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A Game of Thrones



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  #881  
Old December 18th, 2016, 5:51 pm
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Re: A Game of Thrones

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
So what if they were wrong? My point is that was the enjoyable part. You cannot have a community of people devoted to a book series or a show in which you cannot agree on which version of events you discuss or focus on. That was my point. It has nothing to do with how correct one's theories are.
But creating discussion of theories is not and never was a "point" of these books. Remember, this sort of "group think" did not come into being until <i>after</i> both Harry Potter or Song of Ice & Fire were started. Neither Rowling nor Martin nor any other author of extended series had it in mind that groups of people would do this when they embarked on these projects: they assumed that it would be individual readers working things out. And they would have done things differently if they had been doing this as TV or film (as both have admitted, and as many other book authors have noted over the years). That gets back to my main point: they are writing stories, not documentaries of alternative realities.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
If that's your opinion, that's fine of course. But I'm afraid many people don't share it.
My point of view is falsified easily enough: introduce me to Frodo Baggins or Jon Snow or Harry Potter! Remember, the idea of "canon" comes from religion, where they argued about what stuff really came from the gods and what didn't. When people dismissed holy texts are "non-canon," they basically were saying that they were fictional works no different from Song of Ice & Fire or other stories. And that's Martin's point: there can be no "canon" when there is no reality.


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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
The position that canon doesn't exist makes literary analysis impossible. One has to determine what is or isn't part of the story in order to know what one analyzes. And the same applies to theories, since you brought them up. If there are no facts then how can there be theories? What are the theories based on?
Again, "fan theories" never was the point of these works. Yes, these authors (and others) have extended

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Without a canon or "facts" you would not be able to say this about Davos and conduct an analysis of his character and role in the story: "Indeed, one line from their interactions in particular is almost surely going to be important in the end. Stannis has no problem sacrificing one of Robert's *******s for the war-effort. [...] However, Davos' tells him that sometimes one ******* boy's life is that important.[...] "
Sure I could have: GRRM (or B&W) could have provided this in some other way. That's the difference between the "canon" and "story" crowd: the "canon" crowd thinks that it is important whether <I>this particular line</I> was in the books, whereas the story crowd is concerned only with whether something like this happens in both versions ofthe story. Again, it's gills vs. getting oxygen: for one group, it's "different" if it is lungs in one version and gills in another, and for the other group "oxygen gathering organ" is adequate.

EDIT: I forgot to point out, that this is a good example of how the same point is made fairly differently! In the books, it's not Gendry, but another of Robert's children who is marked for sacrifice. And Davos uses somewhat different language that is not as to-the-point. And, of course, there are "purists" who think that this is an important difference. Of course, it's not: Davos gets to the same general point, and the same general idea is put in our head about "sometimes, one boy >> one kingdom."


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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Schrondinger's Scarlett, then? For people who are interested in her character, it will matter a great deal how many children she had, if any.
But that is GRRM's point: don't lose the forest for the trees by getting hung up on trivial details and missing the story.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Okay. Point was, would you be ok with events being changed from book to book or chapter to chapter as long as the story is still about conflicted choices, then? Honest question.
Sure, so long as it is the same sort of conflicted choices in each story: 1) Morals/Honor for Thrones, 2) Loyalties for Kings; 3) Love/Hate for Swords, and 4) Who I was/Who I need to be for Crows/Dragons.


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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
If you ask five people what GoT is about (or HP for that matter), you'll probably get five different answers.
So, your literature prof should have just given everyone 100% for any answer on something like this? Not all opinions are equal: and many of them do no even qualify as "opinion."

