No Right Answer: Is Game of Thrones Overrated?

Mr. Clarinet

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I do generally like Game of Thrones episodes on first watch. But after watching them at flatmate's houses while knowing all the story beats (and only really being at most half invested)the show's delivery takes on this weird stage aspect where I find myself quite obviously aware that there's artificial fakery involved.
Maybe I'm not articulating my point quite how I'd like to but take for instance a scene with Tyrion and Varys, there they are riffing off each other with their trademark senses of humour. The sound cues provide the audience with not so subtle clues into who has the upper hand in a conversation, one person gains the upper hand before the other stumps them with some broody witticism that leaves one of the two looking off into the distance while in close focus while the other is in a mid shot with a passive view at some other section of the screen. The moody music reaches it's endpoint while the screen fades to black.
This to me is an all too common cycle in GoT and one that I tire of.
The show obviously has great production values but for a world that's supposed to be so gritty the actual portrayal of it is often too smooth for me.
I'm sure other scenes do things differently which does break up the monotony yet I do think that the show structures certain scenes with an all too similar format that's a little too polished/a little too neat . Like Chris' example of 'jazzing up' political broody scenes with a bit of T&A.

Eh I'll still be watching 4th season, I might even rewatch the others. But the show does have too many flaws for me to be anywhere near something like Agents of Shield, Breaking Bad, The Wire, or even Arrow.
 

Jean Chose

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It feels so good hearing these things voiced out loud on a popular channel ^_^
I've fallen asleep in front on most of the episodes of this show. I wanted to stop after season 2 but then the whole buzz about s3e9 was so strong I had to see it because no one would tell me what it was about... I expected real crazy stuff : time travel ? Flying saucers ? Finally winter ??? But nooooooo, just more killing, like it wasn't clear already that the show was about "no one cannot die" after season 1... The worst is I sit through all the lazy tortureporn in season 3 when I should've skipped through to ep9 just to be done with it. NO SEASON 4 FOR ME ! Hashtag this, tweeter !
 

SilverUchiha

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I've been on the fence about this show for... well... a while.

I like some of the things it does, but I sort of agree with Chris, in that it doesn't do enough to keep me roped in. The killing of characters is cool, but unless they carry significant enough weight, it's all rather pointless. And I'll agree the sex scenes seem to be tacked on (I know they're in the books, but they still feel tacked on regardless) simply to add some level of appeal. I'm not arguing against them, but I hardly see their point in the show.

I haven't seen the whole series yet. I'm maybe only halfway through, so maybe that's part of the problem. But it's one of those shows I'm not in any hurry to watch. It isn't like Breaking Bad, Dexter, House, or even Pokemon where I just want to sit and binge watch it because I'm having fun watching it. Not that I don't enjoy the show to some level, but it just isn't fun, ya know. It's like you can enjoy it for the quality of work and acting going into it, but it just isn't as fun, silly, or insane as some of the other shows I've enjoyed. Just my two cents.
 

Jean Chose

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flying_whimsy said:
I'm with Chris on this one, but then again I thought the Battlestar Galactica remake was overrated too.

I've tried watching Game of Thrones, but it just seems like a big soap opera with the lord of the rings playing in the background.
Amen to that ^^

Also, judging the series by taking the books into account winds up meaning the Hunger Game films were good... so yeah, deal with it Internet. Good books (and I take the fans' words for it because I haven't touched 'em) make for bad screenplays.

#Vikings ftw.
 

Oly J

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I don't think you have the right to criticise how well defined the characters are when you very clearly aren't paying attention, Robb and Jon are the only two I can think of that look alike (and that's only at a passing glance) and they never share a scene past the first episode because Jon goes off to the wall to deal with the plot device you keep insisting isn't happening, my point here is, try watching it again (preferably not just as something in the background while you play LoL or something) I watched the first season, and didn't really like it, then on a friends request I watched it again with them and managed to appreciate it a lot more because I noticed a lot of stuff I missed the first time

so yeah, my point here is, if you don't get it, you're not paying attention
 

gorfias

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jdarksun said:
Debate accepted!

1) This show is not well written, it is not well structured, the characters are not well defined, the premise is not very clear, there is no tone.

The tone, as defined from the very first scene, is dark fantasy. "Winter is coming" is both in-universe statement about the ending of Summer (plenty and warmth) and plot metaphor. There is a crisis in this world - the white walkers - that threaten to overwhelm all of Westeros. But that also applies to the death of Robert Baratheon and the fall of the Seven Kingdoms into war. So now the very people that could have stood together against this threat are warring between themselves, throwing away the defenses they had and becoming ill-prepared for "winter".

