Monday, April 18, 2011

Winter is here!!

How can I possibly get more awesome?
A Game of Thrones preimiered on HBO last night. Me and Mr. Two Monkeys do not have HBO so our friend J took pity on us and invited us to her house to watch the show of the century. This is a good thing because I was seriously contemplating getting arrested and going to jail for anything, just so I could get better tv than what I have in my apartment.

Perps of victimless crimes get HBO *and* Showtime.
I read these books about 6 years ago and I'm rereading them now. I'm actually doing a read along (sort of like an online book club) over at Geektress if y'all want to join in. Because no matter how good a show or movie is, I always say you should check out the book as well.

But damn... this pilot episode was great. I'm a stickler about adaptations, as in I usually hate them. I understand that one cannot cram hundreds of pages of book into a two hour movie or even a ten episode miniseries. But I think that a lot of film and television adaptations make poor choices in what they choose to keep and leave out, or what they choose to change. For example, the "I am Legend" adaptation with Will Smith was pretty all right until the directer yelled at Will Smith to start acting like this was a Will Smith movie. And the end was changed and the nature of the vampire/zombie things changed and then the whole meaning behind the original work was shat upon like a pigeon's favorite statue. On the other hand, I quite like the film adaptation of "Heart of Darkness" and, dare I say it? Apocalypse Now might even be better than the novella.

What is this about again? Is this a cartoon? Maybe I should stop taking LSD with Dennis Hopper.
I digress. So far, A Game of Thrones gets two thumbs up from me in terms of both adaptation and enjoyment. The world of Westeros is a lot dirtier on television than it was in my head, but I like that. It's more realistic. And as far as fantasy goes, this series is fairly down to earth. There are minor hints of magic here and there but it doesn't drive the plot. What drives the plot are noble people making stupid decisions.

If you've read the books, poor Ned doesn't even really need a caption here.
 But these decisions of course, are only stupid in hindsight. One of the great things about George R.R. Martin's characters are that all of them are flawed. None of them are solidly good or bad. Even Cersei Lannister, easily the most hateful of them all, has a moment or two of vulnerability. This is basically a story about some people who try to do the right thing, others who try to do the selfish thing, and how all of them fuck up royally over and over again.

Likability is so very important in this program since all of the characters are so finely nuanced. From the first episode alone, I can say that casting was near perfect. The two standouts for me were Sean Bean as Eddard Stark and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Stark is a stern father and warden, a loving and dutiful husband, and a reluctant advisor to his King. Without grimacing and swooning his way through the pilot, Bean portrayed Eddard Stark's inner turmoil with perfection. I really felt for the guy. We only saw a little bit of Dinklage as Tyrion, but Tyrion becomes a major player as time goes on and I look forward to seeing Dinklage burn the hell out of Westeros with Tyrion's scathing wit. Tyrion is a total pimp, wise ass, and smart as hell - Dinklage owned that.

Bitches love the Imp. Get some.
 My only complaint with the series is in regard to the sex scenes, which was echoed by these good ladies at Tor. According to The New York Times, A Game of Thrones is for boys only and all of the sex is thrown in just so women will watch. For reals? Does this mean women are totally into orgies, rape, and incest? Because that's what kind of sex I saw. I'm not going to get into why the NYT article is stupid - if you have a quarter of a brain, you know why. But none of this sex in the show was romantic sex that would attract any audience - female or male. Except maybe the scene with Tyrion and his whores... At any rate, there are two sex(ual) scenes between brothers and sisters - ew, an orgy that ends in guys getting gutted - not sexy, and one of our protagonists getting raped by her new husband on their wedding night - not exactly what the ladies fantasize about.

Oh Ariel, you are so clueless.

I'm not a prude and I've read the books. I knew this stuff was going to happen, with the exception of the Dany/Drogo marriage consumation scene. In the book, Drogo has shown himself to be the most barbarian-y barbarian ever up to this scene. He rides off with his new wife, who is only 13 in the book and she can't stop crying because she's freaking 13 and married to a barbarian warlord who does not speak her language. I would cry, too. But Drogo is very tender with her and tries to communicate with her and set her at ease until she willingly has sex with him. On the show, he bends her over as she's still crying and gets his business done like a boss.

This bothers me because it messes with Dany and Drogo's storyline. Drogo becomes quite likable in the book and Dany does fall in love with him. He becomes a very sympathetic character and his story heavily affects Dany's. I'm not sure how this storyline will progress with such a violent beginning. How will Dany ever come to love him after he rapes her? I have no idea.

At any rate, read, watch, enjoy, and check into Geektress not only for my read along but because we're a bunch of awesome bitches. This adaptation gets my stamp of approval and I look forward to all the rest of the eposides. Winter is here and I love it.