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
If a work of art is good, then it usually lends itself to different interpretations.
This is wildly wrong. If what a story is is not clear to most of the audience, then the author has failed miserably in what he/she was trying to do. It's no different from writing a song and having people hum wildly different things when you ask them to hum melody.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
It seems like you assume that because the message of the work is the most important thing to you that it should also be the most important thing for other readers/viewers. Am I understanding you correctly?
I noted what is important to the HBO viewers who have made this show such a huge hit. HBO's own numbers show that this audience overlaps hugely with other cable-TV series that focus heavily on Faulkneresque storytelling. The only other "high overlap" series that is remotely fantasy is Lost, and the only medieval/Renaissance setting series is The Tudors. Now, many of these shows had over-arching mysteries: but clues to a mystery are not world-building by any stretch.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Whereas I'm trying to say that people are interested in a book or TV show for different reasons and therefore, depending on the reason, those people might find some changes to be jarring.
But the mistake that you are making is to assume that all categories are equally represented. As so often is the case, there are one or two general reasons that predominate, and lots of "small" reasons that represent small proportions each. (This inequality in distributions in just about everything from why people buy things to how many species are in environments to how much money people make has been recognized for over a century.) Are there fans of the show who are into the world-building and more concerned with the particulars than the generalities? Sure. But they obviously cannot be a huge proportion of the audience because they would not be watching the other shows that Thrones viewers watch if that was why they watched TV series.


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Last edited by Wimsey; December 20th, 2016 at 7:16 pm. Reason: Edric Storm!
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  #882  
Old December 18th, 2016, 10:12 pm
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Re: A Game of Thrones

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Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
My point of view is falsified easily enough: introduce me to Frodo Baggins or Jon Snow or Harry Potter! Remember, the idea of "canon" comes from religion, where they argued about what stuff really came from the gods and what didn't. When people dismissed holy texts are "non-canon," they basically were saying that they were fictional works no different from Song of Ice & Fire or other stories. And that's Martin's point: there can be no "canon" when there is no reality.
I think we're using different definitions of canon. By "canon" I simply mean the work itself, the novel or TV show or whatever it might be (the religious definition is just one of the definitions of this concept). The canon as a concept helps to separate the story from other material which is not a part of the work. For example, Jane Austen's letters about her characters are not generally considered part of her body of work. Canon can also to refer to collected works by an author, such as the Shakesperean canon, for example. Or canon can refer to a collection of stories. For example, CC is (arguably) part of the HP canon. JKR's other works such as Casual Vacancy are not. Or we can talk about the "Western literary canon" in which several major works are included. And so on. The concept of canon is useful when engaging in literary analysis. In other words, canon is to a literary theorist what lab samples are to a biologist.

Furthermore, I'm not saying Jon Snow or Frodo actually exist. That would be crazy. However, while they do not exist as people, they do exist as characters. As such there are things about them which are true/accurate and things which aren't. Anything else would be absurd. It's accurate to say Jon Snow is a member of the Night's Watch, it's not accurate to say he's a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Authors decide the "facts" about their characters (substitute "gods" for "authors" in the paragraph you wrote above and you'll see what I mean). Otherwise it would be an "everything goes" sort of situation.

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Sure I could have: GRRM (or B&W) could have provided this in some other way.
But it would still be a "work" of GRRM even if he painted it or wrote it or filmed it or whatever. It would still be a creation of his, because the "people" concerned do not exist.

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And, of course, there are "purists" who think that this is an important difference. Of course, it's not: Davos gets to the same general point, and the same general idea is put in our head about "sometimes, one boy >> one kingdom."
But the thing is, just because GRRM keeps his story consistent doesn't mean another author would too. Maybe another author would have changed more than just a detail and the scene would not have made the same point about Davos. For example, in the case of HP the movies changed the point of many scenes and in some cases even the personalities of characters. When those situations arise, it's natural that fans would want the book version to trump the movies if they think the movies missed the point of the story/character arcs.
With Cursed Child, there is the same issue. Some readers think the authors distorted the characters and also missed the point of several important themes in the books (such as, death is irreversible, Voldemort doesn't understand human relationships, our choices define us, etc). So that's why they would rather not acknowledge CC as part of the HP canon.

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So, your literature prof should have just given everyone 100% for any answer on something like this? Not all opinions are equal: and many of them do no even qualify as "opinion."
No of course not. It's all about how people argue for their opinion and support it using the text. Obviously if someone writes that GoT is about growing your own cucumbers then that's wrong or a bad analysis simply because there's no way to support it with the text.

