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March 31 2011

Honorable mention of Serenity by author George R.R. Martin in his list of favorite sci-fi films.

High praise, indeed.
Imagine Joss doing the HBO Game of Thrones series
I started the first book and then gave up half way through. Once I finished the Mistborn trilogy (I'm on the second book), I'll give it another shot.
Don't particularly agree with Martin's (often heard) point that Serenity seems like the final episode of Firefly. I do agree the movie loses impact, if you haven't seen the series, but I do feel it's inherently cinematic in scope, visual style and story rhythm.

As for Martin's book: I really liked The Game of Thrones, although switching perspective every single chapter - something I gather other people really enjoy - annoyed me to no end. I kept having to pour extra energy into dragging myself into a new storyline, every time I finished a chapter.

How are you liking that Mistborn trilogy, Simon? Together with Rothfuss' Name of the Wind (currently reading the follow-up The Wise Man's Fear), those were my favorite genre reads of last year.
You really, really should. Once it gets going, it's SO, SO good.
How are you liking that Mistborn trilogy, Simon?


It's really good so far. Top notch genre material. Some of the Game of Thrones was actually filmed here in Belfast, so I'll be tuning in fot it.

And regarding Serenity as the last episode of Firefly, not so much. The use of colour is fantastic, brown on the ship, bright white on Miranda and blue in the flashback with Simon and River. It's gorgeous cinematography.
Well, you're in luck GVH, as the tv series - starting in only two weeks now! - will lack the multiple POV structure. I'm less happy about it as I'm among the people that greatly enjoyed that aspect of the books.

Are you enjoying The Wise Man's Fear? I sadly already finished it a couple of weeks ago, I tried to stretch it for as long a time as possible, but hardly was able to put it down. Rothfuss' books are among the most enjoyable I've read in years (definately top notch genre material too). I'm actually tempted to start over and read the whole thing again (and only finished it three weeks ago). Would definately recommend both it and The Name of the Wind to any Whedon fan.


Pretty_Hate_Machine wrote:
Imagine Joss doing the HBO Game of Thrones series

I'd say the prospect of the series is epic enough as it is, if Joss were heading the project my anticipation of it would propably rise to an unhealthy level. And the project isn't entirely ME-less as it is, as Jane Espenson did write an episode.
To be clear just in case, the Groosalugg, I don't actually mind multiple viewpoints :). I fact, I find they enhance my enjoyment of most epic fantasies, as they broaden the scope and make sure you get to know a larger cast of characters more intimately.

What bothered me in The Game of Thrones was that it happened every chapter ;). The chapters where he switched to another character in the same story thread, I didn't mind, but more often than not, it changed to a completely different one - sometimes on the other side of the world ;).

As Martin is a very good storyteller, who weaves intriguing and absorbing tales, we were usually leaving the old storyline with a nice cliffhanger or at least a very exciting moment, where the story was about to move another step forward. This meant that, for me, the time we spent with each story thread was just too short to really get into things. I'd have preferred, say, 3 or 4 chapters per thread and then switching to a new one.

As for The Wise Man's Fear - so far I'm absolutely loving it, and I'm about 700 pages in. I love Rothfuss' use of language, and his characters are simply awesome. I do find myself enjoying this one a bit less than I did The Name of the Wind, but that's only by a small margin and probably mostly because TNotW is one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels. Maybe even my favorite, singular.

I do have some minor quibbles though - the book seems to have a bit too much of a 'quest' structure; events don't flow quite as naturally into each other as they did in TNotW. And, unlike TNotW, The Wise Man's Fear sags in a few places, where the tempo of the story becomes almost glacial. In other books that last would be deadly, but the quality of Rothfuss' writing and the charm of his characters mean I don't actually mind that all much, at the end of the day.

