I feel bad for D & D

Discussion in 'Game of Thrones' started by Ezio Auditore, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. Ezio Auditore

    Ezio Auditore Lord of Firenze

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    Long post coming. Spoilers BOTH books and show.

    I think D&D expected to have a lot more material to work with when they signed on to create the series. After the way seasons 5 and 6 went I think that played into their decision to shorten seasons 7 and 8.

    Quick timeline of events: D&D first got the idea to adapt ASOIAF in 2006. Development started in 2007. The pilot was ordered in late 2008 and shot in 2009. There were extensive reshoots and the series was picked up in 2010, finally premiering in 2011.

    So D&D got started right after A Feast for Crows was released. That book took 5 years from the release of A Storm of Swords, but before that GRRM was releasing a new installment every 2 years. A Dance with Dragons was finally finished in time for the first season in 2011. I think it’s reasonable that they believed they’d have at least 1 more book to adapt in the series before they had to start writing original content. And when they did get to that point, GRRM would have actual manuscripts and drafts from A Dream of Spring, rather than the broad strokes and key points they were given. We all know now that didn’t happen.

    Adapting a novel is much different from writing original material, and I feel bad because D&D planned on doing the former. They signed on to tell GRRM’s story, not write it for him.

    It was easy last season; all they had to do was take the storylines from where they left off in the books and bring them to logical conclusions. Jon was dead, he came back to life and had his confrontation with Ramsay. The Knights of the Vale help Sansa take Winterfell. Bran completes his training and heads home. Cersei has her trial (but TWIST she kills everyone). Arya finishes her training, escapes the House of Black and White and goes to work on her list. Daenerys gets the Dothraki back, kills the masters once and for all and (FINALLY) heads to Westeros.

    This is a big reason so much was cut from the show and altered in season 5. D&D simply couldn’t introduce any elements that they couldn’t wrap up in a way that impacts the main because they didn’t have enough material.

    Now they’re in a pickle. George may have given them the ending but they now have to write the story to get us there and make it entertaining and believable for a fanbase who has been waiting 20+ years for these scenes. To make that even possible, they’ve already had to cut out 7 episodes.
     
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  2. Roose Bolton

    Roose Bolton Son of Katas

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    GRRM has mentioned before that for a time he assumed that D&D were going to do AFFC/ADWD over a couple of seasons, rather than a single condensed one and was somewhat taken aback when they chose otherwise.

    Likewise, I'm not sure that all of their creative choices were purely for the sake of cutting the narrative down to what was manageable. Dorne in particular was entirely born out of their adoratiom for Indira Varma and wanting to cash in on the popularity of the Red Viper following season 4. Quite a few people in the production actually argued against its last minute inclusion. In the case of Stannis Baratheon, that's also a situation where D&D personally disliked the character and essentially killed the character off prematurely just to retell the same plot line again in Season 6 with Jon.

    They're deserving of some level of sympathy given GRRM's nonexistent progress, but at the same time they shouldn't be excused for narrative missteps that they created out of personal bias.
     
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  3. godisawesome

    godisawesome Well-Known Member

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    I'm of the opinion the dip in quality is to be shared both ways: D&D did not sign on to craft seasons worth of original material, and Martin's now pretty much synonymous with grinding a great story to a halt with all sorts of loose ends and new, crazy plot threads followed by a total stop, but D&D have revealed their own weaknesses and flaws as creators as well.

    D&D proved they had good chops overall for adapting Martin's books, with a decent record in terms of their divergent plot threads: their version of Cersei is quite a bit more of a fleshed out character, their idea of Arya being Tywin's cupbearer was beautiful, and Brienne vs the Hound was a shockingly strong way to abridge some plots and tie them together. But yeah, they've also shown that they don't have Martin's mastery of combining real humanity in his characters with cold, realistic logistics and consequences, or his detail oriented style and subtlety. They can do some of that at times, but not all together, and not with his finesse.

    At the same time, Martin's Act II of his series is almost ridiculously drawn out and jarringly expansive, and not all that kind towards the visual medium in some plots. Arya and Sansa's stories rely primarily on showing their internal changes in the Vale and Braavos, changes that visually may take a lot less time to portray, and it's questionable whether or not it would be wise to consider either creating filler for the girls or giving them a hiatus like with Bran. And it's debatable whether or not some of the plotlines would be a good idea to adapt for a TV show at all. Young Aegon is a humongous new element to introduce so late in the game.

    And of course, simply not having Martin's scenes and connective tissue hurts the final product. D&D are creating sequences and major character interactions off of what has to be very brief data, and these aren't their characters. And being deprived of the climaxes of certain plotlines may just exacerbate their issues: they clearly didn't like Stannis, but would they have handled him better with a clear literary ending for him?
     
