Game of Thrones, Season 1

5 Jul

(I am literally no longer able to see straight after writing all of this out. So, er, be ready for typos?)

So, the Game of Thrones post of The End of Season 1. *deep breath* We have so many things to get through, JFC.

I’m going to write my notes specifically as someone who’s read the books and seeing the show as an adaptation, because I’ve found I’m incapable, no matter how hard I try, to see this show “objectively,” as its own entity. I’ll do my best to avoid unsolicited spoilers for future books though.

So, general season 1 thoughts.

Before anything, let me say the show has made clear to me a difference in perception I’ve been trying to wrap my head around for a while. See, there are two ways of experiencing this story. One is to take it at “face value” as a story about characters and plots and a world and things happening, and the other is to take it as meta commentary on Fantasy as a genre. The two are not mutually exclusive, but most readers of the books identify more strongly with one of the two stances.

I am a meta person. To me this story, this book series, this show, are meta about Fantasy, and also fascinating characters and plots and whatever. But the meta is what frames all of that for me. I think the starkest difference here concerns Ned’s death. You can see Ned’s death as the author building up a beloved character and then killing them and breaking the readers’ hearts/wanting to make them gasp or react strongly/doing it because the plot demanded it. Or you can read Ned’s death as a meta statement about Noble Male Heroes in Fantasy, and a precursor to other similar meta statements the series will make. I see Ned’s death as meta. He’s Aragorn, to me, finally taken to task and introduced to the “real world”. He’s every annoying fucking asshole who’s ever been allowed to win a golden chalice. I would not read a book about Ned, because every book is about Ned. Because he is the distilled, almost pure form of a particular stereotype. And it was only after he was killed that I was willing to give these books a chance, because they proved to me that they deliberately used him as an example. It was the narrative’s way of saying to me “I know you hate that Tolkien shit as much as I do, come on in and let me show you how I deconstruct it some more.”

I’m just saying, that’s my perspective and I know it’s different than a lot of people’s, and you should know that before you read any further.

The Bad Bits.

1. I can not believe they managed to take those books and add MORE racism and misogyny than was already in there. They decreased the amount of nudity, btw, people are naked like every other page in those books, for the most part women, but. The nudity on the show was so exploitative, so glamorized, so boring and mainstream and WTF (look, when I want pretty young women roleplaying a slave-and-master or whores-learning-how-to-do-it scenario there are plenty of porn sites that can provide that, I was under the assumption this show was actually about building a realistic world and telling a story set in it). I mean, it’s odd to say this, but any interesting or subversive value the nudity might have had got crossed out so hard by how exploitative it felt, for me, that I was just… majorly turned off. Majorly. And that’s hard to achieve considering the kind of scenes they were filming.

I actually read an interview with the creators where they were asked why Hodor had to have a nude scene (it wasn’t in the books) and they said “equal opportunity nudity!” basically, they want to have guys naked as much as girls. Which. Just. The fact that they would consider that scene IN ANY WAY the equivalent of ANY of the women characters’ nude scenes at any point is… so troubling and disconcerting and just… breaks my heart for reasons we’ll get to later.

It’s just… so crushing to realize that a book series that was trying really, really hard to take on Epic Fantasy and introduce race, gender, disability, class and so on, and succeeded about 80% of the time, was adapted by the only network who has a reputation for dealing well with race, class, gender, disability and so on, and… made worse than it was initially. So crushing, I can’t even. I’ve dreamed of HBO adapting this book series for the past 6 years at least (even since I read the books). And then I get… this.

2. Seriously, how did Dany and Drogo’s storyline turn into Jorah and Viserys’? How? How did Dany’s consensual wedding night sex scene get turned into graphic rape? How did Dany’s whole journey of discovering herself and her adopted culture and love and men and power and sexuality and life, how did that get turned into Viserys hanging out in bathtubs with slavegirls? How did everything become about those two white dudes? How did the racism get turned up from “ugh, come on” to “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME”?

