18 Jun 2012 18:29
deidrichenstein: (Default)
[personal profile] deidrichenstein
I'll stop yelling now.

Okay so perhaps the last one was slightly on the fanatic side. The people making A Game of Thrones are not cunts, at all. I actually have a great deal of affection for most of them. However, there are issues in season two. There are so many issues. And 98% of them come from the clutzy way ideas and scenes are handled this time round. The first season had a few of these as well, however compared to this time round they might as well be non-existant. In fact, that's probably where this season also trips up, in that they did such a fucking unfathomably no-one-even-dared-hope-for blitzing ragingly awesome job with the first season the second was always going to have problems. Always. Because now shit startes to get really difficult. You've got a plot so rapidly expanding in all directions it's ridiculous, and a host of new characters to introduce and develop while also keeping our 'old' characters well-rounded-out for us all. In season one we also have the benefit of two central plot-lines, the who-dunnit in King's landing, and Dany kicking ass for the ladies in Essos, with the added bonus of Jon making the wall a bit sexier than before. This keeps things relatively simple.

Now we have no 'central' plot. The figurative shit hits the fan and it's flying everywhere. Now we have Robb and Cat in The Riverlands, Renly and co. in The Reach, Tywin and Arya at Harrenhal, Stannis and Mel and Davos, Wildlings, and Theon at the Iron Islands; with Winterfell, Kings Landing and Essos still to contend with. That is a lot of data to stuff into 10 episodes. And it shows; episode two is rushed and jarring, scenes sit next to each other with little going on between them, episode three is probably the low point of the whole series for me, thus far. And in general, the strength of this season lies in the actors performances, and their ability to create truly stirring, gut-wrenching moments that are let down by the fact they don't rise above the whole. However, I do still find much of this season encouraging, despite some massive problems and most importantly, TRULY unnecessary divergences from the book.

I always expected divergences from the book, in fact I was astounded by just how few season one contained. They've basically gone from lifting fantastic scenes straight out of the book into these beautiful things we can finally hear and see to just... making shit up. And it's this 'made up shit', shit that serves no purpose in enriching or pushing forward the plot (resulting in very little actually HAPPENING this season), that's the big problem. I have no issue with them using creative licence, altering and omitting and amalgamating secondary characters, showing us things that happened offscreen in the books, or even just telling the story in a different way. One would in fact expect that, given the huge difference in medium and the fact they are not constrained by the POV format of the books. But when it comes down to it, what they've chosen to do in TO MANY cases, is just stupid. O.o

NO.1 is, without a doubt, Robb. I was sensing, and feeling somewhat worried about, the HERO!ROBB vibes I was getting in the last couple eps of season one, which were then confirmed when it was announced that much of what goes on with Robb is actually going to happen onscreen. At first, I was totally willing to run with it, after all Richard Madden is hot, charismatic and makes a zesty Robb for sure, so I can understand their hesitation in letting all that go to waste. However, onscreen!Robb has amounted to nothing but how he's actually really just rather stupid after all. Something that was understandable if exasperating in the books, while also being somewhat endearing and even poignant to some, is now infuriating. It is in fact understandable and reasonable that in the midst of war and injury, grief and betrayal, the circumstances in the book in which Robb betrayed his pledge to Frey, that he took comfort in Jeyne Westerling. That, because he's Ned Stark's son, he remedies the 'blight' on this girls' honour by marrying her immediately, in a moment of insanity, without thinking, panic, HE MADE A BLOODY MISTAKE. What we get now onscreen is this random chick not-Jeyne from VOLANTIS (Volantis! Fucking Volantis! What in the motherfucking hell were they thinking when they thought LOL VOLANTIS?) who pisses us all off from the get go by argumentating the morality and ethical fibre at Robb about going to war 'n shit.
Their GREAT LOVE then appears to spurt like a fountain out of a few more meaningful conversations about love and life and responsibility carried out in scenic glades and strategy tents, accumulating in a hot fuck on the tent floor. Which while being extremely pleasing to the senses :P IS INFURIATING. They then cap all this off with Robb TELLING CAT his intentions, after obvious deliberation, that he's just going to piss all over the oath he made to Frey because he 'feels like it'. THAT IS FUCKING RETARDED. It completely alters him as a character. Robb is naive and terribly honourable, like Ned, HE'S NOT FUCKING STUPID.
That isn't to say however, that all their material sucks. It doesn't, much of it is very enjoyable to watch, but when looked at in the grand scheme of things it makes me want to fucking break stuff. It's just annoying 'made up shit'.