It's all about the Ant and the Grasshopper. Instead of putting in the hard work now, the characters do what is immediately expedient to their goals - and that leads to their downfall.

Instead of building up a power base against Cersi and retreating when he's been outmaneuvered, Ned refuses to compromise his morals.

Instead of acknowledging Stannis' stronger claim, Renly rebels against his brother.

Instead of following his father's orders, Theon sacks Winterfell.

Instead of honoring his betrothal, Robb marries Jeyne Westerling.

Premise (acting today instead of preparing for tomorrow) followed. These characters are all maimed, tortured, and/or killed for their mistakes. Dark fantasy tone? Check.

Now, poorly defined characters - let's use Red Letter Media's test. Describe some of these characters without using physical traits.

Ned is noble, duty-bound, and stoic.
Cersi is a bitter, conniving hedonist that loves her children.
Tywin puts what he thinks is best for the Lannister family above all else.
Catelyn worries incessantly and will compromise her beliefs if it saves someone she loves.
Stannis is uncompromising to the point of psychosis, unconcerned with the views of others, and driven to see his goals achieved at nearly any cost.
Tyrion is mischievous, devious, politically adroit, and intelligent.

I could probably do this for every POV character.

...which, actually, I've read the books. So if you're looking to debate people who have ONLY seen the show, well damn, I'm out.
I seen the shows, which inspired me to get the books on tape (just about done with book 3)too in the first place. Great character review clip by you, thanks! Interesting test (not using their physical traits).

Another major point: He suggests that female nudity is the reason for the shows success. I like the nudity. The lesbian scene with Peter talking politics rocked! But I actually worry that there's so much it may turn off heterosexual female nerds with whom I'd love to chat about this stuff so much they'll stop watching. And in this Internet age, and the VCR age before it, I don't think you can sell a show or movie with sex. Otherwise, Showgirls and Striptease would have made more money (as much) as Transformers. They didn't.

Simply put though, if the show were that meh, I wouldn't be obsessed with it. I'm listening to the books on tape (will any be as good as book 3?!?!?) Seen the shows, repeatedly. Watched clips on youtube. I even bought a lamp replica of the Iron Throne. If he were right, and he isn't, I wouldn't be this obsessed and excited about the next season starting this month.
 

JohanGasMask

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http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/teamt/oancitizen/between-the-lines/42837-between-the-lines-game-of-thrones

Watch this and you will understand why people tend to like Game of Thrones
 

Nazulu

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I haven't watched all of it myself, mostly because I hate some of the characters. I told that to a friend who liked it and they told me "you weren't supposed to like them", and that's what other people have said as well, and it seems they just can't grasp that it's because I find them, and the show, just plain annoying. The fucking random death thing is such a gimmick.

I'm so happy you've attacked GoT, because the amount of obnoxious shills who made you feel like you're not normal for enjoying this pile was just as annoying as the pricks who said "you need to be smart" to enjoy the jokes in Big Bang Theory. Strangely enough, that didn't happen with Breaking Bad, unless I missed it.

And then, the fan boys are actually surprised when many other people start to complain and say it's over rated. It's a never ending cycle of shit that I can't even avoid. Gahhh!

I really can't say any thing constructive, though some of the characters used some popular jokes made on the internet years ago very poorly.

Edit: I spent some time and couldn't find 'em. One line went "I'm so inbred, I could be a sandwhich" which was originally a comment on Youtube based on some dunce, and it went "He's so inbred he could be a sandwhich", one of the highest rated for Youtube. There was a couple of others but you get it.
 

Fordo

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Game of thrones is a modern day take on the rocky and bullwinkle show. Segmented neatly to keep your brain from asking too many questions. R+B were better though since they played to the audience knowing what they were.

There are so many stories going on, you cut to the next scene with characters you barely remember what they're up to. By the time you hear how they're doing it's on to the next scene.

I wouldn't say that it's bad, but it doesn't offer much room in the way of developing your story. So you can only expect the most basic kind of story. Red wedding was no empire strikes back or old boy shocker for sure, just a quick end to characters that were going no where.

Still watch it tho, the HUGE THEMES (*makes monty python tracts of land gesture*) defiantly play a part.
 

Johnny Lunchbox

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I like the series, but I'll admit that it's not the best thing since sliced bread. I've been reading the books, and there's a lot that they've actually improved upon with the series: Boy George is pretty good at writing intrigue and battles and whatnot, but some of the dialogue and interactions between the characters are just completely absurd. And the food... the man loves his food. Shea (Tyrion's prostitute buddy) is the most unrelatable husk in the book, and the series they actually give her at least some personality.

