Game Of Thrones Season 5 Discussion Thread

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#151 Edited by Aegon (7312 posts) -

This is such a mess, hahaha. So many roles are being crammed into as few characters as possible. Even settings are getting exchanged for others. "Where are we now? Not the Rhoyne" says Tyrion. Bahaha. I feel like at this point, they just have little highlights from the book in mind that they end up cramming into whatever corner they can while everything else is different or entirely the opposite (e.g. Daenerys' marriage idea).

@mirado said:

Also, isn't sailing into Valyria supposed to be a big fucking deal? Like, a "no one ever returns" kind of big deal? Seemed strange that Jorah would assume there would be nearby fishing villages next to the fantasy equivalent of the Dead Zone. Or that he would attempt to sail through it in as shitty of a boat as that.

Yes. No-one has come back from the Doom of Valyria. Except Jorah and Tyrion from the show and maybe Euron Greyjoy, if he's telling the truth. In the books, Valyria isn't a quiet, overgrown city of ruins. It's said to still be shaking from ongoing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The smoking sea supposedly has poisonous fumes.

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#152 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

@zevvion said:

@theht I disagree completely. If you take out the lines of dialogue that several actors had that stated Selmy was a true badass, you would've never known he was one of - especially not the - best warrior that world had ever seen. He did absolutely nothing onscreen that made him seem like the most skilled warrior in that world. Oberyn seemed far more skilled. The Hound seemed more skilled. Grey Worm seemed more skilled. Same goes for Jon. Heck... Bron seemed more skilled.

It is the problem I have with this series though. There is so much awesome talk, but very rarely does anything back it up.

I agree with a lot of this, it's why I was surprised people cared. If you just watch the show and you care about him, you're just buying into the history they built up. He has been a flat character and basically just a body guard. There's no depth or development.

I will say that there are just too many characters on the show to really develop them all and if they started cutting them people would have flipped. Not an easy position. But it is the reality nonetheless.

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#153 Edited by Funkydupe (3614 posts) -

In defense of a character I was hoping to see more of in this show, you're talking about Selmy as if he was a man still in his prime. He was an old man when he was killed, and he still killed many more agile opponents with his heavy sword in a tight corridor, wearing light armor. Judging by how he fought when he died, it doesn't take much effort to believe he was an even better swordsman at a younger age.

Selmy still had one of the best scenes in the entire show (the scene when he was ordered to give up command of the King's Guard).

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#154 Posted by iceman228433 (743 posts) -

I feel like it's been 5 episodes and not a dam thing has happened, not sure if anyone else feels that way as well.

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#155 Posted by Funkydupe (3614 posts) -

Yes, I lost interest in the books at this point. I was curious how they would make interesting TV out of this. It works, barely. Not much to get hearts beating faster so far though.

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#156 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

@funkydupe said:

In defense of a character I was hoping to see more of in this show, you're talking about Selmy as if he was a man still in his prime. He was an old man when he was killed, and he still killed many more agile opponents with his heavy sword in a tight corridor, wearing light armor. Judging by how he fought when he died, it doesn't take much effort to believe he was an even better swordsman at a younger age.

Selmy still had one of the best scenes in the entire show (the scene when he was ordered to give up command of the King's Guard).

The second part is true. Also, I personally wasn't talking at all about his fighting prowess, He was up against huge odds in an alley and as you say he's old. Just that his character wasn't fleshed out in the show or developed. I have never cared about him.

I feel like it's been 5 episodes and not a dam thing has happened, not sure if anyone else feels that way as well.

I pretty much do, but felt this way the last couple seasons at this point in the season. It takes so long for them to get things in motion with all the plots and characters that I won't judge until the end of the season.

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#157 Edited by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@jonnyblunts said:

@zevvion: He strangled her for like 30 seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IaQC5L4e84

My mistake. 1:24 he starts, 1:50 he stops, if you are feeling generous. He lets his grip loose before that, but let's say 20-25 seconds.

Not anywhere close enough to kill a healthy person. In reality she would gain consciousness a minute to a couple of minutes after this happened.

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#158 Edited by Mirado (2557 posts) -

@zevvion: The intent of the scene was clear, even if the mechanism was falty. That's my point: Selmy's didn't seem like a death scene. All of my examples made it pretty clear that we've lost a character. Remember how long they lingered on Robert's wounds and his deathbed conversations with Ned?

Maybe I just exepected more from a guy who claimed he could carve up the remaining Kingsguard like a cake. I certainly expected more from the Unsulled after all that Wise Master nonsense. It just felt off.

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#159 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@mirado said:

@zevvion: The intent of the scene was clear, even if the mechanism was falty. That's my point: Selmy's didn't seem like a death scene. All of my examples made it pretty clear that we've lost a character. Remember how long they lingered on Robert's wounds and his deathbed conversations with Ned?

Maybe I just exepected more from a guy who claimed he could carve up the remaining Kingsguard like a cake. I certainly expected more from the Unsulled after all that Wise Master nonsense. It just felt off.

We have a different perspective on things. Selmy was stabbed multiple times and went to his knees even. We've seen characters die because of less. The problem is that they set up Selmy as one of the best, if not the best, warrior there is. The scene doesn't show that at all, just like everything that is hyped up never pays off in this series. The only pay off I have seen so far is Jon holding Castle Black against the wildling attack, which was an awesome episode. Otherwise, there is literally nothing. Even the birth of the dragons hasn't amounted to anything at all yet. 'Rhaegal had a smaller army and fewer ships, but he had dragons, and nobody stands a chance against that'. That's what they've been saying, and so far the dragons only managed to kill one isolated wizard with his guard down, a couple of sheep, a little girl and a defenseless scared man. I'm calling it now, the dragons aren't going to pay off. They probably help swing the tide in a certain battle, but not in a major way, and then be killed of or being too stubborn to continue fighting or something like that. Book readers: don't correct me if wrong, keep your dirty book spoilers out of here.