Second great annoyance of this season is: Stannis and Mel. I think Stannis is, thus far, the only real miscasting. And I can't stand Stannis. I really can't. I think he's a self-righteous, rigid, fanatical twat with the leadership skills of a foot. But the fact is that Stephan Dillane is not Stannis. He just isn't. There is nothing Stannisy about him at all. Renly also suffered from this, but he improves a great deal this season. I came to like him almost as much as I do in the books. But anyway back to Stannis and Mel. Mel isn't miscast but there is something about Carice so far that just doesn't sit right with me, from the first time she drawled 'The night is dark and full of terrors' at Dragonstone, something just sounded wrong. It sounded almost robotic, artificial. Forced.
And then their relationship. Jfc. We all know they've slept together in the books, we all know okay, but Martin is actually capable of using this thing called subtlety that seems lost on the show's writers. So now we have this ridiculous scene in which Mel just has to get her tits out, whisper something about procuring Stannis ol'boy a 'son' and wham bam just like that let's fuck on the Westeros table. Jesus. Mabye it's just me but I always had the impression that it took a fair bit more coaxing than that, that he was conflicted and guilty about it (due to being Stannis and married an' all) and that Mel was fucking on top. SHE was the god damn initiator, not him. I doubt he'd be capable of showing that much lust if he was having his last fuck on this earth.
Salladhor Saan was annoying. Nothing to add there. :(

And OH Brienne. I can't believe they actually managed to make Gwendoline so unattractive. Good job. Brienne is a fucking feminist icon so there. ARGH the final episode... "Two quick deaths", and she slowly and painfully rams and twists her sword into that guy with that animalistic, hateful snarl on her face. GODDAMN that was incredible Gwendoline. I am pleased.

I don't really have anything to say about the Renly and Marg stuff. It's good. Renly is greatly improved and Marg... well she's interesting. They've decided to make her ambitious which is mysterious to me, since the mystery of her character and motivations are important in AFFC. One thing though, I was fucking outraged by the cry of "SLUT" that reverberated through the fandom at her appearance and scene with Renly. You're all filthy assholes, okay? You all suck, so fuck off. Her dress is low yes, you can see a great V of flesh between her small breasts that is very tantalising, and in my opinion, hot. You rock that dress girl. She then goes to her husband wanting to address the business of consummating their marriage, for what appear to be incredibly practical reasons like giving him an heir. HER FUCKING HUSBAND, get it? Sorry, but are women sluts now for wanting to have sex even with their husbands? Fuck off.

Then again: WHY SO MUCH IRRELEVANT PORN. It actually get's to the point in the first 3 episodes of being ridiculous. Ridiculous. There's tits and vag in every second scene, for no apparent reason at all. Now I like tits and vagina's lots and lots, but there needs to be this thing called SUBTLETY, I don't need to be slapped around the face with them okay. Theon's 'cabin fuck' is just disturbing. Tyrion's 'nameday gift' for Joffrey is terribly predictable. Littlefinger is no more a savvy businessman with investments in an array of different businesses, but the owner of these SPECIFIC brothels, that he micromanages so that the writers have a good excuse to add plenty of fellatio and penetration to these spicy scenes. That serve no purpose other than making Littlefinger an awful cunt. THANKFULLY ep4 onwards curtails this bullshit quite thoroughly.

