Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

3 Things to Enjoy and Watch for in Westworld – Throwback Thursday

With Westworld season 2 coming up, and with Holly and David having recently watched the show, it’s time to start getting hype about this show again! Expect a Comparative Opinions on Westworld season 1 soon, but for now, it’s time to re-run Jeremy’s season 1 recap/reminder reviews! Here’s the first one, from after the first two episodes aired.


Caution! Potential spoilers for the first two episodes of Westworld follow.

Good day, everyone! I don’t know about any of you, but I’m already pretty taken with HBO’s new series Westworld, based on the 1973 film written by Michael Crichton. I watch several television shows pretty regularly, and this one looks like a good one to hold onto Game of Thrones’s slot in its off season. In fact, and as discussed in a recent Wired article, where Game of Thrones has offered a more grounded introduction to fantasy (limiting early magic use, keeping fantastic creatures under wraps for a time, etc.), Westworld may offer a similar introduction for mainstream audiences to science fiction. After all, and not to sound too tongue-in-cheek, but Westworld is rather “grounded” science fiction—there are no spaceships, no breathtaking otherworldly planetscapes, no unfamiliar aliens meant to make us look at ourselves and be ashamed. In fact, Westworld does quite well in its own right exploring this final theme, as I shall discuss below.

The Top Three Things I’m Enjoying and Looking Forward to in Westworld:

Foremost, the rise of artificial intelligence. This has been a popular topic in science fiction since at least as early as the days of Asimov. Westworld is an immersive resort designed by Dr. Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins. The resort is filled with hundreds of “hosts,” robotic actors designed by Ford and constantly reprogrammed and upgraded by him over the course of 30 years. At this stage in their development, the hosts, foremost among them Dolores Abernathy (the stereotypical Old West maiden with iron in her spine, played by Evan Rachel Wood), her father (played by Louis Herthum), and Maeve Millay (the Old West madame implanted with memories of a traumatizing past, played by Thandie Newton), have begun exhibiting behaviors and retaining memories not in keeping with their programming. Indeed, trauma and memory run heavily throughout the story, as the hosts are repeatedly exploited, sexually abused, and even murdered by wealthy human guests who come to the largely lawless Westworld on vacation.

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Dolores Abernathy, played by Evan Rachel Wood

Next, the old trope of providing an example of humanity’s ugliness in something otherwise unfamiliar has been used in science fiction since before the original Star Trek. Here, however, that old paradigm is tossed on its head; humanity itself is the greedy villain, the monster (currently expressed best in Ed Harris’s Man in Black), and its robotic creations are its victims. (See this recent article on Tor.com that says a bit more about this in light of the original movie’s implicit themes). There’s a strong parallel with the reimagined Battlestar Galactica here, and if you enjoyed the ways in which evolving artificial intelligence were presented there, you’ll also enjoy Westworld. These machines also have the added bonus of actually being sympathetic, unlike the militant Cylons. I am eagerly awaiting to see how these two points play out across the life of the series, and I hope that it lasts longer than a single season.

Third, a lighthearted point—this show has some of the best opening credits I’ve seen in a long time. Check them out below. I’m curious to see how the symbolism in them plays out as the show’s story progresses.

As of the publication of this post, the first two episodes of Westworld should be widely available from HBO. From here on out, I plan on doing an episode-by-episode review each week, so be sure to stop back by. Thanks for reading!

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Game of Thrones Season 7 – Comparative Opinions Episode 58

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week, hosts David and Holly dive into the whole of Season 7 of Game of Thrones, the things they liked, the things they didn’t. Definitely mixed feelings at this point, as the show plows further ahead of the books. Let us know what you think!

And listen to our Season 6 recap podcast here!

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

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Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

The Problem With Omniscience

So I recently read an article discussing the choice of the show runners for Game of Thrones on how to deal with Bran as the three eyed Raven with being omniscient. Omniscience is a powerful ability for anyone to have and can cause problems with storytelling if not treated appropriately. On Game of Thrones they chose to make the character less relatable on a human level. Trying to make him stand-offish from other characters so they don’t simply ask him how it will out turn out I guess.

Of course this is not the only limitation that they have provided for him. Even though Bran can technically see anywhere and any when, it is so much information that he does not have it all necessarily at his finger tips. With the season finale reveal we find that Sam still had to provide information to Bran for him to ultimately see it. This means that he doesn’t have instant recall even though omniscient.

This provides some structure to a power that could ultimately destroy any potential story because the character has the power to tell people exactly what will happen. It can also be used as lazy story telling if you write yourself in to a corner.

See All Tell All

So obviously the first problem with omniscience is that because you see all, you know everything that has happened and everything that will happen. So why wouldn’t you tell people what happens? Of course this is where often storytellers bring up the fact that knowing the future can change it. So the question is if you know everything, then you also know whether saying anything will make any difference. At the same time from a storytelling perspective even if they do reveal everything the only person who might be ruined is the reader because they know that they are telling the truth when other people don’t.

Deus Ex Omniscience

The other problem is that omniscience can be used as a crutch. I don’t necessarily have an example of this, but I could definitely see it being a thing. Where as soon as you have an omniscient character then suddenly the challenge can just die, but it also means that if the writer or storyteller paints themselves into a corner it is something that they can use to pull themselves out because the omniscient character can just come in and fix everything because they know everything. Which can take a tense complicated situation and just deflate it in an instance.

Working Around Omniscience

The thing that is actually more interesting is when you have people trying to work around omniscience. Where there is a character who is mostly omniscient and somehow another character finds a way to outsmart them. Omniscience as a thing to thwart becomes more interesting then it being used to uncover everything. Omniscience is such a difficult trait to give a character because if they really know everything at all times then they are kind of boring and life can get kind of boring for them. That can make it difficult to make the story interesting if you don’t have some limits to the ability to know everything.

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Week in Geek Episode 2

Week in Geek, episode 2, recorded 8/28/17. Apologies for a couple jump cuts, we got interrupted way more than normal this recording. News since last recording, including: Game of Thrones season 8 release date (2019???); NetFlix Marvel shows watch order; new “Jessica Jones-esque” show for ABC (what does it mean?); and a whole bunch of time spent on James Cameron’s comments about Wonder Woman.

Here’s a link to the Guardian interview with James Cameron, if you’re interested: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/24/james-cameron-well-never-be-able-to-reproduce-the-shock-of-terminator-2

Our other podcast is Comparative Opinions, find it and old Week in Geek episodes on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes!

Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

And Now Our Watch Has Ended…

Watch out for spoilers, friends. If you haven’t watched the season finale of Game of Thrones, it’s a good one. We got the episode watched, so as to not have to completely avoid the Internet. Expect a podcast from us on the season this Sunday!