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Old 17th June 2011, 05:26 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesanna View Post
Sorry for double post, but I just read a much better article that serves as a counter-point to the guff above.

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/06...me-of-thrones/

If you have friends complaining, maybe you can point them to that!
I liked the last line
Quote:
Or, better yet, pick up the books and start reading.
Unfortunately with many TV viewers there is fat chance of that happening.
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Old 17th June 2011, 07:33 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

A number of my friends who have not read the books, but are avid fan's of the TV series,were gutted when Ned lost his head. Yet, they could understand it and the way the series has gone so far, it felt right to them.

The downside is that I am getting bombarded with questions along the lines of 'Will such and such a character make it?' None of them have threatened to leave the show.
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Old 17th June 2011, 10:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

Warning... A Game of Thrones and The Princess Bride SPOILERS ahead!

Tezz, thanks for the thread. My friends and I have been debating since January whether the series will be able to survive Eddard Stark. I've wanted to talk to you all about this, but I was unwilling to start this thread without spoiling the story before episode nine.

From the linked article from examiner.com in the OP:

Quote:
“Most of you who think this was some sort of brilliant move or something don’t understand the difference between a book audience and a TV audience,” argued EW reader Tamcamry. “TV audiences need to invest in characters. Most of the other characters I don’t care much about. While the show will probably still appeal to the ‘wow’ crowd, it’s mass appeal just got beheaded.”
I think that the readers of the books understand very well the difference between the two.

Personally, I've watched every episode of AGOT, LOST, Cheers, M*A*S*H (I think), Veronica Mars (admittedly, a guilty pleasure), and Life. I've seen at least half (if not almost all) of Legend of the Seeker, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, ROME, The Sopranos, True Blood, and Law and Order. And... I must have seen upwards of thirty thousand sporting events on TV.

I understand about becoming emotionally invested in characters. But is emotional all there is? What about time? AGOT in ten episodes, including the repeated credits, total about nine hours and ten minutes. Reading AGOT takes each reader a different amount of time, but it's probably eighteen hours, on average. The investment in time is definitely more for the reader than the viewer.

Here's an analogy: People always talk about spending qualtity time together... especially with their children. I think this is a fallacy. Mandating quality time can be done, but with irregularity. Other peoples emotions should not always be forced into another person's desires. To get quality time with loved ones, a person needs to spend a large quantity of time. Teachable moments can be created, but most times they just happen. One does not know when a child or lover will be hurting... and that time of comfort cannot just be made up later. Time investment is emotional investment. I think this can be transferred to reading versus viewing.

After fifteen chapters out of the first fifty-nine in AGOT, all readers are invested in Eddard. We've read about his love for Catelyn. We've read of his love for his children. We've read about his loyalty to his friends. We've read of his unwillingness to sully his family name and his honor. And we've read much about his memories and dreams of his father, brother, and sister. I've not yet seen or heard mention of Lyanna on the show except for Robert's visit to her tomb. What do viewers know of "Promise me, Ned"? What do they know of the woman in the bed of blood and roses? What do viewers know about the quarrel between Eddard and Robert after the sack of King's Landing? What do they know of the Sword of the Morning, the White Bull, and Ser Oswell Whent? What do they know of Howland Reed? What do they know of Eddard's silent promises to tell Sansa and Jon about his decisions? What do they know of his faithfulness to Catelyn in turning down Cersei's sexual favors?

And what about the Arya and Brienne POVs? These chapters specifically show the plight of the common people. These chapters show the ins and outs of family, religion, and social hierarchy in daily life. GRRM has something to say on social justice.

So Eddard lived a good and honest life. He's probably in Westerosi heaven. But what about Littlefinger, Cersei, Tyrion, Sansa, the Hound, Arya, Dany, Bran and Jaime? What of their ambitions and desires? Will Eddard's children suffer or succeed? Will they follow in his honorable footsteps or become what he despised in their desire to avenge him? Will any of Eddard's enemies be inspired by his life and death enough to renounce their wicked ways? Is redemption possible?