OH and speaking of evil cunts, Joffrey. Dear gods they've gone done and actually made Joffrey into an unutterably vile, cruel sociopath and full-blown sadist, albiet with this rather remarkable charisma he lacks in the books thanks to Jack Gleeson. I didn't think one could actually hate him MORE, but it turns out that you can. Kudos to Jack Gleeson really, he seems such a sweetheart. On the flip-side though, in making him so extreme they've also had to change Cersei up, or make her just as extreme. I'm glad they opted for the former, because I actually really really really LOVE TV!Cersei right now. Lena Headey is bloody brilliant and she strikes it just right between her megalomania, shrewdness, deluded-ness, paranoia and vulnerability. She builds her wonderfully on the already greatness of season 1. The moment she shares her disappointment and doubt about Joffrey with Tyrion is one of my favourite scenes. It's measured and thoughtful and superbly acted, and I don't think for a second this moment of acceptance and horror make Cersei a 'better' person, or a weaker 'villan', for lack of a better word. Bad-person. I think it just makes her less of a caricature, less cartoonish, and far more human. Cause let's just take a moment to say this honestly: Cersei has enough despicable traits to fill a small thesaurus, but a disproportionate amount of bile aimed at her is incredibly gendered. Just like it is towards Catelyn and Sansa, my No.1 ladies.

SANSA YOU ARE MY NO.1 LADY. JFC how can anyone hate you. How could anyone ever hate you. I couldn't count the amount of time I've spent on the FOIAF defending you from dick-rags and all their filthy bile. Yes, you are somewhat grating and incredibly naive in book1 but how does that make you deserving of so much hate? You were eleven! Eleven! A sheltered, pampered eleven-year-old girl who is shortly put in a horrific situation with no way out. GAH Fuck you all who hate Sansa.
Tbh, I love tv!Sansa more than book!Sansa. I can't help it, and that's not to say my love for her in the books is negligible, it's Sophie. Sophie, you are just beyond brilliant. You are amazing, you light up the screen with your incredible strength and power and I cannot take my eyes from you. She just makes Sansa hers, and I can't help but love hers a bit more than Martin's. The only thing better than Sansa this season is Tyrion.
I am glad they didn't overplay the thing with The Hound. God he's different. They've made him incredibly sympathetic and gentle, and I did wonder if there was a reason for this. I'm glad there's not, thus far.

So while Robb spends most of the season thinking about getting his dick wet, Cat is totally wonderful. I don't mind the changes to her character at all, and I just love Cat. She's an amazing and wonderful woman. However she also suffers for the writers clumsiness. Mostly in that her releasing Jaime at the time she did is nonsensical. Utterly nonsensical, like she just thought as she was lifting the dagger up to slash his throat "hey wait, I'll send him to Kings Landing instead". WAT. This makes no sense and it's only going to give the myriad morons who totally hate her an even easier time of it. Would it REALLY have been so fucking hard to screenify the actual REASON for this happening, that would be, the news of Bran and Rickon's deaths (since it's already fucking HAPPENED and everything), rather than having it be some completely unrealistic whim that, at that point, is not justified? Cat acts in a moment of grief so intense I can't even imagine it, the woman has lost her husband, one of her daughters is held prisoner and the other presumed dead, and now she's enduring the news of her two youngest children having been butchered in her home by someone she as good as RAISED? Who the fuck wouldn't act rashly in that situation if they saw ANY opportunity of saving one of their few living kids? NO ONE. But no, apparently she just does it cause she feels like it, and then kinda has to awkwardly come up with something for a justifiably enraged Robb.

The main thing I've got to say about Arya's arc is JAQUEN YOU MINX. ARGH TOM YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE. He's perfect. It's like he dipped his hand into the book, pulled out Jaquen and donned him for the duration of filming. PERFECT. No, but apart from that it's all good shit. I really like the Arya/Tywin thing they had going. They played incredibly well off each other, and Maise is brilliant as she always has been. One thing I was disappointed about was the escape from Harrenhal. That's meant to be Arya's first intended kill. I wanted to see it and feel my blood curdle. It was rather anti-climactic when they just waltzed through the gates with the guards all dead. They made her time there very easy, when it is meant to be the beginning of her transformation. And also missed a pretty good opportunity to show us the true horrors of this war. It's just not dark enough. It's at this point that I started to find Arya's journey harrowing, however they leave her on a very light note. :( I was also hoping for an epic establishing shot of Harrenhal itself, like we got of Pyke, but it ended up being terrible, dammit.

