July 17, 2017

Everybody's talking about "Game of Thrones."

I see that the entire "Most Viewed" list at The Vulture is about "Game of Thrones":
8 separate articles, all beating everything else. I get it that the 7th season premiered last night. I have no idea why it matters so much (especially if the most interesting thing is that Ed Sheeran did a cameo (and I do know who Ed Sheeran is (see, I have a tag for him (I even like him)))).

I've never watched even part of any episode. I really don't even know what it's about other than it's set somewhere in the distant past and there are a lot of characters, enough for there to be a lot of them dying, season after season. I find it hard to understand how people are interested in such large numbers of characters when it seems to be well known by now that the idea is to kill them off. I need to invest in caring about them so it will hurt or at least shock me when they are killed?

That sounds like a lot of work. I don't see the entertainment value. Is it the sets and costumes? The talk-talk-talk in English accents? The talk-talk-talk suddenly interrupted by garish murder? I have no idea. I've heard that "Game of Thrones" has "changed television forever" and that sort of thing. I genuinely have no idea why.

172 comments:

Laslo Spatula said...

I had posted this in the cafe earlier this morning, but it really belongs here:

The Man Who Has Never Seen 'Game of Thrones'...

To begin, I never saw the 'Lord of the Rings' movies, either. I just can't get into Fantasy Shit: I don't like dirty medieval-style people, living dirty medieval-style lives. I don't like long white beards and wizened wizards and portentous dialogue. I don't care about dragons. I definitely do not care for Magic that Saves The Day...

Yeah, yeah: I hear 'Thrones' has nude scenes. Don't get me wrong: I AM good with topless chicks, but you can find clips on the Internet without having to watch the whole damn thing...

But 'Game of Thrones' is DIFFERENT, I am told. Sure. Does it have dirty medieval-style people, living dirty medieval-style lives? Does it have long beards and portentous dialogue? Does it have dragons...?

Then it AIN'T different.

Oh, but the storylines are full of intrigue! Okay: which dirty medieval-style person will have the dragon save them in the nick of time, THIS time...?

And -- holy shit -- how many hours do these damn things go on?

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is 558 minutes!

And 'Game of Thrones'? Two days and 12 hours straight. AND IT AIN'T EVEN OVER YET...

I have no interest in going to a Renaissance Faire and listening to people put on dodgy accents, and I sure as hell don't want to watch what equates to a well-filmed Ren Fair for two-and-a-half days...

And let's face it: dirty clothes, dirty people: all of these fantasy worlds would SMELL LIKE ASS. The rooms would SMELL LIKE ASS. The streets would SMELL LIKE ASS. The people would DEFINITELY SMELL LIKE ASS...

But the blonde: she IS cute....

I am Laslo.

Tank said...

What is The Vulture?

MayBee said...

It's hard to explain why you like or love things or people. Words can't really explain the *why* of emotions or pleasure.

But I do like Game of Thrones.

Michael K said...

I have never seen an episode but I get the idea that kids are audiences for this and "Hunger Games" as they anticipate a dysfunctional future.

whitney said...

Same here, I've never seen it and I don't really intend to but mostly that's because I don't like being part of the mob

zipity said...

It looks interesting, but I'm not looking for a new relationship at this time...

BDNYC said...

I gave it a shot and didn't like it. I feel like I'm the only person in America who didn't instantly become obsessed with it.

Christy said...

I don't like your tone.

Fernandinande said...

I saw a few episodes because the internets told me to, and they seemed like a lot of people in dingy clothes mumbling to each other in dingy rooms and sometimes a midget and dragons, the only interesting characters. Previously, the midget had been in a better show about a train station.

Mitch H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I watched part of one episode. Good production values, a lot of variety in settings (at least in the part of one I watched) but a lot of context that requires one to have watched MANY episodes to understand what's going on; if I didn't have a fan sitting beside me I'd have been lost. That may be more real life than a complete episode that has no real back story, but I like my entertainment a little simpler than real life. I don't like soap operas, no matter how dressed up they are.

rhhardin said...

I don't even understand watching TV.

Gahrie said...

1) It is not set in the past, it is based on a fantasy world.
2) It has changed television forever in a couple of ways.
a) The scale of it. They are spending $100 million for seven episodes.
b) They break the rules of television. When they killed off what people thought was the main character is the first season, people freaked. That just isn't done.
3) The writing is very good, both the novels and the TV show. The books were very popular long before the TV series was proposed.
4) The acting is very good, across the board.

rhhardin said...

Klavan says men won't watch any film where women wear bonnets.

rhhardin said...

Root for the dragon. Ollie was always the best Kukla Fran and Ollie character.

rhhardin said...

Bonnets mean that relationships are important and there are no explosions.

Snark said...

It's just exceptional storytelling in the way that something like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad or the current Better Call Saul are exceptional storytelling. I didn't watch it for years, then decided last summer to get HBO and proceeded to binge watch all six seasons in an embarrassingly short amount of time. I usually actively avoid television trends, typically because I don't trust the taste of the masses, but sometimes that consensus is well earned.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

My sense is that the Sopranos was really innovative, really did change television (not only made TV cinematic in some ways, which had been promised many times before, but combined long-form story-telling with an episodic structure); many other series are imitative, or struggling to accomplish something similar. I've never been into sci fi or fantasy (except for the movie Blade Runner), so maybe I'm not the intended audience.
In principle the Sopranos "idea" could be transplanted to many settings: strong leader has some surprising weaknesses; his/her business is in some ways contradictory to family life, ordinary social life; the business is forced to change, regardless of who leads it; different characters bring different perspectives, yet somehow belong together. Violence is at one extreme; vulnerability and sentimentality somehow at the other. I personally doubt that boomers can really do the past very well. Surely they think all adults before 1960 were either crazy or evil. Even the victims, including women, surely put up with more than any sane person really should have. If that's your belief, how can you deliver any characters from the past with any plausibility? The writers on the Sopranos lived and breathed boomer culture, knew something about organized crime, and they nailed it all.

MikeR said...

Never watched it, don't plan to, didn't read the book - though my son thought the books were awesome.
But isn't it a little silly to offer us your insights on something you've never seen?
Tell us about string theory next.

Gahrie said...

if you really want to try and understand GoT without watching the whole series, go on Youtube and watch a few reaction videos of people watching GoT. Season 1 Episode 9, Season 3 Episode 9, season 5 Episode 10, Season six Episodes 5, 9 and 10 are good choices.

Any series that can motivate a grandmother to cheer lustily as a dog eats a man's face off can't be all bad.

Breezy said...

In order to understand lunchtime conversations at work about the show, I decided to watch it. I watched the very first episode. I was so shocked at the ending of that episode, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the second. Now, I have to wonder about about my colleagues... (lol)!

Unknown said...

Reminds me of people who spout like experts about countries they have never visited. If you haven't seen it, don't pooh pooh it as you know diddly squat. If you have seen some of it or all of it feel free to pooh pooh it, praise it or whatever.