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#160 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

@zevvion: I can't believe you're still watching if you think there has been that little pay off in the show. There has been plenty you gloss over.

Siege of Kings Landing, Joffrey being killed, Tyrion killing his father, Tyrion's trial and the trial by combat, Ned being killed, Winterfell being taken, Snow going outside the wall (and yes, the battle that ensued), Arya finally starting her journey to revenge this season, the Red Wedding, Renly's death. I could go on. These were all built up and then delivered over the course of the show and all were turning points and pay off. I'm not sure if I am missing some point you were making but you're acting as if nothing has happened in this show, which is crazy. Like I said, I can't understand how you're still watching if you really believe that.

If you really think the dragons aren't going to be a big factor, well I think you're definitely going to be proven wrong. No I haven't read the books. I think they end up playing a big role vs the White Walkers given at the weapons we have seen defeat a white walker in the past. Dragons are obviously super important to the world and of course they will factor in.

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#161 Edited by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@artisanbreads: I'm not saying nothing happens. I'm saying nothing pays off. The show is written as such: 'This thing is legendary, awesome, amazing, defining! It is going to change everything'! And then later, that thing turns out to be worthless or pretty meaningless at the very best, compared to what it was hyped up to be.

Everything takes so long to take hold to begin with, and once it finally does, it's often not what you wanted it to be. Joffrey being killed was one of the worst. Yes, something happened, but there was no pay off whatsoever. He was a monster and Arya was on a lifelong quest to kill him. They wrote all this history of him getting her wolf killed, killing her friend, killing her father, capturing her sister and this indirectly build this up to the point where if it were to really pay off, you'd see Arya kill Joffrey at some point in an act of revenge. Instead, she's just randomly out somewhere in the world and being told: oh, by the way, Joffrey got poisoned so...'. Same thing happened here with Selmy. 'The best warrior in existence!' Killed in his first real battle onscreen without looking that any better than the other main fighters.

That's no pay off. I can see what you're saying, but I'm talking about 'things happening'. I'm talking about it being a blast to watch. For instance, you list the Red Wedding as a big factor, but that was one of the worst. They killed off some of the most interesting characters and the show hasn't been anywhere near as good afterwards as it was before that event.

I'm still watching because I'm obviously hooked. It's really not that crazy for someone to watch a show and not be completely pleased by it. The show is just real slow on top of not paying off eventually. Yeah, Arya is now starting to get started on her training to get into revenge mode later. It was established she wanted revenge in season 1 and the start of 2. We're halfway season 5 and she hasn't even started training yet. The dragons were born at the end of season 1 and they have done less than nothing for 3,5 seasons now. Winter has been coming since the opening scene of the very first episode of season 1. They even appeared to be in full march at the end of season 2. Halfway season 5 it doesn't seem like winter is coming anytime soon at all.

What is crazy, is thinking that the show doesn't have any pacing issues whatsoever.

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#162 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

@zevvion: Eh. It's all taste so not to knock yours, but I found all the parts I mentioned worth the build up and very rewarding to watch. The Red Wedding was hugely disturbing, for example, and worth it alone for the fact that yes, they killed off multiple of the most likable characters in the show at once time out of the blue. That's why the show is good, to me. I loved watching Joffrey die and there have been effects that have shaken out. How is Tyrion's fate not a direct result? The current state of Kings Landing? And there is trouble brewing overseas as a result of the trial by combat as well. It put a strain on Cersei and sent Jamie off on his mission too.

As far as Selmy, he's super old and I'm not sure what you wanted to see. Him kill a million guys? Part of this show is that anyone can go at any moment. It's realistic that way. Yes there have been some more crazy scenes where one guy takes on many, but for the most part it has been rather realistic in that one guy can't take on a ton of guys. Also it finally made Dany pay a price for her foolish rule that was more personal.

And as far as pacing, mentioned that in my posts. The reality is the show is based on a novel where that isn't an issue. If you were designing this show on it's own you would no way in hell have as many characters as the show has. The pacing issues are mostly in regards to this. You obviously get whole episodes, or multiple episodes, where key characters aren't shown at all. But in the end, the scope is gigantic and that's part of what I'm buying into. It pays off for me with all those events I mentioned and seeing all the characters intersect.

If I felt as you did, I wouldn't be watching anymore. When I feel that way about shows I stop. Did with Sopranos even though the early show is one of the very best shows ever, to me. Not to say you need to or anything. I just love watching this show and in the last few seasons it does chug to life under it's own weight early on, but by the end of the season I am very satisfied. I don't love it all. I think Ramsay is awful, for example, and there's been plenty of time spent on him in the last couple seasons, more than more important characters.

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#163 Posted by Mikemcn (8594 posts) -

I feel like it's been 5 episodes and not a dam thing has happened, not sure if anyone else feels that way as well.

Yea, things happening means they have to spend more money, the season finale will be bananas though. The walking dead always suffered from "Lets not do anything for a dozen episodes and then blow all the cgi budget on one crazy finale."

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#164 Posted by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -

@zevvion: I totally agree about the pacing and the lack of payoffs. I still love watching the show as there are extremely interesting threads and character arcs.

But the problem of the show is that it has so many good setups, but it takes like a season to deliver. And when it does pay off, you have an amazing twist and sudden plot/character development... and then half a season of setup.

Take the mountain for example. He was defeated like what, a season ago? And its then hinted at that he will basically be zombified or some crazy alchemy shit. And then there's nothing for ~10 episodes, except for us being told that he's not dead yet. And it's frustrating because I know that he will probably be mentioned again in like 4 episodes, and we can count on him being truly developed maybe sometime during the end of the season. Or maybe the next one, who knows.