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This is wildly wrong. If what a story is is not clear to most of the audience, then the author has failed miserably in what he/she was trying to do. It's no different from writing a song and having people hum wildly different things when you ask them to hum melody.
I would say ambiguous meanings rather than unclear. Think about Shakespeare's plays. They were written about 400 years ago and to this day people are still writing their PhD theses on them and finding new meanings or intepretations of them. Same with James Joyce, Virgina Woolf, the Brontes, etc. The fascination for their works would have never lasted if there could only be one right answer or one type of analysis possible to conduct on them. Literature is not math, after all. (Which doesn't mean that a good work of literature will lend itself to wildly different meanings, just that it will have enough complexity for more than just one theme).

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But the mistake that you are making is to assume that all categories are equally represented. As so often is the case, there are one or two general reasons that predominate, and lots of "small" reasons that represent small proportions each. (This inequality in distributions in just about everything from why people buy things to how many species are in environments to how much money people make has been recognized for over a century.) Are there fans of the show who are into the world-building and more concerned with the particulars than the generalities? Sure. But they obviously cannot be a huge proportion of the audience because they would not be watching the other shows that Thrones viewers watch if that was why they watched TV series.
I think you're giving people too much credit. If you told most of them that GoT has Faulkneresque themes, the reaction you would probably get would be "huh?". I think it's as MrSleepyHead said: people watch it for the fights, the dragons, the intrigues and the ... well... nudity. The fact that other HBO shows also incorporate these elements is probably why people watch those shows as well. I'm not saying no one watches GoT for its themes, but I don't think those people are in a majority. It's like you said yourself, if people were watching it for the themes, then why would they pester Martin about changes from books to TV show? Surely they would realize nothing major changed.

And there's also the matter of what keeps people "hooked" on a certain series. I doubt that HP still has this many fans because of how well it executed the theme of choices, or love, or tolerance. People are asking Rowling for details on the characters, or their background stories, or their love lives. I haven't seen anyone pestering her to write more on choices, for example.

GoT is still unfolding but the fans who will stay fans even ten years from now and still want to discuss it, would they still be fans because of the themes? My guess is that if GoT will still be popular even after it reaches its conclusion then it would probably be because of the characters or the world GRRM created.



Last edited by Sereena; December 19th, 2016 at 5:10 pm.
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  #883  
Old December 19th, 2016, 12:53 am
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Re: A Game of Thrones

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Originally Posted by Liselle View Post
My problem with GRRM is that he's on live journal continually and seemingly not finishing Winds of Winter!
Neil Gaiman famously addressed this very matter in 2009.

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/0...nt-issues.html


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  #884  
Old December 20th, 2016, 7:15 pm
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Re: A Game of Thrones

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I think we're using different definitions of canon. By "canon" I simply mean the work itself, the novel or TV show or whatever it might be (the religious definition is just one of the definitions of this concept). The canon as a concept helps to separate the story from other material which is not a part of the work.
But even worrying about this can cause one to lose the Story Forest for the Details Tree. This sort of thing is important when we debate the general "mysteries." (And, let's face it: fans of SoI&F or Harry Potter spend a lot more time debating the mysteries rather than discussing the actual story!) However, they are not terribly important in and of themselves for the story: any number of examples can work. Which of Robert's illegitimate sons Davos saves from Stannis is not important (i.e., a canon argument); that Davos does yet something else in order to save Stannis from himself is important to the story. Davos' fierce devotion to Stannis coupled with Stannis' almost sociopathic lack of normal feelings himself winds up creating all sorts of Faulkneresque dilemmas for Davos: he loves the Man, but hates what the Man does. <I>That</i>, repeated over and over again, is the core of these stories.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Otherwise it would be an "everything goes" sort of situation.
Plagiarism suits would beg to differ!

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
For example, in the case of HP the movies changed the point of many scenes and in some cases even the personalities of characters. When those situations arise, it's natural that fans would want the book version to trump the movies if they think the movies missed the point of the story/character arcs.
It is more accurate to state that many fans disagreed with the interpretations of the characters: but to be cruelly blunt, those fans tended to be the ones who were really bad at understanding JKR's characters. We saw this in droves 12 years ago: supposedly, everyone was "out of character." The characters were not: one, they were evolving, and two, the people claiming these things were wrong about the characters in the first place.

