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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

You know nothing Jon Snow

NY Times Wakes The Dragon By Insulting Game Of Thrones Viewers


See that face Daenerys is making? That’s the face I’m making in the general direction of the New York Times today. Why? Because yet again they’ve trolled us and assigned someone who apparently hates fantasy fiction to review HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 2. That makes sense, right? 

They’ve been published since 1851 but miraculously, the NY Times still doesn’t seem to “get” fantasy stories. That, or they just really wanted a lot of hits and decided they’d poke the collective geek hornets nest again.

You may remember the “review” writer Ginia Bellafante posted on the NY Times last year telling everyone how horrible Game of Thrones was (while leaving out actual critical information about plot, characters, etc), that it wasn’t for women at all, and basically revealing she didn’t like this kind of entertainment anyway.

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

Yeah, that caused a bit of stir within the community. Not just from scores of female George R.R. Martin fans, but from women fantasy readers in general. We hoped that next time, they’d pass over Bellafante, and go with someone who could provide a clearer critical eye of the series. They didn’t.

In his review of the first four episodes of the new season, writer Neil Genzlinger makes sweeping generalizations about Game of Thrones viewers and goes on to straight insult us.

What “Game of Thrones” needs if it is to expand its fan base beyond Dungeons & Dragons types is what most of the United States didn’t get this year: a hard winter. Life in this particular fantasy land consists of seasons of indeterminate length, and since the series began there have been references to an impending winter of fearsome power.

Sigh. As if the Dungeones & Dragons players guide is actually a rule book on how to enjoy all other forms of fantasy. Not to mention the fact that if it were only D&D players watching the show, it wouldn’t have gotten a second season. Genzlinger is under the bizarre assumption that the Emmy Award-winning HBO series needs more viewers to stay on television. I laugh in your general direction, sir.

That wasn’t the first time the NY Times mentioned D&D either. Bellafante also lumped the two together.

If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.

Genzlinger goes on to dissuade viewers to watch if they haven’t seen the first season, or if they aren’t capable of remembering a large cast of characters.

The character board for the series on HBO’s Web site has 49 head shots on it. Thinking of jumping into the new season without having seen the first? Don’t even try; your brain doesn’t have that many neurons.

Sure, jumping in at Season 2 for a show like Game of Thrones may not be the best idea but it’s not difficult to view Season 1 if you were interested enough to watch. If you’re an HBO subscriber you can view it on their HBO Go program. And it’s out on DVD and blu-ray, too.

It’s an odd stance to take. You’re reviewing the first few episodes of a second season, wouldn’t you…I don’t know…tell your readers whether viewers of the first season will like or not like?  That’s usually how reviews work. If I’m reading one for a show I already love, I want to know if the same pace, action, and storytelling are kept up or if the quality has gone down.

Genzlinger does throw us a small bone however.

Some people love this kind of stuff, of course, and presumably those addicted to the George R. R. Martin books on which the series is based will immerse themselves in Season 2, just as they did in Season 1. Will anyone else? You have to have a fair amount of free time on your hands to stick with “Game of Thrones,” and a fairly low reward threshold. If decapitations and regular helpings of bare breasts and buttocks are all you require of your television, step right up.

What Genzlinger never explains is why regular viewers will be immersed in Season 2 however, the review is resoundingly negative. However, I have to say the last straw for me was when the author goes on to tell us we may possibly be sick for our enjoyment of the series.

You wince every time Joffrey, a sadist, comes on the screen, and not in an “Ooh, I wonder what nasty thing he’ll do next” sort of way. If you find yourself looking forward to Joffrey’s scenes, there’s something wrong with you.

No, actually, that is the way we all see it. We love to hate Joffrey. Just like viewers have loved to hate characters like Giaus Baltar, Ben Linus, or Lori Grimes (ok, maybe we just straight up hate her). Genzlinger hits at least one nail on the head in his review. He called Joffrey, “the bile duct of the show.”

You don’t have to assign someone who is a huge Game of Thrones fan to review the fantasy television show but it would help if they were inclined to watch the show in the first place having already been a fan of other fantasy works. For instance, though I enjoyed them as a child, I’m not going to write a review for a Transformers film because I’m predisposed not to like it. Conversely, I would be open to writing a review on something like Warehouse 13, a show I’ve never watched, because I think it looks interesting and I enjoy sci-fi. And my editor would know me well enough to know the difference. The NY Times, it seems, does not.

We’ll have our own review/recap up of the first episode tomorrow and you know what? We’ll make judgements about the actual show, not the viewers.

(via Geek With Curves)

Previously in Game Of Thrones

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  • Jen Roberts

    Yeah, that sounds familiar. I <3 the NYTimes generally, but they need to stop giving Mahnola Dargis fantasy/sci-fi movies to review. A.O. Scott seems to have a better understanding of (and appreciation for) the genre titles; Ms. Dargis wants every. single. movie. to be the indie-arthouse-what-is-the-meaning-of-human-existence type of movie and when it's not, she generally eviscerates it.

    Between Mahnola Dargis and the reviewers you cited above, I think I'll have to stick with getting news from the Times and not bothering reading any of their reviews. 

  • https://twitter.com/#!/EwaSR/ Ewa

    Oh for the love of god, I can’t believe any of these people even watched the show. That’s just not how people have seen it react, even those who didn’t like it. I just. This just. I. It. What. WHAT. Awesome work, a far more measured response than my immediate one (which is all RAGE).

  • http://nakedhobo.com/blog Glenn Buettner

    The NYT lost me as a reader over a decade ago as I could no longer stomach the elitist pretentiousness attitude.  Most of the writers seem to live in their own little bubble world where they cannot fathom anyone actually liking something they deem unworthy.  I give this review less notice than the paper I flush every morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525535616 Bridget Marie Blodgett

    I had to look up who Lorrie Moore was, apparently she’s a real darling of the NYT but most of the blurbs on Amazon read like the opening to romance novels… so yes I probably would refuse to read her book unless my bookclub also read the hobbit, what’s wrong with a diversity of fiction novels in a book club?

    The thing I don’t get is that GoT appeals to a really wide audience of watchers. I was floored when I came home and my sister and dad were discussing plot details. Both of them were the type of people who may have beat up bookworms and nerds in high school (although I know my sister actually didn’t). Usually if it’s something I’m interested in they’re almost immediately turned off. GoT has a great appeal to many people if you’re willing to give it a chance. Blech.

  • http://robot23.blogspot.com/ Jinxy Blastwave

    The Times never ceases to amaze when it comes to reviews.  Season one was a legitimate crossover success, and the newest installment in the series is still on the bestsellers list put out by his own paper.  And what does he say? “Some people love this kind of stuff, of course, and presumably those addicted to the books on which the series is based will immerse themselves in Season 2,
    just as they did in Season 1. Will anyone else? You have to have a fair
    amount of free time on your hands to stick with “Game of Thrones,” and a
    fairly low reward threshold.”  What struck me the most was how shallow the review was.  There’s plenty to debate when it comes to GoT (we did in the comments of this very site last week, in fact), but he didn’t include any of that.  He complained about how many characters there were.  He made no mention of the fact that the show was filmed in three different countries and is one of the most beautiful television series ever pushed through a cathode tube.  Plus, after decrying the overload of boobs and violence, his recipe for “fixing” the show is to have the monsters from beyond the wall organize an attack, because that will get the story going.  That’s a very deep storyline; I’m not sure our poor brains could handle it.

