Should You Return For More ‘Game Of Thrones’?

Monday, June 20 by
 

The season finale of “Game of Thrones” aired last night on HBO, which means I have a very long year ahead of me. To make myself and thousands of fans feel better, I’d love to start a discussion about what the series did right and what it did wrong. I’m going to throw a few arguments out there to get it going. Now, I’m a huge fan of the books and the series blew me away. So many shockers, fantastic casting and…

Yes, that last word would have been a spoiler. I know there is a great divide between people who have read the books and people who have not. So here’s how it will work. There are spoilers below if you haven’t watched the finale. I won’t spoil anything in future books and I’d appreciate it if the commenters don’t either. However, I may hint at something. You’ve been warned.

6 photosEmilia Clarke

To continue…dragons! Yes, HBO ended the season with the final, dramatic moment of the first book, which means they’ll be spending a lot of dough on Season 2. That final shot of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) naked and unburnt (strangely, still with hair, unlike the book) was a powerful one to end it with, and left me slack-jawed when I first read it. One of the reasons this show has been so successful is how close they’ve stuck to the source material, and I hope that continues as the show goes on.

Now, there was one particular moment that veered away from the books to the detriment of the show, and that was the relationship between Daenerys and Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). The casting was brilliant here and it never fails to amaze me how those actors speak in a created language and never once stumble or fail to get their emotions across. But the first sex scene between them was little more than a rape in the show. In the book, it was more of a seduction scene. I understand why it was done that way, but in the end, it robbed us of the full impact of Emilia Clarke’s performance. As we watch this girl (who is in her early teens in the book) sacrifice everything to save Drogo’s life, agonize over her love dying and finally kill him out of mercy, those of us in my viewing room last night who read the book felt the need to explain to those who didn’t that yes, she really was deeply in love with him. We also had to explain a bit about why. I mean, that first sex scene…yikes. What was so compelling and heart breaking for readers lost quite a bit of impact for first time viewers. (Let me say here that I watched with a very large group last night, made up of those who read the books, those who didn’t and people who watched a marathon last night and people who have been weekly viewers.)

6 photosSibel Kekilli

Speaking of casting, there was a rather unexpected discussion about Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). A large portion of the crowd thought she was too old to play the role. I have to completely disagree here and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. I’m starting to think that we as a society have come to expect women in their fourties to look like women in their twenties after years of actresses shooting stuff in their faces and the casting directors who love them. (Case in point, Claire Forlani in Camelot. I’m not saying I have any knowledge of what she’s done or hasn’t done, but she has that look.) I was a little horrified by what I was hearing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on casting. I know you’ll all have a lot to say about Shae (Sibel Kikilli).

Let’s talk about the women in the show…did any of you read the EW article on whether or not Game of Thrones was anti-feminist? I think we can finally put that to rest, don’t you? The women in this book are strong…alright. Not Sansa (Sophie Turner). But all the rest? There are two women from the second book that I’m dying to see cast. My friends, if you’ve read the books, please let me know who you’d like to see play those roles. I know you know which ones I mean. Please try to keep it spoiler free or be very clear about what you’re about to say. I think one of them in particular is going to be a tough one.

Ah, Sansa. A bit of a dishrag, no? Poor thing. I’m at the end of the third book, so I’m not sure where she goes after that, but there was a moment last night with Joffery…a look in her eyes that makes me wonder. And that brings up another point. I watch weekly with someone who hasn’t read the books and I continually have to explain that, no, so and so is evil right now. No really. Yes, I know they seem to be doing something nice, but that happens later and…sigh. There are quite a few characters that turn around as the books go on. I’m afraid that I’m seeing too much of it too early on. A certain royal, a certain soldier…it’s understandable that the actors have to find justification for some of their actions, but I think a lot of who these characters will be has already come across.

Let’s talk about naked exposition. Yes, all monologues come with breasts in this show. As soon as a character launches into a story about the past, there are naked women washing themselves after a romp or auditioning for the role of whore. There is a lot of information to process in this series and people do tend to tune out during speeches. However, if what you’re having them say is so important, maybe boobs aren’t the way to get them to pay attention. I have no problem with nudity and used sparingly, naked exposition is a perfectly fine device. But maybe there is a better choice in certain places. Maybe some of the exposition isn’t actually necessary. Last night’s discussion about kings and the madness of an earlier one could easily have been left out in favor of more time with Bran and his three-eyed crow or the horse lords or the boys on the wall. That said, perhaps there would be more people into Shakespeare if naked people showed up on stage during every soliloquy.