Moreover, this would have affected the stories if and only if they had greatly altered Harry. Remember, Harry Potter is a single protagonist story: everything comes from how Harry evolves over the course of one story, and then over the course of seven stories. Even characters as prominent as Hermione and Ron were at most secondary characters: their importance is like the importance of Stannis to Davos, i.e., to help put Harry in positions where yet another parallel occurred that created the arc that created the story.

SoI&F is a little more complicated in that it has multiple protagonists. There are five or six primary protagonists (Daeny, Jon, Tyrion, Bran & Arya, and perhaps now Sansa); then there are several secondary protagonists (Jaime, Davos, Sam, Cersei and Brienne); and there even are one or two faux protagonists (Ned and Catelyn). So, that means that the show has to get these characters "right" in order to communicate the story. However, it does not mean that they have to do the exact same things as in the books.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I would say ambiguous meanings rather than unclear. Think about Shakespeare's plays. They were written about 400 years ago and to this day people are still writing their PhD theses on them and finding new meanings or intepretations of them. Same with James Joyce, Virgina Woolf, the Brontes, etc.
Ah, but we are now rowing in different waters. My contention was that it's the story that draws people: GoT viewers tend to like particular kinds of stories given their overall viewing habits. Nobody is writing PhDs about what Shakespeare's stories were: we are expected to be able to answer that in high school/secondary school literature exams!

Instead, what these studies examine is what led to the stories and what led to yet a fourth aspect of a tale separate from story, plot or narrative: theme. Of course, my favorite study of Shakespeare is one that looked at the distribution of words in Shakespeare's works vs. those found in some of his contemporaries, and then which author's word-choice-distribution was the best fit given the distribution of words in a possible Shakespeare work! (But I would like that, as a couple of my own most influential papers have used similar techniques! ) That is of relevance here, because this is how someone figured out that one of JKR's anonymous works likely was by her: the distribution of words in that work fit the distribution of words used in Harry Potter!

At any rate, if anyone was to do future literary study of Game of Thrones, then they would not be trying to assess what the story is. Instead, they would be looking at things like theme. Most probably it would come up in comparative work because GRRM has been very forthcoming about his influences. For example, organized religion comes off looking very bad in his series. That's quite common from people (like GRRM) who were raised in religious families but subsequently realized that it was all nonsense. Moreover, what "reality" there is to any of the religions is not pleasant: R'hllor, for example, obviously is real, but it's a nasty piece of work; the White Walkers are "real" but closer to Cylons than gods; and the Tree Gods are just a huge data archive with no real power save information (which, of course, can be tremendously powerful in the right hands, but less dramatic than, say, reviving the dead!).

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I think you're giving people too much credit. If you told most of them that GoT has Faulkneresque themes, the reaction you would probably get would be "huh?". I think it's as MrSleepyHead said: people watch it for the fights, the dragons, the intrigues and the ... well... nudity.
This is easily falsified. None of the other shows that GoT viewers typically watch have dragons, and none of the other "magic" shows are commonly watched by GoT viewers. Many of them do not have fights. Not all of the other shows have nudity, although many do (as this is rare for cable TV series to lack nudity, and many of the other shows watched by GoT viewers are also cable TV series). Almost all have intrigue: but what they have in common is intrigue about where particular characters are going with their lives.

Moreover, we can stand this on it's head. If these were true, then why didn't Thrones fans flock to watch the Shanara series? Why don't these millions watch other cable TV shows that put even more emphasis on nudity and/or violence? Why don't they watch more mystery series?

As for the viewers not knowing who Faulkner is, you would find a larger proportion of them that do given that GoT viewers are disproportionately drawn from people with post-graduate education; and many of the ones who do not remember Faulkner immediately would figure out who you mean with just a little reminding. Remember, general GoT viewers are NOT fantasy fans.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I'm not saying no one watches GoT for its themes, but I don't think those people are in a majority. It's like you said yourself, if people were watching it for the themes, then why would they pester Martin about changes from books to TV show? Surely they would realize nothing major changed.
I never wrote that they watch it for theme: I wrote that they watch it for story. Story and theme are as different as melody and arrangement.