Luke Lea said...

Young guys like it because of all the beautiful breasts that are constantly being exposed: https://goo.gl/fN9Vyu

There is also a tremendous skew between Democrats and Republicans: https://goo.gl/4hEBoh

Sample Commenter said...

I have seen enough to know that it's pretty much dreck that nobody will remember in 30 years except nostalgia addicts. But hey, I can't stand Harry Potter either, and I have sat through pretty much all of them with my millennial children, and I still don't get them. But I get a kick out of James Bond movies, which are farcical at best.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Lady Destrella, oh how I have admired your beauty from afar..."

"As I have admired your handsome visage, Octagoval!"

"And now, destiny finds us here, alone, together."

"Yes, Octagoval, together. And alone. I tremble with excitement from our proximity."

"I, too, feel the excitement, pulsing through my veins and into my very loins."

"Take me, Octagoval, take me!"

"Uh..."

"What is wrong, Octagoval? We are together. And alone."

"Uh..."

"I stand naked before you, Octagoval: is this not what you have desired?"

"Well..."

"Tell me, Octagoval: tell me of your reticence."

"It's just that, Lady Destrella, ummmm...."

"Just say it, Octagoval: just say it."

"It's just that you smell of ass and fish."

I am Laslo.

Sample Commenter said...

Maybe cheap literary tricks will be remembered in 30 years, and it will be Shakespeare's mouldering grave that finally goes cold, come to think of it.

Chuck said...

I've never watched even part of any episode...

Ditto!

Gahrie said...

I have seen enough to know that it's pretty much dreck that nobody will remember in 30 years except nostalgia addicts.

Wanna bet?

The books were first published in 1991, and the series isn't finished yet. Fans of the books are used to waiting five years between the novels. And yet it is still one of the most popular fantasy series ever.

The TV series is even better.

Laslo Spatula said...

Unknown said...
"Reminds me of people who spout like experts about countries they have never visited. If you haven't seen it, don't pooh pooh it as you know diddly squat."

I do not need to visit Saudi Arabia to know that I do not want to visit Saudi Arabia.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

Early Bond films were also good for remembering American car suspensions.

Laslo Spatula said...

I bet there is a large over lap of women who like "Game of Thrones" also liking "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Just a hunch.

I am Laslo.


MountainMan said...

Gahrie's comments are spot on. I passed on the first season, then binge-watched it before Season 2 started and been with it ever since. It has been pretty good, I think. My older daughter put me on to it, she has read the books. Now, it is ahead of the books so I guess they are making it up as it goes along. Good they will soon bring it to an end soon, I think it has almost gone on too long. Wonder now if the book series will ever be completed. BTW, my wife hates it and refuses to watch.

We both binge-watched HBO's "The Leftovers" a couple of weeks ago, based on some critics reviews I saw online. I was surprised it was so good. It was just about right, 28 episodes over 3 seasons, no attempts to draw it out.

Best shows recently have been "Fargo" and "Better Call Saul". "The Americans" has been a great series, it will come to an end next year. "The Walking Dead" was pretty good early on, but is a good example of a show that has gone on way too long and should be brought to a close. It has become repetitive. Also a show that has no problems killing off characters, especially the fan favorites.

Tried to watch the new season of "House of Cards", got 2 shows in and couldn't watch any more. It has gotten boring. Maybe I will go back to it at some time but right now not a priority.

Though it took some liberties with the facts, "Narcos" on Netflix, a history of the Pablo Escobar drug cartel, was a great show. For those who like historical series, "The Crown" was also very, very good.

Also, thanks to some recommendations by a few of you wonderful commenters on this blog some time in the past I watched all 5 seasons of HBO's "The Wire." Thanks to whoever directed me to that show. What a great series. Great concept, great scripts, and great characters that were perfectly cast. That show launched a lot of careers. If you haven't seen it I would highly recommend it.

rhhardin said...

There's a recap of the first new episode coming on Armstrong and Getty in a few minutes.

http://player.streamtheworld.com/liveplayer.php?callsign=KKATAM

Sample Commenter said...

Wanna bet?

I took it back. Still think it's shit, but it seems like the destruction of standards and the immolation of any efforts toward teaching critical thinking, which is one of the skills a decent education in literature should foster, have created fertile ground for this kind of puerile entertainment to masquerade as art.

After writing this last comment, I have to figure that Simple Commenter is dead as an avatar. I need to come up with a new one.

Sample Commenter said...

Also, thanks to some recommendations by a few of you wonderful commenters on this blog some time in the past I watched all 5 seasons of HBO's "The Wire."

Wait a minute... The Wire? Did that show have dragons?

Beth said...

Fernandinade - loved The Station Agent.

Quaestor said...

I have begun my twelfth year as a non-viewer. I watch movies occasionally which I either stream or play from my rather extensive collection on my media server, but no TV. If I want to view a game I go to the bar down the street, but even that has become rare for me. The habit of watching is broken. To sit passively and watch something, especially something broken up by long commercial breaks, has become a chore.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Since nobody else has posted this, I must.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCadjRCyhcw

sinz52 said...

BDNYC said: "I gave it a shot and didn't like it. I feel like I'm the only person in America who didn't instantly become obsessed with it."

No you're not.

I too watched the first few episodes of the first season.

And I found it too long, too complex, and too boring.

I rarely watch any TV. I never watched Seinfeld, I never watched Friends. I watch TV for occasional diversion--once in a blue moon. So if a series requires me to dedicate myself to watching it intensively, episode after episode, I'm not going to do it.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Oh, Octagoval, I am sorry for my offense. I have not had the opportunity to bathe for two months, and I have run out of perfumes for my lady's nest."

"Forgive me, Lady Destrella: my loins are willing, but my nose cannot bear the thought."

"Perhaps I could just envelop your man-root with my mouth...."

"Uh...."

"Oh no, Octagoval, that too? Is it because of my decayed and missing teeth and my swollen bleeding gums?"

"Well, yes, Lady Destrella, that is pretty much it. Your mouth smells of spoiled barley and chamberpots."

"Maybe it was meant to be: ours, a love never to be consummated."

"Perhaps, Lady Destrella: perhaps that is our stars."

"Oh, Octagoval, you are crying!"

"Uh, no, Lady Destrella: it is just my eyes watering from the hellish stench..."

I am Laslo.

mandrewa said...

I've watched the first season and the start of the second. For some reason I can't get myself to go further. I don't know why. The series is beautifully filmed and well acted.

I read the books a while ago. They were good. Not as good as "The Lord of the Rings," but still they were not bad. Eighty percent of what is in the books is not in the series. But the books are followed closely and I can almost predict what is going to be filmed. So perhaps that lack of surprise can explain some part of why I can't seem to make myself watch it. But there is something else going on. I don't quite understand my lack of interest or perhaps even resistance. Because after all, the series is beautifully filmed and well acted.

