Watched last night’s premiere of HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin‘s A Game of Thrones, and overall they did a damned good job. I understand why they aged the younger Stark children a few years, but I think Lady Stark still should have been younger. Peter Dinklage promises to be a fantastic Tyrion. And of course, I adore Sean Bean. Also, the sets and locations and costumes and… well, the worldbuilding in general looks really gorgeous: just earthlike enough not to be a distraction and just alien enough to remind us subtly that this is not somewhere familiar.
And of course I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention that what we’ve heard of the Dothraki language so far is just delicious. David J. Peterson did a bang-up job there. But then, from what I know of David from the Conlang mailing list, I’d have expected nothing less.
I do have one gigantic bone to pick with HBO, though, and it’s spoilery, so I’m putting it behind the cut.
Danerys and Drogo’s wedding night, in the book, is a poignant moment that starts their marriage off on just the right footing. They don’t speak one another’s languages. She didn’t want to marry him. She is, in fact, more than a little frightened of him. And when he moves to consummate the marriage and she says ‘no’, he backs off. He now knows one word that she can understand, and he uses it. As a question: ‘No?’ He is gentle with her, careful. He soothes her with tender touches, taking things sweet and slow and repeatedly asking her ‘No?’ until she realizes that he’s not going to hurt her and that she might actually enjoy him… that she does actually want him. And then she says ‘yes.’ It lays the foundation for their marriage to become a romance.
HBO didn’t get that at all. Instead of a man who wants his bride to want him, Khal Drogo remains the savage that Dani fears him to be. Instead of a seduction, we get a rape. Shame on you, HBO.