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Category: Books

Game of Thrones has nothing to say about rape, continues to say it very badly & loudly

There are many choices that need to be made when adapting a book into a TV show or movie. Some things work on the page but not on the screen, and some things simply need to be cut for time. This goes quadruple for a series of books as massive as Game of Thrones – the sheer volume of characters and subplots would render any adaptation a confusing mess. For the most part, HBO’s Game of Thrones has made a lot of smart choices, paring down the cast of characters and streamlining some of the stories. We can quibble about what has or hasn’t worked – someone like Shae gets more character development, while poor Melisandre is stripped of her complexity – but we can agree that some changes are necessary.

Having said all that, it’s hard to imagine that someone would read George R.R. Martins’ books and come to the conclusion that the audience needs to see even more rape and cruelty.

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Game of Thrones 2.4: Bad Boys

I’m not a terribly squeamish person when it comes to violence in my entertainment. I’ve seen a lot of Takashi Miike films, I’ve read American Psycho, and I enjoy some brutal violence and gushing blood when it’s presented the right way. I don’t think any behaviour or act is truly out of bounds in fiction, though its relevance or usefulness to any given story may be questionable. I’m a fan of chasing characters into trees and then throwing rocks at them – whether physical or emotional – because that’s where drama  and character development happen.

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Game of Thrones’ Women Troubles

If you set your story in a medieval-style world, are you obligated to treat your female characters like crap?

This is the question Game of Thrones struggles with, both on page and on screen. Westeros is unquestionably a male-dominated world, but George R.R. Martin has created more intelligent and interesting female characters than the average fantasy author, and for the most part he manages to treat characters of all genders terribly at one point or another.

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The Great Genre Reader Questionnaire

Soulless, by Gail CarrigerGail Carriger did this on her blog, and I thought it’d be a good excuse to talk about books, which I never seem to do for some reason.

Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror?
Usually fantasy, but not because I exclude anything else. I like a bit of everything, and avoid drawing genre-based borders.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback or eBook?

Mass market, because I’m cheap, and because most books come out like that anyway. I’ll buy hardcovers for authors I really like, or books I can’t stand to wait for.

Heinlein or Asimov?

Neither. Can I pick Franz Kafka?

Hitchhiker or Discworld?

Hitchhiker, absolutely. My favourite book when I was younger. I never got into Terry Pratchett.

Bookmark or Dogear?

Bookmarks, though rarely the official kind; I’ll stick whatever piece of  paper is lying around I’m currently using a ticket for a Dears concert.

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The Girl Who was More Interesting than Anyone Else in the Story

Early in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander is introduced as a brilliant investigator. A consultant at a prestigious security firm, she turns routine background checks into exposes of corruption and depravity. She may be seriously anti-social, but she’s a whiz with a computer and fiercely tenacious when she finds a subject that interests her. Throw in her mysterious past and take-no-shit attitude, and the reader (or viewer) is quickly faced with a troubling question: Why should anyone care about Mikael Blomkvist?

(Amusing anecdote: I had to look up what his name was to write that sentence.)

Blomkvist, of course, is a crusading left-wing journalist in a book written by a crusading left-wing journalist, so that at least explains his presence in the story. But he only ever seems to serve two purposes in the book:

  1. He reminds the audience it’s important to be ethical;
  2. Women want to have sex with him.
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Books in 2007

I don’t write about books here very much, though I’m going to try and change that. I suppose they take a lot more time, both…

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I (heart) Warren Ellis

Why snark when others can do it for me? God bless Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen, and Nextwave:

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