such a difficult struggle as a GoT fan. it’s like, i haven’t been raped, so my immediate thought was “why would rape be uncomfortable to watch?” but then people told me why anyone would be uncomfortable, and I was like “oh, yeah, that makes sense and it’s a shame.” gosh it is impossible to live in this politically correct world of ours
“It’s an attitude mirrored on the other side of the screen as well. Binge-watchers care little for how their meal is coursed out; all they want is to dig in. And Game of Thrones is particularly delicious when devoured in bulk. There’s little tonal variance between the hourly installments; everything is equally good. In fact, it’s the rare show that’s probably better served by such gluttony: Less time away makes it harder to mistake your Sansas from your Sandors, your Lothars from your Lorases. Game of Thrones is proof that more and more people are coming around to David Simon’s way of thinking: Individual episodes aren’t works unto themselves but rather chapters in a carefully crafted novel. More than sex pirates and smoke babies, imp slaps or jokes about Littlefingers, this may be Game of Thrones‘s most enduring legacy. What we thought was an exercise in transforming a book into television may actually have helped turn television into a book.”
– Andy Greenwald in this article on Grantland.
Written a year ago, I didn’t see this piece until now. I hope my friends who don’t tune out when I start going on about the future of TV will notice that this talk about Game of Thrones turning television into a book and episodes as chapters in a novel is practically verbatim out of my own mouth.
I’m currently writing a grand space-epic animated sitcom with Ethan. I hope I sound more frightened than deluded when I say that the two of us have gotta change TV fast, before somebody beats us to it. The geyser is ready to blow and some youngblood series is gonna be the triggering tremor. The good news is that everyone’s gonna stick with drama pilots for now because comedy is for jesters and pigs (e.g. me, a pig-jester. oink)
Some minor spoilers through the link, but nothing from the books.
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Here’s another ‘Game of Thrones’ Vine.
FUCKING YESSSSSSSS EACH SEASON SO FAR HAS HAD ONE HUGE MOMENT THAT I’VE WANTED AND THIS IS THE EXACT SCENE THAT I CARE ABOUT THIS SEASON OH HBO YOU KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE WELL
[Spoilers up to S03E09, but no further. This is only an outline for guesswork and none of my knowledge of what happens next enters into play. I don’t even make any predictions here. If you think I’m hinting at something, I’m not.]
I’m pretty far removed from the impact of last night’s episode. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if I accidentally spoiled it for myself before I even read the chapter in the book. That said, seeing all the haunted reactions to the deaths of Robb and Catelyn hammered home just how much viewers supposed that the two of them were the heroes— no matter what roadblocks came in their way, the headstrong boy king would learn a couple of lessons whilst claiming the throne and mom would eventually be reunited with her brood. Now that’s off the table, there’s a surprising amount of “why would I continue watching this show?” And viewers are musing on this because there hasn’t been a TV show structure like it before, and that very same structure allowed the show to pull off a TV twist even greater than finding out The Wire wasn’t a documentary.
I don’t want to suggest I came up with my theory while I was reading the books; in fact, I zoned out for two months without my brain doing the typical anxious structural analysis and only snapped out of my trance once there were no more pages to flow into my imagination (and that unique feeling is why I hold these books in damn high regard, but I digress). It was a constant stream of chapters to me, and so its weird to divide them up by “book” or “character arc,” but when I did today, I noticed that, like every single good story ever, it follows a certain structure. That structure shows why the Red Wedding isn’t so out-of-left-field that it damages the story, which I will use my standard unscientific writer math to illustrate:
There have been five books released in the ASOIAF series with two more on the way (rumors of an eighth are out there but I so very badly want to finish these books before I crumble to dust that I’m going to keep on believing that there will be seven). Adding up the page counts of the US hardback books, we get 4,228 pages. I know that the Red Wedding happens halfway through A Storm of Swords, (chapter 52) which, in terms of total pages, is approximately 1,949 into the series. With an average of 845 pages per book so far, I can tack on the yet-unfinished books and assume a total of 5,918 pages for the entire series.
Watching Game of Thrones, we approach it the same way as we approach other shows: expecting an episode arc and a seasonal arc from pretty much every character (and, in turn, the story). Even if we don’t do this consciously, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to avoid any sort of conditioning toward it since TV is just beginning to break away from this mold. Beyond that, we expect TV shows to go on and on until they are canceled; not for lack of content, but lack of audience interest. Given how we expect GoT to behave like any other show, the Red Wedding may feel like a moment created because the season demanded it. (Oh man, viewers are bored, better kill some people and clean up the mess next season)
But with ASOIAF, we approach this huge undertaking the same way we took in Harry Potter: there’s a plan here— a beginning, middle, and end. Seven years at Hogwarts. It’s just a matter of searching for that plan. With a negligible bit of rounding up, we see that The Red Wedding happens one third of the way through all of the books.