The thing is, there are so many new characters being introduced that the major, most interesting plot points are not being developed. Stannis hasn't fought a battle in what, 3 seasons know? The white walkers, as you mentioned are nowhere to be seen - there was some hinting that they mind control human babies and then silence. Dany has pretty much been doing the same thing since getting the unsullied army - go to bad slavery city, liberate bad slavery city, fight resistance, hint at some dragons (don't even get me started on those), repeat. Arya just wanders around muttering her list.

The only character arcs that have truly been developing at a satisfying pace are Jon and Tyrion. And I really want to know what happens next, and how the main story is developed... but I'm just being fed more and more set ups with no closures.

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#165 Posted by ripelivejam (13204 posts) -

@imsh_pl: stannis launched the attack against the wildlings beyond the wall last season. Id say that was a pretty pivotal battle scene.

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#166 Posted by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -

@ripelivejam: It was, for the Night's Watch. He saved their asses, helped establish Jon as Lord Commander, defeated the wildling threat. But how was his arc really developed? He won a large battle, establishing him as a good commander and the owner of a big-ass army, which we already knew. He saved the Night's Watch, establishing him as upholding tradition, which we already knew. He killed the wildling leader because he didn't submit, establishing him as uncompromising, which we already knew. He had the scene with his daughter, reminding us that he has a soft spot for her, which, okay, it was nice to be reassured of that amidst his other decisions, but it had been hinted at a lot before. And, after spending a lot of time plotting, he is finally going to take the iron throne... which he has been doing since losing at Blakcwater on like, season 2?

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#167 Edited by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@artisanbreads said:

@zevvion: Eh. It's all taste so not to knock yours, but I found all the parts I mentioned worth the build up and very rewarding to watch. The Red Wedding was hugely disturbing, for example, and worth it alone for the fact that yes, they killed off multiple of the most likable characters in the show at once time out of the blue. That's why the show is good, to me. I loved watching Joffrey die and there have been effects that have shaken out. How is Tyrion's fate not a direct result? The current state of Kings Landing? And there is trouble brewing overseas as a result of the trial by combat as well. It put a strain on Cersei and sent Jamie off on his mission too.

As far as Selmy, he's super old and I'm not sure what you wanted to see. Him kill a million guys? Part of this show is that anyone can go at any moment. It's realistic that way. Yes there have been some more crazy scenes where one guy takes on many, but for the most part it has been rather realistic in that one guy can't take on a ton of guys. Also it finally made Dany pay a price for her foolish rule that was more personal.

And as far as pacing, mentioned that in my posts. The reality is the show is based on a novel where that isn't an issue. If you were designing this show on it's own you would no way in hell have as many characters as the show has. The pacing issues are mostly in regards to this. You obviously get whole episodes, or multiple episodes, where key characters aren't shown at all. But in the end, the scope is gigantic and that's part of what I'm buying into. It pays off for me with all those events I mentioned and seeing all the characters intersect.

If I felt as you did, I wouldn't be watching anymore. When I feel that way about shows I stop. Did with Sopranos even though the early show is one of the very best shows ever, to me. Not to say you need to or anything. I just love watching this show and in the last few seasons it does chug to life under it's own weight early on, but by the end of the season I am very satisfied. I don't love it all. I think Ramsay is awful, for example, and there's been plenty of time spent on him in the last couple seasons, more than more important characters.

Yes, things like the Red Wedding are fantastic if they actually manage to still be a great show after killing off so many core characters. And they couldn't. After the Red Wedding, there was a serious increase of filler scenes. The whole point of Tyrion's fate was something that occurred over the course of two seasons. It's not that stuff was so amazing, it's more that there was a lack of anything else going on. Tyrion's demanding of a trial by combat was the only and first exciting line in a couple of episodes.

They've shown to be daring enough to do something like the Red Wedding, they haven't shown they can pull it off though.

I was expecting Selmy to be the warrior he was claimed to be for 5 seasons straight. He wasn't anything close to it. Though over the course of watching the show, it is obvious they aren't very good at portraying reality very well in combat scenes. Even still, I thought the battle of Castle Black was so well done, that my expectations were more along the lines of it.

As far as pacing is concerned, I quote this from @imsh_pl

The thing is, there are so many new characters being introduced that the major, most interesting plot points are not being developed. Stannis hasn't fought a battle in what, 3 seasons know? The white walkers, as you mentioned are nowhere to be seen - there was some hinting that they mind control human babies and then silence.

It is exactly this. I am not even talking about characters being off for an episode or so. I am talking about the major cliff hanger that White Walkers convert babies into White Walkers, only to continue somewhere completely different. Which could be okay, except that stuff isn't returning, at all. How long ago was that? It was even before the halfway point of season 4 and we haven't seen a White Walker since. That's well over 10 episodes with no continuation whatsoever. I found it maddening when the dividing went down at Craster's Keep and they didn't show how that continued also for over a season. There is only so much meaningful stuff that continues, meanwhile the rest is just random filler that isn't interesting in the slightest. It is so apparent that they are stretching to give Martin more time to finish his work. The correct way would be to just be done after season 5 and pick up later when his work is done. Instead, they want to continue making more episodes in the meantime and they suffer because of it. It would have been so tighter if they had done it that way. It's just how series used to be 24 episodes long and story intensive ones like these have reverted to 10 more dense ones. If GoT would have 24 episodes per season it would be bordering on bad. But dragging this stuff out also isn't good.

However, I'm not saying the show is bad. I watch it still, because I like watching it. At the same time, I can be disappointed by what it is. To compare, I thought Destiny was incredibly disappointing, but it was also my number 2 GOTY. Being critical doesn't exclude you from liking something and vice versa.