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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
GoT is still unfolding but the fans who will stay fans even ten years from now and still want to discuss it, would they still be fans because of the themes?
Probably. Of course, who will stay a fan is hard to predict: I was a hardcore fan 10+ years ago, but because the long-overdue fourth book was so bad, I almost forgot about the series. Indeed, when I saw that the show was premiering, I thought to order the books that had been published since, assuming that the series had been completed: only to find that nothing more had been published! But the ultimate moment came in the 2nd or 3rd episode when Ned told Jon that when they next met, they would have a long talk about Jon's mother. Palm met forehead as it all came back: Ned was Jon's uncle, not his father! That was despite dozens of hours wasted arguing with Dayneites (who were sort of like the "Hermione loves Harry" crowd here) that they were smoking bad crack. (I even looked up on line later to see if that idea ever had been confirmed; nope! but surely it would be in the soon-to-be-released Dances with Dragons..... )

But the reason why I write "probably" is pretty straightforward. After we unravel the mysteries and plots, the only two things left are story and theme. Moreover, these stories can have appeal even to people who know the outcome. My 8 year old son is currently reading the HP series with me. He knows what Harry's scar is: that is sort of like "I AM your father" without the catchy phrase. And when we got to the part where Dumbledore tacitly tells Harry the why of Snape, I had him walk through it and deduce what Dumbledore really told Harry. So, the two biggest mysteries revealed: but he still was eager as hell to read Deathly Hallows! Why? He wants to see how Harry is going to get to be the guy who can beat Voldemort.


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  #885  
Old December 21st, 2016, 10:31 am
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Re: A Game of Thrones

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Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
But even worrying about this can cause one to lose the Story Forest for the Details Tree. This sort of thing is important when we debate the general "mysteries." (And, let's face it: fans of SoI&F or Harry Potter spend a lot more time debating the mysteries rather than discussing the actual story!) However, they are not terribly important in and of themselves for the story: any number of examples can work.
The story itself is not the only thing worth analyzing in a literary work. Like you say below, the story is quite clear in many cases and certainly doesn't keep the PhD theses coming many hundreds of years after the work was written.

I think the issue here is that you're viewing everything through one lens and because some things are not relevant for that particular lens then they must mean they are never relevant. But a novel can be seen through many different lenses. A Freudian analysis of a work is not going to say the same things as a feminist analysis, for example, or an intertextual analysis, or a comparative analysis. Sure, some details might never be important regardless which analysis one conducts. But in the case of GoT where the changes between the books and the TV show are bigger than it's usually the case with movie adaptations, it can be helpful to determine which "version" of events or characters one is analyzing. Of course, a lit scholar might only look at the books anyway because only the books are, well, literature.

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It is more accurate to state that many fans disagreed with the interpretations of the characters: but to be cruelly blunt, those fans tended to be the ones who were really bad at understanding JKR's characters.
Steve Kloves himself was only a fan or a reader of the series so I don't see why his interpretation would automatically be more correct than any other fan's (he was pushing the so-called "Harmony agenda" which was obviously wrong considering how the series ended. Nevermind that JKR has since then pretty much retracted Ron/Hermione). Remember that JKR was only partially involved in the movies. She retained the right to veto certain things or to demand that some things were included (such as McGonagall fighting Snape) but other than that, the script writer had free reigns with the characters and we all know that some things work better in novels than on the movie screen and vice versa.

And then you also have the actors interpreting the characters and they're just as likely to be "wrong", as you put it, as any fan is. Or perhaps the actor does understand the character but thinks the character as he or she is on page would not translate well to screen (Helena Bonham Carter has said this about Bellatrix, explaining why she made changes to the character's personality).

So anyway, point is, movie adaptations don't always stay true to either the characters or to some of the main points of the story. Just because GoT happens to be consistent doesn't mean all movie adaptations of novels will be just as consistent. Especially adaptations made completely without the author's involvement (the author might be dead at the time, for example, and thus incapable of telling movie makers where they go wrong).

