Home / General / SEK and Attewell, <em>LG&M</em> podcast-style, on <em>Game of Thrones</em>: “Dark Wings, Dark Words” (S03E02)

SEK and Attewell, LG&M podcast-style, on Game of Thrones: “Dark Wings, Dark Words” (S03E02)


Or, another installment of “SEK yet again looks at everything that isn’t his webcam, while Race for the Iron Throne‘s Attewell just looks composed, only this time SEK also looks like a Soderberghian Smurf.” (He’s not doing himself any favors here.) This podcast discusses, among other things, gender and violence, sex and manipulation, time travel, Batman, and Attewell’s amazing ability to corral SEK’s dithering into almost topical blather. (Also, the punchline to that pointless joke SEK made can be found here. It may make its way into an argument eventually, but that day is not today.) Enjoy!

Download Kaufman and Attewell discussing “Dark Wings, Dark Words” here.

Our discussion of the premiere (S03E01) and a link to download it can be found here.

All LG&M podcasts can be found and subscribed to here.

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  • We need a Farley-Attewell Battle of the Hats podcast.

    • StevenAttewell

      I’m game; we did discuss doing something on torture and Game of Thrones.

  • Regarding Arya and what you had to say about her several identities, and again re: “The BOY”. That’s one thing that struck me reading the books – mistaken and/or hidden identities come up over and over again. It might be even a more prominent sub-theme than incest.

    BTW, I love what you guys are doing here. Not only is it fun, but it’s clever and smart, and gives me new ways of thinking about things.

    As another aside, I find the whole idea of visual rhetoric quite fascinating, because it is totally beyond my ready perception. My visual acuity has always been horrible, and now that I’m old and entering my 3rd decade of bifocals, even worse. So you open up for me something that – though I can only perceive it dimly – was for me totally non-existent.

    Afterthought – yes, I now have sympathy for Theon, but that does not erase the fact that he is an utter shit. One thing about Martin – he rains misery on the just and the unjust alike.

    Contrast Jaime. Though his honor code is terribly askew, he is in his own way as honorable as Ned Stark. What he hints at when he tells Brienne “We don’t get to chose who we love,” is that everything he has ever done has been motivated by love. And as we get a chance to be more sympathetic toward Jaime, we realize that his character has also in a way been concealed.

    While Theon is still a total shit. He just had the misfortune of coming up against the most wantonly evil character in the history of evil characters.

    The reason torturers torture is that they like it. Full stop.


    • StevenAttewell

      Glad you liked it!

      As for Theon…let’s wait and see.

    • SEK

      BTW, I love what you guys are doing here. Not only is it fun, but it’s clever and smart, and gives me new ways of thinking about things.

      Sort of like in the classroom, I always wonder if the students are having as much listening as I’m having talking and interacting with them. Good to see that comes through here.

      I find the whole idea of visual rhetoric quite fascinating, because it is totally beyond my ready perception.

      I’ve said this before, but my singular talent is the ability to stare at things. I stare longer and more intently than other people, not to see what they can’t see, just to figure out what I’ve missed. (And as is evident from the last ten minutes of the podcast, I missed quite a bit.)

      The reason torturers torture is that they like it.

      As noted in the podcast, how this is represented is going to raise really interesting questions over the next few weeks. We’re going to try and lasso some folks who’ve dealt more with the torture issue to discuss it, because I think it’s going to be one of the most accurate representations of what torture does to the torturer, but more about that later.

  • mxyzptlk

    I dug the conversation on the many identities of Arya — she’s doesn’t realize it at this point, but she’s already becoming a faceless person. It’s almost as if her destiny was predetermined, where she would end up apprenticing with the Faceless guild, but her life experience was always already heading in that direction.

    Wyrd bið ful aræd.

    • Yeah. Although my belief is that the reason “her destiny was predetermined” is that GRRM is using Arya to critique the “orphaned child assassin” trope – see Hanna (2011), Leon The Professional (1994), Nikita (1990), Hit Girl (2012), and ultimately also BATMAN.

      It’s like an extended training montage sequence, but instead of gaining self-knowledge in the Campbellian sense, she’s losing it.

      • mxyzptlk

        Man, dead-on about Leon, Nikita and the rest. That’s an interesting context through which to view Arya’s development.

        Looking back over the books and the struggles between different gods, it’s also kind of fun to look at her predestination as managed by the author-god GRRM; he’s the one author of fate that the old gods and the new, and R’Hllor, can’t escape.