It’s funny, but I think the biggest symbol of this, to me, of this systemic problem in presenting the Dothraki, is their clothes. I heard so many interviews where the creators went on and on about all the research they’d done, how they hired someone to make up an entire new language, how they hired advisers and consultants. And yet they created a nomad culture who travel around in warm, steppe-like climates, and walk around half undressed. And I’m like, WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF RESEARCH ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Every nomad culture I know of, past or present, who lived in that kind of climate, had clothes to COVER THEIR ENTIRE BODY AT ALL TIMES. Because the sun, IT IS BAD FOR YOU. I just… I kept looking at their costumes and wanting to throw my arms up at despair. Or alternatively write the creators a letter asking them if they’d ever been outside of Canada or Ireland. Because clearly their logic went “well, it’s hot there, so they’d take their clothes off a lot” which, OH MY GOD NO. NO NO NO. That is not actually what you do in hot weather regardless (I know not everyone has spent every single class trip hanging out in the desert, but come on) but especially not if you spend most of your day outside.

And the women’s clothes /o\ Completely impractical, horribly complicated and not functional in any way. Basically borrowed from your garden variety video game elf character. HOW. WHY. WHO LET THIS HAPPEN. I just. It is so completely nonsensical, the world is so incoherent. Regardless of anything, this is not how you do Fantasy well. It just isn’t. In Fantasy, if you haven’t given me a mythology and culture I can believe in, you’ve Done Wrong. And this is so, so wrong.

To get back to Dany – her last scene, at the pyre, was so awesome, but as I was watching I couldn’t help but remember how much MORE awesome it was in the books. Because in the books you knew her so much better. You’d spent so much more time with her (and almost none with Jorah and Viserys). You’d ACTUALLY SEEN HER GO THROUGH THIS JOURNEY of becoming a queen, in her own mind. She’s still so messed up at this point in the books – I mean, she was sexually abused by her brother for most of her childhood, and wherever she goes and whatever she does, even with Dany’s amazing strength that always takes its toll. It takes her such a long time to believe in herself as herself, to let go of so much of what she’d been brought up with, to start this completely new life where she suddenly realizes it’s all or nothing. Every choice she ever makes from now on will be walking into the pyre – she burns alive or she gets one step closer to being queen. There is no stepping back from this, everything is always on the line.

And Dany’s storyline is so problematic in the books, because she’s the white girl who befriends the savages (who, yes, turn out not to be savages at all, but still) and becomes their leader, and she’s the POV character, not any of them, ever, and it’s… it’s very problematic. But at least, out of all of that, there is Dany’s character, who is mostly written as amazing and brilliant and just… there aren’t a lot of narratives about women – especially young women – learning to be masters of the universe. And Dany’s storyline isn’t that she was born to a super special heritage or that she’s has violet eyes and pale white hair, it isn’t that she was destined to rule since birth and therefore. It’s all of those things, yes, but they are ultimately completely immaterial. Dany earns everything she gets, the hard way, the bloody, painful, brutal way. She’s reborn so many times, she’s STRONG ENOUGH to survive so many rebirths, emotional and psychological. Time and time again she faces the choice of lying down to die or jumping into the fire and every time she jumps.

So, aside from the flaws in her plotline in the books, aside from how those flaws were exaggerated here, I feel so cheated that we only got bits and glimpses of her journey. That it wasn’t half as powerful and personal as it should have been. That instead we got fucking Viserys and his endless fucking scenes with Jorah. The finale felt like too little too late. This, this is the Dany I wanted to see all season. I wanted to the finale to feel like the end of a long process, not something that suddenly overtook Dany in those last few scenes.

And of course, Drogo. I hate how in this it feels like she maybe loved him, but mostly depended on him, enjoyed the safety and attention and power his position gave her. Because in the books Dany, who is 13 and coming out of a lifetime of abuse, sees Drogo as her rescuer and literally the light of her life. She never gets over her gratitude to him, she considers him the only man she’s ever loved. He’s the first person to show her what power feels like and how it can wielded. To tell her that no one’s allowed to treat her the way her brother’s treated her.

