Cast List!

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

October 19, 2009 -- 2:10 p.m

The cast list for a pilot of George R.R. Martin's: A Crown of Fire and Ice series is up. Arya Stark is EXACTLY how I pictured her--kind of like the girl from the 'To Kill a Mockingbird' movie. Anyway, they all look good. We'll see if they can act good. (Yes, writers can use bad grammar too when we feel like it.)

I started re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy while I was sick (now I'm coughing up phlegm, though I don't have the flu anymore, which is good, though now I feel like Nicole Kidman from Moulin Rouge, without the blood) and I'd forgotten how awesome it is. I remember when the Fellowship of the Rings movie came out, my reception was lukewarm. I loved the beginning in the Shire but as Aragorn got introduced and went all Bruce Li on the Nazgul, I got a little discouraged, because swordfights are cool and all, but I was worried the real story--of a ordinary people who struggled with impossible temptation--would get buried under Conan-like tactics.

That's right, I am probably the only person ever who wanted to shout "Less swordfighting! More hobbits dancing!"

Admit it. The fireworks were so freaking cool.

I also hated Liv Tyler as Arwen. For some reason, it just rubbed me the wrong way. Watching it again, I still hate every scene that she was in.

I think it was her acting. While there's some really good acting (can you imagine playing Saruman and trying to say "We must join with Him, Gandalf." or " I gave you the chance of aiding me willingly, but you have elected the way of pain!" with a straight face? The writing's fine, its just that Tolkein has been ripped off so often that the lines feel like they belong in a B-movie, even if the wizard fight scenes were very well done.) in the movies, something about Liv Tyler just felt off. Like it was too over the top, nothing understated about it. I do give her mad props for learning Elf though.

I could be I just resented the intrusion of romance in a story that was low-key on romance. I recognize that sex sells and maybe the romantic storyline drew some more interest, but I hate love stories. Usually, I resent them because they take away from a book's plot. I'm like, "step away from the woman and get back to the villain-bashing." And so many romances just have drama that, while may be like real-life, doesn't build any tension for me because you know it's going to work out. Especially the authors who the characters are completely hating each other because of a MISUNDERSTANDING. They'll talk it out eventually, you know they will, so why bother. I prefer books that keep the romance angle really minimal, or, alternatively, bring it along really slowly and gradually. Or there's some real stakes involved. I'm thinking Daenarys storyline in the Fire and Ice series, where her relationship with Khal Drogo made a big difference to the plot. As was Kahlan and Richard's relationship in the Wizard's First Rule. If we don't keep our hormones down, the hero goes braindead? Now that's a real barrier.

I would probably enjoy romance more in books if they weren't usually such a throw-away thing. It feels like the editor says, "oh, you have to put a kiss scene in chapter 11" and so, even though the characters have barely noticed each other before, they suddenly realize they are passionately in love with each other and start making out. Alternatively, there's the unrealistic romances. When you see and boy hating a girl, you know they're going to fall in love by the end of the book and live happily ever after. How many times is the hate caused by the girl behaving irrationally and then coming to her senses, warming up and letting her frigid shell melt? My least favorite cliche ever. How many times do people who hate each other in real life fall in love?

Oddly, I don't mind the romance so much in the female-centric vampire romances. I suppose because the focus on the romance allows it to develop a little more naturally. Or something. Or maybe I have lower expectations when I approach the genre. Fantasy can educate and force us to think, "what if?" But mostly, vampire romances tend to be episodic, no one learns anything, and character development is limited. There's escapism and escapism. And I enjoy it, I just don't expect great things of it. I think we should call the vampire romance genre "Trash with Teeth."

But maybe every ostracized group needs its own subclass to look down on. (Brandon Sanderson has an amusing essay on it and nerdom here). Which is why it's good to see essays like this one on the Gemmell awards. Though it leaves me scratching my head--are there any hard sci-fi only fans anymore? I thought the Lord of the Rings movies would have got everyone admitting that fantasy can be awesome.

Anyway, having meandered from my main point--while I was worried the sword and sorcery aspects and somewhat anvilicious environmental message overwhelming what I loved, now with the movies safely concluded, I can watch the first movie with joy. While I was right about the main thread being overwhelmed in some ways (COUGH Two Towers COUGH), Gollum was such a scene stealer that, if there was a war with swords and orcs going on in the aisles of the theater, I would still be watching him muttering "my precious."

I'll watch the movies, love the movies, and hum with my hands in my ears during the Liv Tyler scenes.

PS: Random sidelines: What WAS the Nobel Prize committee thinking? They get an EPIC FAIL. And isn't the Soviet Version of Winne the Pooh the cutest thing ever? If you remember the Disney movies, you don't need subtitles. I wish I had Vinni Puh on a T-shirt saying something about destroying the capitalist system. That would be so awesome.

And it doesn't look like I'm going to get my revision done in time. I realized suddenly that I do some serious mantel-rearranging, which entailed writing an entirely new chapter that's basically nothing but explanation and doing some other stuff. So I'm about halfway done now, I think. And every revision seems to add another layer of words, so it looks like we'll finish up somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 words. I'll just cross my fingers and hope that won't be too long for publishers to stomach from a new author.


  1. Lee Ann Setzer said...

    On couples who start out hating each other: I spent 6 years not liking my husband before our second first date. It's one way of going into a relationship with eyes wide open--you're so expecting to see things you don't like, that when he impresses, it's for real and not all foggy and dewy. But, we do lots of things the weird, roundabout way around here.

    But, Liv's not my favorite, either (except the costumes. Yum...)

  2. Luisa Perkins said...

    Awesome post, Jenn. I do count on you to keep me apprised of all the latest spec fic news.

    I'm great with the cast of Game of Thrones EXCEPT for Jennifer Ehle, my least favorite Elizabeth Bennett playing Catelyn, my second favorite GRRM character. And I'm not crazy about Peter Dinklage as Tyrion; he's too much the "angry elf" from Elf for me. But maybe he can carry it off. But the guy playing Khal Drogo looks AWESOME.

    Sorry you've been sick, but at least LOTR is good comfort.

    My big problem is with romantic comedies. Every single one of them--even the ones I like--is founded on a LIE. Deception as plot engine works fine, but I think it's a sad sign that our culture is so comfortable with rampant dishonesty.

    Can't wait to read that draft.

    I'm about halfway through transferring everyone's posts over to the new site.

  3. Unrepentant Escapist said...

    Well, I guess I can be wrong, Lee Ann, but I bet you're the exception :)

    Who's your first favorite character? If there's anything I can do to help the transfer, let me know.

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