Lion of the Blogosphere

Game of Thrones, the HBO series

I just finished binge-watching all six available seasons. There will be two more seasons before the series comes to an end.

Wow, incredible.

They had great source material in George R.R. Martin’s unfinished series of books, and as far as I can tell (it has been a while since I read them), they stayed true to the books, which was very wise. The most notable feature of these novels is that major characters don’t always win. In fact, they lose a lot and die a lot.

On top of that, there’s movie-quality special effects and cinematography. Even though I presume that a lot of the scenery is CGI, they used a lot of camera tricks to make it the most believable CGI I’ve ever seen. The goal was to make every scene look like how you’d imagine it would look if there was an actual movie camera filming it.

This series could never have happened on broadcast television because of the R-rated violence, language, and sexual situations.

The acting: some of it is great and some of it seems just OK. I think that the actress who plays Cersei Lannister is really great at acting evil. Perhaps she’s the most evil character ever seen in movies or television. The girl who plays Arya Stark was great initially, but as she aged though the seasons she became significantly less cute. I think the problem is that Maisie Williams was chosen initially because she looked a lot younger than her age and could play a much younger girl, but consequently she grew into a short unattractive adult.

The worst acting comes from Emilia Clarke who plays Daenerys Targaryen. I just can’t see her as a believable human being. I’m not sure if that’s the fault of Clarke, the writers who converted Martin’s books into screenplays, or Martin himself for making Daenerys Targaryen into a fantasy archetype out of sync with the more human and believable characters filling up his novels.

The decision to have everyone talk with thick accents from the British Isles can make the dialogue hard to understand at times. I assume the theory behind that decision is that Westeros is based on medieval England.

It’s hard to keep track of all the minor characters. I certainly lost track of them, and can’t figure out why this castle or that castle has this guy or that guy in charge of it and how they are related to the each other.

Nevertheless, anything negative above is merely quibbling. This is the greatest series ever, and it has the Lion’s 100% recommendation.

* * *

And the worst ever adaptation of a fantasy/sci-fi book is Dune, the 1984 movie starring Sting: truly a movie with not a single redeeming quality.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Television

61 Responses

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  1. I’ve never read the books, so I can’t compare them to the show, but the show itself is like a massive movie, more than a TV show because the story is so sprawling and complicated, and the cinematography is movie quality. It’s ability to generate genuine shocking moments would be hard to replicate on other shows.

    Mike Street Station

    September 2, 2016 at 2:24 pm

  2. Game of Thrones. Great production values, some great episodes and scenes. Some great acting and characters (agreed, Cerci is the best). But overall, the series is overrated and badly in need of an editor. The 60 or so episodes could have been trimmed to 20-25 without losing much.

    And dragon lady is sooooo boring. And there’s only so many times the audience can hear that winter is coming.

    Andrew E.

    September 2, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    • It needs editing in the sense that the majority of characters now make you groan when you realize that they’re getting a segment. But that wasn’t the case in the first few seasons when the writing was better and the talented child actors hadn’t aged into bad adult ones. The show has really just become stupid by valuing spectacle and striking imagery over creating a coherent and interesting world. And that’s when it’s not just characters sitting around doing nothing for episode after episode. I really enjoyed the early seasons and have come to almost hate the show.


      September 2, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    • Most GoT fans wish there were more episodes, not fewer.

      David Pinsen

      September 3, 2016 at 4:46 am

      • More episodes where stuff actually happens. Sure, I’d like that too.

        Andrew E.

        September 3, 2016 at 2:37 pm

  3. Closed captioning is a must with this show. In fact, it’s necessary with just about all cable dramas, even a few comedies. The dialogue is usually written very densely, so that even with American accents it’s too far from natural speech to follow easily. I even felt that way about the Sopranos.


    September 2, 2016 at 2:38 pm

  4. “And the worst ever adaptation of a fantasy/sci-fi book is Dune, the 1984 movie starring Sting: truly a movie with not a single redeeming quality.”

    The soundtrack by Toto is pretty good. I also liked the visual aesthetics for the most part although I thought the Guild Navigator was not done well. I am a Dune fan but despair of ever seeing an adaption that gets it right. That said, I have a special place in my heart for David Lynch’s Dune.