        • Thanks!

          Yah, GRRM is the Greek Gods.

          • Listening to you guys discuss Arya brought this passage from ACOK immediately to mind:

            And the seventh face . . . the Stranger was neither male nor female, yet both, ever the outcast, the wanderer from far places, less and more than human, unknown and unknowable.

            Coupled with the Ghost of High Heart’s reaction to meeting Arya it paints quite a bleak portrait of her journey and destination.

    • Leeds man

      Is that Old English for “shit happens”?

      • mxyzptlk

        Fate goes as it will. Had that at the top of my head — it came up (obliquely) in the last episode of Vikings, and it’s one of those lines I nailed down years ago from Beowulf and The Seafarer.

  • mxyzptlk

    Also, StevenAttewell — you’re completely new to me via these podcasts, but you’ve given me a lot of material to go over with the Race for the Iron Throne. Cheers.

    There are loads of parallels in the books that the series is developing visually; it makes for a fun game of I Spy. Davos/Quoron, Jaime/Jon, etc.

    Is it just me, or did the wolves look less real than the dragons? Something about them seemed to be a little glowy and just removed from the actor’s field of vision, while the dragons seemed to be actually in the mise-en-scene.

    • SEK

      I swear I’m being serious: the technology for accurately rendering reptile skin is far, far more advanced than that for rendering hair of any sort.

      • Quite probably. Rendering scales is probably inherently easy in comparison, given how many hairs one has to render.

      • Rendering hair versus rendering scales…hmmmm.

        Let’s see how many times I can say “relatively”.

        The thing about rendering scales is that you have each scale to consider. While each scale is a simple enough object (maybe 8-10 polygons), then you have to multiply that by the number of scales. Quite a lot of scales to consider.

        But that’s not the complex part. The complex bit comes from surface deformation as it relates to the scales. Every animation will cause skin to bulge, muscles to ripple, and you’ll have to account for that motion.

        Also, each scale will clip into the scales nearby – that collision between scales needs to be accounted for.

        By the time you are done, you are approaching fluid dynamics levels of complexity.

        Fur, on the other hand, is much easier. Clipping is not as much of a problem (you can visually allow individual hairs to clip into each other, so no collision math).

        Speaking of math, hair in 3D is almost always thousands of bezier curves, and the math for those is pretty fast, and it’s relatively easy to render complex shapes from simple curves with a few anchor points.

        Surface deformation only concerns us in how it displaces the hair on a relatively singular axis (a parallel axis away from the surface, further modified by wind or whatever environmental effects you wish). With a (dragon) scale, you’ll have multiple axis’ to consider.

        CGI fur has always been disappointing, though. Nothing moves completely like hair, except hair. (Dragon) scales are much more satisfying.

        • SEK

          I love how I call in my own expert and he proves me exactly wrong. Damn you, Jackson!

          (Seriously though, thanks.)

        • Good to know. Consider me corrected.

          • mxyzptlk

            I swear I didn’t write my nearly identical response after reading your nearly identical response. They were less than three minutes apart.

        • mxyzptlk

          Wow. Consider me set straight.

      • mxyzptlk

        Yeah, I can see that. It’s not that the wolves don’t look real in themselves; they just don’t look quite real within the mise-en-scene — more pasted in, like a Ray Harryhausen monster. I suppose it’s hard to find enough well-trained wolfy-looking dogs who are also big enough to fit the profile.

        • There’s no dog in the world big enough to fit the novels. Direwolves grow to ~ 5 feet tall at the shoulder.

          • mxyzptlk

            I have a friend with a wolf hybrid who nose nearly hits my shoulder, and I’m 5’9. If he stands on his hind legs, he can put his forearms on my shoulders, and I just let him, because wolf hybrid. (But totally docile — lets beagles roll him.)

            But that’s nowhere near the size they’ll eventually need for the series.

    • Thanks!

      It’s odd that you think the wolves look less real, given that those are real wolves who’ve been digitally enlarged to direwolf size, whereas the dragons are totally fictional.

      Probably a case of reality is unrealistic.

  • Hob

    Scott: Minor thing, but when you were complaining that “they” gave away the identity of a certain character in the credits on IMDb after trying to keep it under wraps… those credits don’t come from the show, they’re just typed in by any fan who has a login on IMDb. The official show credits don’t show any character names.

    • SEK

      Sorry about that. I use IMDB to remember how to spell everyone’s name correctly, so I assume that if it’s there, it’s been vetted. My apologies.

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