That said, your opinion is still bad and you should feel bad.

I'll start with 'Winter is Coming'. That isn't really a promise made by the series--it's meant to sound like one at the start, but in episode 1 or 2, you learn that each house has 'house words'--mantras that their people live by--and 'winter is coming' is just the Stark mantra. It's supposed to give you a short-hand to the archetypes that they're supposed to be. "Winter is coming" sounds stark (har har get it) and stoic. Lannisters have "A Lannister always pays his debts", which paints them as being wealthy and ruthless--and you later learn that they made that up; their original words are "Here me roar", which implies that they're powerful women making it in a man's world (or that they're violent and attention-seeking, depending on if it's supposed to be a bad joke on the old feminist expression). The Tully words are "Family, duty, honour," which means they gots to do what they gots to do.

With regards to theme, opening with the white walker and then having absolutely nothing 'til the end of season 2 was a profoundly cheap and kinda stupid way to open everything (I'm thinking Georgie Porgie was trying to write a hook that would snare people who read the first page or two before buying), but it serves a pretty important purpose: In the world, magic is supposed to be dead, but weird shit is starting to happen.

Think of it this way: Game of Thrones is like a series that takes place right after John Carpenter's "The Thing"... that takes place in Seattle, from the point of view of a few politicians. Some massive game-changer is coming their way, and it's something that comes on so subtly that none of them even notice it 'til it's too late.

The long-term theme of the show is that magic is coming back to the world after thousands of years, all kinds of horrible things are coming with it--and nobody will believe it 'til some naked chick flies into their city and burns off their faces.

With regards to the absurd number of characters... man, you should read the book. They shaved probably a solid 40% of the pointless side characters out of that thing. A lot of those are call-outs for either people with huge attentions to detail, or people who are watching for a second time: You re-watch Season 1, and are like, "Oh, hey, there's that Lightning Lord dude! And the two guys in that completely random sex scene were actually way-important down the line!"
 

Verlander

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- Constant switching between fantasy and political thriller leading to a lack of focus
- Takes too long for payoff
- Too many characters/names to remember (lots of old white dudes)
- Red Wedding being a disappointment because characters were inactive until then.
- Bewbs and gratuitous sex scenes


1) Fantasy is the genre, political thriller is the story line. There's nothing wrong with disliking a genre, but it is what it is. It mixes the two similar to how the Gundam series mix giant robots and politics.

2) I'd argue that it consistently delivers smaller payoffs - remember, we're not even close to halfway point yet.

3) A variety and depth of characters. Each character is well written and has their own personality. If you're not enjoying the experience, it's unlikely that you're paying full attention.

4) They weren't, but it is a weakness of the series. The characters are more active in the books.

5) How else do you convince a studio the bankroll big budget television fantasy drama?


My full counter to Chris' argument is that what he accused the show of is relevant to every story. If you read until halfway through the Harry Potter series, you may also feel cheated that he'd not confronted Voldemort and won, or similar. Likewise, the HP series constantly referenced it's earlier installments in later ones, despite issuing complete story arcs in each "episode" - just like GoT. Thrones doesn't hold your hand, and so anything less than full attention may leave less interested viewers left behind. That could be considered a weakness, but it's not one that affects most people that watch/read it.

The whitewalkers, the wall, and the Daenarys storyline, are all there to highlight just how self involved those fighting for the crown are. I'm not sure how the series will make up the significant amount of history and world building that the books began at this stage (the books heavily reference Baratheon's rebellion, and it's importance to Dorne, who will begin to feature heavily in the show), but that uncertainty is guaranteed when you are so far short of even the halfway point of the story. If, at 35% through, you could predict the outcome, that would be a far worse show. Not knowing what will happen is an example of creative storytelling.
 

MeChaNiZ3D

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As someone who recently saw it, likes it, and has no delusions or prejudices around the matter and has only just had to think about their liking of it:

1. Winter not coming.

Could have set the tone and focus of the series, but ends up just being some kind of foreboding catch-phrase and setting the Whitewalkers up for later. But then things we actually care about happen and I for one am all for looking at the pretty battles and ignoring 'winter' apart from the bare minimum acknowledgement keeping the subplots ticking over. Yes, it's a sloppy execution, but I don't really care because winter's lack of punctuality means more room for anything actually exciting. But also no, not magic and otherworldly creatures. So far magic has been a rare, niche and not very broadly useful element and the Whitewalkers aren't shown as otherworldly until well after the show establishes that it is not about otherworldly creatures. Yes they say some fantastical things about them, they're superstitious and it would hardly be the first time something is set up in a TV show to be supernatural that turns out to not be that.

