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David Meadows Profile
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Squire
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Registered: 09-2003
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A Game of Thrones


I had high expectations for this adaptation of the George R.R. Martin fantasy series (I for get what the books are called... I haven't read them). The first episode was on UK television last night and...


I was underwhelmed. Apart from a token spooky bit at the beginning, it wasn't the "fantasy" it has been billed as. Despite the gorgeous map in the title credits (actually that was the best part of the whole programme!), it could have been set in 14th-century Yorkshire. It was more like a soap opera in period clothes. In fact, that's exactly what it was -- Dallas set in 14th-century Yorkshire. Except with more boobs.

I'm not sure if I will continue watching.

I don't actually think it was a bad programme. It was very tightly plotted and it managed to introduce a huge number of characters and still give them distinct personalities and motivations, it was nicely filmed, well acted...

Except, it lacked a central idea that held my interest. It's dynasties scheming and shagging and killing each other. Fine, nothing wrong with that (though it's not very original). It's just not the kind of thing I can get very excited over.

It's probably fine if you like a lot of beheadings and boobs with your fantasy emoticon



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Review: Magnum, Newcastle 14.04.11
4/19/2011, 11:46 am Link to this post Email David Meadows   PM David Meadows
 
Firlefanz Profile
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Lady of the Land
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Registered: 05-2003
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Re: A Game of Thrones


I gave up on the first book during the first chapter. I just couldn't follow the tale, it didn't draw me in, the characters did nothing for me. emoticon (And seriously, don't they tell us that the first chapter MUST shine?)

Thus, I'm not really surprised at your review, David. If the series is anything like that first chapter, I'm not interested.

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- Firlefanz

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4/19/2011, 12:06 pm Link to this post Email Firlefanz   PM Firlefanz Blog
 
Blood Stone Profile
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Re: A Game of Thrones


 I must confess, I felt the same as Firle. I tried to read the books, I really did. It felt a bit too tragic for me, so I gave up. I even tried listening to the audio book (my new fad) but it didn't happen either.

I much preferred GRRM's Fevre Dream - a vampire novel set on a paddlesteamer. But yeah, we need more vampires on television. emoticon

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Dare I disturb the Universe?

Where possums lurk, and ferrets imagine, this is where the magic happens!
4/19/2011, 12:49 pm Link to this post Email Blood Stone   PM Blood Stone
 
Reythia Profile
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Re: A Game of Thrones


I haven't seen the show, but I did enjoy the books. The first book is quite possibly the ONLY story I've read that really, totally surprised me. To the point where the author came up with a viable way out of the problem for the character, to which the reader thought, "Oh, good! Everything will change, but it will be alright in the end!" And then -bam!- the way out isn't taken. Salvation was offered, then shockingly snatched back. I've read a lot of books, but that's the ONLY one where I actually had to call up the friend who lent me the book at midnight and discuss, mid-book.

Besides that, most of what it's got going for it are the characters. Some of them start out seeming like stock characters -- but by the end of the first book (or definitely the second), they're not. These books are an example of how to write vivid, non-static characters. Even if you don't like the plot or the setting, the books have that much going for them, from a writer's perspective (and a readers'). Who's good? Who's bad? Most people, as in real life, are both, depending on the circumstances.

Beyond the characters, I'd say the story is still good. In fact, I'd say its main weakness isn't that it's too simplistic, but that it's too broad and complex. It's hard to hold it all together. More to the point, when reading, it's sometimes frustrating to read one amazing chapter on a particular character(s) and point of plot... then be brutally ripped out of that and shown a different part of the story with a different set of characters in the next chapter.

The setting, I agree, is the weakest part of the stories. I can definitely see how a movie version would end up looking like 14th-century Yorkshire. There are individual places that have more life -- like the Wall, a kilometer-or-so high ice dam built ages back to keep out the big bad (and mostly forgotten) guys, and now crumbling/melting under neglect. But overall, it's just "one set: map and locations of medieval origin, pleasant, generic". To be fair, the far continent isn't 14th-century Yorkshire, but it's just as hackneyed in its own way. (The show probably didn't reach there yet, though.)

If the show tried introducing everyone at once -- and did a good, thorough job of it, as Meadows says -- then I can see how there wouldn't be much room for plot. What SHOULD have been told, in the first episode, is the set up of a mystery. The Hand of the King (like a prime minister) has been killed. Whodunnit? Ned Stark has been stuck with the case and the job of replacement Hand, and is going to move to the capital, a place of clear intrigue. Almost as soon as he agrees to this, things start changing in his family's happy lives, and rarely for the better (after all, if everyone was happy as the story started, there wouldn't be a story at all to write!).

