BethR

Game of Thrones

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Does HBO stream episodes of their series online?

Yes, but here's the catch: they just unveiled their HBO GO streaming program, and you must be a subscriber to use it.

Edited by Jason Panella

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Does HBO stream episodes of their series online?

Yes, but here's the catch: they just unveiled their HBO GO streaming program, and you must be a subscribed to use it.

:angry:

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Hot Pie would hate this kind of tyrannical programming.

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We should do an A&F live chat when this comes out, though I imagine it would be largely silent until the credits.

Shoot... I'm still trying to find someone whose HBO I can borrow. (We don't have cable TV.)

I seem to have acquired a few (three?) free months of HBO when I switched to a new TV service. You're welcome to come over to my place, but it's probably a long ride for a short visit every week...

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Very, very impressive.

Meanwhile, a concerned young man writes:

So, Mr. Overstreet...do you think Game of Thrones is going to be something a family could watch together.....something that will not offend the moral senses of a conservative christian....or is it going to be a typical HBO miniseries?

I responded as best I could, based on this excerpt and what friends have told me about the series:

Aaron, there are beheadings in the first few minutes. There is a cautionary statement about violence and nudity, etc. It's R-rated material. That will trouble some conservative Christians, but not all. Some people will find it too harsh for their sensibilities, others won't. Have you read the books? If you have, I think you'll know what kind of things to expect. This is definitely a series for discerning adults, not children. And anyone who watches it should attend to their conscience, as they should with anything they watch.

Would you add anything to that? Or disagree?

Edited by Overstreet

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Would you add anything to that? Or disagree?

I think it's worded well, Jeff, and I agree. On a similar note, I'm getting kind of frustrated that amongst all of the press the show is getting, there's a common theme that the show is "fantasy for adults," and that the sex and violence are the main focus. If the show is anything like the book(s) (which, judging from everything I've read, it is), the characters and dense plotting drive stuff, and the "adult content" serves the story. In fact, I'm about to finish the third book in the series, and I was surprised had how restrained Martin was with some of the grittiness.

Sorry, rant over. :)

I thought the first few scenes were great, and I can tell all of the condensing they're doing works well to move the plot along. The ultra-crazy fanpeople may gripe that Ser Waymar didn't actually try to fight the Other in the beginning, but whatever. It works.

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Yeah, the whole "fantasy for adults" thing bothers me a bit, too. On the one hand, it's accurate: there's no way I'd let children read these books. On the other hand, I think it sets up certain expectations that the series is going to really sexy and salacious. Yes, there's a lot of sexual content in the books, but a good deal of it is, quite frankly, disgusting -- and rightfully so. For many characters, sex is just another way to gain and hold onto power (the most obvious example of this is Cersei). So while there will probably a fair number of exposed breasts in the series, their presence won't be quite so erotic and exciting if the filmmakers really hold true to Martin's words.

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Yeah, the whole "fantasy for adults" thing bothers me a bit, too. On the one hand, it's accurate: there's no way I'd let children read these books. On the other hand, I think it sets up certain expectations that the series is going to really sexy and salacious. Yes, there's a lot of sexual content in the books, but a good deal of it is, quite frankly, disgusting -- and rightfully so. For many characters, sex is just another way to gain and hold onto power (the most obvious example of this is Cersei). So while there will probably a fair number of exposed breasts in the series, their presence won't be quite so erotic and exciting if the filmmakers really hold true to Martin's words.

Absolutely. This is material that's not at all for children, or many adults for that matter. Your point about the sexual content is accurate, and the same goes for the violence; there's nothing exciting about it. It's grisly and horrible, and I've been dreading having to wade through the sections that describe the aftermaths of battle. There have been a few fights that were exciting (Oberyn vs. the Mountain, for instance), but they often upend into the horrific and tragic before too long.

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I agree with all the above. What has gripped me about these books is that even though they are fantasy in terms of genre, they have the authentic texture of history. Sex as power, tragically lopsided military conquests, conniving political evil. This is the raw material of human history.

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M. Leary wrote:

: What has gripped me about these books is that even though they are fantasy in terms of genre, they have the authentic texture of history. Sex as power, tragically lopsided military conquests, conniving political evil. This is the raw material of human history.

FWIW, I haven't read these books, but I vaguely recall that The Lord of the Rings was supposed to feel like history (as opposed to, say, The Chronicles of Narnia). And it's certainly a MASSIVE work that, while being read by a number of children, certainly wouldn't have been promoted as a kids' book in the first place. (Were ANY 800-page novels sold as "kids' books" before the latter Harry Potter sequels came out?) So until now, I've been wondering if A Game of Thrones (which I haven't read) might fall into the same sort of category as Tolkien's work.

But now this "sex as power" line has me thinking that Tolkien might be in a different category altogether after all. No?

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Yes. And I have often told people I prefer this series over Tolkien for reasons along this line. Heresy, I know.