Michael K said...

"I do not need to visit Saudi Arabia to know that I do not want to visit Saudi Arabia."

I met a couple last month who had lived in Saudi Arabia for 25 years. He was in the oil business and a very interesting guy.

You do get to save a lot of money.

Michael K said...

"Eighty percent of what is in the books is not in the series."

I noticed that with the Lord of the Rings, too. I read the books back in the 70s and read them to my kids.

Oso Negro said...

@ Laslo Spatula - You might be surprised if you visited Saudi Arabia. Not a monolithic culture. Has its charm and beauty.

Gahrie said...

Maybe cheap literary tricks will be remembered in 30 years, and it will be Shakespeare's mouldering grave that finally goes cold, come to think of it.

Much of what makes GoT popular is borrowed directly from Shakespeare. One of the most dramatic scenes in the series in Season 5 Episode 10 is straight out of Julius Caesar. The mad king who is killed off before the series begins resembles King Lear. A female character is very similar to Macbeth.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

My watch list was pretty much exhausted this spring so I decided to give the first season a shot. Before I knew it, my wife and I had binged our way through all six seasons. I'm not a fantasy fan but it's a great show.

Original Mike said...

I've never seen it. I don't get HBO.

SoLastMillennium said...

"I've never watched even part of any episode"

Then you lack key data for understanding the interest and affect on the viewers G.O.T. has on its fans, and Ms Althouse would know that. Since most of the clever posters here would also know that, what was the reason for the post and what would the commenters be reveling here?

Gahrie said...

One of the most overlooked assets of GoT is the soundtrack. The composer is amazing. He is one of the biggest reasons people become so emotionally involved in what is happening on screen. By the way, this includes the use of silence.

rhhardin said...

What's with DVD players dying? They work for a few years and then go erratic on noticing DVDs and then stop working.

Nobody knows. As long as a new external DVD player costs less than a cleaning kit I don't suppose people will find out.

Quaestor said...

The popular facination with fantasy is troubling. LOTR is ok, and I suppose Game of Thrones is too in a soapy sort of way — long, dilute narratives spun out primarily to glue an audience to the screen long enough to be pummeled by 20 minutes of psychological conditioning embedded in each hour of "Saxon violence", but none of this yarn-spinning compares to the truly mind-blowing fantasy of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.

If I were a Hollywood producer I'd be looking for a director to do Das Rheingold with full-on CGI, armor, giants, gods, nude Rhinemaidens, the works. Sure, there are live productions going on somewhere it seems all the time, but modern opera producers seem to want to destroy art rather than exult in it. Go to a Ring Cycle production today and the odds are you won't know what the hell is going on. The gods don't look like gods and the heroes aren't in the least heroic. Look at this trash. A film version done with the loving attention of a Peter Jackson could inspire a whole new generation of aspiring artists to break the shackles of post-modernism.

rhhardin said...

The many seasons of 60's Get Smart are good. I watched them all a couple times.

The key thing was that 99 always showed Max that she was satisfied with him. That made 99 a star.

traditionalguy said...

Let me guess. It is about a hierarchy of power among demons and dragons. A supernatural WWF. And the matches go on and on.

Sample Commenter said...

99 and Flo, two nearly perfect women.

Bay Area Guy said...

My wife is a devotee of GoT. When I casually walk through the tv room while she's watching, I see a lotta sword fights, an attractive blonde queen, and an articulate dwarf.

It hasn't captured my fancy yet. But, I do acknowledge that I could be hopelessly obtuse on the matter.

I did love The Wire and Curb Your Enthusiasm - so there's that.

Scott said...


Gahrie said...

1) It is not set in the past, it is based on a fantasy world.
2) It has changed television forever in a couple of ways.
a) The scale of it. They are spending $100 million for seven episodes.
b) They break the rules of television. When they killed off what people thought was the main character is the first season, people freaked. That just isn't done.
3) The writing is very good, both the novels and the TV show. The books were very popular long before the TV series was proposed.
4) The acting is very good, across the board.
7/17/17, 7:44 AM


Regarding point #1, while it is in a fantasy world, a lot of the events and characters are heavily based on on actual people from Western European Medieval history. To pick on a particularly (in)famous episode in the GOT fanbase, the Red Wedding in the show is based on two nasty events from Scottish history (The Black Dinner of 1440 where the 16 year old Earl of Douglas and his 10 year old brother were betrayerunning at once and in any major event there's usually mutiple people angling to d and executed at a royal banquet in their honor, and the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692). Likewise Tywin Lannister shares a LOT of similarities with King Edward I Longshanks (AKA 'The Hammer of the Scots') from English history.

As for 2b, yes anyone can die, and frequently die nastily and messily. In a lot of ways GOT is a brutal deconstruction of the classic fantasy genre with relatively few heroic characters and a lot of gray on gray or black on black morality and the victors writing the histories. Also, many of the characters are rather complex with their own motivations and flaws as well as good points.

3&4 are spot on. The writing and acting are both first-rate and there's generally several separate plots running at the same time that overlap and impact each other. Also for any major event, there's generally multiple players pushing for their own benefit (IE for the Red Wedding, the main power players were one of the factions the character who was killed was fighting in a multi-sided civil war slash succession crisis, a vassal of the betrayed who was angling to overthrow him and gain his power, both of whom were pushing the actual noble family that committed the massacre to do what they did).

So yes, it's very complex and addictive, although it's also a bit of an acquired taste.

Sample Commenter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sample Commenter said...

am starting to agree with people that there is not enough going on in a baseball game. Wouldn't it be great if one team had dragons! Probably the New York Yankees. Dragons could be symbolic of an endless supply of cash not available to other teams. The other owners could get together and try to limit the power of dragons in baseball, think of the narrative possibilities!

dustbunny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sample Commenter said...

Much of what makes GoT popular is borrowed directly from Shakespeare. One of the most dramatic scenes in the series in Season 5 Episode 10 is straight out of Julius Caesar.

What was I saying about "cheap literary tricks?"

dustbunny said...

Althouse nailed it as being too much work. I watched 3 episodes and gave up.

Laslo Spatula said...

I do not need to watch amputee porn to know that one of those fucking has a stump.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I do not need to watch fat-chick porn to know that one of those fucking is really fat.

I am Laslo.

mandrewa said...

Michael K., with my son and my daughter, I would read books with them where we'd alternate paragraphs. I would read a paragraph aloud and they would read a paragraph aloud. And back and forth, and back and forth, until we would finish the book.

Of course if you are going to do that you want it to be a good book. The Lord of the Rings books might be such a thing. With my daughter, I can't remember all that we read, but I do remember reading the Homecoming, Dicey's Song, and The Runner by Cynthia Voigt. Just thinking about that reminds me of how much I miss it.

Laslo Spatula said...

I do not need to watch bestiality porn to know that one of those fucking is probably a german Shepard.

