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BethR

Game of Thrones

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Pardon my asking, but is all the nudity on this show female?

 

There's definitely a fair bit of male nudity. 

 

 

True. Though, to be fair, there's a bit less "sexposition" with males. There is a critique to be made here, since the female body is sexualized to a far greater extent, socially, than the male body [i.e. upper male nudity is eroticized/fetishized, but not nearly to the extent that upper female nudity is--you can have a scene with a bunch of shirtless dudes and no one bats an eye, but throw in one woman and suddenly the whole thing is sexualized]...but, on the other hand, [a] the amount of nudity has been, I think, exaggerated, and much of it simply isn't erotic. [And even if it were--etc etc etc].

 

 

This article from Salon won't placate John Piper, and since I don't want be be "erotically catered to," I don't really buy into it either, but it does delineate the differences between GoT's use of male & female nudity to explain why/how "'Game of Thrones' fails the female gaze: Why does prestige TV refuse to cater erotically to women?" GoT is the only show I watch on HBO, but I suspect it's not really unusual in this aspect. Camelot on Starz was much the same (though the writing & plotting were much, much worse), the Tudors, Rome...?

 

 

I hear that The Tudors had Jonathan Rhys Meyers delivering exposition in various states of undress. [i've not seen it].

 

But I think the Salon piece comes much closer to a good point than Piper does. Prestige TV--outside of, presumably, True Blood (not quite prestige?)--still treats [female] nudity as the Final Frontier separating it from regular TV. That, and swear words. Male nudity is still controversial in movies, let alone television. I'd argue that Prestige TV's use of female nudity reached a level of concentration at which it ceases to be a statement at all and becomes something resembling a generic trope [it's HBO, so it's going to have lots of female nudity, particularly in the first season while it's getting its audience]. And those tropes are all very male gaze-y. 

 

Then again, there's still the assumption that nudity=erotic. Which I continue to not get.

Edited by NBooth

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Philip Sandifer is wrapping up his Doctor Who project and turning his eye toward Game of Thrones. The first entry is up now:

 

Ultimately, the first season, like the first novel, is largely concerned with that precise question, although the answer to the question is arguably less surprising when one considers that the premise of a nobleman searching for proof of an incestuous and murderous plot is essentially the setup of Hamlet. But in terms of this specific phase of the game what is interesting is the change to the order in which information is presented to the audience. The Jaime and Cersei scene that fingers the Lannisters in Arryn’s murder has no equivalent in the book, and the first time the Lannisters are treated with any suspicion comes in the scene where Catelyn receives the letter from her sister. By moving the point where the Lannisters are treated with suspicion up to the very moment Jon Arryn’s death is established, the series shifts the emphasis towards suspense and away from mystery, although this is in practice a feint, as Cersei and Jaime are not, in point of fact, responsible for Arryn’s death.
 
This also results in a change to how Tyrion is introduced. The most basic difference between the television series and the novels comes in the question of viewpoint characters. The novels are split into chapters, each of which are told in a third person limited perspective according to a particular characters. In the first book, these characters are, in the order in which they first get chapters, Bran, Catelyn, Daenerys, Eddard, Jon, Arya, Tyrion and Sansa. It will not go unnoticed that all of these characters but two are Starks, and so the question of how they are introduced and how they fit into the overall design is pertinent. 

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The Millions on how GoT season 5 will be different not only from previous seasons, but also from almost every other book-to-screen adaptation because it will start going beyond what has been revealed in the published books, disrupting "the notion of canon":

 

This reversed chronology of print to screen destabilizes categories of original and adaptation. Yes, the next three seasons of Game of Thrones will still spring from Martin’s fictional world, but when the series becomes first to portray developments beyond the books’ chronology, when its narrative unfolds in dialogue not with a prior text but only with fan speculation, labeling it an adaptation will seem wrong. What if Martin revises his plot under the influence of the show? (Will anyone know that he has not?) Which then becomes original, and which adaptation? The conceptual binary is inadequate.

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Oh, nice. Of course, being the person I am, I started trying to come up with counter-examples, but the closest I can think of would be the Space Odyssey series, in which Clarke changed key details laid out in his first book to make allowances for the more widely-known film version (moving the action from Saturn to Jupiter, etc etc etc). But that's not quite the same thing, for obvious reasons.

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Heh. Clarke made changes in *all* of the sequels, actually, but I don't think the changes in 2061 and 3001 had anything to do with the film version of 2010, at least. :)

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The Atlantic: With Season Five, Game of Thrones Transcends the Failings of the Books

 

In any case, make no mistake: This is the season that Benioff and Weiss fully inherit ownership of Game of Thrones from Martin, as they begin charting their own course to an unprecedented degree. They’ve been practicing for this moment for a while with assorted tweaks and deviations, and they seem to have been getting better. The encounter between Brienne and the Hound in the final episode of last season was their best alteration to date—and one that fixed flaws with both characters’ storylines in the books.
 