And now, the death (again) of Sean Bean. The man has made a career of wonderful death scenes, but the one last week was heart-squeezing even if you knew it was coming. The gasps and screams from the viewers at last night’s marathon were window-rattling. Personally, I think that’s part of the brilliance of the series and the show. When I first read that scene, I threw the book across the room, never intending to pick it up again. (I might have done that when they killed Lady as well.) Of course, I only lasted a few hours and I just had to know what happened. I did the same thing last night when another beloved character died in the third book. I even cheated and checked Wikipedia to see if I was wrong about what I read. I know many people, including one last night, said that they might not come back to the show after getting so invested in Ned Stark only to lose him. But this series and show is about the starkness of life. (Yes, that was intentional.) Just like real life, no one is safe. People die, even when you love them. Doesn’t it make you care just that much more? To know that this may be the last precious moment you have with someone? This is a world with children wielding swords and zombie-like walkers from beyond the wall. It’s not day care.

So, let the discussions, love fests and arguments begin. As always, I read all the comments and I’ll be weighing in as well. Let me leave you with this thought: If Peter Dinklage doesn’t get an Emmy for his performance, the world makes no sense and I will lose faith in humanity.

If you’d like to discuss with spoilers, take the conversation over to Twitter @jennabusch.

Winter is coming.

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COMMENTS

  1. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Anonymous

    great reading this, thanks!!
    I haven’t read the books but I love the show. I am wondering if I should start reading, because I can’t wait until next season to find out what happens. Or would that totally spoil the show once it comes back?


  2. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Kookakicha

    I think, and hope that Sansa will become a stronger character. After that scene with Joeffrey, it’s clear that there will be more to her (perhaps we will come to see that she can be like Arya after all) in the future. 
    I was shocked about Sean Bean’s character death, but I think it’s a key death. If everybody lives forever, there is not much room for emotions. I understand that he had to die and I even think that his death was fitting. They really shot it well and I ask nothing more. I haven’t read the books but I’m about to and I am very curious about the reversals of characters you’re mentioning. That’s another great thing about the show, it’s never black and white. How boring that would have been!


  3. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Guest

    Start reading, I’ve read the books and I’m STILL shocked at the beauty and poignancy of some scenes. :) Besides, they’re vast, and you won’t remember lots of things.


  4. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Guest

    Start reading, I’ve read the books and I’m STILL shocked at the beauty and poignancy of some scenes. :) Besides, they’re vast, and you won’t remember lots of things.


  5. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Observerwwtdd

    Figures a dame would write something like……

    …..”There is a lot of information to process in this series and people do tend to tune out during speeches. However, if what you’re having them say is so important, maybe boobs aren’t the way to get them to pay attention.”…..

    A curse on you Jenna…….naked boobs are the BEST way to communicate ……and more chicks should consider that as a medium of idea “propoundment”…..

    ….that being said…….a case CAN be made for watching Cinemax with the mute button “ON”….(but…I digress)

    Please retract your statement and apologize…….worlds hang in the balance….


  6. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jelcik

    I think Sansa finally showed that she has some strength in her, she first talked back to the king and basically said I hope my brother cuts your head off and then pretty much walks towards the king with full intention of throwing him and maybe herself off the ramparts. I’d really like to see the younger sister become a bit more of a solider but unless they speed up time I doubt that will happen.

    The show has been great and is forcing me to read the series I am on now even faster so I can read this one.


  7. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Odobbinsmem

    I think the eunuch put things into perspective during his conversation in the dungeon with Lord Stark.  In short, the majority of the characters are acting.  What I mean is that there are roles within roles.  The old king’s advisor in the scene mentioned above seemed to ramble and it made you wonder what type of advise he could possibly provide.  Once the girl left he showed his true strength by flexing and stretching.  Once dressed and at the door the final action was to assume the physically stooped posture of an old, frail (non dangerous) man.
    The Keeper of the Brothels while having a knife at Lord Starks neck said I told you not to trust me.  We only saw his true hidden nature when he was in his own environment and willing to share his intimate thoughts.


  8. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Odobbinsmem

    We were given hints that Daenerys had the unique ability to withstand heat and flames, but that was a total twist to see her emerge unharmed from the fire with her baby dragons.  They seem to have bonded to her as a mother figure so she will truly be born of the dragons.  Her transformation to strength was okay but a little to quick for reality.  That type of maturity and development take a little more time.


  9. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Odobbinsmem

    The little girl has finally got her wish.  She is now forced to become a boy and assume the male role.  I wonder will this impact her future thoughts.  She sure can handle “Needle”.  Snow did good in giving it to her a departing gift.  O, one of her traveling buddies is the Illegitimate son of Former King Robert.  I would think those other little foundlings Lord Stark and the former Hand identified will fare little better.  That will make for a twist to watch.  The illegitimate sons of two strong figures (King Robert and Lord Stark) will both be serving at the Wall.