Or at least some kind of dog.

Or maybe a horse.

Anyway.

I am Laslo.

Sample Commenter said...

The writing and acting are both first-rate and there's generally several separate plots running at the same time that overlap and impact each other.

Known as a "potboiler, it's an old form.

David Baker said...

Where does one go to see this Game Of Thrones?

Darrell said...

The important thing to remember is that it's no "My Dinner With Andre."
Thank God.
Although it could be "My Dinner With Andre The Giant."

Michael K said...

"Just thinking about that reminds me of how much I miss it."

I also read "Watership Down" to them and then, when they were teenagers, I was able to take them to the real Watership Down in Hampshire.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

If you've never had a positive reaction to Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Comic-Con, cosplay and the like (or the small screen version of the fiction of same) then there's probably not much here for you. The shows early seasons pieced together the formula from other successful HBO shows: Plot lines where major characters aren't immune to getting whacked. Gratuitous nude scenes. Satisfying political innuendo and virtue signaling. Turns out much of the success was the intricate plot lines and comic book hero character development. Then HBO cranked up the budget with beautiful location shoots, costumes and CGI. Now its an E-ticket ride in a sci-fi fantasy world.

Bob Ellison said...

I just want to sit back and watch a comedy. I don't have enough grey matter for this new kind of stuff.

NoBorg said...

The show is visually reminiscent of medieval Western Europe, and lots of plot elements are clearly lifted from medieval history (sometimes it's a little too obvious I think), but the overall sense of the cultures and morality of the society portrayed seems to more closely resemble that of the Roman Empire era. Medieval European life was by no means a cake walk but I feel the culture of the people in this series is a few notches harder and more cruel than the reality of the middle ages. A bunch of characters are flat out evil psychopaths, maybe to an excessive degree. Very well written and acted, unpredictable plots for the most part, great production values, here and there they have a scene which is really superb. Meanwhile not quite enough to get me to be a regular viewer....maybe I'll binge watch them some day if I have time. As far as lifting plots from Shakespeare.....well, yes, but so has nearly everything else written since then.

Bob Ellison said...

Laslo Spatula, you are right to change your avatar, but you should simplify it and make it recognizable at a glance.

rhhardin said...

I don't suppose Game of Thrones has unexplained scenes in strip clubs to get tits into the plot for the coveted R rating.

clint said...

Sample Commenter said...
"am starting to agree with people that there is not enough going on in a baseball game. Wouldn't it be great if one team had dragons! ..."

I direct you to Myth Directions, the third book in the Myth Adventures series of pun-filled tongue-firmly-in-cheek fantasy by Robert Asprin.

The plot centers around a magical game of rugby with magicians and demons and dragons on the field.

https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Directions-Myth-Adventures-Book-3-ebook/dp/B00INCUVYW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


Re: Game of Thrones...

Thanks to our hostess the thread to discuss this, even though it's not her cup of tea.

George R.R. Martin has an exceptional talent for drawing characters quickly. It's what makes an epic novel with a cast of thousands work. Somewhere in the first two books, he starts a chapter by introducing a brand new character. Two paragraphs later, we're already emotionally invested in the character when something horrible happens to him and he dies. It's a real gift.


Breezy said...
"I watched the very first episode. I was so shocked at the ending of that episode, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the second."

Spoiler Alert: Bran survived the fall.

rehajm said...

Interestingly there was an SNL skit that 'explained' the show was being co-produced by a thirteen year old boy, which is why the show had so many gratuitous nude scenes (Boobies!!!). The SNL video has since been eradicated from the internet.

rhhardin said...

Tits are designed to look good under clothes. It's not tits themselves that men have to recognize but the shading differences at a distance so you know there's a woman out there.

Mary Beth said...

I enjoyed the books, I enjoy the show.

I have the same lack of understanding of how anyone could want to watch "Girls", but at least I tried watching the first episode of that before deciding it was, for me, unwatchable.

gg6 said...

Honestly, Anne, you just finished musing on 'fulfilling razorblades' and the political reality of a Caitlyn Jenner character but you profess no sincere curiosity at all about the most successful TV production ever - even bragging you've never watched a single episode?!? Instead, you dismiss the possible validity of ANYONEs interest in it because you have none of your own? Shame! (as they might chant on GOT).

clint said...

I continue to be inexplicably proud that I've never seen Titanic...

It might be my latent oikophobia peeking through.

Ann Althouse said...

"What is The Vulture?"

The culture section of New York Magazine.

Darrell said...

Tits are designed to look good under clothes.

Isn't God wonderful?

Ann Althouse said...

I've never liked these long dramas that are heavy on the costumes and English accents and lots of characters bustling about. I'm pre-bored. I have no idea if I'd find it interesting if I invested enough time in it to know the characters. I've avoided this sort of thing going back at least as far as "Elizabeth R" on Masterpiece Theater in the early 1970s (with Glenda Jackson!). Never watched "Upstairs, Downstairs" or "Downton Abbey."

CWJ said...

Watch it. Love it. Have now read all five volumes published thus far.

I don't subscribe to HBO, so I've purchased each season as it comes out on DVD. My biggest problem is to avoid spoilers until then.

As far as the books are concerned, I dispair that there will be any closure to the series. The show followed the books closely during season one, but has gradually diverged in significant (but understandable) ways thereafter. And has progressed well beyond the books by the end of season six. What exactly is JRR Martin's motivation to complete the book series now that the TV show has trumped the storyline?

Steve said...

Game of Thrones has gone full hipster circle.

Stage 1: Have you read these books they are very good
Stage 2: The show is good but the books were better
Stage 3: The early books were good but the later shows are better than the later books
Stage 4: I've never seen an episode and I can't imagine why anyone would watch.

I need a program to figure out how to be one of the cool kids. I sat at home alone last night and watched it wearing short pants.

Steve said...

CWJ asks: What exactly is JRR Martin's motivation to complete the book series now that the TV show has trumped the storyline?

Cash and cultural relevance. Other than that he's got nothing. The TV show has eclipsed the books.

Ann Althouse said...

"1) It is not set in the past, it is based on a fantasy world."

So... more like "Lord of the Rings" and "Dragonslayer"? But it is a past-like fantasy world, that medieval stuff with dragons, right?

"2) It has changed television forever in a couple of ways. a) The scale of it. They are spending $100 million for seven episodes."

I don't care. I don't like this sort of thing in movies either. I had trouble sitting through the first "Lord of the Rings" and never went back for the sequels.

"b) They break the rules of television. When they killed off what people thought was the main character is the first season, people freaked. That just isn't done."

Eh. I remember when Janet Leigh got killed early on in "Psycho." That was historically important. Also the father gets killed surprisingly in the first episode of "6 Feet Under." Or is this history that keeps getting to be redone?

"3) The writing is very good, both the novels and the TV show. The books were very popular long before the TV series was proposed."