All in all, I'd certainly also recommend Rothfuss' books to any Whedon fan - or any genre fan in general. He's a big old Whedon fanboy himself as well, and I think it shows in the way he tells a story - even if those effects are minor (and may be projections of my own).
The multiple POV storytelling in A Song of Ice and Fire isn't as annoying as, oh, telling two stories in parallel, but not interleaving them at all, like the last 2/3rds of Lord of the Rings. :-)

GRRM's books are well-written and fascinating, but are fundamentally about one family shattered and separated, rather than found families. Not sure how appropriate it would be for Joss to work with that material.
I'm currently on A Storm of Swords, and am loving the series thus far (and greatly anticipating the HBO series). GRRM knows how to create a universe, and populate it with characters (so many characters you need a huge appendix with tons of family trees each taking multiple pages). The story never becomes predictable, just when you think you know where it's going he'll suddenly swerve and the story is going in a completely different direction, only it's more awesome now. Glad to hear he was a fan of Serenity!
GRRM's put together a decent list (although I'm surprised that someone as familiar with the industry doesn't know it was Kasdan's writing and Kershner's directing that put ESB over the top; Brackett was good but died of illness after one draft). And I only quibble with his assessment of Serenity only in that I feel the movie was actually the second season of Firefly, condensed into two hours... and it suffered for it. I always try to watch it imagining it that it's five times as long, and that there are lots of quiet character moments in between the fights.
There's a woman character in the GOT series that's pretty unique and has some reverberations to Joss' strong women theme. I think she appears the 2nd or 3rd book in and there is very interesting interplay between her and other, mostly male, characters on hand.

I don't really agree about Serenity wrapping up the series, either. I felt there was some closure with the storyline we were familiar with going forward, with respect to two characters being gone, but the ending also left open possibilities.

How glad am I GRRM has ranked The Wrath of Khan as one of his favorites - I could watch that film a million times and never tire of it. Especially for the Shakespeare quote about revenge, which Khan tells Kirk is a Klingon proverb.
SNT got me started on the books - what a ride! The last book - A Dance With Dragons - release date has finally been announced: July 12. GRRM said it himself on his not a blog.
And it's going to be bigger than even A Storm of Swords!

Great year for fantasy fans with Rothfuss and Martin's new books coming out :)

ETA:
A question for the mods: when the time comes, would it be okay to post a disscusion thread here for the GOT premiere? (On account of it being a show Jane Espenson is involved in.)

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2011-03-31 17:40 ]
She's not involved in the show in any showrunner/producer capacity is she?
Nope, she just wrote one episode. (On a sort of freelance basis, I guess.)

So, I guess the anwser is no. :)
Just wondered what the policy was.
What about a thread about the Jane episode itself?

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2011-03-31 17:42 ]
Groo, we can always set one up in the Library (flickr). Everyone I know is super-pumped for this event. From the sneak peeks I've seen, it looks amazing. I just hope they do the books justice. Go Team Stark!
What about a thread about the Jane episode itself?


Not a problem. If I don't post it, then please do post it on the day.
Every time I see a connection between GRRM and Joss, no matter how small, I light a dozen candles and take a bubble bath, and then bake a batch of lemon cakes and eat all of them myself. Then I ride into town on my white stallion, throwing gold coins to the street urchins.

Tonya J, is that the Maid of Tarth you refer to? I feel like Arya is the most Jossian female, but maybe that's just because she's the most popular.
Yes, the Maid of Tarth. I don't think of Arya in that way, I suppose, because she is so young, whereas the other character, and I don't want to get too spoilery, is working against the notion of what and how a woman should be and act, along with the fact that she can't change who she is. Arya is just trying to survive, learning skills along the way, and her toughness is owed a lot to the family from whence she sprang.
Will do Simon.
And I'll have a look into the Library, thanks for pointing it out to me, Willowy.

I had exactly the same thought Kairos, Arya feels the most Jossian to me too. And I'd say Dany and perhaps Asha are also in the run for the coveted spot of the most Whedony Woman in aSoIaF.
I think Dany is definitely a very Jossian character. She starts out so unsure of herself and not sure of her place and then she just blossoms. I see a lot of Buffy in her. AnotherFireflyFan, A Storm of Swords is my favorite one in the series so far! That was the book that proved that GRRM can make you feel affection for characters that you never liked before.
I'm almost halfway through The Wise Man's Fear and I love it. On Patrick Rothfuss's Wikipedia page he's wearing a "Joss Whedon is my master now" shirt. Does anyone else see similarities between Auri and River Tam?

As far as GRRM goes, I don't want to start the series until all of the books have been published, just because it takes so long for the books to come out.
I stopped reading GRRM's ASOIAF halfway through his second book because I realized I was reading this (supposedly) grim dark story populated by a bunch of annoying kids. :/

The first book in the Mistborn series was brilliant. Absolutely great. But I abandoned that series halfway through book two as well. The whole thing was just navel gazing and filler.