The thing is, the books play with POV so much. Like, Dany’s POV is so biased and unreliable at times, it’s basically the point of her characterization. She never questions Viserys’ actions while they’re together, because it’s all she knows. And then when Drogo comes along he truly does become her hero, her knight in shining armor. She feels like he’s given her everything, rescued her, and when he dies she’s crushed. She’s crushed because he was her entire world. He was the first person who loved her for who she was, who gave her freedom and power and independence, who was kind to her. Who let her breathe. She loves him more than words can describe, and she’s 14 and pregnant with his child. And THAT’S the fascinating part of Dany’s POV. The fact that she’s messed up in this particular way, that she has no filters, that her baseline is her childhood, which was full of abuse.

And I thought that maybe, to compensate for the POV in the show, they’d make Drogo more obviously a problematic character and not the idealized version Dany thinks of him as. Just like Viserys is not really the totally A-OK guy that Dany thinks of him as at first. I was looking forward to those complexities, to the fact that Drogo is at once the best thing that’s ever happened to her and still a rapist and a killer. To the fact that Dany was raised by an abuser and it colors her perspective immensely.

Buuuut instead we got Drogo who barely says two words during the entire season and endless scenes of Viserys in the tub. Anyway, moving on.

OK, so I’ve talked about some of my anguish, now let me talk about some of the joy. AKA, The Good Bits.

1. Cersei, Cersei, Cersei, top of this list. The books don’t have a lot of worthwhile female characters, even fewer who are older than 16, ever fewer who could actually be considered anything but peripheral (something that the show has the potential to change, as it’s been changing the very distinct separation in the books between characters who got their own POV and ones that didn’t). And Cersei was my favorite, forever and always, since the first time she came on screen, and was… utterly, utterly ruined, in terms of characterization, in the 4th book (that’s not a spoiler that’s common knowledge, I’m sorry) and I’ve wondered how they’ll handle that in the series, which version of her they’ll go for.

And not only did they end up going for the early version, but they made SO. MUCH. BETTER. They gave her POV SCENES. Her and Robert, Her and Joffry, her and Lancel (lol). They gave me everything, everything I could ever ask for with her character, and more. I was a bit disappointed in how her relationship with Jaime was treated but no matter. I can forgive them that for all the wonderful scenes they added. Oh my god, if this show never does anything right ever again, it will have given me my Cersei.

And I mean, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say, now that we’ve met Tywin, that he’s a terrible father. He’s a brilliant strategist and politician, and an absolute horrible father. It’s like he has a blind spot when it comes to absolutely everything that has to do with his children. Everywhere else he sees reality where everyone else sees fiction, but with his children he can only see the fiction of who he wishes and expects them to be rather than the reality of who they are. And so, his beloved son, the one he invested all his hopes and dreams in, the one he still half expects to come through and be his one true heir, is a member of the king’s guard and the only member to have ever killed the king he served. Jaime can’t inherit and the term Kingslayer, which, in the books was considered EXTREMELY EXTREMELY offensive and was usually said behind his back or as a direct challenge, brands him as a villain. He’s also been having sex with his sister since they were both teenagers, but that’s details.

And there’s Tyrion, who’s brilliant and has the potential to be the best politician of his generation and Tywin’s true heir, but Tywin can’t get over seeing him as mentally as well physically deficient, an insult that Tywin Lannister could beget such a son, and doesn’t spend any time training or grooming him for court life (their relationship is actually much better in the series than it ever was in the books). And then there’s Cersei. Who desperately wants to be Tywin, who like Tyrion had so much potential, who was married at 16 and became queen, and lo, was the perfect heir to the great Tywin Lannister, but she’s a woman, and all Tywin sees her as is a tool and an ornament, not someone really worth bothering with, and the result is… who she is. Someone with a lot of potential, who does a lot of things right, but ultimately doesn’t know how to keep her son under satisfactory control and rule as completely as she should. And the tragedy of Cersei, the fact that she is as amazing as she is but has no guidance, no institutional support, no mentors, is… well.