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#168 Edited by DefaultProphet (840 posts) -

@cloudforest said:

@mercurialau: I'm afraid that's really supposed to be Valyria, even if it's completely unlike the book version. Jorah even says that they're sailing through Valyria and Tyrion implies that they're sailing on the Smoking Sea. They've been setting it up to be a very different kind of place from the novels since last week when Stannis was talking about being told to send Shireen away to Valyria to live out her days with the Stonemen. So the show version of Valyria is just a ruined leper colony with dragons, apparently...

I'm not really even clear at this point why Jorah wants to go through Valyria at all (or how they are supposed to have got there so quickly in that tiny fishing boat. Oh wait, that's right it's GoT and everything is near to everywhere else). First off they're supposed to be heading straight to Meereen, but now they're making an excursion through Valyria? Is it just so that they'll avoid running into pirates as Jorah implies? Seems foolhardy if so. Given that the Jorah-Tyrion storyline has been a mash-up of a load of disparate stuff from the novels, I wonder if they're trying to tie in Dragonbinder with Jorah finding it and bringing it to Dany along with Tyrion to win back her favour? Tyrion says something about collecting a "Targeryan heirloom" but Jorah does say that Tyrion will be enough of a gift. In the books Euron reckons to have been to Valyria to get the Dragonhorn (although that might also be dubious boasting on his part), so given they've written out the Ironborn entirely, perhaps they're loading that on Jorah as well. Dunno, it all seems weird.

Other than that, this was a bit of a middling episode. The Miranda stuff seems a bit superfluous to me and the Greyworm-Missandei romance doesn't interest me at all, really. The Wall and dinner with the Boltons was pretty good, though.

No Caption Provided

The quickest way from Volantis where Jorah captured Tyrion to Meereen is through the smoking sea. It's not an excursion. He's taking foolish risks to get back to Dany faster.

@zevvionI was expecting Selmy to be the warrior he was claimed to be for 5 seasons straight. He wasn't anything close to it. Though over the course of watching the show, it is obvious they aren't very good at portraying reality very well in combat scenes. Even still, I thought the battle of Castle Black was so well done, that my expectations were more along the lines of it.

What. You're right they don't show combat realistically. Which is why an old knight without his armor managed to kill like 10 guys at the same time.

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#169 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@defaultprophet: Yes, that is my point. The body count doesn't even matter. If he would have killed two of them only to be ambushed and stabbed in the back by a third, it could have been much better than what was shown. He showed no skill whatsoever.

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#170 Posted by cLoudForest (102 posts) -

@defaultprophet: I don't know how you can look at that map and see that going through Valyria (the city as marked on the map) is anything but an excursion. It's not a shortcut to go in the opposite direction from Slaver's bay toward Valyria rather than just sticking to the coast. That wouldn't have gained them any time even if they hadn't now being stranded (not a good move if Jorah is in such a rush). The only justification actually given on the show was the stuff about pirates staying away from there, not that it was the quickest route.

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#171 Posted by DefaultProphet (840 posts) -

@zevvion: No. He killed 10 dudes, that's superhuman skill. He was the badass he said he was up until the end.

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#172 Edited by DefaultProphet (840 posts) -

@cloudforest: that whole area is Valyria. They specifically said they were on the smoking sea which is the sea between the mainland and where the city of Valyria is.

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#173 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

I would love to see you guys make a show with this many characters and plot threads and balance it so much better than they do. I know "lets see you do better" is a lame way to talk about criticism most times, but I think there are some very unrealistic views in here on TV and how it works. How much time it takes to develop characters, for example.

Again, if they make the show ground up for TV, there aren't this many characters and plots and locations. They are doing the best they can with source material. I don't see the other solutions. Not that the executions are perfect (I certainly have my complaints), but just think about other great TV shows people watch. How many characters are on them? How many plot threads? Probably half as many as this show has, maybe even less.

I know this is the internet and it's pick things apart, that's how it works, but I just think there is some unrealistic expectations for a TV show here.

Like you guys want them to give characters more time, develop them, show nuance... and then there are complaints when Tyrion's trial takes as many episodes as it did to play out? So we can build the relationships and circumstances around it? I'm not sure what you want instead. If everything was happening faster there'd be even LESS time for this stuff.

If I had a major complaint, it'd be Ramsay. He's my one legit big issue with the show. They have wasted so much time on him showing no growth or nuance and little relevance to the story overall. I don't get it.

@defaultprophet said:

@zevvion: No. He killed 10 dudes, that's superhuman skill. He was the badass he said he was up until the end.

Totally agreed. The Hound for example has a hard time taking on a few guys at once. He looked like a badass to me.

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#174 Edited by cLoudForest (102 posts) -

@defaultprophet said:

@cloudforest: that whole area is Valyria. They specifically said they were on the smoking sea which is the sea between the mainland and where the city of Valyria is.

No, the area is the Valyrian Penisula. Valyria was a city-state and Tyrion would know the difference, I would think. He's supposed to be well-read on such things and was obssessed with dragons as a child. They're shown going through the ruins of the city, not travelling along the coast of essos. That's the excursion I'm talking about.

It's something of a moot point, anyway, because you don't just go to Valyria if you're using the novels as a guide.

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#175 Edited by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -

I would love to see you guys make a show with this many characters and plot threads and balance it so much better than they do. I know "lets see you do better" is a lame way to talk about criticism most times, but I think there are some very unrealistic views in here on TV and how it works. How much time it takes to develop characters, for example.

Again, if they make the show ground up for TV, there aren't this many characters and plots and locations. They are doing the best they can with source material. I don't see the other solutions. Not that the executions are perfect (I certainly have my complaints), but just think about other great TV shows people watch. How many characters are on them? How many plot threads? Probably half as many as this show has, maybe even less.