So... exciting for people who are into the book (and books like that). I would never put my reading time into that sort of thing. Excellent writing should be a baseline of any tv show or movie. I'm not interested in reading or watching something just because it's well-written. There are a million well-written books I haven't read.

"4) The acting is very good, across the board."

Bleh. Acting. I'm averse to acting. Not enough to interest me. Watching faces getting all emotional.

Ann Althouse said...

If the writing is so good, how about listing 10 great lines from the show. The 10 best-written lines, chosen for impact on someone who has not seen the show.

William said...

The whole point of a fantasy world is to live in a place where death has limited dominion, gravity is negotiable, and beautiful women are commonplace and not afflicted with body odor. The walking dead probably smell bad though. All that rotting flesh. Fortunately winter is coming, and the cold weather helps to keep their smells endurable.

Ann Althouse said...

"I didn't watch it for years, then decided last summer to get HBO and proceeded to binge watch all six seasons in an embarrassingly short amount of time. I usually actively avoid television trends, typically because I don't trust the taste of the masses, but sometimes that consensus is well earned."

If HBO put Season 1 up on demand, I might... Wait, there's also HBOGo. Yes, it's possible to start with Season 1 there.

rhhardin said...

I'd recommend Deadpool for zingers.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

IF you haven't read the books then understanding the series is really difficult. I liked the books, but then again Sci-Fi and Fantasy are some of my favorite genres. Don't get me started on the Fat Bastard (the author) and his dereliction of duty in NOT finishing the series of books.

When my husband and I were watching the HBO shows, I found that I had to frequently stop the show and explain who these characters are, why they are doing what they are doing, the relationships between the various factions, the political motivations behind the action and a whole lot more. There were many things that were in the books that were left OUT of the shows, I assume, because they think everyone was familiar with the concepts. Wrong!

It was tedious. Boring for me and confusing and frustrating for my husband. Too much work!! Forget it. We watch something else.

Also.... When the series started taking turns that were never in the books and began making stuff up out of whole cloth.....because the Fat Bastard hasn't written any more..I also got discouraged and said forget it.

Sample Commenter said...

Although it could be "My Dinner With Andre The Giant."

The closest to this is "As You Wish" an account of the making of the movie "The Princess Bride" by that good looking actor who played the lead. HIs stories about Andre the Giant, with whom he became great friends, were great.

The scale of it. They are spending $100 million for seven episodes."

By this measure, Independence Day was a great movie!

Not sure why people are getting all touchy. We all have our guilty pleasures. I enjoy listening to ABBA from time to time. I even like that song by Justin Beiber that made him famous. It's the insistence that is is some kind of fine literature that is laughable.

Michael K said...

"I continue to be inexplicably proud that I've never seen Titanic..."

I took my mother to see it when it came out. She was 14 when it sank and remembered it well.

She laughed at several parts of the movie, especially the sex scene in the car.

She had fun, though. She was always a good sport.

She was 99 when we saw the movie. She lived to 103 and was healthy until the last year.

chuck said...

It's a thing. When I came home from a conference Sunday the folks who were staying over until Monday were setting up a GoT viewing party on the conference slack channel.

Read the first book when it came out in paperback, lo, 20 years ago, and then read the next two books in the series, but gave up while waiting for the fourth book. Most of the characters I was interested in were dead in any case, The series still isn't finished.

Sample Commenter said...

Hint, you never suggested wrestling was fake in the presence of Andre the Giant if you valued your health but he rode to school in Samuel Beckett's convertible because he couldn't fit in the school bus. They talked about football (soccer).

Ann Althouse said...

"My sense is that the Sopranos was really innovative, really did change television (not only made TV cinematic in some ways, which had been promised many times before, but combined long-form story-telling with an episodic structure)..."

I agree about "The Sopranos." I would watch and rewatch each episode. But that show had a lot of humor. Is there any humor in "Game of Thrones"? I think I only like dramas that have a lot of comedy.

rhhardin said...

I remember when dungeons and dragons first showed up as a unix program. Lunch hour groups formed, discussions started, and I was baffled and remain baffled.

It's a program, You can make it anything, it's completely up to the coder. No constraints are imposed by the medium. Who cares what he did.

Peggy Coffey said...

My husband was a tv junkie and also loves GoT. But three months ago we cut the cable. Now he watches Netflix, Amazon, and streams all the programs he used to watch and its not costing us $200 a month. I never developed a tv habit, so I dont miss it at all.

Ron said...

I tried to watch it...but fell asleep through the first few episodes and decided I didn't care about it to watch further.

William said...

There's a certain amount of political correctness to the show. Those who are opposed to slavery and tolerant of gays and strong women are presented sympathetically. It never occurred to anyone to be opposed to slavery prior to the 17th century. As self evident rights go, freedom from slavery wasn't all that self evident. I don't think gay rights or female emancipation were much discussed either, Thats why fantasy worlds are so much superior to this dreary place. You can have a fantasy history in fantasy worlds.

Pianoman said...

It's Lord Of The Rings, with BEWBS.

CWJ said...

Steve,

Do you not think he is deriving plenty of cash and cultural relevance from the show independent of the books? My understanding is he is a party to the show as well as his books.

It took him a couple of decades to publish the first five volumes, and I felt him losing his mojo by the end of the last two volumes. That's a long time to stay motivated and personally invested in such a project, much less when HBO comes along to enable you to continue it with an army of actors and technicians doing the heavy lifting for you. We may get a sixth volume, but only because that one is supposedly all but completed.

Sample Commenter said...

No constraints are imposed by the medium

Exactly. It's like tennis without a net.

Snark said...

Many have referred to it as fantasy, but I think of it more as magic realism, set in an unreal place.

Laslo Spatula said...

Well-acted, well-filmed movies I would never want to watch:

Meryl Streep and Ben Kingsley in "The Bridges of Dragon County"

"The weather is getting colder."

"Yes. Martha: yes it is. Winter's coming."

"It seemed like summer lasted forever. Now autumn is fleeting past, and our winter will be on us soon."

"Are you trying to tell me something?"

"Tell you something, Aaron? What would I be trying to tell you?"

"Well, we are getting older. There have been indiscretions."

"I am simply talking about the weather, that's all. Winter is coming."

"Okay, Martha. We are only talking about winter."

"All the things we did in Spring and Summer: Winter is the price we pay."

"Sometimes the price has already been paid, Martha."

"Sometimes the price is never paid, Aaron. At least not in full."

"Are we still just speaking of the weather."

"Of course, Aaron. It seems that talking about the weather is one of the few things we have left to talk about."

"What is it that you think we should be talking about, Martha?"

"Oh, nothing in particular. I suppose talking about the weather is fine."

"Remember when we were young and we'd go to the bridge with a bottle of wine and look for the dragon?"

"The dragon was just folklore, Aaron. "

"I know that. But it was fun to believe, even if we were just pretending to believe."

"I have pretended to believe a lot of things, Aaron."

