An early morning discussion of what is likely to be one of the more controversial episodes this season…
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Will we be seeing further chapters from A Clash Of Kings soon?
Working on Arya I now. Should be a day or two.
The painting is “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” by Vermeer.
The staging of Sansa’s escape was godawful. One of the worst-staged moments on the show. After 2+ years of being a prisoner, her escape ends up as a twenty-second montage that makes it look easy, followed by a jarring smash cut to the middle of the night. Yeesh. The following scene with Littlefinger was decent, at least. But it would be nice if Sansa’s plot could get more than three minutes at some point.
I liked a lot of the details in the Arya/Hound scene, especially the farmer’s loyalty to House Tully, but the Hound robbing the guy afterward kind of felt out of character to me (especially as in the book the Hound chops wood for some villagers for several weeks for pay; he’s been a cynical killer-for-hire in the past, but I kind of thought he was supposed to be in a bit of a moral crisis at this point, and having him brutalize commoners like the knights he’s supposed to hate was a bit much).
The Tywin scenes were very good, and I liked the Tyrion/Pod bit (the usual Saint Tyrion alterations aside, though his insisting Pod leave immediately is probably to get him to go with Brienne next week).
I liked the Dany scene at the end a lot too, though I was kind of distracted during her speech by wondering how anybody could possibly hear her.
I really liked that montage, I thought it felt nicely dramatic and an impressive start to the episode.
The thing with the Hound is that they’re going to need to have Arya want the Hound dead fairly soon, the two of them were getting along well in Ep 1, and they used this as a kludge to get there.
The Sansa stuff did seem a bit out of the blue, but the end result was the same: getting her away from KL, showing her that this isn’t a fairy tale (Dontos is no hero, the necklace wasn’t real), and pointing out that she’s just a pawn in the game of thrones.
Tywin/Tommen and Tywin/Oberyn were really good scenes. There are a lot of excellent actors on the show, but to me Charles Dance has done the best job. In the books, I always found Tywin to be the most despicable of the rational actors (I’m leaving out id driven characters like Joffrey, Ramsay and Gregor) or at least in the top tier with Littlefinger and Balon. As long as House Lannister comes out on top, he really doesn’t care who gets steamrolled in the process. In the show I find myself rooting for him, which is a real testament to Charles Dance. Scenes that weren’t in the books and probably shouldn’t work (Arya/Tywin, Oberyn/Tywin) end up being the best thing about the episodes they’re in.
BTW, am I the only person who’s bothered by the fact that it’s supposed to be fall (late fall) and yet it looks like mid-summer near the wall? Castle Black looks cold, but the scenes with the Thenns looked like they took place in July. It’s going to be all the more shocking when next season starts and we move towards the battle of ice.
I do like that we get to see something on the show that we never saw in the books; namely Tywin obviously pinning his hopes for the Lannister legacy on Tommen. From his perspective Joffrey’s death was a immense relief-in the last episode Dance did an incredible job of conveying Tywin’s absolute disgust with the fact that His Grace had no grace and couldn’t even act like a king-and he also looked mad as hell at Cersei too. Like “My god, you and that sot Robert raised a complete prick…how could you have let this happen?” To Tywin’s eyes, since all his children and Joffrey were such complete disappointments, Tommen, is now his one chance to get it *right*, by raising him to be King. It’s going to be interesting watching that play out before Tywin’s death…
Yup, agreed. The direction was really nice here – I liked how Tywin and Tommen walk away from Cersei and leave her alone.
In the books we hear multiple people (Jaime, Kevan, Tywin) tell Cersei (or think it) that she ruined Joffrey and that given time, she would have done the same thing with Tommen.
Don’t know if that was completely fair-Joffrey’s psychopathy was obviously at least partly genetic-but that was probably in part because of the incest thing…so yeah, Cersei, is at least *partly* to blame for Joffrey no matter how you slice it. And there’s no escaping the fact that she’s neither fit for ruling or motherhood.
Sure, I think Joffrey is like Ramsay – probably not going to grow up to be a good person no matter what.
That said, Cersei doesn’t do him any favors with the whole “anyone who’s not us is against us” / “don’t trust anyone” / “you’re going to be the king, you can do whatever you want” messaging she instills in him. In fairness to Cersei, Robert didn’t really do anything that could have helped Joffrey better himself, although Cersei actively poisoned Joffrey’s mind, while the extent of Robert’s parenting seems to have been neglecting Joffrey.
Also, giving Joffrey absolute power (not really Cersei’s fault, although I guess killing Robert does accelerate the the process) doesn’t help him at all either.
So yeah, some combination of genetics, situation and general poor parenting.
While there is a genetic component to certain “callous-unemotional traits” and the so-called “warrior gene,” the link is far far more strong to childhood environment and damage to the prefrontal cortex at an early age.
It’s an N of 2, but Tommen has really similar genes to Joffrey (grandparents were first cousins, parents were brother and sister) and turned out fine.