  • http://twitter.com/chibi_missy Princess Pegleg

    I would just like to point out that I have never read the books, do not plan to (please, don’t tell me why I should, I already made up my mind), but I ABSOLUTELY love the show. And yes, it’s mostly because I love fantasy shows, but the decapitations and bare tits do bring me in, just as much as they bring me into Spartacus.

  • http://twitter.com/FroWillis Sarah

    I can understand never reading Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. They’re long and extensive. But to have not read The Hobbit? PISH POSH. How could anyone interested in reading not give Tolkien a try? If I was in a book group and a large number of members had not read The Hobbit, yeah I’d demand that be the next book.

    New York Times, why must you perpetuate the myth that fantasy is only for males? 

  • Anonymous

    He’s seriously trying to pull the Appeal to Popularity vote, even though the popular public has quite clearly voted in favour of GoT?  Meaning that GoT doesn’t, in fact, “need” to change what it’s doing at all?  What planet is this doofus from?

    “If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic,
    the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you
    will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which
    we already have a dictionary.”

    Yes, we don’t want something new and challenging, we want the same old tripe we’ve been handed for years!

  • http://twitter.com/mitaukano Kash Mitaukano

    I think they should have picked some authors more inclined to the genre, BUT I have to agree. I tried to read Game of Thrones and I found it very anti-female. I don’t understand all the women who love this show and series. I’ve been a long time fan of fantasy and science fiction and yeah this series was just crap to me. So I can agree with her that the book (at least the first one) has terrible portrayals of women. Like I said in my review of the book a month or two ago, if you want a strong female character go read Tamora Pierces Rebakah Cooper series.

  • Anonymous

    God, I am getting tired of the complaint that this show is male-centric and woman are belittled and oppressed in this show! It’s a fantasy that is about as realistic as it gets, so yeah, some woman are strong, some are not. Some men are strong, some are not. Mad Men has literally the same exact dynamic, we view woman being belittled by men, but it also shows women that are strong and proclaim themselves as equal to men, yet I don’t see the anti-feminist woe’s being rained down upon that show…

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.schmitt#!/ David R. Schmitt

    I work at a Chapters book store here in Toronto (think Borders but still running). The amount  of men and women, boys and girls no matter what age or profession that have expressed interest in the books after watching the show is staggering. The NYT reviewers seem pretty out of touch with today’s fantasy-loving audience.
    Everyday I go to work, every single day on the subway I see one of three series being read by different people. The Millennium Trilogy (Dragon Tattoo), A song of Ice and Fire or The Hunger Games books. Two out of three series of these are sci-fi or fantasy. Fantasy and sci-fi are mainstream now, deal with it.

  • http://twitter.com/crlanei C. R. Lanei

    “Thinking of jumping into the new season without having seen the first? Don’t even try; your brain doesn’t have that many neurons.”

    Actually, yes luckily most people’s brains have more neurons than there are characters on the show. But that statement certainly does give some insight into just who the reviewers think would bother listening to reviews that talk down to them. Stories that challenge us do a lot more for those limited neurons than stories that do not.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mkjonese Emma Jones

    Exactly! You can’t make every female character strong and have a story that isn’t predictable. Especially in a show that is set in a time where women don’t really hold any absolute power, seeing the stark difference between the characters that bend to society and those that rise against it is what makes for well-developed female characters… and the same goes for male characters!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1423787285 Raisa Mabayo

    Interesting how differently people see the portrayal of women in the books and in the show. One of the reasons why I could never stand watching The Walking Dead (fans, let’s not go there) was because of how the women of that show can’t seem to stop whining, and blame the males in their surroundings when things go wrong. I love how GRRM gives me the satisfaction of creating female characters that have little differences with male characters. They might have been exploited, underestimated, sold, abused in the beginning but they have guts. They find a way to protect their families, destroy their enemies, protect or reclaim their kingdoms…they don’t whine, they don’t depend on their men and their men learn to fear them. They are ambitious, tough, powerful, just like the men in the series! I don’t believe GOT portrays women any more terribly than he does men. 

  • http://ladymercury-10.livejournal.com/ Maiasaura

    That first quote makes my brain hurt.  I’m not a Game of Thrones fan (never tried it, actually), but The Lord of the Rings trilogy was basically my favorite thing in the world when I was in middle school.  I was insufferable about it.  Why is it so weird to say I’m a woman who likes both genre and literary fiction?

  • http://twitter.com/mitaukano Kash Mitaukano

    I honestly didn’t care much for the portrayal of the male characters as well, female portrayal however is always a person squick with me. I found all the characters to be rather flat, but the females were flat, sexualized, abused, crazy, or just unpleasant. I have to say I dislike it more so in this series because it is justified with the words “believable medieval setting” in a fantasy world. 

    I’m sorry if I was a teenage girl repeatedly abused sexually by my brother, then married off to some man who frightened me I don’t think ten minutes of gentle words and breast fondling would make me desire sex with him. I’m fine with eventually coming to love someone that’s totally believable, but that scene right there put me off the series. I don’t see Ned Stark however finding himself strangely aroused by Cersi Lannister’s smooth talking. 

  • Alexandra

    There are plenty of strong women in the show! Flawed, realistic and as the story progresses, they either grow stronger or weaker. That is my favorite aspect of this series, the characters grow, for either good or bad! Look at Cercei. Apart from the fact that she is mainly an antagonist, she has balls. Her whole motivation as a character is trying to acheive power and respect that has been denied to her as a woman. Her flaws prevent her from keeping the power she does achieve, but look how far she gets with all her scheeming, plotting and planning. She is one of my favorite female characters. I love her for her flaws and for her strength. And if you read the books, I don’t even have to tell you what an awesome female character Dany turns into. She reallly does grow into a leader and learns from her mistakes as she makes her own way. It amazed me the way she makes her own destiny in a very male-centric and male-dominated world. I cannot for the life of me understand what the hell these reviewers are talking about, because they do not seem to have seen or read the same series I did.
    When I finished reading Dance (5th book) I remember telling my mother, who is an avid fiction reader and who prefers latin-american (she reads only in Spanish) literature, that I was very excited to have finally found a fantasy series with believable, strong women characters who were not idealized or pushed to the background as male lead support. She is now the biggest fan of the GoT show I know. She is waiting for the Spanish translation of the last Martin book so she can finish reading them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzanne-Cabral/300600869 Suzanne Cabral

    I completely disagree with Kash.  I can’t think of a major female character that ISN’T incredibly strong in one way or another.  And not just strong for the sake of a feminist PR message, but as realistic, flawed, human characters.  Yes, there is a lot of violence and disturbing content, and GRRM’s fantasy world is clearly turned against women, but I would argue that the actual female characters themselves are very favorably portrayed.  They make the most out of some truly terrible situations, and don’t let it destroy them.  And they aren’t just flat caricatures of strong women, which I deeply appreciate.  

  • Anonymous

    The WORLD Game of Thrones is set in is misogynistic. The STORY is not. These women have the cards stacked against them and they still find a way to kick butt. Even vapid, naive Sansa eventually grows a spine. Some of the women are terrible, terrible people. Some of them are crazy. The same could be said of the men. It’s a story that examines the human condition and I love it for that.

    P.S. wait until you get a load of Melisandre and Asha Greyjoy (renamed Yara for the show). These women are POWERFUL even if by the traditional masculine definition.

  • http://www.fangirlconfessions.com Robin Burks

    Obviously, the New York Times thinks that reading books are probably a waste of time, too. Because it’s fairly obvious that these reviewers probably haven’t picked up a book in some time.