Theon's arc this season with fantastic. I still refuse to call Asha 'Yara' because that's retarded and after getting off to a very bad start with her, I warmed to her considerably. She's still not as awesome as Asha is in the book but I can deal with that. The absence of Reek is a big thing, given how important Reek's influence on Theon's decisions and behaviour in ACOK is, it is pretty conspicuous. I realise they were trying to 'make it up' with that asshole of a first mate, but it's just not the same. Alfie Allen gets uber-points though, especially for the scene in which he first storms into Winterfell. The courtyard scene was extremely difficult for me to watch, especially when he kills Ser Rodrik with Bran and Rickon begging and screaming and weeping in the background. And when he hoists up the two burnt bodies... oh god, I had tears. I knew it wasn't Bran and Rickon obviously, but it's just too cruel.
I just have to express how much I love Isaac Hempstead-Wright as well. That child has been so unbelievably beautiful and amazing as my beloved Bran I can't even put into words how much I love him. And Osha ARGH man Natalia Tena is great. I LOVE TV!OSHA.

While Winterfell is generally awesome, if uneventful and conspicuously Reed-less, the same cannot be said of Quarth. This is probably the greatest part of the show that had me going WTF ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING THERE'S NO NEED. First off, Rakharo randomly dies, which is extremely fucking annoying cause he was awesome. Then, this other one comes back... ALONE and says that the merchants of Quarth would happily receive The Mother of Dragons, who apparently hung out for however long it took him to find the place on a dry road in the shade of a cliff with no access to food or water.
... So they just happily believed this Dothraki dude's story about this chick walking unburnt out of a funeral pyre with three live dragons then? Yeah no. More realistically, they'd have gone "LOL U MAD" and walked away roaring with laughter. Which is kinda why in the book they send an ENVOY to see if any of this rubbish is true. This leads to another disconcerting thing about the Quarth arc, that would be Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who is now Zaro Zohan Ducksauce. That is what these people are saying, in a very forced manner, and it sounds fucking ridiculous. If there is a name Martin has thought up that no one can say aloud without everyone within hearing bursting out laughing at the sheer hilarity of it, then CHANGE IT, or pronounce it in a way that doesn't sound so retarded. It's a better fucking reason than changing a name (AN AWESOME NAME) because people 'might get confused'. Which is not only annoying but insulting to my intelligence.
So anyway, not-envoy-Ducksauce makes a big show of cutting his hand under an oath or some shit to get Dany inside the city after she belligerently argues with the thirteen about letting her in without showing them the dragons... which doesn't make sense in the first place cause it's not like they're so many they'd be able to do any actual damage to the place. So then they get in and absolutely nothing happens. She argues with them about ships, argues with Jorah about something, Quaithe shows up and talks only to Jorah for some reason, and then her Dragons are randomly stolen. Btw, when we actually see the dragons they look great, so kudos for that. It turns out the Pyat Pree and Ducksauce were behind the theft, and this is what takes her to the House of the Undying. WTF. What the actual fuck. Why are Ducksauce and Pyat Pree suddenly conspiratorial King-makers? How the fuck would that work? A merchant prince and a warlock, wtf! The people of Essos do not, generally speaking, accept kings! It don't work like that! But anyway, Dany's arc is just nothing like the book at all, and the problem with that is that what they've done could potentially leave massive holes in later plot points. The worst thing is The House of the Undying. It's woefully slashed at. THOTU (henceforth) is one of THE MOST, THE ABSOLUTE MOST important sequences in the first three books. It's HUGELY prophetic, foreshadowing, symbolic and hinthint-nudgenudge. It's importance CAN'T BE PLAYED DOWN. And yet all we see is the Throne Room, The Wall and a scene with Drogo. What about the three betrayals? That becomes one of the driving forces and problems for Dany's character later on so... no? Just not doing that then? The blue flower in the wall of ice? Are we going to do anything with the mystery of Jon's parentage? The myriad other awesome and important visions? Guess not. GAH. Dany's story is just really really sadly diluted. It makes me sad. At least Jorah is still ridiculously handsome.