Overall, I think GRRM’s coinflip analogy suggests that there’s not a single controlling variable.
Yeah, that was a really interesting scene.
I guess the flip side of that is that the arrival of winter is going to look really dramatic.
It sure will – which may work to the advantage of the show (although I wonder how they’ll film the KL and Riverlands scenes to make them look winter-y).
I think there were flowers blooming in the village the Thenn’s raided. Then the kid gets to Castle Black and it’s snowing. Then the NW goes through the wall and it’s totally snowy.
Yeah, that’s weird.
They can add in fake snow – a lot of Season 1 North of the Wall was shot in the same area as the North, but with added fake snow.
They can have people dressed more heavily, a lot more fires being lit, etc.
Maybe the Wall itself has something to do with this. It’s a 700 foot high magical ice wall that’s hundreds of miles long after all. Cities tend of develop their own micro-climates due to all the concrete and cleared land. Maybe the Wall’s magically cold and the makes its immediate surroundings snowy. Yes, I acknowledge that this is a bit of reach…
“Lannisterus Interruptus”? HAR!
I mean, I’m completely over sexposition-as-Dornish-character-development, and I think you’re giving D&D way more credit that they really merit on this, but still, HAR.
Sexposition requires exposition, and this was much more character development. They didn’t really talk about plot or backstory that much, it was more about how Oberyn approaches sexuality and his relationship with Ellaria.
And it’s one of the rare scenes in TV history in which bi polyamory was negotiated without drama.
I wish you’d spent more time picking apart the Sept scene… I felt it was horrifically misjudged, and I can’t see how the show can salvage Jaime’s character.
Speaking for myself, at the time I was just agog at what had happened, and wasn’t aware yet about the statements of the director and the showrunners which would have been essential to that conversation.
But I did get into it in more detail over on tumblr, and SEK did a bunch more in his recap over at RawStory.
See I don’t get this. Jaime isn’t “good” – he opens the series by having sex with sister and then attempting to kill a 10 year old boy. Also, book Jaime and show Jaime are two different entities, so while the show Jaime and the book Jaime may not line up perfectly, he doesn’t necessarily need to be “salvaged”.
That said, I will grant you that this changes Jaime’s relationship w/ Cersei a bit (at least versus their relationship in the books), but at this point more or less everyone is different in the show v. the books.
He’s not a good person, but he’s someone trying to be better, and that’s shown in the show from the episode he gets captured through Episode 4×2, hell even up to that moment in 4×3.
And from what we see in the previews, they’re moving forward with the Jaime seeking redemption plot as if he hadn’t just raped Cersei.
Yeah, I think Amanda Marcotte, (also of Raw Story) did the best breakdown of the whole thing up at Slate.
Really, they needed another director for that one, because if they’d filmed it differently, it would have been fine, and in keeping with the book but they didn’t and now the director almost seems surprised how upset everyone is.
That certainly was a problem, but I think D&D also were the problem in that scene.
I think this is the second time they’ve filmed a scene of “iffy” consent in the book and turned it into a non-consensual act. The first scene was Danaerys’s first night with Khal Drogo.
Frankly, any screening audience would have told them the scene with Jaime and Cersei looked and sounded like rape, and that it ruined Jaime’s “redemption arc” for them. At that point, just cut the scene. End on “why must I love such a hateful woman.” Give us another scene of Arya listing names.
I actually think the Lannister who’s been mishandled the most (at least v. their characterization in the books) by the show is Tyrion. In the books he’s clever and charismatic, and his heart is generally in the right place, but he’s also often selfish and much more morally ambiguous than he is in the show.
With Ned Stark dead, show Tyrion has been turned into the “good guy” of GOT. At this point I really don’t know how the show can reconcile who he is in the series with his arc at the end of ASOS (strangling Shae).
Killing Tywin? Sure I can see that – just like in the books, Tywin has been cruel to Tyrion from the get go. But between Shae’s whitewashing (she loves Tyrion so much she turns down a bag of diamonds to stay with him), and Tyrion’s whitewashing, I think any turn of events where Tyrion chokes Shae to death is going to be way more out of left field (and untrue to the characters) than Jaime/Cersei.
We’ll see. If this show was nothing but terrible mishandling of characters, I wouldn’t watch it – I think Tyrion’s plotline is going to be fine.
I fear from Sibel Kekilli’s most recent interview that they’re going to turn Shae into a revenge-seeking bitch in order to facilitate Tyrion killing her.
Just because someone isn’t a good person doesn’t mean that its within their character to commit any and all immoral acts. Jamie pushing Bran out the window was a terrible thing but we know he ultimately did it to protect Cersei and his children from what would happen if Robert learned of what they were doing.
Even taking the books out of the equation, I don’t think the scene fits with who show Jamie has been portrayed as being so far considering his feelings towards Cersei and his reaction to Brienne’s potential rape.
FYC: A brief coda RE: Stannis Baratheon.