But having more characters and plot points isn't what makes a show good. I would even argue it's quite the opposite.

A plot is not good when there is nothing too add; it's good when there is nothing to take away.

Take Breaking Bad, one of the most - if not the most - critically acclaimed and beloved TV series in history. And it had what, a dozen main characters? Maybe twenty? Throughout 70 or so episodes.

What made the show good wasn't that it had many characters. It was that it had so few. But each one was vital. Each one was essential to the story, played a crucial role at some point or another. Most of them were extremely well developed.

And the show had no fillers, aside from half an episode here or there. Just the main story, packed as tightly as possible. That's what makes a TV show.

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#176 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

@imsh_pl: So you think they should take an epic fantasy novel and cut out half the characters? I'm sure fans would have been happy.

I said in my post, if they are making this from the ground up for TV, there's half as many characters or less. But this isn't how it was. They have to respect the source material. The show would've got butchered if they did that. Tons of it would have had to be rewritten too.

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#177 Posted by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -

@artisanbreads: In retrospect I think it would have been a better decision to wait for the book series to finish and construct the script based on that. They could've worked on the pacing, they would have a better idea of what to focus on, what to possibly omit. It's not like right now the show is by the books anyway. And it just seems like they have no sense of direction or closure, they're basically going 'well, let's just make another season I guess until the guy releases the new book and we know what next'.

And don't get me wrong, I love the show. It's probably my second favorite beside Breaking Bad. But I think that they might have bitten more than they can chew, and after releasing the first few season and having the show become this massive hit, they pretty much had no choice but to roll with it.

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#178 Posted by DefaultProphet (840 posts) -

@cloudforest: They didn't feel like introduced ancient Royneish cities and I don't blame them. Plus we aren't likely to ever go to Valyria in the books.

Also it's called the Doom of Valyria not the Doom of the Valyrian Penninsula.

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#179 Posted by gnomeonfire (1124 posts) -

@imsh_pl said:
@artisanbreads said:

I would love to see you guys make a show with this many characters and plot threads and balance it so much better than they do. I know "lets see you do better" is a lame way to talk about criticism most times, but I think there are some very unrealistic views in here on TV and how it works. How much time it takes to develop characters, for example.

Again, if they make the show ground up for TV, there aren't this many characters and plots and locations. They are doing the best they can with source material. I don't see the other solutions. Not that the executions are perfect (I certainly have my complaints), but just think about other great TV shows people watch. How many characters are on them? How many plot threads? Probably half as many as this show has, maybe even less.

But having more characters and plot points isn't what makes a show good. I would even argue it's quite the opposite.

A plot is not good when there is nothing too add; it's good when there is nothing to take away.

Take Breaking Bad, one of the most - if not the most - critically acclaimed and beloved TV series in history. And it had what, a dozen main characters? Maybe twenty? Throughout 70 or so episodes.

What made the show good wasn't that it had many characters. It was that it had so few. But each one was vital. Each one was essential to the story, played a crucial role at some point or another. Most of them were extremely well developed.

And the show had no fillers, aside from half an episode here or there. Just the main story, packed as tightly as possible. That's what makes a TV show.

It's pretty high up there, but that probably goes to The Sopranos for awards and The Wire for general acceptance as the best written show.

Game of Thrones could probably have been up there if the books were complete before the show got this far. As I see it now, D&D just either aren't good enough writers to keep the quality up, or they really just stopped caring after the Red Wedding, which they've said time and again is why they wanted to make the show in the first place.

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#180 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

@imsh_pl said:

@artisanbreads: In retrospect I think it would have been a better decision to wait for the book series to finish and construct the script based on that. They could've worked on the pacing, they would have a better idea of what to focus on, what to possibly omit. It's not like right now the show is by the books anyway. And it just seems like they have no sense of direction or closure, they're basically going 'well, let's just make another season I guess until the guy releases the new book and we know what next'.

And don't get me wrong, I love the show. It's probably my second favorite beside Breaking Bad. But I think that they might have bitten more than they can chew, and after releasing the first few season and having the show become this massive hit, they pretty much had no choice but to roll with it.

The books still being written is an interesting factor. If they were done, maybe they could have done more editing, but I seriously doubt that anyways.

I think there's certainly a sense of direction to the show, and with Martin working with them, that's clearly maintained. I get if people have criticisms. Like I say I have mine. I just realize how difficult this show must be to make. Pacing is not easy even on a small cast show, never mind this one.

I still am really enjoying it, and like the last couple seasons, I'm betting this season picks up steam in the second half with all this set up. One of the best shows I've seen and I continue to be super impressed what they manage to do with such a difficult storyline for TV.

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#181 Edited by cLoudForest (102 posts) -

@defaultprophet said:

@cloudforest: They didn't feel like introduced ancient Royneish cities and I don't blame them. Plus we aren't likely to ever go to Valyria in the books.

Also it's called the Doom of Valyria not the Doom of the Valyrian Penninsula.

I've always thought there were parallels between Valyria and ancient Rome since both were city states, both held an empire named after them, both were slaveholding empires and both met a sudden demise and fall. We talk of "the fall of Rome" just as they talk of the Doom of Valyria, but we wouldn't call the Italian penisula "Rome". Of course, there's a kind of Pompeii vibe about the Doom, too.

I was hoping that since they've decided to have Jorah and Tyrion visit Valyria that they'd at least do more with it to tie it to the story and have more reason for them being there, that's all.

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#182 Posted by Fredchuckdave (10824 posts) -

Nothing happened essentially; but maybe things will happen next episode?