I'm still torn on Emilia Clarke. On one hand she is, very often, an incredible Daenerys. She is also a gorgeous and lovely and open girl, so much so that I almost don't want to criticise her, because I understand what she's doing. She is wonderful as Dany when she's.. well 'normal' and one-on-one with people and relaxed, however when she becomes commanding and puffs herself up and raises her voice and stuff it... just doesn't work for me (yet). Rather than being Regal and Imposing and actually Commanding, she just sounds somewhat impetuous, belligerent and slightly nervous. On one hand this is quite fitting, Dany is young and inexperienced and in all likelihood IS nervous, but that doesn't make it less grating. There are a couple of moments when she actually takes on what I perceive to be Viserys-like traits of arrogance and coldness that really disturbed me, as well. I'm not sure what that's about. O.o

Oh Jon, beloved Jon, I do love you but what are they even doing. His arc suffered greatly here. Overall, I LOVED the scenes beyond the Wall, Sam is absolutely gorgeous, Dolorous Edd is fantastic and hilarious, Mormont is great and then the Halfhand comes into things. WHAT ARE THEY DOING. Jon and the Halfhand get ONE conversation together, no measure of time spent together, nothing and that's it. JESUS CHRIST they may as well have omitted the Halfhand completely! He is a HUGE, IMPORTANT influence on Jon, and leads to him make one of his defining decisions until he accepts the burden of LCship. Lol not to mention what they're actually DOING out there alone is left rather vague as well. Apparently they're hunting wildlings... and why the fuck would they be doing that? Weren't they out scouting for Mance? Trying to figure out wth he's doing? Because that would make Jon's decision to change sides ACTUALLY MAKE SENSE. Oh wait, lol there is no actual decision here. Rather Quorin whispers something about 'having someone on the inside' at him really quickly that no one understands, least of all Jon, and shortly thereafter proceeds to attack and provoke him into killing him under duress. Talk about missing the point BY A COUNTRY MILE. The decision Jon makes, after much arguing, is very important. It's a big leap for his character and fuels much of the ambiguity and conflict he experiences later on. Argh.

Of course it seems that it happens this way because Jon spends so much time alone with Ygritte instead. And to be honest they are so awesome together I almost want to make myself not care about that crap, so long as I get to see them naked and fucking out all Jon's pent up lust in a cozy cave at some point. If I don't get that, this shit is just not on. They can't tantalise me like that and then just leave me with nothing to fuel my fantasies with for the following six months. Not cool. So yes, Jon and Ygritte, naked, kissing, fucking. It is now an obligation. That is all.
Rose Leslie is fucking awesome. She's prettier than I pictured Ygritte, but then, Kit Harrington is prettier than I pictured Jon, so it's fine. SHE JUST HAS SO MUCH SASS God it makes ME want to throw her on the ground and ravish her, and I'm just watching on a screen! Her scenes with Jon are an absolute pleasure, hearing her tease and torment him, making him blush and winding him up it's hilarious and adorable at the same time. AND WHEN SHE SAID THE LINE WHEN SHE SAID IT!! "You know nothing, Jon Snow". AAAHHH I fucking bounced around like an idiot. I love. I just love. I have no complaints.