  • Anonymous

    The strangest thing about the NYT’s original review of the series was the suggestion that ‘illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out
    of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch
    otherwise.’ If anything, the reverse is surely the case: GoT’s many sex scenes were put in to attract shallow male viewers, not women. They’re one of the main points of criticism of the series among female fans, and I have to agree that the sex does get a bit gratuitous and unnecessary at times. Haven’t seen the second series yet but hopefully now the series has become a huge success, the writers have realised they don’t need to rely on cheap boner material to get an audience.

  • http://twitter.com/mitaukano Kash Mitaukano

    If the characterization overall wasn’t flat I’d like the series. Don’t get me wrong the premise was good but everyone was just…boring. I didn’t care about a single one of these characters and continuing the series would just be pointless to me.
    There are tons of better writers to suggest and compare to but seriously this series is just not for me personally. 

  • http://twitter.com/mitaukano Kash Mitaukano

    If the characterization overall wasn’t flat I’d like the series. Don’t get me wrong the premise was good but everyone was just…boring. I didn’t care about a single one of these characters and continuing the series would just be pointless to me.
    There are tons of better writers to suggest and compare to but seriously this series is just not for me personally. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJ65LLJI6OOKT7NR4SLMWO2XZA Dazee

    My sister, brother, and fiance have never read the books and they LOVE HBO’s Game of Thrones. Granted, they are more into the fantasy genre, but that still goes against what was said in the reviews.

    I actually work for the cable provider and let me tell you, so many peope RAVE about how much they like the show (I didn’t really care for the episode I saw, but with what I’ve been reading/hearing abou it, I may give it another shot) and I can guaratee you, most of them wouldn’t know a thing about D&D.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJ65LLJI6OOKT7NR4SLMWO2XZA Dazee

    My sister, brother, and fiance have never read the books and they LOVE HBO’s Game of Thrones. Granted, they are more into the fantasy genre, but that still goes against what was said in the reviews.

    I actually work for the cable provider and let me tell you, so many peope RAVE about how much they like the show (I didn’t really care for the episode I saw, but with what I’ve been reading/hearing abou it, I may give it another shot) and I can guaratee you, most of them wouldn’t know a thing about D&D.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7GVNIKWG3S2UTHEQOMSZXT4M4 Anna B

    I completely agree. The one thing I didn’t like with Game of Thrones was the gratuitous sex scenes. There were too many sex scenes that made me roll my eyes. I don’t mind one gratuitous one and the other scenes that were necessary (the Lannisters in the tower or Danny taking control of her sex life, heck, maybe even Danny’s brother getting all gross and Targaryen about her) but there were a bunch that just didn’t need to be there.

    I thought they were going to go this first episode of the second season without a single sex scene, but of course it was not to be. Towards the end of the episode, we are brought to the “Pleasure House” where of course prostitutes are “necessarily” practicing having sex.  Totally not needed for the scene, where–after we’ve seen an ample amount of boobs and soft-core porn, soldiers storm the place because they were ordered to find Robert’s bastards and kill them, which was the point of the whole scene being in the pleasure house in the first place–prostitutes naturally equal the king’s bastard/s. Even with that setting, I think they could’ve done the scene without the lady being bouncy and loud on top of the dude, but whatever. I wasn’t offended at all, just–more eye-rolling. Or maybe on second thought, I’m getting rather desensitized, as I had to wrack my brain to remember if there was a sex scene in the first episode at all.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7GVNIKWG3S2UTHEQOMSZXT4M4 Anna B

    I completely agree. The one thing I didn’t like with Game of Thrones was the gratuitous sex scenes. There were too many sex scenes that made me roll my eyes. I don’t mind one gratuitous one and the other scenes that were necessary (the Lannisters in the tower or Danny taking control of her sex life, heck, maybe even Danny’s brother getting all gross and Targaryen about her) but there were a bunch that just didn’t need to be there.

    I thought they were going to go this first episode of the second season without a single sex scene, but of course it was not to be. Towards the end of the episode, we are brought to the “Pleasure House” where of course prostitutes are “necessarily” practicing having sex.  Totally not needed for the scene, where–after we’ve seen an ample amount of boobs and soft-core porn, soldiers storm the place because they were ordered to find Robert’s bastards and kill them, which was the point of the whole scene being in the pleasure house in the first place–prostitutes naturally equal the king’s bastard/s. Even with that setting, I think they could’ve done the scene without the lady being bouncy and loud on top of the dude, but whatever. I wasn’t offended at all, just–more eye-rolling. Or maybe on second thought, I’m getting rather desensitized, as I had to wrack my brain to remember if there was a sex scene in the first episode at all.

  • http://vita-ganieda.livejournal.com/ Ganieda

    Oh, NYT. By all means, engage critically with a show that is ambitious and interesting and also problematic in plenty of ways. But try, oh try, I beseech you, to do so without resorting the head-thuddingly lazy sterotypes about D&D geeks and ew, girls don’t like stuff with swordfights. You are shooting your credibility in the face.

    And it spite of the problems they could have taken issue with, it’s totally just genre snobiness. It’s been a while, but I remember “Rome,” which I enjoyed very much but which was far from flawless, pretty much getting a pass from critics, and it had roughly commensurate levels of gratuitous nudity, violence, and questionable storytelling choices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andreia-Augusto/100003102682236 Andreia Augusto

    Forget about the show!! Did the author of the review say that women always prefer romantic authors instead of fantastic ones???! Or did I get it wrong??!?! What an a**hole!!!

  • http://vita-ganieda.livejournal.com/ Ganieda

    Thirded. I am totally not a prude about pretty people on tv, but when it gets to the point where someone is getting head and some sound editor somewhere has decided to dial up the slurping noises, a threshold has been crossed.

  • Seth Baker

    I can understand being put off by how the Daenerys/Drogo wedding night scene was written. It came off as almost Terry Goodkind-bad in terms of unrealistic sexualization of minors.

    One failing doesn’t destroy the series. The rest of it handles gender roles quite well in my opinion, given that it’s written in a gender-inequal society.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QDN5VFKONKZ6PUJY3XJAMARR5Q Sin

    I’ve read that, in the book, their wedding night was written very differently than how it was depicted in the show. 

  • http://twitter.com/shanghaijim Jmar

    Of all the NYTimes’ entertainment reviewers, only A.O. Scott and Christopher Isherwood, on the average, don’t act as if everything they see was an insult to their so-called intelligence. The TV critics, Alessandra Stanley, Ginia Bellafante, and Genzlinger, are particularly noteworthy in their steadfast refusal to talk about any show they’re reviewing.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QDN5VFKONKZ6PUJY3XJAMARR5Q Sin

    “…if I was…” You can’t view this through your filter of modern sensibility. GoT is not set in 2012. In an ideal world, eventually falling in love with someone would be great but has not always been true…especially in real life & in influential families like Danny’s. If you think about it, what happen with Danny is more believable than her just falling in love. Romanticizing these circumstances isn’t always the right way to go. Cersi & Jaime Lannister…reminds you of the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs keeping the royal blood line pure.

    I’m not saying this is by any means historically accurate (Dyad wolfs existing with humans at that level of a developed society???) but circumstances that some of these characters find themselves in were once social norms and, in some areas of the world, still is. Selling girls for favors or into marriages to strange men….I’ve seen those headlines before.