I love Cersei, in part because she’s such a tragedy, in part because of what an amazing fucking BAMF she is despite the tragic parts, and this show has given it all to me IN SPADES.

2. I suppose Catelyn should be second, as my hands down least favorite book character. Well, I say least favorite only because Ned thankfully dies in book 1. I hated Ned and Catelyn equally they were the same horrible, privileged, stuck up person to me, albeit for different reasons and with different upbringins, and I just wanted them both to die. Badly. I was delight when Ned did at the end of book 1, and sad that Catelyn didn’t join him. In fact, throughout book 1, which was the most boring and blah book to me by far from that series, I kept yelling at my friend who got me to read the books – WHAT IS THIS SHIT, WHY AM I READING THIS, I FUCKING HATE ALL THESE PEOPLE. And she just went “KEEP READING.” and I did, and Ned died, and I was like “…ok, now that he’s dead? I may actually read the rest of these. WHEN IS CATELYN JOINING HIM THOUGH.”

Anyway, they have toned Catelyn’s flaws way, way down on the show, and I am… grateful. Yes, I’m going to settle on that. Grateful. Even though my hatred for Catelyn of the books still knows no bounds, Catelyn of the series is… flawed but interesting. Innocent and naive like her husband but not as privileged as she was in the books, and not as hypocritical. She doesn’t automatically despise children as soon as she learns they’re bastards for example.

And I’m happy about that, at the end of the day. Because I would rather have one more woman character to enjoy, because I do think her story is… if not riveting to me then definitely interesting enough to keep watching (even though the Starks in general are my least favorite family and I can’t wait for everyone to meet the people I actually love the most, in later seasons). I believe this Catelyn is a highborn wife-and-mother suddenly forced out of her comfort zone by circumstances who’s having to take care of a million fires that just broke out at her house. I didn’t believe that about book Catelyn, that seemed to be just something she thought about herself, but the reality seemed different, but in the show I do see her as that person.

At least I’m not constantly trying to strangle her as soon as she goes into one of her ~all I care about are my children~ speeches. Because she hasn’t made any! Instead we get Bran saying what my friends and I were left saying but the text never addressed, in the books – IF YOU’RE SO WORRIED ABOUT YOUR KIDS, WHY THE FUCK AREN’T YOU HOME WITH THEM. I just really loved that they gave Bran that line and addressed it and made Catelyn’s character… so completely believable, I guess, which she wasn’t at all to me in the books. And you know, also made her care about something other than her kids because seriously. Civil war’s just broken out!

3. I do love Dany in the finale, specifically for one reason. Because they give Miri Maz Duur that speech, where she makes it clear to Dany that no one is right or wrong here. That she’s not clean of wrong doing, and neither is Drogo, that there are no fairytales and no happy endings and power and wealth always come at the expense of someone else.

And Dany hears her, and understands, and then puts her to death in cold blood. Listens to her scream. Because Dany is not here to be right or righteous, Dany is here to win. She’s here to survive. And I love that they give her that moment, when what few illusions she had get shattered, that this woman she trusted, when she thought she was doing the right thing, betrayed her so completely, and ultimately Dany can’t even really blame her. But at the same time Dany doesn’t actually give a fuck. She will be queen, she will conquer and prevail, and she will burn to ashes everyone who dares to stand in her way. It’s not about right and wrong, not about heroes and villains, just power and people and endless shades of gray. It’s what I think the series is, at its best, and it’s exemplified so perfectly in that one scene.

Right, now for some Tidbits I’m Sad They Omitted. I’ll talk about stuff from book 1 in this section that ended up not making it into the show; if you’d rather not know about it scroll on down to the next part.