1) Stannis Baratheon does not need Davos Seaworth to convince him that fighting his way to the throne might require (gasp! the horror!) hired mercenaries. Stannis is a consummate commander who knows that sellswords have their uses; if we need them, hire them, provided we can afford them.
2) Stannis Baratheon is not Darth Vader. (“My time is running out… which means your time is running out” has too many echoes of “You have failed me for the last time!” [Force choke]) Making ominous-but-vague threats is not how Stannis motivates people; he motivates people by being a driven, non-stop workaholic and demanding they follow his example.
tl;dr –> while this episode’s Stannis is better than last episode’s Stannis, that was a fairly low bar to stumble over. He’s still consistently misfiled under “villainous zealot-boss that kindhearted old Davos just happens to work for.”
(Addendum: which is a gross misuse not only of book!Stannis, but of show!Stannis’ actor, who does a great job with what little he’s given.)
Agreed. My one hope is that they are sticking with this to mislead people for his “babyface turn” later.
The show already established that Stannis was fine with using pirates to help his cause so his objection to using mercenaries didn’t make much sense.
Yeah, I don’t see why he doesn’t mention that they were rebels and traitors to the rightful king. He’s not a fan of the Golden Company or Bittersteel in canon, so use that.
Other elements the show doesn’t include are how Melisandre has brought Stannis a dedicated following, even after the defeat on the Blackwater, how much the Lannisters fear Stannis and how much his soldiers admire him, and Stannis’s monologues about power. The books also frequently play up his previous victories. The effect is that book Stannis comes across as someone who is principled, intelligent and clearly knows how to gain and use loyalty and has a reputation as someone to be reckoned with, while show Stannis seems to depend wholly on Melisandre’s magic and Davos’s advice.
Yup, and in the last episode, Stannis said Alister Florent deserved to burn because Florent was an “infidel”.
What this show really misses is Stannis sense of righteousness. Stannis doesn’t *want* to be king, he’s doing it because he has the rightful claim to the throne and it’s his duty. The show gets that backwards.
Stannis didn’t consent to burn Florent because Florent didn’t believe in R’hollr. He burnt Florent (or let him burn) because Florent offered the Lanninsters a truce that would make Stannis subservient to the king. While that’s probably not a bad offer for someone in Stannis’ situation, it can’t be tolerated by Stannis because his claim is the right one and to make a deal is to be treasonous to that cause.
Additional FYC: I’d suggest a four-tiered system for grading D&D’s character assassination. In order of ascending egregiousness:
Tier 4: changes to characters’ arcs that, given the time/budget constraints of the show and the differences inherent to TV as a visual medium, you can sort of see the necessity for. See: Asha/Yara.
Tier 3: omissions of characters’ internal thoughts, e.g. Arya, Catelyn, that reduce their complexity and move them in the direction of stock archetypes.
Tier 2: omissions of characters’ dialogue & actions. See: much of Sansa/Sandor. Net impact is as tier-3, but is less excusable because dialogue/action could have translated to the screen more easily than internal monologue.
Tier 1: actions that are the direct, 180-degree polar opposite of the character on the page. See: Stannis and now Jaime.
That’s handy. I like it.
“Polar opposite” seems too strong for what happened with Jaime here, because I think that if you squint you can just barely read what happened in the show as more or less what *actually* happened in their encounter in the Sept in the book, without the filter provided by Jaime’s POV. Jaime certainly *perceives* what happens as consensual, but the book version already has Cersei objecting, and the apparent signs of consent could be perceived as just being attempts to get Jaime to finish quickly so they don’ get caught.
I’m just not sure why you’d want to take that scene in an explicitly rapey direction if you’re in the middle of an arc where you’re trying to redeem Jaime. The problem, for me at least, has nothing to do with being unfaithful to the book. It has to do with it being an inexplicable character decision within the show.
A lot of people have been comparing this to the decision to change Drogo and Dany’s wedding night to make it more rapey, but I thought that was an eminently defensible situation, because the “consensual” encounter in the book is actually much creepier than what happens on the show. But this didn’t make sense to me at all.
Then this should make even less sense. Amanda Marcotte discussed this at Slate and she referenced an interview with the director where he says that he didn’t see that scene as Jaime raping Cersei! There was some comment about Cercei consenting at the end. I’ve got two things to say to that.
1) I watched that scene like I’d watch a train wreck, unable to turn away, because it was not going where I had expected. I did not hear any type of consent before they cut. It just looked like a rape.
2) Even if she’d said something vaguely like “yes” at the end, I’m skeptical that I wouldn’t have come out of it saying “rape.”
3) (Yes point 3 of 2. I don’t plan these comments out much at all). Based on things that I’ve read/seen, the storyline going forward seems to assume that Jaime has not raped Cercei and that their interactions don’t hint at rape. So: even though we watch Jaime rape Cercei, it appears that the show is going to assume that that’s not what we saw.
It’s really sad, because my respect for Book Jaime increases to another level after he gets back to King’s Landing and starts acting like the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
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