2. Erratic.

Can't focus on epic battles or personal relations or politics or whatever. Not a problem. In fact, a strength. Very rarely have I seen good fantasy that doesn't explore every level of intrigue. Often some of the best moments in shows or films are from the interactions between certain characters. Some of the other best moments are epic battles with daring tactics or unexpected reinforcements. You get it all here and I don't mind at all. Furthermore, they're necessarily intertwined because personal relations between the royal families is a HEAVY influence on politics and that leads to the battles and schisms. This is a world where marrying people off secures allies in a war. How do you expect a show to explore any of those elements alone for its entirety? Then the complaint would be "Why do we just see a bunch of people all the time and only get told about the war?"

As far as jumping between arcs, some of it is housekeeping (haven't checked in with Daenerys in a while let's have her take over a city), but books do the same thing. They show enough to get you invested in that arc and switch to another one to keep you guessing. If you don't like the show, that probably doesn't work, but it works for me. Except when they're following Bran, because fucking hell he never does anything interesting.

3. The names of the characters.

I don't even know the names of all of them after 3 seasons, but find the important ones reasonably easily distinguishable by looking at them. After about half of the first season I knew who Theon, Jon and Robb were in regards to each other and that's about as in-depth as you need. The old guys in charge of the Watch at the Wall, who cares. However, at least they do all have different names, not something I would necessarily expect in a medieval setting. As for older white dudes, that's what I'd expect from a medieval society in a cold climate, and I never had any problem distinguishing the characters that matter. As I said, most of guys in the north blur together, but I don't know how you confuse the eunuch with anyone.

4. The red wedding.

It was shocking as fuck to me. If you're looking to the show to make you care about characters you don't care about by killing them off you're a lost cause in the first place because you have to care about them for killing them off to having any impact. They haven't been doing anything for a while because that's the nature of TV shows. If they did things then main characters would come into contact/be slain more often and you'd be left with no people to talk about. Somewhat fair point though, but it was more the potential of doing things, being that they were really the one force that the audience was lead into supporting. Down on numbers but consistently wins, has a battle wolf, lead by a decent guy with battle sense and doesn't compromise on moral integrity, basically the legacy of the guy who was wronged to begin with, etc. The reason they had Stanis attack first was because we could support Tyrion without particularly caring that Stanis gets slaughtered. The show is really just trying to get value for air time out of the characters. Bit off topic but the point was you didn't care because you hadn't cared.

5. Sex.

Incidental, and I'm a male. It probably garners some views. But it's not so gratuitous or even shown that you would watch the show for it. Furthermore it would have actually happened plenty. You talk of maturity but the mature thing is actually to acknowledge sex as part of that world, be it leisure or politics. The most erotic thing I've seen so far is the lead-in to the torture scene (you know the one) and that was deliberate.

SimpleThunda said:
The thing that bothers me most is how it shows too much that the writer favours certain characters and sees others as expendable. That in and of itself pretty normal, but it is just so apparent in GoT that it becomes annoying to watch. The heroes of the show were chosen before it even started, and the rest of the show just seems character development for them, leading to them becoming horribly bland and unrealistic.

We all knew Sean Bean would die (but that didn't take a genius), we all knew the dragon lady would succeed in her extremely unrealistic rise to power, we all knew Jaime Lanister would get punished for being asshole, and the same thing for Theon. And these are just a couple of examples.

The problem with this is that the bland, "heroic" characters become uninteresting, whereas the asshole characters who get to endure all the crap become the most interesting. Sansa seems to be one of the only characters who sits somewhere in between being expendable and being favoured, and frankly I find her to be one of the only well-written characters.
Quoted for truth, I always know who I'm supposed to like and I do accordingly but the knowledge diminishes it somewhat, and I can constantly tell that events are happening in a certain way rather than another way so that two characters come into contact/stay separate. The problem with Sansa is that she doesn't do anything I'm interested in. The Hound on the other hand I find interesting becuase I don't know what he's going to do. He clearly has morals and is decent on some level but he'll also kill without mercy and isn't really loyal.
 

Verlander

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Nazulu said:
I'm so happy you've attacked GoT, because the amount of obnoxious shills who made you feel like you're not normal for enjoying this pile was just as annoying as the pricks who said "you need to be smart" to enjoy the jokes in Big Bang Theory. Strangely enough, that didn't happen with Breaking Bad, unless I missed it.
Totally happened with Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead
 

Nazulu

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Verlander said:
Nazulu said:
I'm so happy you've attacked GoT, because the amount of obnoxious shills who made you feel like you're not normal for enjoying this pile was just as annoying as the pricks who said "you need to be smart" to enjoy the jokes in Big Bang Theory. Strangely enough, that didn't happen with Breaking Bad, unless I missed it.
Totally happened with Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead
Really? What did the fans say in defense of those? Any thing different or the same as I mentioned?
 