1. Obviously the major one is ALL OF NED’S FLASHBACKS, lolol. So, Ned has many memories throughout the book of Lyanna, at various times. He remembers the moment of her death, especially, and how her last words were “Promise me, Ned” and only when he agreed to promise her did she let go and close her eyes at last. Promise her what? Well, right before his execution Ned’s stuck in the dungeon thinking about his fate, and instead of his wife or kids he thinks about Jon. He thinks about how sorry he is he never told Jon the truth about his parentage and he must, must find some way to tell him because if he doesn’t no one alive will be able to. And then he has flashbacks of Lyanna again.

If you’ll remember, he and Robert went to war against the king when the king’s son and heir, Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna (or so Ned and Robert thought, anyway). Ned was the one who found/freed her. Bizarrely, in Ned’s flashbacks, he has to get through a few members of the Kingsguard to get Lyanna, which is odd since she’s kept in isolation (Rhaegar was already dead at this point, I think?) and the Kingsguard is only dispatched to look after the lives of members of the royal family. When Ned enters her room it’s full of blood and also her favorite flowers. Again, odd. Why her favorite flowers if she’s been abducted and why full of blood if the Kingsguard’s job outside was to keep anyone from going in? Also Ned doesn’t mention at any point that anyone had harmed or injured her, or that anyone threatening was in the room at any point. It doesn’t seem that the blood is due to a violent injury. And then there’s the promise. She forces Ned to promise her something, and refuses to let go until he does.

And then he comes home from the war with Jon in his arms, refusing to tell anyone who his mother is. Ahem. Anyway, so these are things Ned thinks about when he thinks he’s going to die.

2. OK so I realize this goes hand in hand with not making Catelyn the Worst Person Who Ever Lived, but God I really missed her line to Jon when he was saying goodbye to Bran, “it should have been you [lying in this bed].” It’s as iconic to me as “The things I do for love,” and I was sad to part with it. Such a perfect moment of AND THIS IS WHY JON SNOW’S LIFE IS HELL in a single sentence.

3. Tyrion’s story about his marriage! I realize this also was part of making Tywin much nicer than he was in the books, but it was such a random detail to hold back. First of all I’m trying really hard to pretend that the rape was de-emphasized in Tyrion’s story for some reason that is logical and not rage inducing. It’s not going very well.

Anyway, in the book Tyrion talks about the girl he married, to everyone’s chagrin, who’d been arranged by his brother. What Tywin did in the books was give her to the guards and have each one of them rape her while Tyrion watched. Each guard indeed gave her a silver coin when he was done. And after that Tywin made Tyrion rape her as well, in front of everyone, and gave him a gold coin to pay her with because “a Lannister is worth more.”

I don’t know why they chose to omit that last part, but man. THAT IS TYWIN LANNISTER, OK? THAT IS FUCKING TYWIN. It’s a story that perfectly encapsulates… everything he is. It’s like, you hear that and go WOW I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHY HIS CHILDREN ARE THE WAY THEY ARE NOW JFC.

4. Jon in general has been changed drastically, characterization-wise, but like Cersei and Catelyn I think the changes were reasonable and consistent and so… I’m intrigued. I think the difference can be summed as, in the books Jon was 14 when he went to the Night Watch and in the show he’s 16. And he’s the exact same person, but in the books he’s… kind of lost and timid and doesn’t think of himself as an adult yet. He’s still sort of a child (as is Robb since they’re the same age) and he doesn’t quite know what he wants and what the world is, and he’s more… sad and dismayed than anything. He and Tyrion become friends because they’re sort of the same person, in the same state of mind.

