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Wednesday, 19 September 2012


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I use this same opening scene whenever I want to just introduce the series/books.

There's something else going on in this scene as well: The arrangement of the "Winter is Coming" bodies in the circle is weirdly symbolic, i.e. it seems structured like some kind of symbol. Jump ahead to the end of season one to "Fire and Blood," and Drogo's funeral pyre is reminiscent of that same structure.

A Song of Ice and Fire: Winter is Coming, Fire and Blood, the land of always winter vs the desert, yet that death symbol links them all. It's an interesting way to visually tie the end of the first season back to its origins.


That's a damn fine point, and one I'll return to when I get to "Fire and Blood." I wonder if it's described similarly in the books as well? I suppose I'll find out as I re-read them for the class. (I'd just flip to the chapter, but that's one thing the Kindle's just rot at.) But I like the idea that I completely missed: the frost desert in the first episode and the actual one in the last, possibly linked by the same symbol somehow found half a world away. I don't want to head in a Von Daniken, but I don't think I'd have to.

And for the record, even if I don't respond to all your posts, I just want to say that I've really appreciated your comments of late. I end up thinking about them more often than responding to them for some reason. I'll try to rectify that in the future. But I just wanted you to know that they're greatly appreciated.


"I wonder if it's described similarly in the books as well?" No, both of those visual ideas were original to the show. And the director's comments on "Fire and Blood" said (IIRC) that the arrangement of the pyre was something they came up with fairly late in the making of that episode, so if there was an intended connection it wasn't planned from episode 1.


Nope, Hob's right -- there's nothing in the text about the shape of those death-piles, although Ser Waymar Royce asks Will if he noted the "position of the bodies."

Thanks for the kudos -- and no worries about responding or not responding. I'm just a lapsed literature/visual rhetoric PhD who's getting my critical fix. Came across your blog years ago via Kugelmass, put it on Google Reader, but never really checked Google Reader until relatively recently. Happy I did.

(Had a big response to one of the Louie posts, but it didn't submit. I saved it because my wife wanted to read it; maybe I'll try to post it again.)

Peter Mortimer

Peter Mortimer
Student ID #71002954
Writing 39B
T/TH 11:00 A.M.-12:20 P.M.

The portrayal of Game of Thrones is much different when expressed as a show, rather than a novel. High fantasy is sadly ignored in films and television, probably because recreating a fantasy novel is a lengthy task. However, the major components of a high fantasy novel are the content and descriptive qualities surrounding the folklore itself. While I believe think the show’s directing by Tim Van Patten, does the story justice, many things are left out in the first scenes that were in the novel. The internal character’s feelings in the first scenes, expressed in detail in the novel, are left out of the television show. This includes Will’s feelings towards Ser Waymar Royce. It leaves audiences with a lot of room to use their imagination and doesn’t focus on Will as a major character, but rather as a scapegoat to start the novel, by foreshadowing the brutality and intensity of the show. The writers have focused on only enough details for each scene to make it to the next. In a 52 minute episode, there is not enough time to fully access internal representations or body language that characters may be experiencing. Will’s fate was portrayed with a lot less emphasis in the television show. The entire opening scene is cut short and doesn’t seem to have a very weighty structural benefit, although it does serve the same purpose as a general introduction to viewers. Director Van Patten, chose to alter the depiction of Will, because he has to portray a myriad of character introductions in the first episode, as well as paint accurate portrayals in a very short time span. The depiction of Will’s fate, and as a character, is a lot less important than the introduction of royalty.

Peter Mortimer

The first two episodes of Game of Thrones give the viewer a lot of detail to think about as the story unfolds. Every small subtlety that Van Patten includes, gives the viewer a remarkably cohesive representation that can condense chapters of a fantasy novel into 55 minute episodes. On the Acephalous Blog (Game of Thrones Post 2), the claustrophobic effect inside of the castle is addressed. Will is not viewed as significant to the characters in this shot, so I don’t believe it was supposed to invoke any sense of urgency. I believe that the most important element in the shot is the intimate connection between Ned and Catelyn. Again, the shot does not portray a sense of urgency; it is just addressing the natural Stark family values and shows the viewer, through special proximity, the underlying emphasis on family values and lineage. In the first blog post, the medium “thinking zoom” pertaining to Will was discussed. I believe that Will is just a scapegoat for the viewers, leading to a greater understanding of the Stark family values and the introduction of the White Walkers. I don’t think you could really categorize this as a “complete thinking zoom,” from Will’s perspective. Rather, I think Van Patten was trying to emphasize the sheer terror in Will’s facial expression and helplessness of the extreme danger of the situation. The viewers already know that if Will deserts the battlefield, he will be killed for being a deserter. Will’s only significance is that he is the perfect catalyst for the conflict to commence. Also, before Ser Waymar Royce is attacked by the White Walker, the White Walker is shown in a medium, shallow focus. As viewers, we can infer from the focus that this character is not prominent on the continent of Westeros.

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