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Moreover, this would have affected the stories if and only if they had greatly altered Harry. Remember, Harry Potter is a single protagonist story: everything comes from how Harry evolves over the course of one story, and then over the course of seven stories. Even characters as prominent as Hermione and Ron were at most secondary characters: their importance is like the importance of Stannis to Davos, i.e., to help put Harry in positions where yet another parallel occurred that created the arc that created the story.
Harry is the protagonist, yes. But that doesn't mean that his character will be the most important to any study done on the HP series. If I were to study the father figures in HP then Harry himself and what he does or feels will be much less important than what Sirius, Dumbledore or Snape do or feel. Likewise for GoT. Davos is a more important character than Stannis overall. However, if you want to study how kings and powerful men are portrayed in GoT then you're more likely to focus on Stannis than on Davos.

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So, that means that the show has to get these characters "right" in order to communicate the story. However, it does not mean that they have to do the exact same things as in the books.
Yes, agreed.

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Moreover, we can stand this on it's head. If these were true, then why didn't Thrones fans flock to watch the Shanara series? Why don't these millions watch other cable TV shows that put even more emphasis on nudity and/or violence? Why don't they watch more mystery series?
There can be plenty of reasons for why someone watches one show but not another similar one. For example, I like GoT and HP. I'm not at all interested in LotR, especially not the Hobbit movies. I liked the Narnia books but not the movies. I also like His Dark Materials. Can you draw any conclusions from this? Maybe one could say that I like stories about choices since both HP and GoT have that element. And maybe I also like religious themes because both HDM and Narnia have those (but in completely opposite ways). Or maybe I just like strong female characters. Or power struggles. There can be tons of different reasons for why someone would watch or read a certain series and until you control for all those reasons you cannot categorically state that they watch it for the "choices" (and this is of couse assuming that everyone who watches GoT would describe it as being about choices, which I'm not sure about either).

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Almost all have intrigue: but what they have in common is intrigue about where particular characters are going with their lives.
But this is very generic. Almost all shows or novels are about someone's choices in some way. The plot needs a conflict and during this conflict the protagonist makes a choice, one way or another. Is Jane Eyre about choices? Othello?

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As for the viewers not knowing who Faulkner is, you would find a larger proportion of them that do given that GoT viewers are disproportionately drawn from people with post-graduate education; and many of the ones who do not remember Faulkner immediately would figure out who you mean with just a little reminding. Remember, general GoT viewers are NOT fantasy fans.
I'm not saying they don't know who Faulkner is, I'm sure they do. But I don't think the majority of people would use Faulkner to analyze GoT.

We're also being a bit Eurocentric/US centric here. I don't know how popular GoT is in other parts of the world but assuming it is just as popular (or even almost as popular), then those people can interpret the story differently or use a quite different frame of reference than people in the West.

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I never wrote that they watch it for theme: I wrote that they watch it for story. Story and theme are as different as melody and arrangement.
Ok fair enough. You wrote that people are complaining about the changes and thus missing the point of the story. So why would they care about the changes if they only watch it for the story?

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Probably. Of course, who will stay a fan is hard to predict:
It is. But one can look at the HP series, as I have, and assess some of the reasons why people are still fans. None of these reasons, that I can see, are related to story as such. It's mostly about the characters and each person's fondness for one or two characters. And also world building as people are very into the House system and wands and magical schools.

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But the reason why I write "probably" is pretty straightforward. After we unravel the mysteries and plots, the only two things left are story and theme.
And the characters! Don't underestimate people's attachment to characters. For many people, without interesting characters the story has no appeal regardless of its complexity. GoT has some of the most fascinating characters, perhaps the most fascinating characters out of all the popular fantasy series and I think that's a huge factor in its popularity.



Last edited by Sereena; December 21st, 2016 at 3:38 pm.
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  #886  
Old December 22nd, 2016, 8:39 pm
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Re: A Game of Thrones

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Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
It is more accurate to state that many fans disagreed with the interpretations of the characters: but to be cruelly blunt, those fans tended to be the ones who were really bad at understanding JKR's characters. We saw this in droves 12 years ago: supposedly, everyone was "out of character." The characters were not: one, they were evolving, and two, the people claiming these things were wrong about the characters in the first place.
I expect people interpret characters and use the phrase "out of character" in different ways. Therefore, for someone who is concerned primarily with the tone of a character's language, for instance, Dumbledore's "Have you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?" in the film could be seen as out of character for Dumbledore (in books and films). But someone else could be more concerned about how a character follows his/her principles or loyalties, so when Ron and Hermione don't believe Harry's obsession with Draco in HBP they see it as out of character (compared to five previous books of support and understanding). Of course, a third person may interpret each of those examples as in character. Bottom line is that there is variation in reader/viewer perception, and I don't think you can say that that perception is inherently wrong if it is not directly contradicted by the text.