    I think I might have enjoyed it if the SyFy mini-series had the look of Lynch’s Dune. The SyFy Dune was more detailed and faithful to the book, although I thought the visuals and tone were off and that it was not well-acted (by contrast, I think there are some good performances in Lynch’s Dune). Dune is very complicated like Game of Thrones and I think the novel could take up a season of a premium cable tv series.


    September 2, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    • Dune would probably lend itself better as a TV show than a movie simply because it’s such a dense story.

      Mike Street Station

      September 2, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    • Agreed on the soundtrack and the visual aesthetic — one of the best examples of steampunk in a movie. Disagree about the guild navigator though. What wasn’t done well (probably due to budget constraints) were the orinthopters and other craft.

      Really tough to top the cast though: Jurgen Prochnow as Leto, Max von Sydow as the Imperial Planetologist, Jose Ferrer as the Emperor, etc.

      A lot of the imagery of Lynch’s Dune stays with you.

      I saw a documentary recently called Jodorowski’s Dune, about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s plans to make a Dune film in the ’70s. Some Hollywood types called it the greatest movie never made, but I didn’t see from his scene art where they got that idea. Toward the end of the documentary Jodorowsky talks about seeing Lynch’s Dune and being thrilled that “it was terrible”, or something to that effect. Some chutzpah on Jodorowski’s part. His version wouldn’t have been as good as Lynch’s.

      David Pinsen

      September 3, 2016 at 5:05 am

  5. OT/ 2 of the debate moderators (Lester Holt and Martha Raddatz) never graduated from college, the others are from TOOS money


    September 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm

  6. Dylan

    September 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm

  7. today’s polls have Trump crushing it in IA, winning by 5 and only behind in VA by 1. I believe the IA poll but don’t buy that he is that close in VA.

    To Lion of the Turambar: You keep bashing Trump but I am yet to see any realism from you visa vi the fact that Trump has already won the most important battle: destroying your movement forever.

    Yes, Trump is probably going to lose. But right now he is only down by an even 4 points according to the well respected Otis Polling Average (OPA). Whether you want to admit it or not, he has clearly been acting more presidential these last 3 weeks and Hillary continues to get hammered with bad news. He is going to start releasing brutal adds attacking Hil for her corruption and open borders policies. As long as he sticks to the issues, he will trounce Hillary in the debates simply because Hillary’s open borders policies are indefensible and because Hillary is that unlikable.

    So the most likely outcome is Trump losing by 1 or 2 points. But Trumpism will be alive; and that is what really matters.

    By winning the primaries, Trump exposed the “muh values” faction of the Republican party as a paper tiger. The days of pandering to the TruCons are over. From now on abortions and tax cuts are going to be an afterthought and immigration will be front and center. You will never have a more perfect TruCon candidate than Ted Cruz who managed to get the Stupid Christian Huckabee/Santorum vote AND the TruCon Retard vote and still couldn’t beat Trump head to head. By the way, despite Cruz’s formidable coalition of Stupid’s and Retards, he still needed to adopt Trump’s anti immigrant policies to make the race even remotely competitive.

    Trump is the savior we needed: Our mistake was in thinking that what we needed was to be saved from the Left. What we really needed, however, was someone who would permanently destroy the greatest evil in the history of humanity: the Conservative Movement.

    And Trump, bless him, did just that.

    Otis the Sweaty

    September 2, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    • I hope for your sake you’re just copying and pasting that screed and not rewriting it each time. You also need to realize that if Trump doesn’t win all those factions of the conservative movement that you hate and think have been defeated are going to get their man nominated in 2020 (the same way they already picked virtually every GOP congressional candidate).


      September 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      • If you think we’re going to vote for Cruz after NeverTrumps have tried to sabotage the nominee then you’re out of your mind.


        September 3, 2016 at 10:20 am

    • First off look up Churchill-Gallipoli. The fact that he was sandbagged by the news media and Emperor Trump is about rebound to rebound to Cruz’s credit in the vast days of introspection following Trump humiliating loss.

      Secondly there is no Trumpism without Trump.
      Hell there barely is any *with* Trump. Paul Ryan wins by 70 points, Rubio by 50+ points and even McCain by 20 points. In the fit of the paroxysm of Trumpamania running wild, it is accomplishing exactly nothing. Unless you count being on your 3rd campaign manager in 3 months as an accomplishment.

      The only reason Trump is the nominee is because of the delegates gained in the NY primary. But currently Trump is doing worse in NY than Bush, McCain and Romney.