"Are we just talking about the dragon, Martha?"

"Of course. The young can have fantasies. Then the cold weather comes."

"It is just winter. It comes every year."

"Yes it does. But it seems to last longer every year. One day the year may become winter all along."

"We have more Springs and Summers left to us, Martha."

"I have had enough of Springs and Summers. I have had enough of Spring and Summers'… indiscretions."

"Is this what you want to talk about, Martha? Do you wish to discuss indiscretions?"

"Of course not, Aaron. The past is the past. Now we are just waiting for the dragon to come."

"The dragon?"

"The dragon, Aaron: the reckoning. Where fantasies die."

"Is this a real dragon, or a metaphorical dragon?"

"It is real in the ending it brings."

"You are right, Martha: it is getting cold."

"Yes it is, Aaron. I think I shall wear a shawl."

I am Laslo.

Steve said...

“Winter is coming.”

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”

“And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”

“What do we say to the Lord of Death?" ... "Not today.”

"What do we have left once we abandon the lie?
Chaos.
A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.
Chaos isn't a pit.
Chaos is a ladder."

"IT'S THE FAMILY NAME THAT LIVES ON. IT'S ALL THAT LIVES ON."

"The Lannisters send their regards."

"I'm gonna have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."

"Go on. Do your duty."





William said...

Daenyrs, the blonde dragon queen, seems to me to be a variant of the Audrey Hepburn character in Roman Holiday. What if that character, with all her sweetness and innocence, were granted unlimited power. It's an interesting riff.......Similarly, the Chief Sparrow character seems like a hybrid of St Francis of Assisi, St Ignatius of Loyola, and Elmer Gantry. It's interesting the way the plot molds and melds historical characters and our contemporary understanding of those characters.

Kate said...

The truly groundbreaking quality of GoT is that the first seasons had soft-core porn integrated (-ish) into the story. Whether or not this is an admirable advancement, it was ... startling. Many shows on cable have followed in GoT's wake.

Good screenwriting is not about 10 lines of memorable dialogue. That's a trailer. The person who suggested watching reaction youtubes has the right idea. You won't know the character arc, the political forces at play, etc, but you'll see the impact the build had on the viewer. That's a sign of good writing.

Dragons are of little importance and are rarely shown, although their moments are used to great effect. Mostly the appeal is watching unclean people (as Laslo says) engaged in high stakes maneuvering. The fantasy element, the extreme revenge violence, and, yes, the bouncing bewbs, feel nothing like real life, which is wonderfully escapist.

And it's fun to know what everyone's talking about. Community, of a sort.

rehajm said...

There's comic-relief type humor and humorous characters. Pretty much anything from Bronn or The Hound is funy. Tyrion is sarcastic at times. They riff on the storylines...

From last night:

You killed your brother. – Cersei You should try it sometime. Felt good. – Euron

It’s my fucking luck I ended up with a bunch of fire worshippers. – The Hound

Steve said...

CWJ,

I think GRRM is getting plenty of cash and cultural relevance from the show. And I agree that the books were headed downhill. The quality of the show surpassed the books at about Season 3. I think that all of the artistic rewards he might have gotten have been sucked out of the project by the show. If he finishes the series (a big if) it will be for the money.

eddie willers said...

The most amazing show happening right now is Twin Peaks: The Return.

And nobody is watching it!. GoT is a comic book (a good one, though) against that.

Michael K said...

The truly groundbreaking quality of GoT is that the first seasons had soft-core porn integrated (-ish) into the story.

I have never watched that show but I did get a DVD set of the show "Rome" and watched the first episode.

Yikes !

Steve said...

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has picked a few of their favorite lines:

pic.twitter.com/tO2xBBhoKJ

Clayton Hennesey said...

Game of Thrones is popular because, in Game of Thrones, the monsters are the humans.

zoecrockett said...

Hoo boy, if you don't like a show with a high body count of characters you may or may not care about, never watch "The Walking Dead".

Sam L. said...

I've never watched anything on HBO.

rehajm said...

I don't suppose Game of Thrones has unexplained scenes in strip clubs to get tits into the plot for the coveted R rating.

They have a brothel for that.

ALP said...

For anyone that has started GoT but can't keep up the commitment, may I suggest a YouTube series "Gay of Thrones" by the Funny or Die crew. In each short recap (7 minutes max) a gay hairdresser has a new guest in his chair, they discuss the last episode, hilarity ensues.

Roy Lofquist said...

"Victory at Sea" was pretty good. It's been kind of down hill ever since.

Bill Peschel said...

"Game of Thrones" is today's sorting hat among the Althouse intelligentsia.

Sample Commenter said...

Steve makes Althouse's point. There were two good lines there, by my count. The Princess Bride beats that easily in one short movie. "Winter is coming" means nothing to anybody who hasn't watched the show.

Rick said...

Ann Althouse said...
But that show had a lot of humor. Is there any humor in "Game of Thrones"?


Yes, but ultimately the series is about political intrigue.

Sample Commenter said...

I need a program to figure out how to be one of the cool kids.

Is that important?

Titus said...

I am loving Dear White People...Finished Master of None which is amazing. Also into The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Not interested in seeing fantasy stuff.

And I am digging Rihanna right now. She pumps up my workouts.

tits.

Titus said...

"Althouse intelligentsia."

hilarious.

Christy said...

The first book, the first season, is a fantasy version of The War of the Roses. The Lannisters and the Starks? Twenty years on and I'm still heartbroken about Ned Stark, a truly good man who lacked the political nous to survive the game of thrones. Good does not trump the evil scrambling for power.

Not having HBO I always binge watched the free week of Comcast's Watchathon.

DBQ, Regarding the pace of the books, Neil Gaiman famously declared that GRRM is not your bitch.

Darrell said...

Titus
The Incredible Lightness of Boring.

grimson said...

I started watching a few weeks ago--finishing the third season now.

Although fun (especially Peter Dinklage), there are too many characters and storylines making the episodes too unfocused. And all the "girl power" gets tiresome, but men will put up with it for the nudity.

David53 said...

"If the writing is so good, how about listing 10 great lines from the show. The 10 best-written lines, chosen for impact on someone who has not seen the show."

That seems like a bogus request, you already have your mind made up it has no great lines. Without context, there are never any great lines. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Sample Commenter said...

Titus is OK, but he's got his street cred to think of, yet here he is again slumming.

David53 said...

Unless you're Trump.

evelynne said...

Dust Bunny Queen said, "When my husband and I were watching the HBO shows, I found that I had to frequently stop the show and explain who these characters are, why they are doing what they are doing, the relationships between the various factions, the political motivations behind the action and a whole lot more."

This is what I like about the show. The political intrigue and backroom dealing is fascinating to watch. I also find it hard to keep track of everything but I enjoy that challenge, and I like going online to find where other viewers notice things that I missed and make connections I didn't make on my own. It's a very rich viewing experience.

