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*spoilers ahead*

I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones last night, which was interesting after this lengthy discussion with [ profile] mordicai last week about rape and misogyny as a convention of the fantasy genre. Mind you, I haven't read the books, which I really feel I should do in order to fully understand it, but it also means I can view the tv series without thinking about what has been altered or left out.

Awesome stuff: Peter Dinklage! Not his best but still pretty awesome. The amazing clockwork cities credits sequence. Beautiful rich sets and real investment in costumes and sets in general -- they are not messing around. Definitely introduced enough characters and plots (and hello, obvious cliffhanger) to keep me intrigued and watching for a long time to come.

Stuff that made me cringe (please note I am too lazy to look up names/care):

1. The queen and her brother having sex
2. The semi-naked weird dance/rape battle scene at the wedding? what?
3. The freaky brother touching his sister who he's groomed to marry the "savage"-coded warrior dude, that whole "I would let 40 men and their horses fuck you if it would get my kingdom back" line (to paraphrase loosely)
4. The "tribe of savages!" coding going on throughout, not as bad as it could have been but still, geez.
5. The whole trembling-girl and savage-coded-warrior scene on the wedding night. Please give this girl some goddamn agency, writers. Has she really been groomed to marry this guy and be some kind of sex goddess? Can we see her be awesome instead of trembly/regretful/freaked out or whatever? Really took this out of believability and went straight into "stock shots of trembling virgin" cliche territory. Lame.
6. The scenes in the whorehouse -- mainly because it made me remember the Rome series and how their whorehouse scenes seemed more realistic (i.e. women who are not giggling caricatures who look like they could be Neutrogena models...this was an uncommonly clean whorehouse and the giggle soundtrack made me think, are we eleven years old, giggling constantly? Wtf, maybe sloppy sound editing but still.)
7. The lusty beer wenches scenes at the feast in general, ugh. Someone needs to make a compilation of clips of these scenes. I have seen ten million of them. They are all the same. There is always some dude grasping the buttocks of the lusty beer wench character.
8. Entrails and beheadings!

Maybe this stuff made me cringe because it was unsubtle; and not as a narrative choice but in the sense of cringing for the filmmaker. Maybe it's just bad storytelling, on the part of HBO writers adapting Martin's work. Maybe the actual effect of some of the scenes was palpably shocking, but there was a pretty obvious male-gaze bias to how they were shot. Sometimes it seemed like I was being shocked/dismayed even though the aim was more about titillation.

I've been thinking about Rome a lot, actually, because I feel that series did so many things right in terms of making an urban place gritty and real when showing the lower class scenes, and showing off the bizarre ethereal realm of the royal class, even when they were also engaging in weird sex or incest or committing rape. It wasn't a perfect series, but I didn't feel like I had to consciously re-orient my mind to remember "these are the conventions of their world" the way I did when I watched Game of Thrones last night. And it's not just because Game of Thrones has its own conventions and is a world foreign from our own, ostensibly: I think sloppy writing and the director's choices can either make you slide easily into an unfamiliar place, or it can make it tricky, and i don't think it was a conscious choice in this case.

And there were other jarring moments. The north warden dude and his wife had a startlingly modern-seeming marriage, warm and talkative and intimate in a way that seemed a bit of an anachronism to me, or out of keeping with the general swords-and-wenching atmosphere; and then she kind of became an exposition puppet in order to ask why he had to do a certain thing or obey the king or whatever -- that was just sloppy writing (and, as I see from Mordicai's review, is definitely handled better in the book; it's a complete mystery why the tv writers made this choice, bad form all around). And how about the freaky blond brother character scheming to get the throne -- has there ever been a more "this guy will lose because he is desperate and stupid" character? I'm desperate for a little complexity and realness. Maybe that character gets better; I certainly hope the writing and acting does. He had zero dimensions last night: cruel stupid villain.

This is not a developed critique and position on the series, which I would like to develop as I watch more of it. But I did want to note down my impressions -- I'm curious to hear what others think!

ETA: My super-secret piratey place to watch GoT is here: http :// and the password for the protected episodes is waddyh. For MegaVideo n00bs: click on the red arrow, then close the pop-up window/tab that appears, then click the green arrow and it will play. Enjoy!
aslant: (Default)
if you get BBC america, gavin & stacey is totally cute and watchable. the premiere was on last night, and kirk and i spent a lot of time deciphering the impenetrable dialect and the filthy, filthy slang, but also laughing a lot and going "awwww" when the story reminded us of our story, a little.
aslant: (Default)
my mood has been less up-and-down this week, which is nice. affirmations at lunchtime and bedtime certainly help. but i'm still feeling a bit purpose-less. work is mostly fulfilling but nothing awesome; i get excited for the day to be over so that i can go home what, exactly?

every day i get home around 5:30 and have five hours to kill before bedtime. i mist the plant seedlings, fill or empty the dishwasher, take a self-portrait, cook dinner, watch tv until bedtime. even with little bedtime and kitchen rituals, that is three or four hours of tv that aren't really necessary. i hoard episodes of the simpsons and futurama on the dvr, and then feel the need to watch them and delete them -- it gives me a feeling akin to cleaning my plate when i was young -- that's nutritious entertainment, don't waste it! that is total bunk, though. actual tv time per week: 15-20 hours, maybe some weeks as high as 25. absolute must-watch shows each week: 5.5 hours. that is kind of sad.

i have been militantly anti-tv in the past...i think right now it is a crutch, helpful for avoiding life. healthy relationships? going for a walk? reading more books? meditation? all good things to have. or avoid, i guess. for some reason i am scared of being depressed either way -- less tv and more time alone with my own mind means facing the things i don't like about myself, but that's precisely what i'm trying to change in my life. maybe tv is just crowding out the possibility for change right now.
aslant: (Default)
two things:

1. kirk bought a timer that will allow us to plug in the crockpot in the morning and have it start up hours later. this is exciting, as currently we are out of the house for 12+ hours each day. even on "low" that's quite the overdone pot roast.

2. battlestar galactica is the best show on television right now. also currently watching: lost, vanished, the nine. it's not even about regular tv versus sci fi -- i really think it's the best acting, best writing, best plot (bonus: best social commentary). it beats the pants off of everything else i've seen so far this season.
aslant: (Default)
we are watching season 2 of lost on dvd. i made kirk buy it because we finished watching season 1 last night and today season 2 was released but all the disk ones were rented and i could not bear to wait! oh agony. i never got into it on tv but now i am addicted. maybe someone wants to borrow it when we are through?

(tomorrow i maybe get my cast off and maybe get to walk a tiny bit. i can't think about it too much or i will go crazy with wanting/worry/fear.)


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July 2013

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