Game of Thrones, episode 1×04

17 May

I will tell you what, at the end of this episode I clapped. I actually clapped. I… have absolutely zero ability to see this show as anything but The Books, Illustrated, and I have spent so long wishing to see some of these storylines/characters on screen and never thought it would actually happen and… even though I fundamentally have issues with this adpatation as an adaptation, in that I think they messed up ROYALLY in making up for Martin’s subjective-POV-style narrative I just… I clap. I clap because the actors are so wonderful, and everything’s so pretty and it’s like seeing scenes from the books only BETTER because there’s no awful prose and the characters are played FANTASTICALLY and just… squee!

Sigh.

I deserve one adaptation of a Thing I Love by people whose work I generally enjoy, OK? That has literally NEVER HAPPENED TO ME. I intend to devour every second of this.

Tyrion

So, Tyrion is now officially the Mary Sue of this universe, y/y? For the record, I think of a Mary Sue as an author self insert (whether intentional or not) who has no flaws and/or is beloved by all and/or is the coolest and sparkliest ever.

I mean, in the books he walks that very fine line anyway, but in book 1 you mostly spend the book… hating or distrusting him at the very least, he’s Not A Very Nice Person, although he’s often honest when others aren’t, but on the show because of the REMOVAL OF THE SUBJECTIVE POV AS A NARRATIVE DEVICE we just get to see him… be really awesome 24/7, basically. And make All The Friends. And tell everyone exactly what they need to hear. And be wise beyond his years (seriously, he’s only 25! And he’s led a relatively sheltered life, he’s not ~WISE OF THE WORLD~ yet). It’s… sort of :/

I think Mary Sues can be used very effectively in adult fiction – nevermind how they’re imo an essential part of any adolescent’s imaginary world – for example, the Doctor on Doctor Who is a giant, giant Mary Sue (Gary Stu, whatever) but he’s used (in S5 at least, I haven’t seen the other seasons) effectively and entertainingly and he makes for a good story.

But Tyrion is… I’m a bit worried about this portrayal because I’m afraid it’ll quickly make Tyrion boring and insufferable to me. Because… it’s really, really messed up that he, as of now, has no real flaws, no real weaknesses of character, when absolutely everyone else does, on a show that is ALL ABOUT those flaws. Like, I’m really not interested in watching the Tyrion Is Always Awesome show, idk. :/ Maybe if they finally brought some of his messed up angst to the fore? IDK, Tyrion’s too emotionally healthy when he’s not surrounded by his siblings, lol.

Sansa

❤ ❤ ❤ OH MY DEAR. As much as I hated her in the books, that is how much I love her in the series. OH, MY DEAR ♥ How poorly your mother's equipped you to Deal With Life 😦 Also Petyr's creepyass baby obsession with her is appropriately creepyass. Sansa, dear, there are really NO WORDS for what a crime your upbringing's been. I can't believe Catelyn was allowed to fill your head with all that useless nonsense about how the world works and then you were sent off essentially on your own to the NEST OF INTRIGUE known as the royal court. A CRIME, I SAY, A CRIME.

Jon

Sigh, Jon. You know, I enjoyed those chapters in the books, because they were sort of a mix of Ender’s Game (which I read earlier in my military career, before Song of Ice and Fire) and, in the series, Full Metal Jacket, and I enjoy those sorts of narratives about people in military training, isolated, tightly knit group, questions of leading and following and trust and friendship and what sort of society do we want to live in vs how much do we need to survive and dealing with authority and just… all of it. I’m fond of those narratives, I liked it in the books, I like it here. Sam is tragic and adorable, Jon is an interesting character you really see grow, there’s tension and drama and so on.

But… I sort of feel like Jon’s story – which parallels greatly Dany’s story, although less so in the series – is sort of like… the most conventional narrative in this book. Young Boy From Humble Origins Becomes A Leader of Men. Like… it’s well executed, I like it, but it’s… not really what these books are about, ultimately, for me. Like, that narrative exists pretty much everywhere. If Jon was Arya, if she was surrounded by girls and trained with them, if they were the ones (wo)manning the wall, I’d take my hat off and give three cheers. Interesting! Fascinating! Unusual!