    Let’s also not forget that history itself is not that kind to women either. And as for your sense of how the women are portrayed in GoT, “…flat, sexualized, abused, crazy, or just unpleasant..”, all relative to the individual. One reader’s powerful woman is another reader’s bitch. One reader’s sexualized woman is another reader’s woman who uses what she’s got. It’s all relative.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christina-Newhall/13307033 Christina Newhall

    I’m really disappointed in this reviewer for his completely under-thought review.
    But I’m most disappointed in the New York Times for continually publishing such blatant linkbait. Between this, and the equally unsupported “Adults Should Read Adult Books” OpEd last week, I can only assume that the Times is, as Jill said, trying to poke the hornets nest in hope of attracting traffic from outraged geeks.
    Of course, it’s working. It’s a tried-and-true strategy for blog format news sites (see Gizmodo’s publication of the “look out, you might end up meeting a NERD on OkCupid!” piece last year). But for a paper that claims to be the most venerable source of print news in the world…they can do better.

  • Bronwyn Mroz

     Not to mention that Dany and Viserys were supposed to be married themselves.  I haven’t seen the show (don’t have HBO), but right at the beginning of the book you find out that the Targaryens have been marrying brother to sister for millenia to keep the bloodline pure.  Dany marrying Drogo was a last ditch resort for Viserys in order to get an army on his side so he could get his throne back.

  • http://twitter.com/aussiejed Jeremy Sadler

    The first season review caused such a stir they’re just doing it again.

    Not even going to visit the NYT site and give them a hit.

    Trolling for pageviews. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • Bronwyn Mroz

     Wow, that OpEd is appalling.  When will people realize that YA is often just YA because the protagonist is young.  And also, commenting that if his parents had read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing when he did would have made him look into boarding school is ridiculous; god forbid parents get involved in what their kids are reading…

  • Anonymous

    That one sentence about Lorrie Moore enrages me every time I read it. Who is she!? What is with the insinuation that one is not a proper literature-loving woman unless one reads her books? And how can the NYT possibly think that she is somehow more respectable to read than Tolkein?

  • Anonymous

    This, plus what David Denby said a week ago in the New Yorker’s John Carter review, assures me I can always count on critics in respected publications to be infuriatingly sexist in reviews of anything fantasy or scfi.  

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure why everyone seems to be jumping on Mitaukano here for disliking the series. I’m more of less of the same opinion about the series when it comes to the characterizations, at least in the first book. I tried plodding through it, but I didn’t have much luck. It got to the point where I was just skimming the stuff with Jon Snow and straight out skipping the stuff with Daenarys, and I realized I wasn’t enjoying the book at all. Like Mitaukano said, the characterizations were too flat

    However, I found the world and history of ASoIaF fascinating. It’s took bad that GRRM isn’t into gratuitous footnotes à la Susanna Clarke. In the end I chucked the book aside and just spent hours browsing the ASoIaF wikia instead. If anything piqued my interest there (and many things did) I’d go and read the corresponding chapters in the books. I’m much happier for it.

    Frankly, I find GRRM’s adventures with Dunk and Egg far more interesting and I wish he’d write more about them. THOSE I actually read all the way through.

  • Jen Roberts

    Confession: I have tried to read The Hobbit twice and both times it simply failed to interest me at all. The first time it put me to sleep.
    Because of this, I haven’t even tried the main LotR trilogy of books.

    I like lots of other fantasy titles though, and I want to start the GoT series at some point :D

  • http://twitter.com/FroWillis Sarah

    I’ve tried to read LotR several times now but I’ve always forced to stop due to school interrupting. It’s even more dense than The Hobbit. The important thing is that you tried :D

    My list of books and series to read is way too long. 

  • Anonymous

    Dear New York Times reviewers (of the Game Of Thrones TV series on HBO),

      I am an early-30s woman, professional bartender, sometimes gardener, and voracious book-and-movie lover.  My usual preferred material for entertainment media could be described as dramatic, biographical, historical, humanist, realistic, humourous.  My only forays into the “fantasy” genre have been a failed attempt at Tolkien, and a wonderfully entertaining one at J.K. Rowling.  I do not play video games, role-playing games, or imagine myself a “geek” in any sense.
      So, what has prompted me to write this past midnight on a work night? 
      I finished HBO’s season one of Game Of Thrones last night.  Then, I read your reviews.
      I am completely insulted.
      Yes, it is an extraordinarily complex and historically dense account of a civil war in Medieval Times with a fantasy theme.  It is also NOT primarily focused on the fantasy elements (for the Dungeons & Dragons set, specifically) as you said; they simply augment and help to propel a character-driven story (YOU, apparently, did not focus at all on the almost Shakespearean intricacy of character relationships and political maneuvers).  What draws me into the story the most is the fact that I NEED to focus “all my brain neurons” to understand and make the necessary connections that make it so absorbing.  To imply that most of the public will not and could not possibly be interested in such a story simply because of its complexity is assinine. 
      This is the show that will make “fantasy geeks” out of anyone intelligent and diligent enough to appreciate a fantastically well-planned, historically contemplative, and just plain FUN epic of characters, relationships, and society as a whole. 
      Totally worth the “neurons”.

  • http://twitter.com/clockworkfaerie Avalon

    “Don’t even try; your brain doesn’t have that many neurons.”

    Ahh, you’ve got to love that stench of taking pride in anti-intellectualism. “Pff, like I’d give this shit the time of day! I’m too damn stupid to even keep track of any of it!”

  • Anonymous

    Tolkein has the unique ability to tell an amazing story in the most plodding and roundabout way possible.  

    Though I have nothing but respect and admiration for his stories, I found it a struggle to get through his books (does that even make sense?)

  • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

    I didn’t know that the NYT review was still in high school. His piece was two edits away from “Fantasy is for gays. I’m borrowing my dad’s truck for the bonfire this weekend. San Dimas Football rules!” 

    Frankly, I wish more television had decapitations and bare breasts. I’d totally watch Celebrity Apprentice if it made those changes.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna


    The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise”

    And this is bad because…..?

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Fuck yeah! =D

  • http://twitter.com/maria_hoskins Maria P Hoskins

    Ya know what, The Guardian in the UK did exactly the same thing… And the reviewer got accordingly sh*t on.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2012/apr/02/review-game-of-thrones-damien-hirst

  • http://twitter.com/TheTiniestRant Michelle Six

    I think the criticism that GOT treats women poorly is valid. I loved the first season, although I did almost bail after the Targaryen porn-style HD close-up incestuous teen-boob fondle. Two episodes in, Season 2 is becoming even worse.

    I know, this is “realistic” of a fantasy world, and that all characters in the series are threatened. But, I feel like the womens’ oppression is lovingly rendered. It isn’t just implied – it is shown in uncomfortable detail. Yes, men’s heads are gorily severed, but compare the amount of time the camera lingers on these acts of violence, compared to the number of minutes spent on women having paid-for-sex with super-gross old dudes or having awkward, non-female-pleasure-centered sex (if not being flat-out raped).

    Sometimes, these scenes do nothing to further the plot. Why does the camera, in two separate episodes, linger on an old man grabbing the ass of his teen daughter/wife? Why, in S2E2, can’t Theon just have normal sex with that chick on the ship? Why is it so rude and forceful? *Spoiler Alert* Why, would Asha seem to enjoy Theon finger-banging her on a horse, if she KNOWS he’s her brother?

    Maybe I’m an idealist, but I’d like to see a show in which women are just powerful from the beginning, and don’t have to suffer through explicitly-shown abuse or objectification.

  • http://taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com/ Taste_is_Sweet

     I’m also enjoying the fact that I’ve been on that subway and have gone to the store where you work. :D

  • Alexandra

     OMG how did you get to see S2E2 already?!?!!?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7GVNIKWG3S2UTHEQOMSZXT4M4 Anna B

    It helps me sleep at night–to fantasize that such letters as these have been written and sent to the NYT.