This season, Brienne continues to be given original things to do, and new subplots have also been provided for Sansa and Jaime. Moreover, there’s substantial evidence that Tyrion’s narrative, which bogged down hopelessly on the page, has been accelerated to the point where he will have gotten farther by season’s end than he ever did with Martin. (Those not averse to a spoiler regarding what this means can have a look at this on-set photo, which has been making the rounds for a few weeks.)

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Just a quick snippet from Mary McNamara's review in LA Times today:

 

The two [Tyrion and Varys] are off to meet Daenerys, stalled out in her sandy kingdom of Meereen, where she learns that liberation theology is not a replacement for leadership, either with people or dragons.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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Four eps in and it's looking--based on my own observations and those of others on the 'net--more and more as if R+L=J.

 

Also, as useless as he is, Tommen is fast becoming one of my favorite characters.

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Heh. Kind of nice to see one of the show's patented sexposition scenes get actual plot-related payoff. It was just--one of those nice moments where a show has lulled you into expecting one sort of thing (like gratuitous nudity covering up bare-bones exposition) and then totally subverts expectations. Honestly, it's the most real pleasure I've gotten from the show this season--I've enjoyed it, but nothing really buzzed like that moment in Ser Loras's inquisition.

 

And then there's the ending, which has Twitter buzzing. I have no opinion on it, honestly, but come tomorrow there's going to be half-a-dozen thinkpieces on it, so I'm sure I'll get lots of chances to make up my mind.

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And then there's the ending, which has Twitter buzzing. I have no opinion on it, honestly, but come tomorrow there's going to be half-a-dozen thinkpieces on it, so I'm sure I'll get lots of chances to make up my mind.

 

Amanda Marcotte discusses the controversial last scene. I like Marcotte. Back when I was in the process of realizing that feminism isn't the Great Evil Conspiracy that it's portrayed as, listening to Marcotte is what pulled me along. So I'm inclined to listen to her, and in this case she's saying things that I was already leaning toward. Over on Twitter she's got some more thoughts on the same scene.

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Another piece: ‘Game of Thrones’ has always been a show about rape

 

 [T]his scene felt of a piece with the way I’ve always understood “Game of Thrones” and George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire”: as a story about the consequences of rape and denial of sexual autonomy.
 
Lest you accuse me of coming to this position lately, or adopting it merely so I can continue to feel justified in watching and covering “Game of Thrones,” let me point you to the essay on the subject I contributed to the 2012 collection “Beyond the Wall.” I believed then, and believe now, that the omnipresence of sexual violence in the world Martin created is the point, not “illicitness … tossed in as a little something for the ladies,” as New York Times critic Ginia Bellafante wrote in her bizarre review of the show when it premiered in 2011.
 
The article goes on to provide an exhaustive list of sexual attacks on both men and women and serves to convince me, at least, that (again) complaints about rape being added in for "shock value" are, at the very least, over-blown. 
 
Meanwhile, Sarah Mesle gives an excellent, nuanced voice of quasi-dissent (though I think her treatment of the Loras subplot leaves a bit to be desired):
 
This episode of Game of Thrones does to viewers what the world so often does to women: it mistakes presence for consent. Whether it does so in a way that is ultimately useful and revealing, or a way that is fundamentally unredeemable is not something about which there’s only one right way to feel, just like there’s no one right way to feel about rape itself. 
Edited by NBooth

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Finally caught up with last week's episode this weekend. After all the buzz I must say that my opinion is pretty much identical to the one voiced by Marcotte in the piece NBooth linked to above.

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After two weeks of--eh, not sub-par, exactly, but not thrilling--episodes, last night's was a real shot in the arm. The whole White Walkers subplot is my least favorite on the show--I'd rather ignore all that and spend my time in King's Landing, as bog-standard as the political intrigues can get. But last night? Last night was solid enough to win me over. 

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Last Sunday's episode "Dance of Dragons" really got me to thinking about religion, power, and society.  We've got two very powerful opposing religious forces on the show right now.  The High Sparrow--modeled on more of a St. Francis of Assisi meets the Spanish Inquisition---where cleansing the realm of hypocrisy and sin which leads to the High Sparrow's power--- seem to be its main thrusts, and the Red God of Melissandre and Stannis--modeled more on a human sacrifice brings power by destroying all opposition--.  What are your thoughts on Sunday's episode where Stannis allowed his daughter to be sacrificed for the good of his "destiny"?  Some reviewers have cited that this is a message about turning over one's political decisions to fanaticism, not reason.  I don't doubt that fiction mirrors and echoes messages for us.  I'm reminded of Abraham's ALMOST sacrifice of his son---on the urging of God; Jephthah sacrificing his daughter because he promised he would; and Agamemnon's sacrifice of Iphigenia to appease the weather gods.  Seems a testing of the spirits would be in order for each---though Abraham didn't bat an eye.  Just seeking your thoughts on faith as presented in Game of Thrones.  

 

I think Game of Thrones is doing a wonderful job at asking hard questions about politics, governance, faith.  I'm glad it shows the ways we screw up....