And for those who loved Eddard, I must ask, What about Robb? What about Jon? How will his teenage sons trained to command soldiers deal with his murder? Aren't their stories compelling?

Personally, I feel that reading requires more of my attention, imagination, and memory than viewing the television. The only way I have a greater investment in the show is monetary. A used paperback version of AGOT is $5 while three months of HBO is running me around $200.

So the readers are the "wow crowd"? Personally, I think there is much less gratuitous nudity in the books.

So... the "mass appeal just got beheaded"? When the going gets tough, should we quit reading? All of Eddard's loved ones are now in jeopardy without him to protect them, but they must be the characters that Tamcamry doesn't "care much about". If Eddard was all the story had going for it, then I'd agree whole heartedly with Tamcamry. But really, don't the characters who manipulated and outfoxed Eddard seem interesting? Shouldn't viewers desire to see them get theirs? I think the boy from The Princess Bride had a better concept of stories than this...

Quote:
Grandson: Grandpa, grandpa, wait. Wait, what did Fezzik mean
"He's dead"? I mean, he didn't mean dead. Westley's
only faking, right?

Grandfather:You want me to read this or not?

Grandson: Who gets Humperdinck?

Grandfather:I don't understand.

Grandson: Who kills Prince Humperdinck? At the end. Somebody's
got to do it. Is it Inigo, who?

Grandfather:Nobody. Nobody kills him. He lives.

Grandson: You mean he wins? Jesus, Grandpa, what did you read
me this thing for?

Grandfather:You know, you've been very sick and you're taking
this story very seriously. I think we better stop
now.

Grandson: No, I'm okay. I'm okay. Sit down. I'm all right.

Grandfather:Okay. All right. Now let's see, where were we. Ohhh,
yes. In the Pit of Despair.
The questions are whether the viewers find the rest of the plot and characters interesting and whether they trust the author who has given them such a treat up tothis point.

That being said, will the series survive the death of Eddard? I'm not sure.

I'm also not sure if HBO really has intentions of finishing the series. Unless, the show's second season is a sensation, then I think that HBO will seriously think about shutting it down. HBO is in business to make money. Amen. So AGOT will not need to be a critical success, it will need to be a viewing success. If it becomes a water fountain conversation mainstay, if Matt Groenig parodies it, if tens of millions of people worldwide only have HBO for the express purpose of watching AGOT (i.e. me and my friends), then HBO will judge it to be a show worth finishing.

Thanks for your investment of time in reading this post.

Last edited by Boaz; 17th June 2011 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 18th June 2011, 06:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

I must admit when I first read these books I was totally shocked when Ned had his head cut off. Like some one else said, I'm used to the hero/good guy being saved in just about every book/TV show/movie I've ever read or watched. Martin has proved time again that no character is safe in his books (Imagine the reaction there is going to be if HBO make it as far as a certain unconventional wedding!) and seems to kill them with joyful abandon. He is one of the few authors that I've ever read that is brave enough to kill the main players in his books, be they good or bad. Which if I'm honest makes it more enjoyable and unpredictable and possibly more lifelike. Life can be a bit cr*p and the good guy doesn't always come out smelling of roses and will often get trampled on.

As far as the series is concerned I hope people that have never read the books don't switch off because of this. I wondered how they would react to arguably the shows biggest star being killed off (Sean Bean must get tired of playing characters that get killed part way through a major fantasy franchise!).
If people do switch off will HBO get cold feet and cancel future series? I certainly hope not.
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Old 18th June 2011, 07:52 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

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Originally Posted by svalbard View Post
A number of my friends who have not read the books, but are avid fan's of the TV series,were gutted when Ned lost his head. Yet, they could understand it and the way the series has gone so far, it felt right to them.

