldn't besmirch the honor of one woman you fucked in weakness is probably worse. Eddard's precedent is to do your duty and take care of your bastard, not to break an oath to spare the honor of one woman (Hence no one knows who the hell Jon's mother is supposed to be).

Robb deliberately breaking a major alliance just because he feels like it is far worse than doing so in order to preserve the honour of somebody he wronged (by the cultural standards of the time). And Ned was already married when he supposedly fathered Jon, so that precedent doesn't apply.

- I re-read aGoT recently. Sansa is even more stupid in aGoT, and only gets slightly smarter in aSoS by the time she has lost everything and essentially abducted. Her aGoT chapters were so fucking stupid I had to skip a couple.

I defy you to find a moment in ASOS where Sansa is dumb enough to wonder whether her family will be allowed to come to her wedding, or not knowing the word "shit", or any of the other scenes the show seems to have contrived for no other reason than to get the audience to laugh at her. And they've completely stripped out her active parts in ACOK and ASOS, leaving her pretty much completely passive for two years.

And, for the record, I thought their use of Sansa in Season 2 was pretty good, the absence of Dontos notwithstanding; and even in the first half of season 3, to an extent.

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For instance, would you say that the staying of Arya at Harrenhal is better in the books or in the series? I liked that they focused a little bit on describing Tywin Lannister, even though if they made up some things, but that brings about the problem of not knowing who Roose Bolton is.

The Tywin scenes were good (particularly to begin with) but overall I preferred the Arya at Harrenhal story in the book. What would have been nice is a combination of those, i.e. have Arya as cupbearer to Tywin, a scene or two with her and him, he leaves Harrenhal to Amory Lorch, she and Jaqen do weasel soup, freed Northern prisoners let Roose in, she bears cups for him, eventually leaves.

- Robb doesn't release Jaime. Catelyn does because she fears her two daughters will never be returned to her otherwise and she doesn't know if she'll see her sons again. So it's only ok for her to make that decision if Bran and Rickon are dead?

There should have been a 'respectively' in my line there, didn't think it was needed. Catelyn's knowledge of Bran and Rickon's supposed deaths is a huge motivator for her letting Jaime go, the same with Robb breaking his oath - without this knowledge their actions make a lot less sense and are much less forgivable.

- The question of honor is just as stupid. Getting killed and losing a war because you couldn't besmirch the honor of one woman you fucked in weakness is probably worse. Eddard's precedent is to do your duty and take care of your bastard, not to break an oath to spare the honor of one woman (Hence no one knows who the hell Jon's mother is supposed to be).

What Ned did was to sacrifice his own honour in order to 'do the right thing' as he perceived it.

- I re-read aGoT recently. Sansa is even more stupid in aGoT, and only gets slightly smarter in aSoS by the time she has lost everything and essentially abducted. Her aGoT chapters were so fucking stupid I had to skip a couple.

Agree that she is very stupid in the first book but by the third she's learned a lot. I don't buy this 'Sansa will be a master player of the game' stuff but in ASoS she is smart in actively resisting her Lannister captors and isn't saying stupid shit anymore.

- Stannis doesn't murder his brother in the books?! Stannis doesn't initially seek Edric to burn him? What books are you reading?

The Stannis conundrum. Whether you think Stannis knowingly had Renly killed or not (I don't) the ambiguity is important (although this change makes sense from an adaptational point of view by condensing the material) and at no point does he order Edric to be burned (when Davos takes him away he is relieved, and his disappointment/anger results from Davos betraying him, not the fact he no longer has Edric).

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Read the chapter in which Sansa is called to the council chamber by Cersei. That whole chapter was the most absurdly stupid chapter in the series. There are ridiculous things she says and thinks in the books that she doesn't say or think on the show. But because the show introduces different ridiculous things she says or does all of a sudden she's been characterized as much less clever.

You even admit you liked what they did in S2, in which she showed herself to be more clever than in the books. It's just wrong to pretend that she's much more stupid in the show. At this point after S3, she's probably a little more silly in some regards, but hardly a stretch and the majority of her maturation is yet to come.

There's enough context for Cat to make that decision and have it be equally detrimental yet still understandable.

Robb broke an alliance because he felt like it - because he felt that his duty to a girl was greater than his duty to keep his word to his uncle's bannermen, a man who gave him thousands of soldiers as part of said oath, and because he didn't want to marry a Frey.

And Stannis keeps the boy because he may have need of him. He doesn't order his burning, but he thinks about it. Without Davos, he probably would've burned him. Almost nothing changes in the show besides the distinction between "The boy must die," and "I don't really want to burn the boy but I think I might have to."

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It's just wrong to pretend that she's much more stupid in the show. At this point after S3, she's probably a little more silly in some regards

In Sansa's last four appearances in the season, three of them focus on the punchline of her being dumb, while undermining the character's plight; combine this with the story's determination to make the central tragedy tragedy of the marriage about Tyrion, and they've seriously messed with the character's development.

But because the show introduces different ridiculous things she says or does all of a sudden she's been characterized as much less clever.

It's a matter of when. Sansa, as written in the latter half of season 3, is actively dumber than her two-years-younger book counterpart, and doesn't appear to have developed at all from season 1.

Sansa's season 1 portrayal has is own issues, mind you, but that's another story.

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Robb broke an alliance because he felt like it - because he felt that his duty to a girl was greater than his duty to keep his word to his uncle's bannermen, a man who gave him thousands of soldiers as part of said oath, and because he didn't want to marry a Frey.

The value the Starks place on honour is a major theme in the books. Robb committed a dishonourable action in a moment of extreme weakness, and was left to choose between two bad options. He chose to preserve Jeyne's honour, and hope to make amends with the Freys.

Robb in the TV show decides he doesn't feel like keeping his word and he'd rather marry someone else, and acts like a smug douche when dealing with the Freys, even doing things that the book character knew was a bad idea (like bringing the wife that he scorned the Freys for to the wedding).

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Personally I would love to see any one of you naysayers of the show try and do better. It's easy to be a armchair nitpicker. But honestly, do any of you honestly think YOU can do a better job? Laughable if your answer is yes.

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Personally I would love to see any one of you naysayers of the show try and do better. It's easy to be a armchair nitpicker. But honestly, do any of you honestly think YOU can do a better job? Laughable if your answer is yes.

Overall no of course not, because no-one here has experience of producing a tv show. But the production side is not what they're coming in for criticism for - it's stuff like characterisation and individual lines where the writers don't do quite so good a job, and anyone who's read the books could say.e.g. that character development for Jon with the Halfhand is better and more important than Ygritte grinding on him and taking the piss out of him. People are acting like the showrunners are infallible which is as mad as people saying none of the changes they've made have been good.

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Speaking of which, the Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Ed Skrein is out as Daario and Michiel Huisman (Sonny from HBO's Treme) is in.

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Personally I would love to see any one of you naysayers of the show try and do better. It's easy to be a armchair nitpicker. But honestly, do any of you honestly think YOU can do a better job? Laughable if your answer is yes.

I don't really care if you like the criticism or not, but this type of logical fallacy is just over the top. It's fine to not like some of the (admittedly ridiculous) criticism of the show, but that is not an argument, and is utterly worthless in any kind of discussion.

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I don't think he's all that more compassionate, he just gets attached to her. I could see Jorah challenging him on his self-pity. "Oh you think you have it bad? You're not the only one to fall in love with a gold digger and flee into exile, you know." Being a slave would make him realize how privileged he was.

That makes sense if they don't include Penny.

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