Listen to Me Bitch About Game of Thrones
Posted by Alan Edwards
Well, “listen” in strictly the narrator-voice-in-your-head sense. I don’t anticipate doing any podcasts in the near future (I had actually typed out “never” before getting rid of that, since I have previously sworn that I would never get a cell phone or use Twitter and a whole lot of other things that I then embrace and growl at anything that threatens them. I’m a lousy predictor of my own future behavior.), so you needn’t worry about having to actually listen to my voice, which sounds like the screechy warble of a career monk suddenly asked to recite the Gettysburg Address live in New York City during New Years’ Eve when it’s reproduced through electronic media. Or maybe that’s just how I hear it. God I hate how my voice sounds unless I’m in Game Show Mode and I put on the Announcer Voice, the one I bust out for seminars and other public speaking events. Better to sound like a used car salesman than a hopped-up junkie pulled over for a busted tail-light.
Holy shit, I completely forgot about what I was going to say. I actually had to read the title before I remembered that this wasn’t about podcasts. So, Game of Thrones. I’ll probably start cussing more as we go. I tend to do that. You been Warned.
Requisite background blah-blah-blah: I started reading the series a long time ago, not sure why. I think my old boss from my last job told me about them, probably 8 or 9 years ago. I really liked the books a ton, since there weren’t too many realistic fantasy novels that had gone big before that one. Glen Cook’s Black Company series were probably the closest thing I’d come to a more realistic portrayal of a fantasy world, and they still weren’t quite the same as GoT’s grimmer tone. The way important pivotal characters suddenly (but realistically) died was a revelation in the happy-lucky-unicorn world of most fantasy. So then I hear it’s coming to HBO, and I’m apprehensive, but I go ahead and order HBO all special for it and watch it with Lady Aravan, who’s never read the series.
And I liked it! I enjoyed the acting, the wardrobes, the sets, the casting choices (for the most part, see below), the lot. I could even understand the changes they made (for the most part, see below) as part of the necessity for combining a long-as-shit book into a few hours. It was good, and both Lady Aravan and I were enjoying it.
Then I watched this past Sunday’s episode. See, in there was a scene that so completely broke ranks with the book and just rubbed its junk in my face until I folded my arms and slid into my Annoyed and Pissy Posture. It so completely broke my immersion that I couldn’t even enjoy the next few scenes. Those that saw it can probably guess which one I mean. Those who didn’t are only reading this far out of a misguided sense of obligation or pity, but that’s neither here nor there.
Yes, it was the Renly-Loras Man Love Scene.
I get the fact that there were allusions to their relationship in the books – very oblique suspicions that really don’t matter that much to the story. HBO wants to build Edge into the program, and gay sex is apparently Edgy. That’s fine. I assume George R. R. Martin (god I hate the middle initial thing) signed off on making it factual rather than speculative, or at least I hope so from a creative control standpoint. To sum up: I don’t care that they made Renly and Loras gay lovers and demonstrated it. Graphically. With little sucky noises that just seemed a little too over-the-top for me, but what the fuck do I know about Edgy?
What bothers me is that they made Renly so fucking pathetic.
See, in the books, he’s the carefree handsome younger brother of the king, the guy that looks like the man who saved the kingdoms from the insane brother-and-sister-fucking former rulers. He’s charming, he’s good-looking, always smiling, never takes anything seriously dude that the people love. Ser Loras, on the other hand, is the greatest knight of his generation, too young to have fought in a real war but very skilled in the war-by-proxy world of the tournament. Then we see them on-screen.
The dude they cast as Renly is a fucking joke. He looks like a constipated self-cutter who was too scared to become gothy and let his emo flag fly. He radiates the exact amount of personal charisma as that exhibited by a passed-out hobo with no pants. He’s forgettable, he is utterly devoid of personality, and couldn’t lead the patrons of a burning theater through the only exit. The actor sucks, the portrayal as written sucks, every scene he’s in sucks. Loras tells him, “the people love you”, and all I can think is Why the fuck would anybody love this pathetic sack of shit? What has he possibly done or said that would make anyone love him? It’s fucking ridiculous.
And Ser Loras. My god. For someone who’s been training as a knight his entire life, you’d think he would have developed a muscle here or there. Instead, we see him shirtless, and he looks like an anorexic twelve-year-old girl. Swords are pretty fucking heavy, and I’m nerdy enough to know what it’s like to swing them full-speed. It takes strength. Loras looks like he’d struggle trying to bench-press his fucking comforter in the morning to get out of bed. And the greatest knight of his generation looked like a bitch at the tournament, but whatever.
If I was gay, I’d be pissed that they decided to portray the two ambiguously gay male characters from the books as two such useless bitches. One gets turned into a sissy at the tournament, the other is just a bland fucking mannequin that has the fucking charm of a meth addict’s mugshot. Why they decided to do that is just beyond me. The more I think about it, the more pissed off I’m getting. Goddamn HBO.