  • Iftikhar Zaidi

     In Europe HBO is making each episode available for viewing online a week in advance. Which of course means the episodes have made it to torrent and other such downloadable sites. so, yes, S2E2 is available. (Just watched it!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andreia-Augusto/100003102682236 Andreia Augusto

     So, why do you keep watching it?

  • Anonymous

    I like how he first INSULTS the show and then basically implies you need to be really smart to remember all of the characters.

    Make up your mind! Is the show stupid or is it really, really smart?

  • http://twitter.com/TiredFairy Mariah Huehner

    Whether you like the series or not is entirely a personal, subjective matter. And no one should be telling you you need to like it if you don’t.

    However. The characterization is not flat. You may not like the characters or find them interesting for any number of reasons, but a flat character is one with only superficial development, no discernible arc or shifts, reliance on cliches or stereotypes, and no voice or individual pov. That is, objectively, not true of any character in GoT. They are all developed, nuanced, complex, with personal agenda’s and narrative purpose. A lot of them are deeply unlikable and the world is harsh and brutal. Your personal mileage on whether it’s your kind of story will, of course, vary. But that’s different than the story itself being “flat” or badly written in some way.

    This is an important distinction because there are lots of stories we don’t respond to as individuals and that’s fair. But there’s a world of difference between something we don’t personally like and something being actually bad.

  • http://twitter.com/TheTiniestRant Michelle Six

    I kept watching it because I liked the first season enough to ignore these problems. Sometimes, I just get bummed that part of the female experience is having to ignore things to experience media. I just wish I could have a week without seeing a rape, ya know?

  • Marie August

    I actually agree with the NY Times reviewer that the cast is very large, and may be difficult for some viewers to keep track of. And it’s only going to get worse. That is something that prospective viewers could legitimately be warned about.

    But the rest of the review is not well done. You shouldn’t review something that is part of a genre you don’t like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/corrina.lawson Corrina Lawson

    These are, for the most part, additions to the show that I don’t enjoy in the least. some of these characters are in the books but, frex, Drogo and Daenrys’ relationship is far more nuanced. And HBO had just flat out added sex where it wanted. 
    It’s a flaw in the show, not so much in the books. (though others disagree on that last.) In any case, I wish they’d cut it out. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071437089 Amy Evenson

    For me, it’s The Hobbit I can’t handle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tolkien and I have actually read the Hobbit…once. I’ve read the LOTR trilogy many many times, but I just can’t get back to re-reading The Hobbit. I might have a go at it again before the movie comes out…we shall see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.cowgill Jennifer Heflebower Cowgill

    I’ve never played D&D, love GoT and GRRM and everything he writes. When he does finally release a book, ha! am I right GRRM fans? Really though, I do love him, you can’t rush these epic story lines.

    I don’t seem to have a lot of free time, but when I do, GoT on HBO makes life a little better.

    More and more cable shows are giving pay off to fans of series.  If you are a fan then you can jump in on season 2.  A show like Supernatural is another successful series that does this as well. GRRM is a NY Times bestseller, I don’t think he has a lack of interested fans. 

    My husband and I specifically order HBO for GoT and then cancel it when the season is done unless there is another series we are into to keep our interest in a subscription. (in this case I am looking forward to checking out Girls pretty much the anti Sex in the City) 

    PS. I love to hate Shane (re: characters we love to hate) but I guess my surrogate will have to be Lori now.

  • http://twitter.com/PFSPublishing Drew Patrick Smith

    I enjoy the New York Times quite a bit, but they pretty much always fail with anything culturally popular or fantasy-science fiction. When you have something that’s both, then you pretty much already know that the Times is going to hate it.

    GoT isn’t perfect, but from a purely technical standpoint (which any good TV reviewer should point out) it IS simply one of the most beautifully shot and produced shows ever. From the opening credits to the CGI-enhanced scenery to the costumes, the thing is gorgeous. For a professional reviewer not to mention this pretty much tells you what you need to know.

    As far as the characters go, my mother, who can’t even get through Harry Potter, enjoyed Season 1 when she watched it. That’s a better review in my book than anything else.

    More thoughts on the blog: http://www.pfspublishing.com/workshop

  • http://twitter.com/DeflectorDish DeflectorDish

    A lot of non fantasy folks have a skeptical view of GoT, dragon babies? Yes, dragon babies, and sort of zombies, and magic. But, what’s really great about the books and show is that there is so much intrigue and romance and action that people who aren’t really fantasy buffs can and do enjoy the show. This is am important point to observe by reviewers. The show was not made only for fans of the books, if so, my own hypothetical NY Times review would contain casting criticisms, Craster, really? That well groomed? Needless to say, the NY Times have chosen reviewers who are not open minded and obviously critical of “nerds” and that’s just not necessary. 

  • http://twitter.com/brianbaldinger Brian Baldinger

    Craster’s grooming was by FAR my biggest problem with the premiere

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001470948875 Caitie Foster

    I read The Hobbit in high school, and wasn’t a fan.  Then, a few years later, I read LotR and loved it.  In my opinion, at least, The Hobbit is a little more kiddie than the more adult LotR series — in terms of storyline, language, and length.  Put it this way — the elves in Hobbit were more of the short and jolly types, while the elves in LotR were Orlando Bloom.

  • Willow D’Arcy

    You know what actually irks me? That being a nerd who likes this sort of thing is a bad thing, and everyone who isn’t a nerd is insulted by it being implied. That we are some kind of less than 1% minority. That intellectualism and interest in fantasy somehow makes you some kind of threat to the norm.  I DO play D&D.  I’m proud of my nerdiness.   The critics attitude is all fashion and a desire to fit into some perceived norm and it has nothing to do with the show.  And that way of being comes out of insecurity, period.  You don’t insult people in this way if you are secure with yourself.  I think if they could just get past the stereotypes and the popularity, they might actually see what people are so enamored with. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the reviewers who talked like this were actually closet GoT fans :P 

    As for the female oppression part, I cringe at it, the same way I cringe when I read historical accounts of women in the dark and middle ages, which GRRM studied in incredible depth.  (I’m a nerd enough to have read up on the author and know this about him?  Hell yeah!)  The way the women navigate the horrible misogyny of their world is difficult but incredibly compelling to me.

    It’s not without it’s flaws.  Sometimes I do see some sexism that seems more inherent to the storyteller than the world.  But seeing the women rise in some way above all of the oppression, pain and insanity, THAT is part of what makes this story soooo good. 

    Oh and yes, you have to watch the whole thing in order or it won’t make sense.  It’s just the nature of it, like one very very long movie.  It’s epic, that’s really what epic implies, it has a huge, dramatic, very long complicated story arc. 

    I have some further complaints about the story itself, as I’ve read the book but it would spoil things and that’s just mean ;)

  • Anonymous

    You know nothing, Gina Bellafante.

    The whole First Season of GoT aired on freeTV last Weekend in Germany. In one experimental “Marathon Session” peaking at 1,87mio Viewers . And another Million Views on an Illegal Streaming site.  It’s a hit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647440976 Karen J Tuthill

    What’s particularly entertaining, for me, is that many people I work with, who NEVER have read a fantasy novel, are IN LOVE with this show.  Cross-genre appeal?  Yes, I think so.

  • http://vita-ganieda.livejournal.com/ Ganieda

    ….I think he may be implying that his readers/us-dorks-who-like-this-kind-of-thing aren’t smart enough to keep up.