The downside is that I am getting bombarded with questions along the lines of 'Will such and such a character make it?' None of them have threatened to leave the show.
Amen. It seems some people want an animated romance of pretty pink princesses riding prancing ponies in Paris where everyone lives happily ever after. Ah, the joys of soma... or burying one's head in the sand.

Really, I don't know anyone, reader or viewer, who was not shocked when Eddard died. He was the primary protagonist. Seriously, who kills off their main character in the first book of a series? But that very action boldly announced that GRRM is in full author-ity of the story. Eddard's death tells us that GRRM will be taking us down rarely trodden paths... that the world is a deceptive place... that wolves can be killed as easily as ostriches.
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Old 18th June 2011, 08:59 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

Yes, there's a difference between book and TV audiences, book audiences have functioning brains, even in the US.

Thankfully, the mindset that wanted to film, 'Mort,' but leave out Death, invite Jane Austin to do a lecture tour or drop the, 'III,' from, 'The Madness of King George III,' because audiences wouldn't go if they hadn't seen I and II, is pretty rare except in Hollywood's higher echelons.
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Old 18th June 2011, 11:43 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

Could posters here please remember that this thread is in the TV section, not the Author section, of the Chrons? There shouldn't really be even hints at possible spoilers in this thread.

I know it isn't done on purpose, but there may be people coming here who will see later seasons still not having read the (relevant) books. I'm sure none of us would want their enjoyment (or whatever) spolied.
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Old 18th June 2011, 11:51 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

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So the readers are the "wow crowd"? Personally, I think there is much less gratuitous nudity in the books.
I took the term wow crowd to mean World of Warcraft crowd, it seemed to me that EW reader Tamcamry seems to think that TV audiences are somehow more involved with the story that is fed to them than readers who have to use their imagination to create the images themselves because of course if you read fantasy novels you must be a nerd who spends all their spare time online playing WoW.
I hope some of these poor sensitive viewers who spend so much time investing in the main character never see Edward Woodward playing Sergeant Neil Howie.
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:28 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

I've not watched the TV series, nor have I read the books. So thanks, you've just spoiled everything for me!

Some of the comments i.e. book readers vs. TV watchers are just empty-headed, but I still think there is a valid point to be made. A TV series is different to a book. It has nothing to do with "investment in characters" but I think I understand where those commentators are coming from. If HBO heavily promoted this new series as "Starring Sean Bean" there would be some expectation for the "Star" of the show to continue to be in in. Those "in the know" find it all hugely funny, but many people do watch a TV show simply because they "like the actor and he is always in good things." Now, before you all pile onto me about "that's the beauty of the writing" and "that's what makes it better than the usual TV fare", I'm not saying that, I'm just saying it was wrong of HBO to promote the show in that way, well knowing that would be the expectation from many of their viewers. They did it deliberately and knowingly.

Last edited by Dave; 18th June 2011 at 02:40 PM. Reason: sentence made no sense
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:16 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

I don't see how you could describe HBO's promotion as "wrong". I don't see anything unethical or immoral or even offensive about it. To me, if anything, it looks like they overestimated their audience, assuming that perhaps people were ready for something new and different.

Apart from which, I don't really see what other options there were for promotion. If you had to pick the main main character in AGoT, it's Ned. His storyline is the titular game of thrones. Tyrion is arguably a contender in that regard, but I feel Ned's storyline more clearly illustrates what the game is actually about. Since this makes him the lead character, they cast a fairly prominent actor in the role - and they then promoted this, as you would expect in any TV show.

I see it as nothing more than a clever transition from novel to television by HBO. In my mind a poster or teaser trailer for a TV show is roughly parallel to a blurb for a book. All the blurbs for AGoT clearly establish Ned as the main character ("As Warden of the North, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when..."). Book and TV show: both are working to subvert the same cliche. In order to do that - and milk it to its full effect - they need to build it up as much as possible. To that end the "deceit" in promotion is entirely necessary. What would be the point in underplaying Ned, or shoving him off to one side? Then what's the point in even telling that story? No one would care.