Edited by M. Leary

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FWIW, I haven't read these books, but I vaguely recall that The Lord of the Rings was supposed to feel like history (as opposed to, say, The Chronicles of Narnia). And it's certainly a MASSIVE work that, while being read by a number of children, certainly wouldn't have been promoted as a kids' book in the first place. (Were ANY 800-page novels sold as "kids' books" before the latter Harry Potter sequels came out?) So until now, I've been wondering if A Game of Thrones (which I haven't read) might fall into the same sort of category as Tolkien's work.

But now this "sex as power" line has me thinking that Tolkien might be in a different category altogether after all. No?

Well, I've seen some refer to Martin as the "American Tolkien," which seems like the lazy way out. There are some similarities, beyond the superficial "lolz lots of pagez." Maybe one key difference, though, could be that Tolkien's history (at least to a lukewarm fan like me) feels more like a recollection of history long-gone (maybe closer to myth?), while Martin's feels more like personal journals written by the history makers, with all of the blemishes intact.

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Well, I've seen some refer to Martin as the "American Tolkien," which seems like the lazy way out. There are some similarities, beyond the superficial "lolz lots of pagez." Maybe one key difference, though, could be that Tolkien's history (at least to a lukewarm fan like me) feels more like a recollection of history long-gone (maybe closer to myth?), while Martin's feels more like personal journals written by the history makers, with all of the blemishes intact.

That's a really good way of putting it. I, too, find the "American Tolkien" description lacking, partly for the approach to "historical" writing but also in the way that magic and the supernatural are depicted. In Tolkien's novels, the world is awash in "magic", so to speak, e.g., the elves, the rings, Gandalf and the other wizards, fantastical creatures like trolls and balrogs. And Tolkien approaches all of this with a sense of awe and wonder. No similar sense appears in Martin's novels: the magic and supernatural elements are there, but exist primarily on the periphery, and even then, presented in pretty matter of fact ways and only sometimes with a faint sense of regret and longing (e.g., Tyrion's childhood desire for dragons). That's not to say that Martin's novels are nihilistic or anything; they're just more humanistic in their perspective.

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The introduction of the true fantasy elements in Martin is very interesting. There is a tendency in fantasy literature to use the fantasy elements as key points of plot development, which makes a lot of fantasy lit little more than extended rpg sessions. But another way Martin is distinct from Tolkien is that the pitfalls of the human condition itself are what mainly direct his plotlines. The fantasy elements are more part of his world-building process.

I guess I read him more like Shakespeare than anything else. Perhaps Josephus is an apt comparison. Historians of empires.

Edited by M. Leary

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FWIW, I didn't mean to imply that Martin can't do "true" fantasy. There are certainly some fantastical elements in the novels -- e.g., the Wall, the Others, the nature of Westeros' seasons, Coldhands, certain aspects of the Stark childrens' direwolves -- and I'm really looking forward to seeing how Martin explains them. But I think any such explanation will resonate more deeply because the characters that will be affected by them will have been so well-developed.

Edited by opus

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Good discussion, gang. The above is one of the reasons I love this board.

The Daily Beast has a nice bit on the TV show (with some wonderful factoids from Martin).

Jason, your mention of Coldhands got me thinking...I wonder if Hot Pie will cure his...cold hands? Har.

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I really need a refresher on the past 8 bazillion pages, as it has been awhile. Can anyone recommend a handy summary?

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I really need a refresher on the past 8 bazillion pages, as it has been awhile. Can anyone recommend a handy summary?

I've recently been wading though this site, which happens to have fantastic chapter summaries (in both long and "teaser" form). This might be the way to go. They also had a top characters poll, and the essays on the winners are quite good.

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I've just ordered the audiobook of Game of Thrones. I'm committing to start right in as soon as I finish the audiobook of Ratzinger's Jesus of Nazareth. Seems like a good progression.

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I've just ordered the audiobook of Game of Thrones. I'm committing to start right in as soon as I finish the audiobook of Ratzinger's Jesus of Nazareth. Seems like a good progression.

I've not listened to the audiobooks, Jeff, but I've heard that Roy Dotrice does an incredible job. I believe he has a Guinness World Record for most voices in a single book for A Storm of Swords.

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I'm an avid audiobook listener (4-5 per month), and the first three Martin books on audiobook (the three read by Dotrice) are by far the best read in my experience. It's surprising, too, given his gruff, weathered narrating voice, but he handles the children and female characters deftly. Also, his voices are an excellent way of keeping track of individual characters. While listening, I always knew who was speaking, though I had problems when reading passages from the book.

Edited by sanshiro_sugata

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So it looks critics have already seen a good portion of the series. EW's James Hibberd writes:

I’ve watched the first six episodes. Many are going to love Thrones — especially those who stick around through the first few hours. Episodes 5 and 6 were incredible.

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So it looks critics have already seen a good portion of the series. EW's James Hibberd writes:

From what I've seen on Twitter, the screeners sent out had the bulk of the episodes on them. Drool.

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