    Way to go, champ.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NG643V65ZDLUIAUVI3KFLCJ6WU Jerilyn
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=28601836 Gabrielle Amato

    Facts! My mother HATES fantasy and she is loving GoT. 
    It’s a great show, the NYT writers were just excited for an opportunity to talk shit about a genre that the “elites” refuse to acknowledge as legitimately artistic. They’re just pretentious friggin snobs who like ripping on nerds because they had terrible high school experiences and writing for the NYT makes them feel popular. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=28601836 Gabrielle Amato

    I had to read The Hobbit in middle school and totally didn’t get it. Then I read LotR after college and adored it. Honestly, I think all the classical literature I had to read for school in between those two experiences made the difference. You kind of have to get acclimated to that really dense writing style. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andreia-Augusto/100003102682236 Andreia Augusto

    Got it lol Well, if you like reading try the book, I’m reading the first one and until now no rapes :P ‘m sure they’ll be there, but you know how tv is, they exaggerate things a bit to make for a ‘good show’…
    I will watch season 1 when I finish the book, my mother loves the series, I hope I like them too, but if it is too different from the book I will probably drop it :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/annathalia Annathalia Nalapraya

    Hahah I love it when this happens, because they are so wrong and our numbers will eat them alive.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonB617 Jason Biggs

    lucky for the author there is no comments section

  • Anonymous

    I must admit, after the scene with Joffrey and the two prostitutes, I was ready to give up on the series. This season hasn’t been as fun as the first. I gave it another chance, though, and with Joffrey absent in the next episode, it was much more pleasant.

  • Anonymous

    I am all woman and bring me more sex, thanks!

  • Bobby Johnstone

    Sooooo… just finished season 1 episode 9 and I came on here to say “EAT A FAT ONE GAME OF THRONES!!  WHAT THE HELL???”  Seriously, THAT is how the writers “get us on board”??  I seriously am writing down your terrible crappy names and NEVER watching a show that you write on!! What the hell!  Oh my God I am SO freaking pissed right now!  What kind of fucking show is this where you kill of the most interesting character you have?? And what is the deal with the Northern wall?  You writers are idiots.  Freaking liberal “let’s do something they won’t expect, hey I know, let’s kills off the only person in the show that makes the show worth while.”  I hope none of you are awarded a writing job again, what a bunch of complete asses.  I know that you fans on here have stuck with the show and probably go for that “artsy tree hugging fuck another man” type show, but fuck these guys.  Game of Thrones, eat a fucking dick you mother fuckers!  Ahhh…  fuck you guys!  I just wasted fucking 9 hours watching this fucking show straight through!! FUCK YOU!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z4CJFSWSF6NJQ2QO56FEBHKHJM K


    Genzlinger goes on to dissuade viewers to watch if they haven’t seen the first season, or if they aren’t capable of remembering a large cast of characters.”

    …so?  This is actually great advice.

  • http://reshapingreality.wordpress.com/ Aidan Bird

    I’ve never been overtly fond of Game of Thrones due to various reasons, but… to have a review and never really discuss its characters, plot arcs, and other important themes? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a review?  It’s not really reviewing anything, other than serving as a pedestal for her to shout about its evils with nary any civility. That review is one of the worst reviews I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you New York Times for showing us how not to write a review.

  • Anonymous

    I know either this topic or this site is not meant for me, to tell you the truth I can’t tell you why I came on your site without using the back button. But I kept reading, like the style, the story, the content, pretty all around cool stuff. Look guys, I wouldn’t give this Neil character another thought. His statement on the NYT site says ‘I’m far less interested in being the zillionth critic to proclaim the glories of “Mad Men” than I am in being the one who gets a few more people to give the A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty” a try’. He’s pre-disposed to dislike ANY acclaimed show. I’ve watched Duck Dynasty with my brother-in-law, in the garage, drinking beers, as he would say ‘now watch this’ every 5 damn seconds as the ‘uncle’ in the show used an automatic rifle to kill beavers… Yeah. Multi-layered character driven plot with some bewbs bush and bangs vs hill billies that ‘fish’ with dynamite? This Neil guy has no taste, that’s the simple truth to it.

    But reading the comments about the sheer amount of sex/nudity in the show… The books were not short on it. I just finished re-reading the series for the 4th time (had to take a break and re-read the DUNE series again) and I can think of at least 4 graphic sex acts throughout the last of the books out so far. I can think of at least 16 times the books gave details of sexual foreplay or even the coitus itself. While it might be attracting pervy male viewers (heck, throw me in, I’m not asking for the bewbs to be bye bye) I think they are actually trying to stay true to the books, as the fans expect. In another post on themarysue.com she points out trends Peter Jackson started. Source material loyalty is one of the few good habits Hollywood picked up.

  • Anonymous

    Oh Jinxy, I love this comment. Your last line made me crack up so loudly that the cat ran for cover.

  • http://twitter.com/cameragrrl Wendy Whipple

    Why does anyone read the NYT book reviews? I worked for years in bookstores, and the people would come in clutching their copy of those pedantic reviews, slavishly reading everything they were told to. (And you do know that the NYT bestseller list is determined by sales to BOOKSTORES, not to consumers, right?) Who cares what those over-educated idiots trying to justify their English lit degrees have to say?

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.ricci.79 Matt Ricci

    First: I wan’t to take this chance to give props to the MarySue. This site is awesome and all of the women that engage with this website are pretty rad. Secondly: HAHAHA wow. Clearly the HBO series reviewer writes out of pure ignorance. Try reading the book series before writing about the show… I am halfway through book four and can attest to Martins genius with regards to gender and character roles. Everyone has inherent bias’ and it takes eye opening experiences such as reading a series like A Song of Ice and Fire to expand horizons. At this point in the series two of the most powerful characters in Westeros are female. I haven’t even mentioned the “Mother of Dragons”. 

    Clearly this fantasy series is beyond the minds of those writing reviews for the New York Times. They must be too busy tweeting about farmers markets and hip coffee shops.

  • http://twitter.com/duckydame bananas

    OH MY GOD NO fantasy fiction is my literary territory I don’t even know anything about D&D what are these people even saying???????

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FDMGZNPOCPHFYCA7WYX7M4D3GI Mary Anne B

    Holy.  Crap.  What the hell?

  • http://twitter.com/eeg_il Erin Gibbons

    So basically: thanks, The Mary Sue, for existing. There are only about 3 “professional” movie/TV/book reviews I’ve ever agreed with from a newspaper.  I wonder what the hiring process looks like for these people…

  • http://twitter.com/urbansuburbia Marie

    Spartacus love!

  • Anonymous

    Black-box warning: “You have to have a fair amount of time on your hands and a fairly low reward threshold to subscribe to the NY Times.” You have way too many neurons for this.

  • Anonymous

    You have to have a fair amount of free time on your hands, and a fairly low reward threshold, to read the NY Times. You have way too many neurons for this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christina-Newhall/13307033 Christina Newhall

    I’m awaiting the NYT’s review of the third season with absolutely baited breath. I hope for its own sake that the nation’s most prominent news source learns from the backlash of these two reviews and assigns someone fantasy-compatible to the third season (a freelancer, if necessary). If not, though, well…I enjoy a righteous geek-rage as much as anyone.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AOFTU2AM7WRZZFDC6SPN4XF6KQ Null

    Bookclubs usually play a social role, for like-minded people to meet.

    In a college town, a geek bookclub wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

  • http://twitter.com/cheerfulturtle oyku

    i like fantasy. i love fantasy. i like imagination – the genuine kind.
    Game of thrones? Rapey rapist rapes the rape song starring many 13 years olds. yeah. not much imagination there. nothing genuine.