NoTW is a great read as your reading it, but once you finish you quickly come to the conclusion that you just read 1000 pages in which nothing happens, which is a bit of a downer. I'm gonna probably wait for the paperback for The Wise Man's Fear.

And those are my 2 cents on those three fantasy series. Maybe I have a thing about second books?
@Illyria18 I think GRRM succeeded at that in book 2 too:

ETA:

@Like With Pie 1. I admire you for your patience. I'm not even sure I'll be able to not watch the 15 minute preview of GOT, let alone wait for GRMM to finally finish two and a bit more books. 2. Never thought of the similarities between Auri and River, but now that you mention it, they're certainly there (BTW she's one of my (many) favorite parts of the books). 3. Have fun finishing The Wise Man's Fear!

ETA:

@Kaan if you thought nothing happened in NoTW I'd highly recommend skipping The Wise Man's Fear altogether, as I don't see it changing your opion on those pesky second volumes :). (BTW, I strongly disagree, but then again it were annoying kids that most attracted me to aSoIaF, so we're propably looking for quite different things in our fantasy novels).

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2011-03-31 23:11 ]

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2011-03-31 23:17 ]
Maybe I have a thing about second books?


I think so, Kaan ;). For what it's worth, I felt the books in the Mistborn trilogy only got stronger as it progressed. I hardly think book 2 can be considered as mostly 'filler' - in fact, I think that Sanderson's trilogy has of the most expertly crafted story lines I've ever read in a fantasy novel. The third novel in particular came close to being narratively perfect, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe you should give them another try ;).
Sounds like maybe I should give them a try too. I've had another book of Sanderson, 'Elantris', lying around here for quite some, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Think that will be the next thing I read.
(BTW, I strongly disagree, but then again it were annoying kids that most attracted me to aSoIaF, so we're propably looking for quite different things in our fantasy novels).

Nah, kids don't really bother me. As with everything I read, its all about the characters for me. Thats why I did enjoy NoTW whilst reading, despite nothing happenig ;), because I found Kvothe a interesting character. With GRRM I just didn't like any of his players. Theres no one to get emotionally invested in.

@GVH: I like Sanderson, he's one of the best authors working today fighting against the surge of gritty, neo-realism the fantasy genre has gone towards (no small thanks to GRRM), so I might go back and try again one day. Filler is a staple in the fantasy genre, especially for series. I'm a huge Wheel of Time fan and some of those middle books in that series are legendary in their lack of movement, but I like the characters in WOT so you just push through it. Character is what it all comes down to. Book 1 of Mistborn has Kelsier. Book 2 has Elend. Nuff said.
Theres no one to get emotionally invested in.


Wow. I am invested in every. single. character. that has a life beyond SoIaF appendix mention. I think GRRM's characterization is masterful, and I absolutely agree with Illyria18 above: he's able to develop even initially-hateful characters in such a way as to make you understand and care about them.

Still, I suppose it's refreshing to be reminded that we may all enjoy Joss's work (or some fraction of it), but have completely different tastes in other respects . . .
Yep, have to agree with SNT - the Hound, Jaime Lannister, sometimes Cersei. Characters are much better when you have to deal with the dichotomy of "Well, Jesus, didn't they do ________ five chapters ago, and now they're ________, and having some kind of weird redeeming moment". It's definitely an investment of time, as the back and forth plots really took getting used to, but I really connected with this world. Good stuff.
I read Songs of Ice and Fire many years ago and what I remember most is the realism. If anyone is expecting to follow a couple of heroic protagonists through trying journeys 'til they reach the happy happy end, you are in for a shock. Martin kills off more characters than Whedon does- and he doesn't wait for them to fall in love.

There are also three short stories published in anthologies that add to the Ice and Fire 'verse. First one was The Hedge Night and the other two follow the same characters, Dunk and his squire Egg. I know the the first two were also published in comic book/graphic novel form. They were both very very good, and because they follow two main characters, there is none of the jumping around different perspective "problem" that annoys some readers of the main series.

I am very much looking forward to A Game of Thrones.

[ edited by lottalettuce on 2011-04-01 06:39 ]

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