      So there will be no Trumpism in another 5 months. Oh there will still be crazed narcissists shouting to people about about foreigners but they will be confined to street corners. And the corners of the internet.

      Lion of the Turambar

      September 3, 2016 at 7:41 am

  8. Just for the hell of it, I threw the phrases “Game of Thrones” and “racist” into Google, and found results. I’ll spare you.

    The SJW’s have turned the world mad. It’s like we’re living in Stalin’s Russia.


    September 2, 2016 at 3:05 pm

  9. Too much feminism, especially the least season when they got past Martin’s books and all the women started killing all the men and taking power.

    Even before that, they were more constrained, but they had Brianne of Tarth killing the Hound and the Sand Snakes holding their own fighting men. Even though these are exceptions, the idea that any women can compete with the greatest male warriors is absurd.


    September 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    • “Even though these are exceptions, the idea that any women can compete with the greatest male warriors is absurd.”

      The only realm where that would be possible is the realm of fantasy.

      Lewis Medlock

      September 2, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    • Last season was mostly clandestine pro-Hillary propaganda.


      September 2, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    • And I forgot to mention Lady Marmont, the most absurd character in the history of TV. A ten year old girl who has the presence and strength to command men into battle.


      September 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    • “Too much feminism, especially the least season when they got past Martin’s books and all the women started killing all the men and taking power.”

      Yep. Watched the show this year for the first time and couldn’t stop laughing at all the butt-kicking Xena Warrior Princesses and their wanton, violent cruelty. The writers obviously have an agenda: to celebrate and encourage female coarseness. Also the writing is lazy, ad hoc, full of deus ex machina dragons & magick whenever they’ve written themselves into a corner. The characters are all vile and unlikeable, so I don’t care what happens to them. But the production values and acting are topnotch. It speaks volumes that this dreck is so popular in the FUSA.


      September 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm

  10. There’s a lot of stuff going on in GoT. One could read or watch it at least a couple of times.

    It’s a great fantasy series and gives LOTR a run for its money. But I found the sex and nudity gratuitous as HBO is wont to do. I think they put it in there just to have it.

    I thought Dune was so bad that, after seeing it, I couldn’t bring myself to read anything by Frank Herbert. Should I give his books a chance?


    September 2, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    • Dune was a great novel, nothing like the awful movie. Problem is that Frank Herbert wrote a bunch of sequels, with each sequel being worse than the previous.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 2, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    • I agree with Lion’s comments on Dune. The first novel is the only one I have read more than once. I powered through the Frank Herbert sequels but I don’t recommend them. The various prequels and sequels and filler books by Herbert’s son and Kevin Anderson are an abortion.


      September 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      • I read all of the ones by Frank. #1 is the best, but #4 is pretty good too. The rest were sort of forgettable.

        David Pinsen

        September 3, 2016 at 4:52 am

    • I think the nudity is gratuitous in that the women are so attractive. It would be much more interesting and realistic if there was an equal amount of nudity and sex but the women looked like actual medieval prostitutes.


      September 2, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    • I recently rewatched Dune and there are enjoyable elements there. Much of the enjoyment is in hindsight schadenfroid at the perplexed 80’s audiences watching this.

      Lion is right that the first “Dune” is excellent but that they then decline in quality and that undermines the original accomplishment in retrospect.

      Still Dune is in the top 5 SF in the 20th century.

      Lion of the Turambar

      September 3, 2016 at 7:51 am

  11. Too bad Jodorowsky’s Dune never got made. It would have been a great spectacle, with input from creative geniuses like Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger (both of later Alien fame).


    September 2, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    • I didn’t get that impression at all from the documentary. His early films looked like crappy b-movies, and his concept art looked ridiculous. Plus, he would have blown his budget on his crazy casting ideas.

      David Pinsen

      September 3, 2016 at 5:11 am

  12. I used to think that it was fine for independently wealthy people not to work and do whatever, but I’m beginning to reconsider this position. Maybe minimum productive labor should be required of everyone? All this free time doesn’t seem to lead to anything good.


    September 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    • “American friendships are superficial” (from last thread) — and Russian friendships seem deep (measuring up to your “I’m-ready-to-die-for-you” standard) only because Russians are near-blackout-drunk all the time and “I’m ready to die for you” is exactly the sort of thing that near-blackout-drunk Russians are likely to say to each other. All of the Americans at the Alamo died for all of the other Americans at the Alamo. Does that count? Also, American men think more of dying for their wives and children than of dying for their drunk-together-friends, while Russian men are too drunk to remember that they have wives and children.


