Friday, April 11, 2014

Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends

Game of Thrones is back, everyone, and Maggie Cats and I are here to chat about it as per usual. Season four’s opener, “Two Swords”, brought us back to Westeros in the aftermath of last season’s brutal and climactic Red Wedding. Though both of us have read the books, the chat below is almost completely spoiler free with one or two very minor exceptions.

 Maggie Cats:  So. Thoughts?

 Clovis:  Broadly, it's always good to see these characters again. And by "these characters" I mean Arya.
I really liked how they're showing her taking one step closer to becoming a total badass.

 Maggie Cats:  Well, if by total badass you mean sociopath, then yes, yes they are.

 Clovis:  But that's the thing, she kind of is one, right? Like, Arya is totally the Batman of Westeros. She's seen her family destroyed in front of her, she's now traveling the world to learn how to become the ultimate badass to go back to destroy those who did her wrong.

 Maggie Cats:  I mean, once she puts on a cape and a mask I will see your point more clearly.

 Clovis:  Given that she sometimes wears a cloak, she's basically only two pointy ears away from becoming a dark knight avenger.

"Lannisters are a superstitious, cowardly lot..."

 Maggie Cats:  I would say she is more of archetype than Batman specifically, but what's great is she kind of busts through the archetype because she is a 12 year old girl.

 Clovis:  Yeah, exactly. And she's learning from the cruelty of everyone around her. She's getting corrupted, but in a way it's the kind of corruption she was always likely to get if she could have gotten her way and been allowed to be a knight.

 Maggie Cats:  Westeros is a cruel, cruel world. it doesn't pay to be ANYBODY.

 Clovis:  Except maybe Littlefinger. FOR NOW...

 Maggie Cats:  Like last year, I was so impressed by the actual structure of the episode. I was impressed that we managed to see almost all the characters and have great moments with all of them.

 Clovis:  I feel like this show has consistently done that well - all the seasons' first episodes do a good job of bringing you back to each character.

 Maggie Cats: AND we met Prince Oberyn. Whom I already adore.

 Clovis:  I liked that they kept him bisexual! I was worried that would get washed away.

"I will attract ALL THE THINGS!"

 Maggie Cats:  Again, HBO. The more sexual the better. I don't understand what it is about HBO that makes even the basic craftsmanship of their shows so much better than network television. It can't just be money.

 Clovis:  I think it's also the commitment that HBO generally puts into seeing something from the bigger picture. That said, sometimes they still tank. This is the network that cancelled Carnivale, after all.

 Maggie Cats:  Still never seen it

 Clovis:  It was amazeballs. I will have to do a blog post. Note to self... But speaking of perplexing, why was Daario played by a different person? The show totally pulled a Darren on us. 

 Maggie Cats:  Oh, it's the same actor who plays Finnick in The Hunger Games. I assumed it was because of his shooting schedule. [Ed note: Actually, Daario was originally played by Ed Skrein, who left Game of Thrones to take up a role in the Transporter movie franchise. Finnick in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was played by Sam Clafin. In fairness, Skrein and Clafin do look a lot alike.]

 Clovis:  Also, having now read the books (all bloody 5000 pages of them) I'm kind of disappointed that Daario isn't as garish in the show as he is in the books. I liked all the descriptions of his weird blue hair.

 Maggie Cats:  I agree, I wonder why THAT would be something they would change. Maybe they are going to have evolve into that as they spend more time in the city?

 Clovis:  I suppose the producers wanted to keep the character more in the world that they've established? Grittier and less bright? [Ed. Note: it’s amazing what you can find online. More info here about the shift from a prettier Daario to the new one.]

 Maggie Cats:  but it seems odd not to follow through those notes. Perhaps, and also set him up as a very romantic lead. Remember, in the books Dany doesn't go for his shtick for a loooong time.



 Clovis:  That's true. (Spoilers!)

 Maggie Cats:  I mean, it's clear she's going for it now. She is charmed despite herself. Who wouldn't be, right? I hope they make him a bit swarmier.

 Clovis:  Agreed - I like him a bit smarmy. Makes him more interesting when he's not so earnest. Another thing that's different, but I'm enjoying is how much more developed Margaery is in the show relative to the book and the possible hint that she's going to get more screen time with Brienne.