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#183 Posted by cLoudForest (102 posts) -

I think that the problems with the show aren't strictly to do with the number of characters but rather what they choose to do with those characters and what they choose to spend screen time on. The show-runners seem to have a clear idea about which scenarios and pivotal events they want to hit but they don't always pay enough care to how they manoeuvre the characters into position between those moments so they're able to hit those marks. I don't think you can blame the books not being finished for that, either, and they apparently know the outline of what's going to happen from Martin himself, anyway.

So much of what is enjoyable in the source material is the character study aspect of it, the motivations and the integrity of the portrayal of those characters as understandable, if flawed, people whose actions make sense even when they're making mistakes. The show loses some of that and as a result sometimes ends up feeling like it's just one random thing after another sometimes. It's hard to remain invested in some of the characters and story-lines for that reason and thus get the impression that there's no actual development going on.

Also, they often seem to feel the need to continually check in with characters just for the sake of keeping them in the audience's mind, too, which leads to a lot of filler just so that they can keep certain characters in a holding pattern. This takes away time that could have been devoted to better developing other characters and plot-lines. Theon is a perfect example of that: we had a whole season of Ramsey torturing Theon so by this point the dynamic between those characters is just played out. It would have been better if they'd had Theon disappear for a while to reappear later as a thoroughly broken, barely recognisable creature that flinched every time Ramsey addressed him. That would have made much more impact ("Holy crap! Is that Theon? What the hell happened to him?") and they could have then just hinted at what Theon's had to endure rather than laying it all out in the most obvious way.

I do have some sympathy for what the show has to try to do in terms of adapting some of the material, though, and the practical limitations that they probably have to deal with obviously play in to that too. It's not surprising that they've struggled with everything after the Red Wedding just because of the nature of a lot of the source. I do wish though that they wouldn't make decisions like "we like this or that actor so we want them to appear more often" but rather let the story dictate who it makes sense to devote time to.

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#184 Posted by Mirado (2557 posts) -

From what I can gather from my book reading friends, the show has started to wildly diverge from the books to the point that waiting for the next one wouldn't give them much in the way of compatible material. For instance, Selmy's still alive and kicking (not really a spoiler as his corpse has lost it's relevancy in the show), and never encountered a mask wearing death squad at all! Along those lines, some characters are totally missing from the show, some are merged together, and others have had their roles taken over by those more familiar to show watchers only. (I didn't ask for specifics in case there's still something to spoil, but that's the jist I've got.)

They are starting to look less and less like they have a book shaped crystal ball and more and more like one of us ignorant non-book readers.

So they really aren't waiting at all, as they've just decided to forge ahead on their own alternate Westeros, so to speak. That makes the pacing issues all the weirder, as they can just fill in action and battles and death whenever they like. They shouldn't have to parade people around for a full season before they actually do something constructive.

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#185 Edited by Quid_Pro_Bono (1130 posts) -
@fredchuckdave said:

Nothing happened essentially; but maybe things will happen next episode?

It's bumming me out how often my girlfriend and I are saying this to each other this season. I think this is probably the longest the show has gone setting up events in a season. Even Barriston's death is just more set up for the real Meereen storyline of the fighting pits re-opening, which it was clear was going to happen in the first episode of this season and is obviously pretty much all that's going on with Dany until season 6. I also could not care less about Brienne and Podrick this season, which is a shame as I think they're both pretty great but are terrible together and have had a dreadfully boring storyline since the middle of last season. But mostly I'm getting annoyed every time we come back to the Boltons, as I could not be more tired of the "Roose and Ramsay: who's more depraved?" show. We get it: their banner is a guy getting tortured, Ramsay likes to be a creepy raper and torturer, Roose thinks that's cool and raped a lady under the corpse of her husband. The Boltons are so fucking boring and uninspired, as someone said above they're absolutely just a clone of Joffrey and I couldn't be less interested in their goings-on. I really hope Stannis and Melisandre just ride in and rain righteous hellfire all over their dumb heads.

Speaking of Stannis, man this season has had some good stuff though. I love that Jon is becoming a more pivotal and interesting character, and the echos to his true parentage are starting to come to light. I've had my suspicions about Rhaegar and Lyanna for a while now, and last week's episode seems to have clinched it. Stannis is also pretty much my favorite character lately, and the goings on at the Wall this season with him continue to interest me. His politicking has always seemed to be the most grounded, even when he's burning his own people for a weird lady and her weird god. At least she gets results, which is what Stannis is banking on. Davos is also in full force as the bumbling wise attendant, so all the best action has been at the Wall. What an about face from the early seasons.

I really want more of King's Landing right now; the High Sparrow stuff is an infinitely more interesting uprising than the Sons of the Harpy and Cersei vs. Margaery is always great for Mean Girls style zingers ("We'd get you some wine but it's a bit too early for us." DAAAAAMN) and honest to goodness playing of the Game of Thrones. Jamie and Bronn's frolic through the desert could be cool, but so far it's been kind of a non-starter. All the Dorne business has been quite flat, actually, which is a surprise when you consider how much of a breath of fresh air Oberyn was before he went all Gallagher-watermelon. Arya is also taking all too long to learn to kill people. Why are we washing dead bodies, again?

Regardless, I'm interested to see where the show goes from here and will certainly continue watching, but I'd love to spend a bit less time with the Boltons and Dany. Even though I love Dany, this just doesn't feel like anything different than the storyline she's had since season 3, "Let's free these slaves and make it right!"

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#186 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@zevvion: No. He killed 10 dudes, that's superhuman skill. He was the badass he said he was up until the end.

Not in the slightest. Watch it again. They were waiting in turns to face him. Once they attacked with more than one at a time, he died. We've seen nearly any other warrior in this series have more skill than him.