Verlander

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Nazulu said:
Verlander said:
Nazulu said:
I'm so happy you've attacked GoT, because the amount of obnoxious shills who made you feel like you're not normal for enjoying this pile was just as annoying as the pricks who said "you need to be smart" to enjoy the jokes in Big Bang Theory. Strangely enough, that didn't happen with Breaking Bad, unless I missed it.
Totally happened with Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead
Really? What did the fans say in defense of those? Any thing different or the same as I mentioned?
Same sort of thing - you don't know good television if you don't watch it, shows are revolutionary, we're entering a golden age of television, if you don't watch it it's probably because you don't *get* it. Sigh.

I don't own a television, I watch shows (if any) online. I enjoy GoT, but I'm not a foam-at-the-mouth fanboy. The books were better, and still flawed in their own way. I've got the complete set of Deadwood to watch still, haven't got around to it, and that finished in 2006. Too busy, not enough motivation.
 

Nazulu

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Verlander said:
Nazulu said:
Verlander said:
Nazulu said:
I'm so happy you've attacked GoT, because the amount of obnoxious shills who made you feel like you're not normal for enjoying this pile was just as annoying as the pricks who said "you need to be smart" to enjoy the jokes in Big Bang Theory. Strangely enough, that didn't happen with Breaking Bad, unless I missed it.
Totally happened with Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead
Really? What did the fans say in defense of those? Any thing different or the same as I mentioned?
Same sort of thing - you don't know good television if you don't watch it, shows are revolutionary, we're entering a golden age of television, if you don't watch it it's probably because you don't *get* it. Sigh.

I don't own a television, I watch shows (if any) online. I enjoy GoT, but I'm not a foam-at-the-mouth fanboy. The books were better, and still flawed in their own way. I've got the complete set of Deadwood to watch still, haven't got around to it, and that finished in 2006. Too busy, not enough motivation.
Yeah, I saw that "we're in the golden age of television" comment in a newspaper, along with "this is the first time TV has taken it's audience seriously" (something very similar). It didn't bother me much since no one rubbed that in my face though.

Guess I should look at the book before I completely write it off. Funny thing is I didn't even know it was a book series before this thread. Everyone just mentioned the show to me.
 

Verlander

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Nazulu said:
Verlander said:
Nazulu said:
Verlander said:
Nazulu said:
I'm so happy you've attacked GoT, because the amount of obnoxious shills who made you feel like you're not normal for enjoying this pile was just as annoying as the pricks who said "you need to be smart" to enjoy the jokes in Big Bang Theory. Strangely enough, that didn't happen with Breaking Bad, unless I missed it.
Totally happened with Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead
Really? What did the fans say in defense of those? Any thing different or the same as I mentioned?
Same sort of thing - you don't know good television if you don't watch it, shows are revolutionary, we're entering a golden age of television, if you don't watch it it's probably because you don't *get* it. Sigh.

I don't own a television, I watch shows (if any) online. I enjoy GoT, but I'm not a foam-at-the-mouth fanboy. The books were better, and still flawed in their own way. I've got the complete set of Deadwood to watch still, haven't got around to it, and that finished in 2006. Too busy, not enough motivation.
Yeah, I saw that "we're in the golden age of television" comment in a newspaper, along with "this is the first time TV has taken it's audience seriously" (something very similar). It didn't bother me much since no one rubbed that in my face though.

Guess I should look at the book before I completely write it off. Funny thing is I didn't even know it was a book series before this thread. Everyone just mentioned the show to me.
They're a loooong read, and the series hasn't been completely written yet. It was originally a trilogy, and you can tell - the pace of the first two is much faster. Difficult to keep up with, but they're compulsive reading.
 

Lyri

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Drakoorr said:
Did you really just criticise a show for having characters and scenes that were written by a person? Because that seems a bit... odd, to say the least. I mean, "they're only doing that because they were written that way" is true of all fiction, it doesn't take away from any impact or significance or whatever you might draw from it, surely?
I think he's talking about the script writing, since he seems to be approaching this from a TV angle as opposed to the book.
So, yes.

You could lose the sex and still have the same strength and character shown, without resorting to cheap "empowerment".
That was the base of his argument, if a woman removes her clothes to have sex with someone to get what she wants she isn't empowering herself, she's submitting to using her own body to the mans desires so he would do something for her.