And to circumvent your English teacher grading assertion, who is to say which individual’s priorities while reading (e.g., the little things or the big picture about the character) is wrong or right? Even if the author writes a character in such a way that it remains “in character” throughout its service to the story does not mean there can’t be hiccoughs along the way that seem consequential and out of character to some readers. E.g., let’s say Hermione fulfilled her service to Harry’s story in just the way the books outline, but in GoF she skipped school for days at a time to go ride unicorns in the Forbidden Forest while Harry fretted over the Triwizard Tournament. The end result might be the same, but that uncharacteristic unicorn riding could pull readers completely out of the narrative and story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimsey
Moreover, this would have affected the stories if and only if they had greatly altered Harry.
But many people care about characters for that character's own sake, regardless of story. Readers can care about the consistency of Hermione's character because of a personal attachment, for instance, rather than the need for consistency in her character to affect the story.
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Originally Posted by Wimsey
So, that means that the show has to get these characters "right" in order to communicate the story. However, it does not mean that they have to do the exact same things as in the books.
Agreed, but I maintain characters can be more important to individual readers/viewers than purely their connections to the story.
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Originally Posted by Wimsey
That is of relevance here, because this is how someone figured out that one of JKR's anonymous works likely was by her: the distribution of words in that work fit the distribution of words used in Harry Potter!
Well, led to the confirmation that she was Galbraith. A tweet from a friend of lawyer-in-the-know claimed Galbraith was JKR's pseudonym, thus directing the dogs at the novel. I wonder how long it would have taken otherwise – were these analysts combing through every book trying to find links?! It will be interesting to see if all new writers are given this sort of scrutiny by way of word distribution analysis to try to catch any potential big names that are trying to hide.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimsey
This is easily falsified. None of the other shows that GoT viewers typically watch have dragons, and none of the other "magic" shows are commonly watched by GoT viewers. Many of them do not have fights. Not all of the other shows have nudity, although many do (as this is rare for cable TV series to lack nudity, and many of the other shows watched by GoT viewers are also cable TV series). Almost all have intrigue: but what they have in common is intrigue about where particular characters are going with their lives.
Sources?

I’m not too savvy on where to direct my browser to find primary literature or data on TV show demographics and viewing habits, but a couple of analyses I’ve seen seem to show a diversity in viewership and reasons for watching GoT. For instance, a Latitude study (220 “fans”, undisclosed sampling methods – so not necessarily a representative sample) asked “Why do you watch Game of Thrones?” with top agreement with “sci-fi/witchcract/magic,” “the villains often win, not always a happy ending,” “Tyrion Lannister,” and “character development.” Of course, this likely doesn’t represent a good plurality of casual viewers, but I just can’t seem to be able to track down those data.

Regardless, I would also consider the effect of pure popularity and trending-ness. From season 1 to 6, viewers jumped from 2.5 million to 7.7 million, which I would tentatively attribute, at least partially, to GoT becoming “mainstream.” Of course, we can debate how it became mainstream (e.g., because of its story, character complexity, action sequences and eye candy, etc.), but there is likely a large herd mentality effect (e.g., Muchnik et al. 2013 Science, news write-up here) that transcends all of that. Thus, saying all 7.7 million viewers are tuning in to enjoy the Faulkneresque story seems likely to be a gross exaggeration. I know you haven’t said that directly, but it seems you contend that the story is paramount and the driver behind viewership (and thus other parts of the narrative can be scrapped if not solely benefiting the story). Please correct me if I’m misinterpreting you here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimsey
Moreover, we can stand this on it's head. If these were true, then why didn't Thrones fans flock to watch the Shanara series? Why don't these millions watch other cable TV shows that put even more emphasis on nudity and/or violence? Why don't they watch more mystery series?
I think Sereena addressed this well: people watch shows for different reasons, whether it’s story, characters, narrative, setting, etc. Just because another show is set in a medieval world doesn’t mean I’ll like it if I like GoT because that show may not have the character or plot complexity, fulfilling story, good acting, etc. I haven’t seen an analysis, but I feel like I’ve read synopses saying that ratings/viewer numbers tend to jump at or after very deadly, conflict-based episodes. Sure, those episodes can represent climaxes within the story, but they also have action-packed, battle-filled scenes that are plain and simple eye candy.