I decided to finish this stream of consciousness rant on a positive fangirl note, which would be the best thing about this season which would be Tyrion. Oh Tyrion. Oh my Tyrion. I'll confess that since my first reading of the books like... god, six years ago or so, Tyrion has been my favourite person. He's my favourite most beloved forever. When they announced the books were going to be made into a show I just went PETER DINKLAGE MUST BE TYRION THERE IS NO ONE ELSE in chorus with many others in the fandom. I've had a thing for him since seeing the station agent and to me he just IS Tyrion. When he was announced as being cast I practically screamed with joy, and joined in crying and hugging with everyone else.
But anyway, most of the action happens in Kings Landing this time round, and Tyrion rocks out in every episode. Peter Dinklage is just magnetic, his face is so expressive, his VOICE is the sexiest baritone ever and he's just wonderful. The material Tyrion gets this season is far more substantial than the first and he rips it to pieces with an intensity that makes me shiver. His scenes with Cersei are everything I hoped for and he fucking rocked the Blackwater. One of the best episodes.
Something that truly had me raising my eyebrows, and then crying, was how much they've changed his relationship with Shae. Actually, lets just start with how much they've changed Shae, because I can no longer reconcile the entities in the book and show at all, they're entirely separate or else I could not cope. In the book, Shae is impetuous, slightly-whiny Tyrion's-whore-Shae. In the tv show, she is a fierce, quick-witted, resourceful and empathetic woman. And their relationship is altered drastically. Rather than hiding her in a brothel in the city that he sneaks out of the Keep to get to when he wants to see her (before making her a handmaid at which point she stayed in servants chambers), he appears to, well, live with her. She sleeps in his bed and lives in his chambers, among his belongings. Like a lover or a partner, not a paid whore. We know that in the books Tyrion deludes himself about her, at times knowingly, because he wants so desperately to be willingly given what he has to pay for: affection and intimacy.
There is none of that here. It genuinely seems that Shae comes to care for him, even love him, very much. That she actually wants him. It is reasonable though. In the books, Tyrion is described as being hideous. A monstrously disfigured creature that no one would love if their lives depended on it. Peter Dinklage is not hideous or disfigured in the least. He's a very handsome man who happens to be a dwarf. Regardless of his height, there is just no reason that Shae would not be attracted to Peter-Dinklage-Tyrion. He's hot.
To be quite honest, if they go down the same track with them now as in the books... I'll be extremely pissed off. I was suspicious at first, but I find it very difficult to think that Shae is being insincere now, I honestly don't think she is. She is in the books, but their relationship is unspeakably different, in comparison they barely even have one. She simply tells him what he wants to hear, she's under no real obligation to, she does it because she has something to gain for it: money. Which in his moments of lucidity, Tyrion is fully aware of. But now in the show, she appears to be willing to give Tyrion loyalty without anything to gain for it, simply because she cares for him. THEY CAN'T DO IT. THEY CAN'T I WON'T COPE.
But oh god, the "I'm yours and you're mine" OH GOD I was clawing at my face it was like the realisation of all my fantasies ever about Tyrion in one beautiful sentence aksjlndf. And then THE LAST ONE AFTER BLACKWATER JESUS CHRIST I FUCKING CRIED. "I'm a monster and a dwarf, you should charge me double"
..."Fuck your money"
..."You have a shit memory, I am yours and you are mine".
Then Tyrion and I burst into tears at the same time.

It's too much, if things pan out as shitily as they do in the books for them I just will not cope. I am now tv!verse Shyrion forevah.

Also, just give Peter Dinklage all the fucking emmy's already. Just give them to him.

So basically this is still fantastic television and this rubbish is only coming from someone who's been obsessed with the books for years and is still capable of compartmentalising everything and simply enjoying it on it's own merits. But regardless, character arcs and development suffers here and the creators seem to loose the tone of the books quite often. Jon and Dany end up worst off for me. Jon particularly, isn't really given any chance to grow at all, and is still the morose bastard he was last year. It's a step backwards in storytelling, many things are dumbed down and at times just become nonsensical.

But honestly the performances are just so spectacular this time it doesn't matter that much. The cast is fucking ridiculous.
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