  10. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Elle Emm

    I wasn’t shocked at the execution.  I would have been shocked had it not happened.  Joffrey is a little b@$t@rd, but, if you put yourself in his shoes….he IS the king now, and because of his youth, and hostile takeovers planned in the wings, he MUST show strength.  Mercy wasn’t going to strike fear into anyone.  Ned was accused of treachery.  Then to save his own skin, Ned publicly went back on his own beliefs.  If you had a ‘traitor’ trying to get you off the throne, would you believe his declarations of apology?  Or would you think that the minute this guy is free he will be banding together another group to destroy me?  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be quite satisfied if/when Joffrey meets his end, but in the meantime, he is proving to have the “fur to keep them warm” :-)


  11. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Davsan38


  12. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Gregroshon

    really hung up on Denearys hair not burning.. I felt they rushed Deanearys and Kahl Drogo’s relationship. And the wolf dreams are all but non existent. Love the wall, the castles, the armor, I thought Shae was supposed to be kind of stupid..and I figured she would be more …voluptuous. Tywin was spot on! Tyrion was good, Jaime is what I expected, Bron, is brilliant! Arya is a little bit of a dissapointment, but only a little. Rob is as expected, my wife is his biggest fan! I am sticking by Jon as my favorite character by far! Most of the small changes were ok with me..but for whatever reason the hair thing with denearys seemed to make it less believable. I have read the books, and will read the next one (July 17th cannot come quickly enough) And if they continue on as they have done the first season, I dont see why this wont continue to be a hit!


  13. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jenna Busch

    Ha!  Like I’ve said in a thousand pieces, I have no problem with boobs or nakedness.  I watch Spartacus!  :)   I just think they used the same ploy too many times.  Totally worked with Viserys.  It was funny with Littlefinger.  But last night might be a liiiiitle bit of overkill. 


  14. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jenna Busch

    Read!!!!  It’s so worth it!  Really brilliant work!!! 


  15. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jenna Busch

    I really hope so.  I WANT to like her.  Have you read the books? 

    The thing about this series is that it takes place without time jumping.  We’re slowly watching them change and develop.  I’m hoping it doesn’t take until book 5!  (So excited for that.)  At the end of 3 now and loving it!


  16. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jenna Busch

    Interesting perspective!  You’re the first person I’ve heard defend him.  Thank you for braving the wrath of GoT fans.  I actually agree with you.


  17. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jenna Busch

    I really hope it continues!  And I’m excited for July 17th as well.  Already did my pre-order.  I’m still hung up on the hair too.


  18. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Anonymous

    I thought the last episode was a bit of a let down, but that’s only because the previous episode was such a shocker. I can’t wait for next season.


  19. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jelcik

    Have not read the books, I’m currently reading another series and really don’t have the time to try and read two very deep works at the same.

    I do have to say that some of the characters a little to off for me.

    Ned Stark – I mean come on this guy is to good to be true. Are we to believe that this guy never has a moment of trechery? He gets burned over and over and he still plays by the rules. I for one am glad to see him lose his head, frankly if he lived he probably would have told Rob to stop the war and bow.

    Jon Snow – Another stark that makes a living from being told what to do, constantly he shows a strength, rises up …. but wait nope someone is easily pushing him back down.

    Drago – So strong such a leader oh wait nope he basically kills himself by impaling his chest into a weapon, opening up what must be a massive wound that for someone reason can’t clean or sew up, even though every man around him has numerous scars. Not sure I know many brave and smart fighters that would willingly impale themself during a fight.

    Of course are we starting to see some sort of string of thoughts here, all the Leading men in this series appear to be idiots.

    So far we have seen:

    1 king dead by boar
    1 hand of the king dead by beheading
    1 whiny would be king dead by golden bucket dumped onto his head
    1 powerful warload dead by his own impalment

    Frankly at this time I would rather be the midget.


  20. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Anonymous

    I think they copped out a little by  not burning her hair too, but I think they have a (logical?) argument, hair is as much a part of her body as anything else so it’s not too big a stretch to make it impervious to fire. I think the hair burning is better because it makes it less fantastic and more realistic but it could also be confusing to someone who doesn’t know what’s going on. 


  21. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    DKM

    I agree about the hair, but I figure it’s hard to create a convincing bald wig when Emilia Clarke has long hair to hide under it.


  22. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    DKM

    I agree about the hair, but I figure it’s hard to create a convincing bald wig when Emilia Clarke has long hair to hide under it.


  23. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    DKM

    I agree about the hair, but I figure it’s hard to create a convincing bald wig when Emilia Clarke has long hair to hide under it.


  24. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    DKM

    I agree about the hair, but I figure it’s hard to create a convincing bald wig when Emilia Clarke has long hair to hide under it.


  25. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    DKM

    I agree about the hair, but I figure it’s hard to create a convincing bald wig when Emilia Clarke has long hair to hide under it.


  26. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    DKM

    I agree about the hair, but I figure it’s hard to create a convincing bald wig when Emilia Clarke has long hair to hide under it.


  27. June 20, 2011 12:09 pm

    Fryie

    I don’t agree at all. The death of Ned Stark bought the Lannisters nothing. Beheading a traitor might be a wise choice in peaceful times (although even then it wouldn’t have hurt to send him off to the Wall), but not when you’re at war. Ned Stark alive might have kept the Young Wolf (Robb) quiet. Killing him ultimately is the key trigger for Robb to declare himself (resp. being declared by his men) “King in the North”.