The story IS slow to start. But I've never looked at that as a bad thing, actually. Firle, you're right that they tell us that "the first chapter MUST shine", but I've always thought that was a load of manure, honestly. Sure, some really good stories start with a bang and throw you immediately into the action, giving excitement before the reader really even knows what's going on. Others start with a slower, pleasant buildup, cajoling us to read just one more page, to watch the tiny details pile up into a mound of overwhelming, unstoppable plot. I've loved books of both types, and I don't think one is worse than the other (of course, you can write either type really, really poorly, but that's a writing problem, not a planning problem!).

Anyhow, I've got no opinion of the shows, since I haven't seen them. Actually, I'm a little skeptical. But I did enjoy the books.

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  -- YAR!
4/19/2011, 3:01 pm Link to this post Email Reythia   PM Reythia AIM MSN
 
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Grand Master
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Re: A Game of Thrones


I read the first book. I thought it was mostly well done. Though I didn't care for all of the sex and rape and such being described to me. I felt that portion of the story was way too over the top and got in the way of the story.

I never read past the first book. There were intriguing aspects, but the story wasn't good enough for me to ignore the overly descriptive sex scenes.

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Writing: Eriadhin

4/22/2011, 1:15 pm Link to this post Email Loud G   PM Loud G AIM Blog
 
Reythia Profile
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Re: A Game of Thrones


quote:

Loud G wrote:
Though I didn't care for all of the sex and rape and such being described to me. I felt that portion of the story was way too over the top and got in the way of the story.



Agreed. I've never understood why authors feel the need to be so descriptive. In "Game of Thrones", I didn't find it terribly offensive, but I also didn't find it terribly valuable. I'd have preferred if the books left us "at the bedroom door" (though obviously that's harder in the case of rape). The second time I read through the series, I skimmed those sections. Made the whole thing a lot better, since you got all the good stuff, still caught the plot elements of the sex, but didn't get the gory details.

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  -- YAR!
4/22/2011, 5:42 pm Link to this post Email Reythia   PM Reythia AIM MSN
 
Blood Stone Profile
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Initiate
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Re: A Game of Thrones


I must admit I've been hooked by the television series, although I find it extremely slow paced. I suspect the coming winter is coming in the third season. :P

Seriously though, I think it is nice to see some quality fantasy storytelling on television. (There is so much sci fi these days, it's nice to see some of the flipside)

I've been inspired to give the books another go. This time however, in the form of audio books. I just started the first one, but I find it easier than having to dedicate the time to sit down and read a book.

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Dare I disturb the Universe?

Where possums lurk, and ferrets imagine, this is where the magic happens!
5/16/2011, 2:04 pm Link to this post Email Blood Stone   PM Blood Stone
 
TexasMadness Profile
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Re: A Game of Thrones


I saw the series first and was INSTANTLY hooked. There is nothing good on television and this simply shone as a beacon of hope that we don't need to be fed mindless drivel to keep us entertained.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the first book now. I'm surprised at the sex scene comments. I can only recall scenes between Drogo and Daenerys - and those seem to fit with the crude general behavior of the Dothraki. I do think there was something between Cat and Ned but I don't recall explicit details. And I'm usually a prude when it comes to sex in books!
1/11/2012, 9:26 pm Link to this post Email TexasMadness   PM TexasMadness
 
Reythia Profile
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Knight of Honor
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Re: A Game of Thrones


If I recall correctly, as the plot of the books goes on, explicit sex gets to be less of a topic. There are still sexual topics -- ie: pretty much anything involving Cersei -- but that's about it. I suspect the Drogo/Daenerys scenes were what bothered LoudG. As I said, I wasn't turned on by those scenes and I didn't think the explicitness of them added anything, but I wasn't turned off either.

I still need to see the TV version at some point. But I don't think they're out on DVD yet and I refuse to pay the crazy costs of cable TV just for one or two shows a year! Oh well. My fiance just bought the full series of "Farscape" for us for Christmas, so now we're watching those with dinner. That'll probably take about long enough for the first season of Game of Thrones to come out!

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  -- YAR!
1/12/2012, 6:04 pm Link to this post Email Reythia   PM Reythia AIM MSN
 


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