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That sequence was a lot harder to watch than I anticipated. But yeah, there's something about religion and power there...which is particularly interesting since the Lord of Light has been one of the more effectual deities in Westeros.

The episode also provided an interesting example of the way in which the mood of one sequence (the arena fight) can be tempered by the preceding scenes.

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Notes on the finale:

1. I know Amanda Marcotte is saying that GoT is Classical Tragedy, but I think it's something slightly different: Stannis has a tragedy of Macbethian proportions, but the payoff is almost deliberately undersold. It's as much a deflation of the Tragic Hero as it is anything else--the Tragic Hero doesn't even get the dignity of a final apocalypse.

2. In contrast, the characters who genuinely get tragic ends are not Tragic Heros in this sort of grand sense, which is why their deaths (ahem, Jon Snow) often seem sudden and even random. There is buildup--there was this season--but it doesn't come across as the layered sort of thing that occurs in the Tragedie of King Stannis. Something could probably be done about competing modes of characterization--one old, almost Elizabethan, and the other distinctly Modern[ist?].

3. Cersei's Big Scene is one I've been anticipating since I heard about it (no, I still haven't read the books) because I knew Lena Headey would sell it--and, of course, she does. But what comes across onscreen--what didn't come across in the wiki descriptions I read--is how very Via Dolorosa the scene is. That, more than anything in the finale, intrigues me, though I don't quite know what to make of it. Certainly the sequence plays into the consideration of religious imagery and power that's been so prominent this season.

4. I can't see people jump off walls/cliffs/etc in an attempt to escape without thinking of Hannibal season 2. So that would be a moment where my own mind inserted a much more brutal punchline than the show did.

 

5. Actually, re: #3, this episode ends on three notes that are vaguely Christological (I don't mean that in a kind of "find the Jesus figure" but in a more generic sense). They are:

 

A. Cersei's Walk of Shame

B. The resurrection of Gregor Clegane, and

C. Jon Snow's betrayal and death

 

--which is interesting to me because each one is actually a twisting or an inversion of the Passion narrative. 

 

6. With the board effectively cleared of at least one character, I wonder if next season will see the arrival of Lady Stoneheart. Probably not, but what is dead may never die, so y'know. Speaking of which:

 

7. Is Jon Snow really dead? Or, more properly,

is he dead for good? Certainly the showrunners and Kit Harington himself are saying so. But the AVClub's "experts" review, as well as the commentators thereon, takes it for granted that Snow is coming back and that Melisandre will have something to do with it--one poster even quips about "Gentleman Stoneheart."

Edited by NBooth

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My friend Andrew Johnson said on FB awhile back that the way GoT "should" end is

with the White Walkers winning.

 

The more I think about it, the more I like that, and I agree that it would be truly counter-cultural n its meta-message.  That said, I doubt it would ever happen.

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My friend Andrew Johnson said on FB awhile back that the way GoT "should" end is

with the White Walkers winning.

 

The more I think about it, the more I like that, and I agree that it would be truly counter-cultural n its meta-message.  That said, I doubt it would ever happen.

 

I'm holding out hope that the last episode features the death of all the main characters. The last shot will be Gendry rowing into King's Landing and shouting "I made it! I finally made it!" to the dead streets of the capital.

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Notes on the finale:

...

 

5. Actually, re: #3, this episode ends on three notes that are vaguely Christological (I don't mean that in a kind of "find the Jesus figure" but in a more generic sense). They are:

 

A. Cersei's Walk of Shame

B. The resurrection of Gregor Clegane, and

C. Jon Snow's betrayal and death

 

--which is interesting to me because each one is actually a twisting or an inversion of the Passion narrative. 

 

 

 
Yes, I caught those, too, but don't forget the first, big one: Jaqen H'ghar, or the person wearing his face.  Jaqen pronounces a just punishment on Arya for serving her own revenge bloodlust rather than the divine will, and after declaring that the unjust death she caused must be bought with life--you just know he's going to do this--he takes the death on himself.  Or herself.  Still not sure, but it had the same Christian-imagery riff, and with a little less contortion that the other events.
Edited by Russ

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Notes on the finale:

...

 

5. Actually, re: #3, this episode ends on three notes that are vaguely Christological (I don't mean that in a kind of "find the Jesus figure" but in a more generic sense). They are:

 

A. Cersei's Walk of Shame

B. The resurrection of Gregor Clegane, and

C. Jon Snow's betrayal and death

 

--which is interesting to me because each one is actually a twisting or an inversion of the Passion narrative. 

 

 

 
Yes, I caught those, too, but don't forget the first, big one: Jaqen H'ghar, or the person wearing his face.  Jaqen pronounces a just punishment on Arya for serving her own revenge bloodlust rather than the divine will, and after declaring that the unjust death she caused must be bought with life--you just know he's going to do this--he takes the death on himself.  Or herself.  Still not sure, but it had the same Christian-imagery riff, and with a little less contortion that the other events.

 

 

Good catch. I didn't think of that one.

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