The show has excellent continuity -- a hint that is dropped in one season will come into play three seasons later. Not a lot of loose ends, which I really appreciate.

There are also delightful character interactions, as well as character development as people grow and make mistakes and are affected by things that happen to them. It sucks that characters die, but the reason it's so upsetting is because the show makes you care so much about them. Conversely, it can be very gratifying when an evil character gets his comeuppance in the most fitting of ways.

The boobs and shock value and the dragons are almost cheap hooks to get people to watch it, but the show has much more depth than that.

Sample Commenter said...

Without context, there are never any great lines

I surrender, 'GoT' is great fiction. A lot of people like Hansen too, so they are a great band.

Sample Commenter said...

I admit, the first time I watched it, dragons ex machina saved the day like the cavalry in an old western, so that was it for me. I also prefer imperfect boobs that might sag that I can fondle to perfect ones I can't. Just me.

rehajm said...

If anything you can watch for arguably the best opening title sequence in the modern era. Certainly top five all time.

Phil said...

Yes, the opening titles are fantastic. The rest of it? I watched one and a half seasons, and the basic outline of every episode was

1. 5 minutes or so of "whoa that is awesome, I'm definitely watching this!!""
2. 5 minutes or so of reasonable plot and character development.
3. What seems like an interminable amount of unnecessary character development.
4. 5 minutes or so of "whoa that is great I'm tuning in next week!!!"

After a while I got tired of investing the time. YMMV.

buwaya said...

I read the books when they came out, they were something of a cult hit in the 1990's.
Of course, I have been an SF and Fantasy fan since childhood, obsessive sometimes.

My personal favorite show these days is "Silicon Valley".

So YMMV re my opinions.

These are NOT the finest fantasy novels ever written, nor the most literary, nor are they my favorites. The best are probably un-filmable - Gene Wolfe's for instance; and some of the most entertaining likewise, such as anything by Jack Vance.

Martin started extremely well, the first three books are very well done, in their genre. he is one of those world-builders that go to great lengths to make a believable unbelievable world, with politics especially working as human beings really do politics. And everything is morally ambiguous as it really is and ever was. His good guys do terrible things, or even their best instincts yield tragedies, and there is collateral damage to innocents, also as in life.

The mighty rage about, marching armies here and there, and the civilians get it in the neck, the casualties mount up to WWI levels. Wars depopulate regions, there is famine and plague and anarchy, warlords and bandits and guerrillas raid and loot, and its hard to tell them apart.

He got lost later, the last two books are something of a mess as Martin just started sprouting plot lines willy-nilly, leaving loose ends everywhere.

My wife got into them after the show started.

The show is also well done, and quite faithful to the books until the last two seasons or so. They have had to go to some lengths to tie up the masses of Martins loose ends, sometimes by wholesale massacre.

This is a pagan story. Do not expect Christian ethics in it, you are looking at a world that, though medieval-Renaissance in aspect and historical model, is something out of classical literature in spirit. Imagine a cross between western literature from Homer to Apuleius, the fall of the Roman Republic, the hundred-year war and the wars of the roses, with a good bit of the thirty-years war also.

All the nudity, or nearly all of it, was stuck in there by HBO, it isn't in the books. Whatever sex there is in Martins work is off-stage. The gore also, for the most part.

Night Owl said...

Generally, I can't get into fantasy like LOTR and Harry Potter, or even comic-book based films. I tend to fall asleep during those movies when I'm forced to watch them with family. (But I love Sci-fi. Go figure. )

I started watching GOT only because my husband was watching it, but returned for many seasons because the storyline sucked me in. It was different in that respect from your standard fantasy film. But I often felt like I needed to clean my brain after viewing. I made myself stop watching after they burned the little girl at the stake. But I can understand why people like it. The narrative is compelling in that "you won't believe what happens next!" way that click-bait ads are compelling.

GOT changed television viewing by making porn acceptable -- acceptable in the sense that you are not embarrassed to discuss it with your friends at work the next day.

Gahrie said...

The scale of it. They are spending $100 million for seven episodes."

By this measure, Independence Day was a great movie!


I didn't say the $100 million made it great, I said it changed television forever.

Gahrie said...

If the writing is so good, how about listing 10 great lines from the show. The 10 best-written lines, chosen for impact on someone who has not seen the show.

This is a bullshit standard. the lines weren't written to have an impact on those who don't watch the show, they were written to have an impact on those who do.

If I cite the line "Hodor" to you, it means nothing. But if I cite it to a show watcher, it immediately brings a strong reaction.

oopsy daisy said...

@ Christy

DBQ, Regarding the pace of the books, Neil Gaiman famously declared that GRRM is not your bitch

Yahbut....don't start something that you can't or won't finish. If it became too much of a chore to finish the story line (and I can imagine that it did and that Martin is utterly sick of the whole thing) ....then hand it off to someone who will finish it with your oversight. Like Clive Cussler and a lot of other 'prolific' author have done.

Birkel said...

If you want the backstory from the books but don't want to read them, watch YouTube videos by the author

Alt Shift X

That dude will set you right with all the backstory, in 12-15 minutes.

Gahrie said...

Now its an E-ticket ride in a sci-fi fantasy world.

Great metaphor, but the number of people who will understand it today is very small. I use it all of the time, and often have to explain it.

buwaya said...

"It never occurred to anyone to be opposed to slavery prior to the 17th century. "

It did, to the Christian Church, in various cases and degrees. Both the Roman and Greek Churches were opposed to slavery as a matter of policy. They almost entirely ended slavery in Europe by the medieval period.

sy1492 said...

I remember Ann was curious as to why Breaking Bad was so popular and finally broke down and watched the series. Game of Thrones is similar but I think you will enjoy it more because its more dramatic and political than Breaking Bad. Both are in my Top 5 shows of all time.

Kate said...

"The best are probably un-filmable - Gene Wolfe's for instance;"

Someday, my friend, someday. Filmmaking -- the storytelling side more than the technical -- has a bit of maturing to do before it can tackle Wolfe, but we'll get there and it will be glorious.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Dragon Friends"


[Scene: Chandler and Joey's, Chandler is dragon sitting.]

Chandler: Okay, but this is the last time. (singing) With a dragon-dragon here, and a dragon-dragon there. Here a dragon, there a dragon, everywhere a dragon-dragon-(Joey enters)

Joey: Hey.

Chandler: Hey.

Joey: How’s she doing?

Chandler: She?

Joey: Well yeah, don’t-don’t you think it’s a she?

Chandler: I don’t know. (He picks the dragon up and turns it over, trying to determine the sex of the dragon, and blows on it.) I can’t tell, what ever it was went back in too quickly.

Joey: Well, anyway, I got to go change, I’m ah, meeting some of the cast for drinks.

Chandler: Excuse me?

Joey: What?

Chandler: I stayed home from work today while you were at rehearsal so somebody could be here with our dragon!