      September 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      • Yakov doesn’t get that Americans do have “help bury the body” friends.

        But we don’t talk about it.

        Mike Street Station

        September 2, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      • Who cares what backwards immigrant jackoff thinks.

        Anyway the sex is what makes game of thrones believable and not boring and gay like lors of the rings. People don’t fight for bullshit ideas and elvish pride. People fight for pussy and power, in that order.


        September 3, 2016 at 3:01 am

      • @poonany

        You have succinctly defined the motivation of the dominant demographic at Rikers Island. We, the immigrants, have different aspirations. Try to process this.


        September 3, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      • @Garr

        Mate, what does Alamo or Russia have to do with anything? We were discussing friendship here and now. You got to stay focused on the subject and give substantive replies instead of lashing out at people. No wonder you have a problem keeping a job. You’d asked me once, in anticipation of being let go, if I have a job for you in HVAC. I don’t think that with personality like yours HVAC is the right career path for you. Even if you somehow would get hired, in a couple of days I would have to go full Trump on you with ‘You are fired!’

        I’m a very good natured chap and could just let your comment slide, like I’d done in the past, but that would not be being a good freind. So as a freind I’m telling that you should seek psychiatric help. Try to process this and be well.


        September 3, 2016 at 9:46 pm

  13. The grotesque sexual content didn’t bother you? I’ve avoided GoT for this reason. And, I don’t get the enthusiasm for the fact that “good guys die too”. What’s the point of fantasy if not to be uplifting?

    Samson J.

    September 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    • I pride myself on never having watched one of these cable dramas: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Deadwood, etc, and I don’t plan to. (OK, I did once date a girl who got me to watch a few episodes of “Dexter” with her.) Based on everything I’ve read about them, they’re the culmination of the nihilism that the cultural left is trying to use to transform our society. One can tell they must be bad, by the fact that liberal critics praise them, and by what they praise them for: sex, nudity, profanity, violence, an extremely dark tone, and moral ambiguity–no clear good guys or bad guys. And to top it all off, their creators see themselves as successfully defying the bad old standards of polite society, by airing them on cable channels, so there’s no network censorship. (I’ve heard “Breaking Bad” wasn’t quite as bad with the sex or profanity because it was on a non-premium channel, AMC, but I understand its tone and message was still quite dark, “gritty,” and nihilistic.)


      September 3, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      • Breaking Bad was boring and extremely fake. I stopped watching it and never finished after an episode where the main character buys a hundred thousand dollar sports car and then literally destroys it for no reason.

        Dexter was good for the first season.

        Game of Thrones was never that good, it looked and felt like a cheap TV series in season 1 and 2, I stopped watching after that. I’ve read all the books as well and felt like the way HBO adapted them was vastly for titillation value — The books have almost no sexual content at all. I don’t think Martin knows how to write about sexuality.

        Panther of the Blogocube

        September 4, 2016 at 6:32 am

      • “I don’t think Martin knows how to write about sexuality.”

        That’s not surprising. He looks like the ultimate omega male D&D-playing nerd.


        September 4, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      • @Hermes

        Im a prole with limited IQ, intelligence and education, but I think watching these retarded TV series is dumb and drumber. I’m glad that there is someone other then me that thinks likewise.

        Its just so dumb….. And they want guaranteed minimum income. No way!


        September 4, 2016 at 8:05 pm

  14. INSANITY to call this show better than The Sopranos.

    It was a great show until the last 2 seasons though. Especially the least season was really dumb.


    September 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    • I agree. Same thing when The Wire was all the rage and people were saying it was the best series ever. The Sopranos was the best series ever and it’s not even close. The level of detail in the writing and cinematography was just incredible. The Sopranos encapsulated the decade of 2000-2010 so perfectly people in 100 years will watch it and understand the anxieties and social disintegration of late republic America better than any history book. People also forget that it was the first of these kind of cinema quality TV series. The original and still best. (Nothing against The Wire by the way, just not as good as Sopranos.)

      Sagi Is My Guru

      September 2, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    • Disagree. As a whole, it’s better than The Sopranos.

      The Sopranos had some great episodes and great story arcs, but also some dead-end episodes (Tony’s dream episodes?). And, to me at least, the show ground to a halt every time Tony was in his therapist’s office.