  • http://looking-for-a-breath-of-life.blogspot.com/ Adria @ Breath of Life Reviews

    Um, okay I’m a female, I haven’t read the books yet but I still love the show. What I got from those negative reviews wasn’t so much insulting the viewers but the reviewers insulting themselves.

    Honestly? It’s not that hard to understand Game of Thrones people. Don’t over think it, just enjoy the story lines and characters. If all you get out of Game of Thrones is that it’s just about sex and incest then there’s something wrong with YOU not the fans.

    I don’t see where all the criticisms come from, I’ve read them all and really, while the female characters are raped, used, abused and tormented, they are by no means weak. Physically they stand no chance of beating back their oppressors, but intellectually? Watch out!

    I love the show, violence, nudity and all. So critics, point your venom at the reality shows that truly don’t require much intelligence to watch.

  • Lulu

    As a self-proclaimed nerd-girl and fantasy lover, I was pretty off-put by the Game of Thrones actually. The whole show seemed rather gratuitous to me, all T-and-A as exposition and excessive violence so I never really stuck around for “It’s edgy,” “the main character dies” because I sort of lost interest.

    While I think the Times reviewers didn’t try to engage with the show at all, it kind of annoys me that the opinion on the internet is that if I don’t like Game of Thrones I’m not a true fan of fantasy or am some sort of titless harpie. 

  • Lethn

    I was recommended Game of Thrones by a girl who watched it regularly, up yours New York Times!

  • R Ochs

    I had really high expectations when I started watching Gane of Thrones. Actually, I watched the show way after it came out on HBO cause I heard good reviews about it. The truth is, it came out really short to me. Independently of all your comments about New York Times not knowing what they are talking about, the truth is when I read that review I didn’t feel alone anymore. I forced myself to watch the first season until the end with the hope it would become more rewarding, but disappointment came stronger with each episode. I can’t believe that so many people liked it. I really don’t. This show falls so short in the developtment of character complexity, but it does find the time to be unnecessarily gory in some occasions, to the point that it makes me think that Americans are just obsessed with violence and sex and can’t look at the big picture. Sorry people but this show wasn’t that great. I love fantasy stories, but this one is just heavy and empty. HEAVY AND EMPTY.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=559945163 Melodia E. McIntyre

    Yeah, I don’t know why they said they were thrown in for the women. They are there to attract that lowest common denominator of men. They are also one of the main reasons why I left the show. That and the constant rape of women, horrible people, confusing storytelling/writing… etc… yeah I kind of hated the show. There are plenty of reasons to hate this show legitimately, but this reviewer seems to have chosen weird reasons and blame it on D&D.

  • Anonymous

    She’s much younger in the books, but their wedding is written a lot more consentually. I believe the phrase Martin uses is “and then she taught him a new word: ‘yes!’” i get why they cut that out in the show — they had less time to show her character arc and needed to properly portray how powerless she felt before she could come into her own later in the season — but i’m still disappointed by the implications.

  • Becky

    First reaction: “Who’s Lorrie Moore?”

    Said Wikipedia to Me: “Moore writes frequently about failing relationships and terminal illness and is known for her mordant wit and pithy one-liners. Her stories often take place in the Midwest.”

    Said Me to Wikipedia: “Ew. Oh, I mean, sounds like a good time watching an afternoon of the Lifetime channel!”

    And then I realized I was conversing with the internet. Whoops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phillip.russell.94 Phillip Russell

    Average NY times circulation: 916,911

    Game of Thrones avg. Viewers: 10.3 million

  • http://www.facebook.com/philip.peterson.395 Philip Peterson

    Wow fuck NYtimes and fuck New York. Take your damn 6 oz. drinks and shove them up your yankee buttholes

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=542385515 Carolyn ZwickyPerez

    I completely agree with the reviewer from the NY Times and as a website that is supposedly focused on women I find it disgusting that this article didn’t even stop to think before writing. Game of Thrones is inherently sexist. I read until the end of the third book and finally all the little girl raping and torturing was enough. I find that your website caters way too much to the popularity of shows and does not bother to make a proper critique. It is this article that is lame, not the review.

  • http://twitter.com/dolmatinha Carina

    This review is at a lowest level than Justin Bieber and the Kardashians combined. The “real world” is either boring or nasty; a little fantasy won’t kill anyone…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maricruz-Villalobos-Zamora/100000331523296 Maricruz Villalobos Zamora

    Holy crap I totally missed this thing! Now I’m curious what they will say about Season 3

  • earlyrose

    As an 18 year old female fan of game of thrones, the ignorance of these reviewers is pretty clear. It’s silly to judge any show (or book for that matter) so superficially. The best fantasy uses any setting and ‘magic’ to heighten the drama symbolically for a story really about the characters. Characterisation and complex plots are what makes people fans of show and books, not just the fact they might contain gore or nudity or magic. They are just something used to enhance a story but it shouldn’t define it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rhiannon.emily.richards Rhiannon Richards

    Big Jane Austen fan (Go Lizzie Bennet Diaries!). I hate twilight. I’m apathetic towards CSI. I adore Sherlock. I love Game of Thrones. Doctor Who- brilliant. I enjoy attending the theater, Greek tragedies and west end musicals especially. I also happening to be crewing at a call of cthulu event. Girl geeks can be complicated people. Unfortunately, many are still in the closet.

  • http://twitter.com/shiningpavement Jen

    Warehouse 13 is fun. It was created by Jane Espenson, and I’ll watch whatever she does. It’s based on the very last shot from Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Ark is boxed up and put in a massive warehouse with a million other unremarkable boxes. The idea is that the other boxes contain things that could be just as dangerous. Not BSG-serious sci-fi, but somewhat light fun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kassandra.ferguson Kassandra Ferguson

    Oh Ms. Bellafonte…you obviously don’t understand Tolkien if you think women can’t read it. He revered women. All of the female characters in his novels are strong, and just as flawed as men. They have a significant impact on the advancement of the story, and I’d rather read a story about these characters than one about a woman whose only defining characteristic is that she’s in a relationship. I mean even Arwen and Luthien are not defined by their relationship. They’re defined by the choices they make for love, but there are other relationships in their lives, there are other conflicts, and there are other reasons for them to be important. They may be love stories, but their love stories affect significant events in the history of the world. They’re not just one-sided, undeveloped, useless characters.

    I do enjoy a trashy romance novel every once in a while, but my beloved romance novels have strong female characters. They are important to the world, and the places around them. They are multi-faceted, developed, and significant to the story, for some reason other than their breasts. The female characters in Game of Thrones are the same way, and if you think a woman can’t enjoy anything but a pointless romance novel then I am sorry. I’m so so sorry. But you have underestimated the intelligence of women everywhere. And I’m sorry to have to say “Bellafonte, don’t talk out loud. You lower the IQ of the whole street.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/kassandra.ferguson Kassandra Ferguson

    You madam, are an inspiration to all…

  • http://www.facebook.com/kassandra.ferguson Kassandra Ferguson

    Exactly! You don’t have to like The Hobbit, but don’t insult the intelligence of those who do. And you should at least give it a try!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kassandra.ferguson Kassandra Ferguson

    The book isn’t for everyone. I’m not gonna judge you because you didn’t like it, and you’re not going to judge me because I did. That’s the point!