On the show he’s the same Jon, only he stayed at Winterfell an extra 2 years. So he’s ANGRY. He’s frustrated and it’s fully sunk in for him that he’ll never have the life his siblings will. He’s a commoner brought up, cruelly, with the nobility and it chafes and tears him up inside. He doesn’t have a place and it makes him angry and anxious and he just wants to leave, get on with his life, find a place for himself. And the Night Watch is the solution. In the books he went because Ned had to leave and Catelyn wouldn’t have him there without Ned and there was nowhere for him to go so the Night Watch it was. In the series he’s actively itching to go, and it’s just… so different. It affects his relationship with Tyrion as well, because he’s so angry and bitter and Tyrion’s really not.

It’s also interesting because in the books Jon had such a strong relationship with Ned. They spent a lot of time together, Ned was a very hands-on dad, he made sure that Jon was treated as part of the family at every turn (which in turn was like spitting in Catelyn’s face). It’s what makes the betrayal of the Wall ultimately so awful. How could his father send him here without telling him what it was really like. In the show Jon’s very distant with Ned, and is much better friends with Robb. When he leaves the Night Watch it’s not because they killed his father, it’s because Robb’s taken up arms. It’s a pretty big difference.

5. Oddly enough Robb’s aging up also worked for me. I thought it wouldn’t because… it seemed a bit ridiculous to have Catelyn there for moral support when he was literally a 14 year old kid who didn’t know what he was doing, but now that he’s 16 (and looks about 24)? But oddly enough it worked perfectly. He doesn’t look like a child here, but he looks like a young man with no experience, and the relationship between him and Catelyn really works. You can see how neither one of them has quite the right skillset but between them they’re better off than they would be alone. I also love that she’s literally there to be both his adviser and his mother. His mother in the sense of just… bringing him confidence and strength and security in who he is. I love that their relationship is so supportive and so awesome, IDK. That totally took me by surprise. I think I was too busy headdesking at the 14 year old and the woman who wouldn’t know strategy if it bit her in the ass, in the books. But here it’s actually really, really wonderful.

Catelyn in general is just… believably a really cool mom. Which she really wasn’t, for me, in the books.

6. So, the Jaime and Cersei scene at King’s Landing (or wherever). They didn’t have any scenes together after the one Bran witnessed because they weren’t POV characters in book 1, but… that scene was definitely very weird for me. The thing is, in the books Jaime is utterly and completely in love with his sister. She’s the only woman he’s ever loved and the only one he’s ever been with, despite being the prettiest man in the land. He just doesn’t have eyes for anyone else, she’s all he needs. And he loves her in a devoted, almost puppy-like way. It’s another paradox about Jaime’s character, as fearsome a warrior as he is on the field, he’s ultimately been a follower his entire life. And the person he’s followed has been his sister.

A friend of mine summarized their relationship as, “Jaime loves Cersei the way one loves one of their own limbs, and Cersei loves Jaime the way one loves one’s most cherished instrument.” And… yes. They both love each other and no one else in the world, but Jaime literally doesn’t imagine himself existing without her, whereas she sees him as her most useful, powerful and beloved instrument. She has a life outside of him, concerns, children, politics, a husband, a country to run. He… doesn’t. I don’t know how they’ll play it in the series, but consider Jaime’s (non existent) relationship with his kids. Yes, he can’t publicly admit that he’s their father but he doesn’t even act like their dad in private, in any capacity. He hardly even acts like their uncle. Tyrion has more of a relationship with them than he does. Because there’s really nothing in Jaime’s life except being a swordsman and loving Cersei. He doesn’t need or want anything else, at least in book 1.

This… is not the dynamic I got from their scene together, where Jaime was inexplicably violent (in the non fun way), and coarse and sort of… the opposite of the gentle, devoted, Jaime we see in the books whenever Cersei comes up or is around. I mean this is the man whose wrath Robert actually feared enough to not hit Cersei whenever Jaime might find out, and in the show it looks like Jaime smacks her around regularly himself. And it sort of came off to me… a bit as though Jaime had somehow coerced her into this relationship? At some point? Whereas in the books it was, if anything, quite the opposite.