      Plus, David Chase did some stuff just to mess with viewers. Like when Tony’s therapist gets raped and the rapist gets off scot-free on a technicality, and she doesn’t tell Tony about it? taken together that was pretty implausible. Same with the Russian guy disappearing in the Pine Barrens in the middle of winter.

      David Pinsen

      September 3, 2016 at 5:21 am

  15. Game of Thrones is a fantastic show. As far as the feminist warrior thing – Cersei defeated her enemies by being sneaky and brutal not by strength. Brianne of Tarth is a warrior but everyone knows she is a freak – and she beat the Hound when he was already sick from an infection and she fought Jaime when he was also weakened and had his hands tied together. So the fem-warrior stuff is not too extreme. The sand snakes are ridiculous but they are minor characters. Daenerys is magical – she beats men only because she is invulnerable to fire (it’s a Targaryen thing- didn’t help her bro’ though).


    September 2, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    • Sand Snakes took over one of the kingdoms by having a secret palace faction of women that killed all the men. Has that ever happened in human history?

      Right now, all the leaders are women except Jon Snow. It’s gotten absurd. It’s like the whole thing is coming to an end and they’re determined to finish the series with an equal number of male and female leaders for the series as a whole.


      September 3, 2016 at 9:30 pm

  16. Game of Crones
    Its a feminist fantasy

    michael ryan

    September 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    • It’s too long, who has time to read all that???

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 2, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      • tl;dr, as the 4chan generation would say. Wittgenstein once tired of the “long winded” repetition of Kierkegaard, and that was ages ago-in this era long windedness is a “time sink” luxury few can afford to entertain. A blog should read like a Zen koan, as a few potent lines trigger an exponentially larger unfolding of thoughts in the reader, much as in this blog.


        September 2, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      • And the text is comically tiny at the default zoom (at least on chromium)!


        September 3, 2016 at 6:26 am

      • Text is too small to read on my phone.


        September 3, 2016 at 10:24 am

    • Link to it and find out. Linking won’t kill you, will it?

      And anyway, this is the real game of thrones:

      The Undiscovered Jew

      September 2, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      • You should add some pictures or PowerPoint slides.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 2, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      • It speaks for itself.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 2, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      • Please?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 2, 2016 at 8:55 pm

  17. Game of Thrones is the best series HBO has made. A lot of the scenery is real — there was a short HBO documentary about how it’s shot on location by two crews in separate countries at the same time.

    The accents are partly due to the parallels of British history — see Ed West on that — but also because the different British accents easily denote class (there are a couple of non-British accents in the show too: Dorn seems to be a stand-in for Spain, and Bravos for Greece).

    As far as David Lynch’s Dune, you are too harsh. It was half-great, half-garbage, and is worth watching for the half-great stuff. The worms looked great. The cast was mostly great. Music was great. The space ship effects were terrible. It looked like Lynch ran out of money while making it.

    David Pinsen

    September 2, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    • “As far as David Lynch’s Dune, you are too harsh. It was half-great, half-garbage, and is worth watching for the half-great stuff.”

      I heard that, re-watched, and still found no redeeming qualities. Everything about the movie was garbage.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 2, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      • Can you post a review outlining why it was garbage? I always thought that movie was neat. The soundtrack was menacing, and a good fit to the story. Also they had all the inner monologue that was in the book.

        I admit there is a different feeling to it, than reading the novel. I think that is mostly that it is rushed. I mean, it feels really rushed, like they’re trying to jam a bunch of details into a short period.


        September 2, 2016 at 8:41 pm

  18. I loved GOT until the last season. Then the SJWs must have started wearing down the writers because I got annoyed watching many of those episodes. The whole thing about freeing the slaves is so typically liberal (in the old sense). The visuals are great.

    As for the Dune 2000 mini-series (3 episodes, 4hrs. 26 mins.) it’s not a great time investment and I enjoyed it. I also thought the visuals were the best ever in anything up to that point.


    September 2, 2016 at 6:49 pm

  19. CGI is generally only used for dragons, giants, direwolves, and large battles. The backgrounds are all on location and use real sets. They film in something like 5 countries including Iceland for the North/winter scenes and Spain for Dorne and most of Essos. Most interior scenes are filmed in Belfast.

    It stays almost totally true to the books for season 1. Strays slightly in seasons 2 and 3. A bit more in 4, and goes in really strange and different directions in 5 and 6.


    September 2, 2016 at 7:33 pm

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