  • http://www.moderngeekgirl.com/ Kat Mahoney

    You’re talking about the NYT. The journalists that are employed there and the crowd that reads and subscribes to that newspaper are the last people I’d ever want to hang with anyways. I am a long time (20+ years) sci-fi/fantasy tabletop/video game geek girl and I enjoy Game of Thrones, though I just can’t seem to wrap my mind into it as much as I did Battlestar Galactica, but that’s a totally different genre and I prefer sci-fi over fantasy. Still, the NYT is like the STARS magazine for politicians, their so called “intelligence” interferes with my D&D Tabletop creative thinking! I would never take their reviews seriously to begin with.

  • http://twitter.com/kaitzi K G

    I was annoyed with the original review…. before I’d actually read the books. The books are terribly misogynistic, and no feminist should feel comfortable reading them. It’s not simply a matter of “women are repressed and that’s the way of the world” – Martin appears to REVEL in his humiliation of female characters – and no, it’s not a way for them to overcome adversity, as the ones he has gang-raped (or raped by dogs) are generally not the main characters. The fallout of the victim’s side is rarely examined, and other women in the series are rarely sympathetic to the victim’s plight.

    That said, the show’s pretty good…. but again, I could go without the obvious and continuous misogyny. They are willing to change a few things from the book, so why not that?

  • http://www.mgsilverstein.com/ M.G. Silverstein

    I’m so angry about this that I couldn’t finish reading the article…

    Okay I finished it. Gender bias like that is infuriating an extremely ignorant. I’m a woman, and I believe A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the best series I’ve ever read (I read a lot). The female characters are well written, empowering, muiti-faceted and relatable.

    Also, the television series is simply amazing. These NYT reviewers baffle me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1628614400 Janis Wright

    Who is Lorrie Moore? (googles) Self help? WHo would read that???

  • http://www.facebook.com/dora.mars Dora Mars

    Well said. I’m not a geek either: I’m a woman, 35, I’ve got a masters in ancient History and I just think this show is BRILLIANT.

    I can get why some people may not appreciate fantasy: since Tolkien it has often been reduced to the same old plot (“we’re in a fantasy world with swords, armours, magic and strange creatures, let’s make a crew and begin some adventure to find some magic item to save our world from a great danger!!!”)…

    But the way George R.R. Martin reniewed the Genre is simply Genius! I’ve told many friends – not usually into that kind of stuff- and they simply got caught into the story.

    To make a review about it, those people ought to be able to forget their prejudices and simply WATCH the show. The result would be far different, I think.

    Forgive my English, I hope I made myself clear anyway.

    A fan from Toulouse, Southern France.

  • Anonymous

    Not sure what’s wrong with being a geek anyway. I’m a woman, I’m a geek and I play video games and I played RPG, I like scifi but that doesn’t mean I’m a moron or that I like everything with a dragon in it. Hell, I don’t even like Harry Potter! I read and watch a vast array of genres and I enjoy human stories above all. That’s why I like Game of Thrones and the Song of Ice and Fire series.

    Martin didn’t renew the Fantasy Genre. He’s just up there with the best of them. And that includes female writers, like Robin Hobb. Are we betraying the female gender by going past the clichés?

  • tgMan69

    My wife is NOT a fan of violence in movies and is generally not a huge fan of movies with a lot of sex in them, but she LOVES GoT. She was hooked from the first episode, and I’m thrilled. It’s by far her favorite show, and that’s saying a lot. The thing about GoT that Moore, for some insane reason has decided not to point out, is that it has incredible character development. There isn’t a wasted character on the show, and everything that happens on screen has a purpose. My only problem with GoT is that the seasons are far too short. Ten episodes just isn’t enough!

  • Staciejung

    Okay, what the reviewers are saying is basically that the series is poorly written and full of holes. I sometimes wonder if there is an over all story of if someone keeps changing the direction of the story. No, really, sometimes people go off somewhere to do something and out of the blue something thing brings them back, without advancing the story at all. But so what? There is a lot of worse crap on TV. But GOT is still imaginative fun. A guilty pleasure if nothing else. As the Joker said, “why so serious?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.moore.73157203 Brandon Moore

    Err no. Most reviewers disagree and GoT is the highest rated series around. Holding an opinion so far from what everyone else thinks just proves that it’s biased.

  • tgMan69

    I’ve *never* heard an opinion like this about GoT, let alone by a legitimate reviewer. Consensus among literally *every* reviewer I’ve read that writes about GoT is that it’s the best show on right now, on any provider – network, cable, movie channel, whatever. GoT is freaking amazing. Is it for every person? Hell no, because not everybody can handle the gratuity the show displays, but any professional reviewer out there worth his or her weight recognizes the high quality show it is. GoT is far beyond a guilty pleasure.

  • Kizone Kaprow

    A lot of butthurt here. Why so defensive? Why take something a reviewer said so seriously? Relax. Have a glass of mead. It’s just somebody’s OPINION.

  • Laura

    Because a someone paid to review a TV show is somehow above…watching a TV show? Now my brain hurts.
    Hodor :(

  • Michael Capanelli

    I think the NY Times is just being negative for the sake of being negative. Its another example of what I call “educated idiots” pushing their intellect on what they fell are their inferiors. Lucky for us the NY Times is leaking relevance like a dam with a hole with no little dutch boy in sight.

  • Michael Capanelli

    I think the NY Times is just being negative for the sake of being negative. Its another example of what I call “educated idiots” pushing their intellect on what they feel are their inferiors. Lucky for us the NY Times is leaking relevance like a dam with a hole with no little dutch boy in sight.

  • Nova

    So, only people who like a genre should be allowed to give their opinion on it? What a wonderful way to get a variety of perspectives.

  • Kaderie

    Superold topic, but I had to reply to this….

    “you obviously don’t understand Tolkien if you think women can’t read it.
    He revered women. All of the female characters in his novels are
    strong, and just as flawed as men.”

    Eeeeh… all of Tolkien’s female characters? So…, what, all 6 of them?

    Named Women in LotR: Eowyn. Galadriel. Arwen. Rosie. Lobelia Sackville-Beggins, Goldberry.

    There are more named horses in LotR than there are named woman (16 named horses, if you’re wondering). Creating a world almost entirely devoid of women is not “revering” them.

  • Alyssa

    In my opinion, Games of Thrones is simply a bastardization of (the AMAZIG) Lord of the Rings. I tried to watch the first season, but couldn’t bear the trashy, cheesy, soap-opera-ness of it after a few episodes. But I get, it’s “entertaining” and some people can overlook the cheesiness for entertainment’s sake. And if you’re a woman who enjoys the show, fine. But don’t try to act like you’re somehow cool or unique or open minded for dismissing what Bellafonte rightly points out about the show – the gratuitous nudity is absolutely degrading to women, the show blatantly romanticizes rape through the relationship between the brain-dead Denaerys and her husband in a sickening “I fell in love with my rapist” way. Also, George R. Martin clearly has a creepy fixation with young girls having sex (usually with much older men) – perhaps projecting his own stomach-churning fantasies into his writing. Whether yiure able to overlook it or not, if you try to deny the misogyny of Game of Thrones, it doesn’t make you a “cool girl” it makes you a delusional idiot.

  • Anonymous

    He didn’t renew the genre by himself. He stands on the shoulders of many previous authors who worked to change the paradigm of what a fantasy novel contains. Authors like Glen Cook, who grabbed the high fantasy ideals of magic and heroism and dragged them off their horses into the mud of realism built a base from which Martin could continue crafting fantasy novels with more complex political themes.

  • E.V. Emmons

    I don’t think these ‘reviewers’ even watch the programme. They don’t know what they’re talking about.