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#187 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@mirado said:

From what I can gather from my book reading friends, the show has started to wildly diverge from the books to the point that waiting for the next one wouldn't give them much in the way of compatible material. For instance, Selmy's still alive and kicking (not really a spoiler as his corpse has lost it's relevancy in the show), and never encountered a mask wearing death squad at all! Along those lines, some characters are totally missing from the show, some are merged together, and others have had their roles taken over by those more familiar to show watchers only. (I didn't ask for specifics in case there's still something to spoil, but that's the jist I've got.)

They are starting to look less and less like they have a book shaped crystal ball and more and more like one of us ignorant non-book readers.

So they really aren't waiting at all, as they've just decided to forge ahead on their own alternate Westeros, so to speak. That makes the pacing issues all the weirder, as they can just fill in action and battles and death whenever they like. They shouldn't have to parade people around for a full season before they actually do something constructive.

I heard about that. That's super weird that they are killing off characters that are actually still alive. I heard they did the same with Grenn. It's becoming shock value, nothing more. That's a pretty bad way of writing a show. They keep killing off interesting characters without being able to fill the void. The show is becoming less and less interesting as a result. Shock really isn't worth much if you have nothing to back it up.

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#188 Posted by Bollard (8180 posts) -

@zevvion said:
@mirado said:

From what I can gather from my book reading friends, the show has started to wildly diverge from the books to the point that waiting for the next one wouldn't give them much in the way of compatible material. For instance, Selmy's still alive and kicking (not really a spoiler as his corpse has lost it's relevancy in the show), and never encountered a mask wearing death squad at all! Along those lines, some characters are totally missing from the show, some are merged together, and others have had their roles taken over by those more familiar to show watchers only. (I didn't ask for specifics in case there's still something to spoil, but that's the jist I've got.)

They are starting to look less and less like they have a book shaped crystal ball and more and more like one of us ignorant non-book readers.

So they really aren't waiting at all, as they've just decided to forge ahead on their own alternate Westeros, so to speak. That makes the pacing issues all the weirder, as they can just fill in action and battles and death whenever they like. They shouldn't have to parade people around for a full season before they actually do something constructive.

I heard about that. That's super weird that they are killing off characters that are actually still alive. I heard they did the same with Grenn. It's becoming shock value, nothing more. That's a pretty bad way of writing a show. They keep killing off interesting characters without being able to fill the void. The show is becoming less and less interesting as a result. Shock really isn't worth much if you have nothing to back it up.

In the book, Robb's wife didn't die either (she never went to the Red Wedding at all). They've been killing off extra characters in the TV show for ages.

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#189 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@bollard: Can I assume these characters at least also don't return in the books in a meaningful way either? Because if Selmy is still advising Daenerys in the books, that's a real stupid move.

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#190 Posted by Bollard (8180 posts) -

@zevvion: Robb's wife's continued existance has come to nothing so far in the books, and hasn't been mentioned for a while so I assume it is irrelevant. Grenn isn't much of a character in the book anyway.

Selmy however has quite an important role at Mereen, and even appeared in the preview chapter of the upcoming book "The Winds of Winter" - or at least that's where I assume the additional information on his wiki page has come from. In fact, he's one of the POV main characters in the upcoming book.

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#191 Posted by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -

@bollard: Well that fucking sucks. So they basically killed him off because there's nothing interesting going on and 'we need people to be talking about how game of thrones is about everyone dying and shit'. It's a real shame.

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#192 Edited by Bollard (8180 posts) -

@imsh_pl: Yeah, at least most of their other killings were motivated by the characters being extraneous to the plot. Not quite sure about this one. Although, it's hard to say anymore with the show diverging - maybe it's just part of their own alternate plot, maybe it's a hint of what's to come in the book, who can say.

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#193 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@bollard said:

@zevvion: Robb's wife's continued existance has come to nothing so far in the books, and hasn't been mentioned for a while so I assume it is irrelevant. Grenn isn't much of a character in the book anyway.

Selmy however has quite an important role at Mereen, and even appeared in the preview chapter of the upcoming book "The Winds of Winter" - or at least that's where I assume the additional information on his wiki page has come from. In fact, he's one of the POV main characters in the upcoming book.

I just don't appreciate it when a show is not faithful to the source material. If they aren't they need a good reason. Like it wouldn't work in a show like it does in a book. But that's irrelevant here, because the show's quality is diminishing by each great character they kill off just for shock value. It would be a real surprise to me if the show ever gets back to its original quality. They are just so desperately trying to create anything interesting because they killed off anything legitimately interesting and can't advance characters like Arya faster. The whole 'hidden zombie bite' thing at the end of the most recent episode promises to be a very mediocre cliché. Not looking forward to it.

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#195 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@bollard: I'm definitely not saying Martin is a genius and the show writers are retards. It's shared blame across all fronts, though I suspect death of characters is less of a big deal in books as there is less attachment involved. You can write a character and your mind makes up the rest. That 'rest' is actually portrayed in a show, so you can dislike characters that are meant to be good characters.

When I think about it, all the characters I think are good are just moving extremely slow or aren't even getting any screentime at all like Arya, Jaime and Brandon. The only one that is progressing steadily is Jon and I do like his arc. I guess it's impossible to translate a book perfectly to a show, but these just sound like really dumb moves even keeping that in mind. For instance, what benefit does it have to kill off Selmy instead of continuing his arc as in the books? I can't think any further than just shock value. The sucky part is that shock value gives you a couple of seconds of value and then you need to continue without the value that character could have offered in the long run.

It just seems like an incredibly poor decision.

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#196 Edited by Bollard (8180 posts) -

@zevvion said:

@bollard: I'm definitely not saying Martin is a genius and the show writers are retards. It's shared blame across all fronts, though I suspect death of characters is less of a big deal in books as there is less attachment involved. You can write a character and your mind makes up the rest. That 'rest' is actually portrayed in a show, so you can dislike characters that are meant to be good characters.