Joey: Hey! Who was up from 2 o’clock this morning until 5 o’clock this morning trying to get her back to sleep?

Chandler: You don’t think I get up when you get up?

Joey: Ohhh, here it comes.

Chandler: Yes, here it comes! I’m stuck here all day, and then you come in and spend two seconds with us and then expect to go off gallivanting with your friends? Well I don’t think so mister!

Joey: Hey!! I need to relax! Okay? I was working all day!

Chandler: And you don’t think taking care of our dragon is work?

Joey: That’s not what I said. Okay, I just meant...

Chandler: I know what you meant!! (pause) You notice that ever since we got this dragon, we’ve been fighting a lot more than we used too?

Joey: I don’t know, maybe we weren’t ready to have a dragon.

Chandler: I’ll take her back tomorrow.

Joey: Do you think we’ll get our three bucks back?

I am Laslo.

Sample Commenter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grackle said...

I like GoT a lot. I was hooked with the first episode I viewed, somewhere in the fifth season when I was recovering from surgery. It was a nice diversion. I went back and started over from the beginning.

I DO get burned out with some series(House of Cards after the first season), but not this particular one and I am NOT a fan of fantasy. With the exception of GoT the genre has never appealed to me. I was also a rabid fan of Breaking Bad.

The acting is first rate. Ditto the production values. The script is well-written and the plot is credible within the context of the show’s fantasy environment. I have never read the books and doubt that I ever will. I have a long list of books I want to read and I’ll probably never read most of those.

readering said...

Baelish: Knowledge is power.

Cersei: (after pretending to order Baelish's execution on the spot): Power is power.

Ty said...

Recently I had a friend with only a law degree over for TV night. Insensitively, I put on the Game of Thrones season 7 premier. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with places named “Braavos” and “Volantis” and characters like Tyrion Lannister, Littlefinger and Daenerys Targaryen. I quickly asked her if she wanted to watch something else and she anxiously nodded yes and we watched American Idol.

buwaya said...

Laslo,

This fun stuff works for "Game of Thrones", but it sounds like the actual dialogue of "Silicon Valley".

Smilin' Jack said...

I'd rather have a root canal without anesthesia than either read or watch Lord of the Rings, but I get most cultural references to it because I've read Bored of the Rings, the Harvard Lampoon's short and amusing parody. Someone needs to do that for GoT.

Gahrie said...

but I get most cultural references to it because I've read Bored of the Rings,.... Someone needs to do that for GoT.

Go on Youtube and watch the Beginner's Guide to GoT.

Jim at said...

Isn't this the show that put George W. Bush's severed head on a pike?

Yeah. For the life of me, I'll never figure out why I never watched it.

Smilin' Jack said...

I get most cultural references to it because I've read Bored of the Rings,.... Someone needs to do that for GoT.

Go on Youtube and watch the Beginner's Guide to GoT.


Somehow I doubt it compares to the adventures of Frito and Dildo.

If I cite the line "Hodor" to you, it means nothing. But if I cite it to a show watcher, it immediately brings a strong reaction.

Useful to know. No one who has a strong reaction to the line "Hodor" belongs in my world, unless she's really hot and the reaction is a giggle.

eddie willers said...

My personal favorite show these days is "Silicon Valley".

Season one, episode eight: Greatest dick joke ever!

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"Recently I had a friend with only a law degree over for TV night. Insensitively, I put on the Game of Thrones season 7 premier. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with places named “Braavos” and “Volantis” and characters like Tyrion Lannister, Littlefinger and Daenerys Targaryen. I quickly asked her if she wanted to watch something else and she anxiously nodded yes and we watched American Idol."

That is some quality snark. Well done.

"I don't suppose Game of Thrones has unexplained scenes in strip clubs to get tits into the plot for the coveted R rating."

Not exactly but, yes.

Richard said...

So many comments and "Vikings" rates zero mentions? Come on! If you like GoT, you'll like "Vikings", is my opinion. When Ragnar Lothbrok's coffin was admitted through the gates of Paris, verklempt-ness ensued (embarrassingly so}. Bingeworthy. Also hot blondes.

rcocean said...

GoT jumped the shark last year. Zombies? Give me a break. What's the point of caring if some character gets killed when they can always come back?

But I'm not surprised that the show has become more popular as its become more action oriented and fantasy driven. People love Zomibies, Dragons and "Black magic". If they get some Vampires this season, the ratings will really sky-rocket.

rcocean said...

"The show is also well done, and quite faithful to the books until the last two seasons or so. They have had to go to some lengths to tie up the masses of Martins loose ends, sometimes by wholesale massacre."

Yeah, Martin was good at starting subplots with interesting characters, but then he'd get lazy and just chop off someone's head off, rather then coming up with an well thought out resolution.

rcocean said...

As stated in the comments above, the first three GoT novels are very good. The last two - being generous - have been mixed and uneven. And given Martin's age, I don't think his next one will that good either.

rcocean said...

"Watching faces getting all emotional.'

Ha.

Gahrie said...

GoT jumped the shark last year. Zombies? Give me a break.

Actually there were zombies in GoT before the opening credits of the first episode of the first season.

buwaya said...

Zombies were always in GOT.
Even the books start with the zombie thing.

The worlds most popular zombie novels really.

wwww said...



I have no idea why it matters so much (especially if the most interesting thing is that Ed Sheeran did a cameo


That wasn't the most interesting thing. The cold open with Arya was well done. "Tell them the North remembers."

Nicely Played.

It's not just a bunch of people's names, it's a narrative. Some people are interested, and others are not.

The first season showed us why Ned Stark, an honourable man, did not survive in that world. Arya, the daughter, has learned how to survive.

What does that tell us? What does that tell us about her? about that world? about that story? about the human condition?

wwww said...

Bleh. Acting. I'm averse to acting. Not enough to interest me. Watching faces getting all emotional.

eh, then I wouldn't suggest it.

Some people don't have the tastebud for it, and others do. Cilantro will taste like soap, not cilantro, for the people who can't taste it.



If the writing is so good, how about listing 10 great lines from the show. The 10 best-written lines, chosen for impact on someone who has not seen the show.


it's like the line from the Wire, "Omar comin'" or "If you come for the King you best not fail."

The context gives the line joy. But you either "get it" or you don't. A bunch of people didn't like The Wire, and a bunch of people don't like Game of Thrones.



grackle said...

Both the Roman and Greek Churches were opposed to slavery as a matter of policy. They almost entirely ended slavery in Europe by the medieval period.

The feudal system of the medieval period was slavery under a different name, only slightly more benign than the old overt system of slavery. They substituted one form of slavery for another. They stopped enslaving captives and enemy populations, opting instead to slaughter them and enslave their own native-born peasant subjects. Both the Roman and Greek Churches were very OK with the feudal system, but hey, they “ended slavery” didn’t they?

Sample Commenter said...

OMG, I missed Laslo's first post. Turns out he said it all at the top of the thread.