But as it is… Jon’s story is being given as much attention as it was given in the books while other people have had their screentime cut, scenes changes and merged (can anyone tell me where all the worldbuilding about the Dothraki went? No?) and it’s because I feel the show’s trying to build him up as important and worthy of our attention and he is but…

If this were an adaptation, like, AN ADAPTATION and not Scenes from the Books, Illustrated, there would be at least some meager level of meta here where the creators would go “you know, Martin raises a lot of good points about gender, but the books don’t really take it all the way and plus the subjective POVs make it kind of muddled, so how about we restructure some things as long as we’re removing the subjectivity and really make those points STAND OUT.” And part of that would be to handle Jon’s plot differently. Because yeah, he’s The Young Hero at this point, but you know what else? You know those whores the officers go to see on their days off? Yeah, that’s what the sisters and mothers of all those boys Jon’s friends with right grow up to be. That’s where THEY end up, if they’re lucky.

Because as much as it sucks being on the Night’s Watch, girls can’t even do THAT. Bastard girls (who we rarely get as characters, even though we get plenty of male bastards) don’t get to choose between being locksmiths or Brothers of the Watch or a billion other things. They have very, very few options and I’m sorry, on a show like this, with this level of built in meta, it is not enough for me to have that little conversation with Ned and Arya where she goes “oh no actually imma not be a lady and get married and have babies.”

Firstly because it’s not stressed at all that Ned DOESN’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE HER WHEN SHE SAYS THIS, that he thinks it’s all just silly childish games and if he thought for a SECOND she was really going to give up marriage and kids (meaning, a future) he’d take that sword away so fast her head would spin. And secondly because… because. Because it sucks to be Jon and it sucks to be Sam but their lives would suck WAY WAY more if they weren’t dudes. And the show doesn’t really address that, doesn’t underscore it and bring it home and it sort of makes me LIVID because what the fuck else is an adaptation FOR. Ugh.

But I mean, these are the creators we’re dealing with. These are the creators who thought adding 200% more rape to Dany’s storyline would just be fun and dandy and make it even more ~awesome~ when she overcame her ~adversity~ and by adversity I mean rape. Which she overcomes. With the power of staring into her rapist’s eyes soulfully.

This is a show made by a bunch of dudes and Marti Noxon basically, at who I’ve been furious for a really long time. Because she’s a woman screenwriter who came out of Buffy and she has consistently, across every project she’s had significant influence in, failed to bring in any kind of progressive gender-related agenda. And nobody owes it to me to be a feminist, but I’m just saying, when I imagined a world where I grew up and a female writer who was a Buffy grad was having a significant impact on my TV shows, this shit is not what I pictured. And I just… I’m so disappointed with the universe that that’s who she is, I’m sorry. Those guys are morons to begin with, adapting a book series like this FOR HBO and being a total dunce when it comes to gender theory in visual media requires EPIC EPIC amounts of stupidity, but. I had hopes for Marti, I guess, up until this project (I used to read her blog when I was younger, I watched Caprica and I had hopes) and now I… don’t anymore. Sigh.

Cersei

Flower of my heart, child of my garden ♥ Combination of AWESOME scenes and dialogue and AWESOME acting, God, Lena Heady I’m so sorry for ever doubting you *_* you knock the socks off me EVERY FUCKING TIME. Perfect, perfect, perfect. “The king does what he wants, as he’s always done, and you just pick up the pieces.”

Ned

GO DIE IN A FIRE. Seriously I don’t even feel bad saying this since he’s a fictional character. /o\ HOW SO STUPID. HOW.

Robb

SAME.

Chris from Skins!

AKA Robert’s bastard son. Props, bb! I’m so happy you got this job. You’re doing well, even! Although I wished they’d actually dyed your hair black. \o/

Jaime

LOLOL you know, the funny part about Jaime’s scene this episode is that I’m actually not sure whether he finds Robert’s antics – having girls over specifically when Jaime’s on duty – randomly amusing or actually genuinely annoying/insulting or both. Jaime’s a very peculiar creature. I don’t know, at this point, whether he actually does resent the way Robert humiliates Cersei by cheating on her constantly, or whether he really couldn’t give a fuck, as long as he doesn’t have to stand there and listen to it.

Catelyn

Sigh, Catelyn, why you gotta go and be such a BAMF in this version? I admit, I am pretty much blown away by your awesome. I mean, in the books you and Ned lived in your own little fishbowl of fail, but in the series you’re like 345464 times more clever and awesome than him. I salute you, Lady Stark, and await patiently to see where these creators will take you. THE ENDING SCENE. HOW SO BADASS, HOW.

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