The Red Wedding is the end of Act 1.
I’ve spent more time reading about screenplays and writing my own screenplays than working in any other format, so it’s easier for me to frame it that way, but all stories are the same. One third of the way into a screenplay (30 minutes in most movies), the protagonists leave the safety of the world they’ve known in order to take on whatever is threatening that world a.k.a. the bad guy. That’s the end of Act 1, and the heroes don’t even begin to behave like heroes until Act 2. Even then, they still have a lot to learn along the way.
So, if any of that makes sense, this may too: Robb and Catelyn were never the heroes, same as Ned. If they were, their behavior would not have synced up with the structure that a story necessitates. Robb has a tough time losing his dad and Winterfell, sure, but he’s still on the offensive for the entire war. Catelyn’s children are scattered across Westeros, but she begins to take it into her own hands with her release of Jamie. Those aren’t the sorts of actions you take in Act 1. Their moves are, as we say in Cynictopia as our morning salutations, “too good to be true.” (Since I’m on a roll I just went ahead and did more calculations. Ned’s death happens approx. 627 pages into the story. Or just over 10% of the estimated series page count. In screenplays, the “inciting incident,” or the moment that the heroes realize that their world is threatened, happens at cotdammit 10% into a screenplay)
It’s harder to demonstrate this rule with specific scenes because it’s such a sprawling series. I lucked out that The Red Wedding landed right where I hoped it would because it is likely the most dramatic moment in the story so far and I can’t remember other powerful scenes that may have justified my thoughts on the series’ structure, but the point is that Cat and Robb, while suffering, do not suffer more than most in the story, nor do they really learn anything in advance of their deaths. That’s why they could die.
If you want to try and predict who will win big on Game of Thrones, don’t look at the charming or the victorious. Look at the ones who suffer, keep suffering, never fucking stop suffering— but still survive. Those survivors, who learn and overcome their fatal flaws through their trials, will dust themselves off two-thirds of the way through the story, at the start of Act 3, just before coming face-to-face with the threat.
(It’s still not easy to predict who’s gonna make it out okay: everyone is suffering to some degree because they live in a world with frost zombies and near-legal rape, not to mention that so long as GRRM keeps one heroic character alive, the book technically has a “happy” ending, and by happy i mean successful, bc he’s not gonna finish his life’s work in a way that lets people think that evil has been victorious. This isn’t opinion about mood or tone, this is me saying that he’s a terrible author if he wraps this up with an anticlimax where everyone redeemable is dead. We aren’t watching Hostel 2.)
And for those of you out there who have also read the books, here’s why you can get excited just like me: if A Dance With Dragons ended at page 4,228 and Act 3 would start at around page 4000 by my estimates… These last two books will be the exact payoff that any well-plotted final act should be. Like, even with the tremendous number of chapters we’ve read and for all the twists and turns we’ve seen these characters take, we know nothing jon snow
Game of Thrones – It Gets Better (Spoilers)
My life is dark and full of terrors
GAME OF THRONES 90s ERA
(Jon Snow and Joffrey Baratheon)
What “Game of Thrones” would have looked like if the action had been set in the 90s?
What if swords, bows, spears and armors had been replaced with some NES guns, bats and tracksuits?
This is a fun project i ve been recently starting, imagining all the characters fighting for the throne in a 90s grunge/gangsta era.
Working now on Daenerys. More characters coming soon….
It’s not just appropriation and becomes an actual mash-up when you think to yourself “hey, that could totally work as a stand-alone piece.” Also dragons to ferrets is priceless— just wish Jon’s bat had a reference to its name (“Ice”).
jesus christ I have had this open in my browser for like two weeks just wanting to post it but also never exactly feeling inspired enough to post it, I don’t know why, but here, just here, take it, enjoy, it’s a map of Westeros (from Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire) done up in Super Mario World graphics, fuck, it doesn’t even feel worth it anymore, I’m tired and have bruises up and down my arms and can’t muster up the energy to write more than the 500 words I already committed to my thoughts on last night’s show, so just hold out a lil longer, we’ll get there together
“game of thrones” by GRR Martin, cover art for Random House Mexico
A hedgehog cocoon fitting the grandiose scope of the books in a way that the show couldn’t possibly capture.
Game of Bridesmaids
I browsed “Game of Bridesmaids” for a moment, hoping that someone would use an actual reference rather than a simple screencap of diplomatic conversation. Then my hopes were impregnated.
Game Of Thrones (Dominik Omega + The Arcitype Remix)
An in-depth rap over the TV theme song by a fan of the books, and possibly spoiler heavy? From what I can tell he just names certain people and events that haven’t come up yet. Keep an ear prepped for the Rains of Castamere shoutout and a finger prepped to click the free download link on the Youtube.