Things I’m Looking Forward To in Season 2

1. Margeary Tyrell! Asha Greyjoy! Elia Martell! BRIANNE BRIANNE BRIANNE. I love that many male characters have departed, and next season we get So Many Awesome Women. SO MANY. None of them were POV characters in book 2, I think? But on the show it’ll matter less, hopefully, and we’ll actually get them as full fledged characters in their own right and IDK MAYBE THERE WILL ACTUALLY BE TONS OF AWESOME WOMEN ON THIS SHOW.

2. Sigh, Brianne. BRIANNE BRIANNE BRIANNE. So, I’ve mentioned before how I see this series as a giant meta statement about Lord of the Rings? Well, not all of it, but LOTR is such a paradigm, it’s tough to avoid it when making sweeping meta statements. Anyway, if there’s any one character who I think is a direct conversation with LOTR as a work of Fantasy, and one character for which I feel Martin deserves unmitigated, unreserved praise, it’s Brianne.

Brianne is Eowyn, in the real world. She’s “Deadwood”‘s Calamity Jane. I won’t spoil you any more than that, unless you ask, but let’s just say, Brianne and Jaime, together, are this series’ Study in Gender. And part of why I’m disappointed in Jaime’s portrayal in the series a bit is because of how little they’ve pushed that angle, that Jaime is LITERALLY THAT WORLD’S PARADIGM OF MASCULINITY, and what that means for how they’ll treat Brianne’s character. Jaime NEEDS TO BE the handsomest, bravest, strongest knight there ever was, a perfect creation. Partially because the punch line is then that he’s actually a dude who only has eyes for his sister, but also because of how it sets up Brianne’s plotline.

Because wow, WOW do I not trust them with Brianne. And I will be just… so, so heartbroken if they fuck her up. It’s almost too painful to bear thinking about. Somehow I trust them with the casting (a woman who is not conventionally attractive! Imagine that!), because the casting has been amazing, but I don’t trust them with her plot. I don’t trust them with the nuance, I don’t trust them to make all the meta statements the book makes and the ones it hints at. Brianne’s storyline is one of my FAVORITE ONES OF ALL TIME. Even when it’s written in a shitty way (I am not a fan of Martin’s writing style and his books often drag on and on for me), it is still the bestest thing since sliced toast. GOD, BRIANNE. She is literally the best thing this series has to offer, imo. She is the one thing Martin’s created that is truly unique. Not because of her particular character type, because there’s plenty of that, but because of how it’s used, because of what her role in the narrative is, because of how her character’s used to explore patriarchy and gender roles. I love that meta so much, and I love where the books take her and just. MY FAVORITE THING. And I am 95% sure they’ll fuck it up somehow, and I want to strangle them already.

3. Man, so, one of the best things about this book series is how cleverly POV is used to create nuance. How much the author plays around with unreliable narrators. How much the point is that history is written by the victors. And in a way it’s why this TV show is so frustrating. Because book 1 is literally just the set up for the rest of the story. The plot actually BEGINS with Ned’s death. Everything before that is exposition. And so much, SO MUCH of what’s said in book 1 turns out to be a lie or a half truth or a rumor. The POV in book 1 is largely Stark, but in later books we shift away to other families and suddenly find out whole new angles, whole new POVs on the same history and the same world.

And I just can’t wait for that shit. I can’t wait for them to start to undermine everything people assume about this story based on the first season. It’s SO FRUSTRATING because I keep wanting to go BUT BOOK 1 IS THE MOST BORING ONE, JUST SKIP AHEAD TO THE FUN STUFF, but. That is not the nature of a series. People will spend a long time only having the information that season 1 dispensed and that’s that. I’m just so curious how they’ll handle this POV shift in the show, if at all, and how the fandom will handle it. Everyone’s all about the Stark kids this season, and I get that, but… there are just SO MANY COOL CHARACTERS coming up, I can’t even, you know? And so much shit that’s currently assumed about the history of this world that is just… not only not true, but not true in a way that CHANGES EVERYTHING.

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