 Maggie Cats:  oh, god yes, Margaery and her grandmother are two of my favorite characters. Margaery is one smart cookie, but I think she is also a genuinely kind person. When she took Brienne's arm in friendship it felt real.

 Clovis:  It would make a neat change of pace to have someone who is a schemer and a game player, but not have her be a total ass as well. That's a different combination than we've seen.

 Maggie Cats:  Maybe she is just that good at manipulation, but I feel that she is just a nice person. So I am sure she will raped, mutilated, and murdered sometime very soon.

 Clovis:  It's bound to happen. Though, maybe she could end up like a Queen Elizabeth - a good player, but also someone who is generally beloved by people. Or maybe I'm just opening my heart to be stomped on by GRRM and the rest of the team because I've never learned my lesson.

 Maggie Cats:  In my perfect world, Bran ends up overlord with the West with Margaery as Queen, Tyrion as the Hand, and Arrya, the head of the Kinsguard. Actually strike that –  Margaery is in charge of everything, Bran is the master builder, Dany can have the East.

 Clovis:  Podrick takes over Littlefinger's whore houses. The whores go along with this VERY willingly.

 Maggie Cats:  YES, PODRICK! I am trying to remember...but I think in the books he knew all the Dornish house sigils as well. Love that he is smart and sexy. He would totally be the hot nerd in our modern world.

"They say this cat Podrick's a baaaaad mutha - SHUT YO MOUTH! Talking 'bout Pod..."

 Clovis:  He kind of is in Westeros. Basically, it's only going to be so long before some enterprising writer goes back and retells the entire Game of Thrones story from the perspective of Podrick, "Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead"-style.

 Maggie Cats:  I would read that. Change of topic: do you think Tywin knows Jamie's REAL reason for wanting to stay in Kings Landing? So he can fuck his sister, I mean.

 Clovis:  Oh he totally does. He doesn't want to admit it, but there's a part of his brain that knows.

 Maggie Cats:  And what is Cercei's ailment do you think? I don't remember anything from the books about it so discussion shouldn't be a spoiler. Maybe it's the dreaded "change.”

 Clovis:  Yeah, that's was suspicious. I mean, she didn't have the "sudden cough of death" that would suggest she's about to die of tuberculosis, so I'm not sure.

 Maggie Cats:  if it was set in the 1800s she totally would have been hacking. Maybe she has alcohol-related issues.

 Clovis:  Perhaps (avoiding spoilers here) given where Cercei's story arch is about to go in the books, they've written something else into that to make it more poignant or something? Or they could go full soap opera and we could find out that she's pregnant from sleeping with that cousin of hers.

 Maggie Cats:  Perhaps! I like not knowing everything that is going to happen.

 Clovis:   I think they're wise to make slight deviations from the books and give us different stories. The Arya/Tywin scenes from Season 2 were some of my favorites - I loved how well those scenes worked. And they're nowhere in the books.

 Maggie Cats:  almost all of my favorite moments are actually scenes between characters not in the book, like Cersei/Robert Season 1, Arya/Tywin Season 2, and any time Littlefinger and Varys bitch at each other. FLOVE!

 Clovis:  All the more reason why I'm hoping for more between Brienne and Margaery. Those two would make for some interesting scenes given that Brienne actually loved Renly and Margaery, well, probably didn't but was willing to play the game.

 Maggie Cats:  Good point. I like scenes with Margaery and anybody.

"OMG Totes BFF!"

 Clovis:  So without skirting too close to the spoilers, how quickly do we think we're getting to the royal wedding?

 Maggie Cats:  It looked like next episode, but I don't believe it.

 Clovis:  The first ep said it was two weeks again “in world” time. I'm eager to see how they do this. I imagine we'll have lots to chat about after that happens.

 Maggie Cats:  Most definitely!! I love this show. I enjoyed the first season but wouldn't say I loved it, but as they get more and more into it (and surprise me with changes from the books) I really love it.

 Clovis:  I'm just impressed it ever got made. I read this article that points out all the previous shows that needed to fail for us to get Game of Thrones.

And with that, we’re out for this week. Tune in again next week for discussion following Season four’s second episode, titled “The Lion and the Rose.”

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