Entertainment is most entertaining at its most visceral: when it has some kind of deep emotional impact. HBO did everything they could to make Ned's end powerful. It may have caused a backlash on Twitter, but all that does is generate more attention. We'll have to wait til the next episode to see if there's any drop in numbers, but I doubt it. I can pretty much guarantee that anyone who watched the last episode, regardless of how happy they were with the outcome, got their money's worth in terms of entertainment and emotion. And now I think others will latch onto that based on what they've seen and heard online.

I think it's a win all round: for GRRM, for clever, engaging storytelling, and of course for the TV show.
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:34 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

The trouble is, Dave, Ned is the central character of the book, A Game of Thrones. He has the most chapters; he is at the centre of most of the intrigue (in the sense, perhaps, that he's the eye of the storm); he has the noble character against which all the others' are measured and found wanting.

Without Ned showing that nobility exists in the world of ASoIaF, we might more easily accept the amorality of that world. And that would be tempting: most of the other characters are too busy trying to save their own skins to ponder much on what is wrong and what is right. And Ned's fate underlines this: he does the "right" thing by everyone and he dies, having put his whole family in the firing line.


Most of the characters, even the ones we love to hate, are not evil: they have valid reasons for their actions (from their place in history to their personal circumstances). And this, more than anything else (even the twisted, not to say contorted, nature of the plot), is why ASoIaF is so good: if we dare, we can place ourselves in the position of most (though not all) of the characters and find that we might not behave any more "honourably" than they do. (Take, for instance, Jaime's appalling act at the end of episode 1 of Game of Thrones: if you were Jaime, would you hold Bran's life more dear than your own and those of your sister and your three children?)


Because of all that, Ned is, and has to be, the main character in season 1 of Game of Thrones. He has to be there in the spotlight; and being so, he has to have top billing.
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:56 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

Considering what digs and Ursa just said I'm trying to think of another comparable situation in another TV show to make a comparison, and quite frankly I can't find one. So, maybe this was just inevitable?

Am I right in thinking that the Season is over half way through? So, in actual fact, he does appear in most of the Season anyway? If so, then what is the problem - I mean to say, in TV shows actors often leave at the end of Seasons so there was never a guarantee Sean Bean would be in Season 2. Some of the critical comments made do strike me as a little odd in that respect.
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Old 18th June 2011, 05:33 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

Ned died at the end of the ninth episode (of ten). So yes: the complaints are rather overdone.
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Old 18th June 2011, 08:37 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

Digs, everything you said +1.

HBO are not wrong in promoting Ned as the star. Sean Bean arguably is the most famous person in the cast, so it makes sense to use a big name. Plus early on in the show, and in the book, you believe Ned is the pivotal character of the story. So you made assumptions that were completely thrown back in your face in episode nine. And instead of sitting back feeling gobsmacked and thinking "OMFG, this is incredible; I've never read/watched anything like this", you take to the internet and bitch cos you feel what? That you were set up? Ripped off? To be honest, I think people threatening to cancel their subscriptions solely cos Ned died are muppets. Sorry.

People I've spoken to were stunned at the audacity of killing off the "main" character, but I think everyone is now desperate to know what happens next. Personally, I like have my perceptions messed with. I think it's the sign of good storytelling, that I can watch a prominent character be killed, or that I can start off loving/hating character X, then later on do a complete U-turn. Do people really want more of the formulaic shows that Hollywood churns out by the bucket-load?
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Old 18th June 2011, 08:49 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: "TV Fan's" Backlash

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. Do people really want more of the formulaic shows that Hollywood churns out by the bucket-load?
It would seem so yes. I like the way the usual conventions seem to be shaken up a little it makes more interesting viewing. Take the series Boardwalk Empire although the story is based on historic events and people the writers admit to playing with the facts to keep the audience guessing. In Deadwood the ending did not come as a surprise as I looked up the history of the town and knew what was going to happen. And now I'm rambling and lost track of my point oh well
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