As an example, I can’t imagine folks tuned into Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) for its story alone (if there is one! I know, of course there's one, but boy that was rough for me! ). It was classic bang, bang, shoot ‘em up Hollywood eye candy. A 97% Rotten Tomato rating is summed up under critics’ consensus as “exhilarating action and a surprising amount of narrative heft” – not “a thoughtful story made real by exhilarating action.” Of course, a good story and narrative are still pivotal, but they may not be why somebody goes to watch or stays in his seat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimsey
Moreover, these stories can have appeal even to people who know the outcome. My 8 year old son is currently reading the HP series with me. He knows what Harry's scar is: that is sort of like "I AM your father" without the catchy phrase. And when we got to the part where Dumbledore tacitly tells Harry the why of Snape, I had him walk through it and deduce what Dumbledore really told Harry. So, the two biggest mysteries revealed: but he still was eager as hell to read Deathly Hallows! Why? He wants to see how Harry is going to get to be the guy who can beat Voldemort.
In which case your son is not interested in reading DH just for the story. Sure, he wants to see the story's conclusion, but he is also engaged by the narrative and the characters. Story alone does not keep folks turning pages or in their seats – it’s the telling of the story that matters. Otherwise we would have very few books indeed – one per story.


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Last edited by MrSleepyHead; December 22nd, 2016 at 8:42 pm.
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  #887  
Old December 22nd, 2016, 11:28 pm
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Re: A Game of Thrones

One hundred per cent agree "it's the telling of the story that matters", and therefore the language, the ability of the storyteller to keep you with them, to want to follow the characters, to want to know what happens next.

If the story is well written, well crafted, it will take you along. Harry Potter, books and films, for me, apart from a few hiccups, achieved just that. Lord of the Rings - a more substantial work, and therefore there were more substantial hiccups - but it worked. We cared for the characters, book and film. We wanted to see the story through. We wanted a good beginning, complex middle, and satisfying conclusion.

For me, the George R R Martin saga started well, with all the prospect of a good yarn, well told.

But. Too long, too complicated, too bloody, too nasty.
I needed a character to care about.

I gave up long ago.


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Old July 17th, 2017, 3:43 am
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Re: A Game of Thrones

Loving tonight's episode so far. Very good and very intense.


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Old July 26th, 2017, 1:33 am
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Re: A Game of Thrones

Been great so far. Euron's attack was a joy to behold.


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Old July 26th, 2017, 5:37 am
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Re: A Game of Thrones

He makes me think of Captain Boomerang turned up to 11. Throughout the battle I was wondering how he built his fleet so quickly and how they got so close with no one noticing.


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Old August 17th, 2017, 7:11 pm
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Re: A Game of Thrones

This season's going at breakneck speed. I wouldn't mind a couple of extra episodes just to let the dialogue and action breathe a bit. As it is, I feel like the grand finale will feel a bit rushed, as if this season was a big scurry to get everyone in place before the curtain goes up. Ah, well. Each episode has been really engaging, to say the least, and the showrunners are doing a fantastic job of juggling the 10+ balls they have in the air. I'm glad they're giving Davos a couple of lines here and there to keep us laughing.

ETA (8/20/17): Well, that was 70 minutes spent
Spoiler: show
just to let the Night King get a dragon. Underwhelming episode that used a lot of stupidity and rashness to force a few plot points forward. I knew it was coming, given last episode, but I've enjoyed the season up until this point because folks finally seemed to be acting more or less rationally (relative to each character). Still a fun episode, but mostly just frustrating to watch.


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