I mis-remembered that by the way (hence why I deleted my post). I forgot the TV show skipped something else, and was wrong about the zombie bite thing.

When I think about it, all the characters I think are good are just moving extremely slow or aren't even getting any screentime at all like Arya, Jaime and Brandon. The only one that is progressing steadily is Jon and I do like his arc. I guess it's impossible to translate a book perfectly to a show, but these just sound like really dumb moves even keeping that in mind. For instance, what benefit does it have to kill off Selmy instead of continuing his arc as in the books? I can't think any further than just shock value. The sucky part is that shock value gives you a couple of seconds of value and then you need to continue without the value that character could have offered in the long run.

It just seems like an incredibly poor decision.

The only thing I can think is that given they know what is going to happen in the future they know Selmy will become irrelevant anyway and wanted to focus on other characters and leave him behind sooner. (I'm trying to be vague here because I don't want to psuedo-spoil by suggesting who might live for how long). At least that was the reason I assumed they killed off Robb's wife, and while Selmy does have some stuff in the book I could see why they might want to ignore that, if I make some assumptions about what might happen in book 6. Anyway, this is rather hard to explain without stepping into spoilers so I'll be quiet now and just hope the show's direction makes up for their odd choices!

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#197 Posted by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -
@bollard said:

The only thing I can think is that given they know what is going to happen in the future they know Selmy will become irrelevant anyway and wanted to focus on other characters and leave him behind sooner. (I'm trying to be vague here because I don't want to psuedo-spoil by suggesting who might live for how long). At least that was the reason I assumed they killed off Robb's wife, and while Selmy does have some stuff in the book I could see why they might want to ignore that, if I make some assumptions about what might happen in book 6.

On a side note, how much do you think Martin changes his books because of the pressure of the show? He couldn't have expected anything at the start, since people didn't know the show would become such a huge hit, and they had still a long way to go to catch up to the books. Fast forward a few years and the show is rapidly moving forward while the new books are being released at a slower pace. I'm pretty sure it's even been confirmed that not only does the show drastically hasten some of the character arcs but it also will at one point actually be further into the story with respect to the books. It's made me curious whether Martin is going to make decisions he wouldn't have normally made, like letting some characters live because they proved to be popular among viewers.

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#198 Posted by Bollard (8180 posts) -

@imsh_pl said:
@bollard said:

The only thing I can think is that given they know what is going to happen in the future they know Selmy will become irrelevant anyway and wanted to focus on other characters and leave him behind sooner. (I'm trying to be vague here because I don't want to psuedo-spoil by suggesting who might live for how long). At least that was the reason I assumed they killed off Robb's wife, and while Selmy does have some stuff in the book I could see why they might want to ignore that, if I make some assumptions about what might happen in book 6.

On a side note, how much do you think Martin changes his books because of the pressure of the show? He couldn't have expected anything at the start, since people didn't know the show would become such a huge hit, and they had still a long way to go to catch up to the books. Fast forward a few years and the show is rapidly moving forward while the new books are being released at a slower pace. I'm pretty sure it's even been confirmed that not only does the show drastically hasten some of the character arcs but it also will at one point actually be further into the story with respect to the books. It's made me curious whether Martin is going to make decisions he wouldn't have normally made, like letting some characters live because they proved to be popular among viewers.

Well, there's two aspects to this:

1. Some characters are already ahead of the books. Sansa in particular is either ahead of or on her own plotline which has completely diverged from the books now. But you're right, the show regularly shortens character arcs (as you would expect it has to), but also has cut some HUGE story twists/plot points by the point where we are now. Things that should have happened shortly after the red wedding right up to things that should have happened so far this series (but appear to have been skipped). I would love to mention them but can't for fear maybe they'll squeeze that stuff in later on.

2. He hasn't released a book since the TV show started. (Technically the most recent book came out about the same time as Season 1). The first book came out in 1996, and since the show started I don't think Martin has any intentions of rushing the books any faster than his usual (pretty slow) writing pace. So we can't say for sure yet if anything will change (note I don't follow the pre-release spoilers) but I imagine he will carry on with his vision regardless of what the show does. To be honest, he keeps extending the book series so we'll be lucky if he even finishes it before he dies.

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#199 Edited by cLoudForest (102 posts) -
@imsh_pl said:

On a side note, how much do you think Martin changes his books because of the pressure of the show?

I think there's zero chance of that having an impact on the novels. Martin already knows how things are going to turn out for all the characters, information which he's shared with the showrunners and it's already been confirmed that the show will end up spoiling the events in the novels. The books were already tremendously successful before the show even started; I don't think HBO would have put up the kind of budget that they have if it wasn't already a well-established franchise. So I don't think that he has any motivation to pander to show viewers. Hell, the books and the show are such different things that they're already massively divergent so it would be pointless to try to make one conform to the other anyway. That ship sailed long ago. By all accounts he's having enough of a problem trying to marshal the material he's go into the form of a novel without also going back over it and changing stuff to match the TV show.

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#200 Edited by GValo (633 posts) -

@cloudforest: Wasn't part of the whole delay with Dance of Dragons because he couldn't figure out how to get the characters where he wanted them to go? Seems like his biggest problem has been knowing the ending but not having clear beats he has to hit to get there. He just writes then realizes "crap I want to get to point B but I'm written myself into a hole"

It really bummed me out when he cancelled convention appearances in November to finish working on the novel. Either he scrapped a lot again, lied about how much he had done, or is working on clean up drafts now and will be doing press tours in November for the book.

I feel like the show's seeming random killing of characters and changing storylines could lead to their own storyline knot and send the show into a nosedive