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  4. BatmanBeyond

    BatmanBeyond Shadow On The Run

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    No sympathy from me for D&D, as they've repeatedly proven with some of their specific creative choices and with the quality of the writing plummeting specifically when they didn't have GRRM's material to fall back on that they're not really that good. Overall, it kind of feels to me like they didn't expect the show to be such a hit and that it's gradually become a chore for them. I get that, as creators, they don't want to forever be linked to one specific work, but at the end of the day they signed up for this; moreover, the only reason the decreasing quality has been noticed is because first 3 or 4 seasons were so strong, so it kind of feels like they either can't produce the same quality without Martin's input or that they've stopped giving as much of a crap as they did previously.

    I'm a guy who started with the show and binge-read the books after season 3. I'm not usually a book purist, but in ASOIAF's case I always felt that they could've done with either longer episodes, more episodes/season or both, for the show. Kind of disappointed D&D didn't push for that after the first few seasons. But it is what it is and I've come to enjoy the show for what it's become and as a pretty much separate entity from the books.
     
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  5. XtremelyBaneful

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    I don't feel bad for the people who think it's a good idea to make a show about the confederates winning the civil war
     
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  6. DACrowe

    DACrowe Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, I think condensing the fourth and fifth books into one season was a wise idea. Those novels really could have been one book and there is a lot of filler in it. And it is relatively late in the game to introduce [blackout]surprise Targaryens and the like[/blackout]. Some of the changes they made by condensing it to one season proved unwise (like how they handled Dorne), other decisions actually were improvements in my opinion, like having Tyrion meet Daenerys before she goes on her odyssey, and cutting out a lot of the filler like his entire dynamic with Penny. Also while Jon Snow going to Hardhome doesn't make perfect sense (especially since he would've come back via Eastwatch and not Castle Black), putting Jon there was a very smart move overall.

    As it stands, season 5 is the weakest season mostly because those books even in condensed form are a real step down from the first three novels (and four seasons). And even if they did adapt it over two years, we would still have had D&D doing their own TWOW as season 7 earlier this year. And lo and behold, George still hasn't finished the book.

    I respect Martin a lot. He has a brilliant mind and is a far better writer than D&D. I am sure whatever he comes up with will be likely better than a lot of the cheats and lazy tropes season 7 has now fallen into. But he knew he placed this ticking clock on himself and in seven years has yet to produce another book. That is on him.

    As for Stannis, I am not so sure they assassinated his character. I suspect it might not happen so abruptly as in the show, but when the chips are down after losing to Ramsay, we will see if literary Stannis proves as honorable as his fans think he is. I always took to heart the adage Jon Snow heard from I want to say the Winterfell blacksmith about the Baratheon brothers all being flawed, and in Stannis' case he's brittle. Which means when enough pressure is placed on him, he will crack.
     
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  7. DarthSkywalker

    DarthSkywalker May the Force Be With You

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    Season 6 and 7 have been two of my favorites, along side 1 and 4. So really don't feel bad.
     
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  8. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

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    I think they've done pretty well. The best episodes of Seasons 6/7 are on par with the best of Seasons 1-4. Maybe not better, but definitely not worse in any significant way.

    The show's been doing better than a lot of TV Shows that go past 5 seasons.
     
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  9. Primal Slayer

    Primal Slayer Let the Siren scream

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    I think they've done a fine job but at the same time they wasted their own time with useless sex scenes or rape scenes or anything to show boobs.
     
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  10. Roose Bolton

    Roose Bolton Son of Katas

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    I'm not even saying that condensing AFFC/ADWD was bad, I'm just saying that GRRM expected at least another year before they truly left the book material and that likely informed his writing. But to actually comment on season 5: they half-assed it.

    This kind of goes into your Stannis point as well, but if their goal was to truly and efficiently condense the plotlines to get through the story quicker then they should of had the Boltons defeated by the end of Season 5. They're interim villains at worst, the big bad of Theon's overall arc at best, and D&D basically told their ADWD arc twice over the course of Seasons 5 and 6. They fell in love Iwan Rheon's depiction of Ramsay and bolstered him to the role of series main villain for a time and made a big spectacle of his defeat. It was damned fine spectacle, but truthfully they could have had his arc resolved a whole 11 episodes earlier.
     
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  11. DACrowe

    DACrowe Well-Known Member

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    I don't really follow with the Ramsay bit. He wasn't defeated by Stannis in the book, so why should he be defeated by Stannis on the show? He is clearly going to be a big bad in the North for TWOW, and the North (whether it actually ends up being Jon Snow or not) will have to take Winterfell from him and Roose. That is faithful adaptation, and also pretty solid writing since Stannis underestimated the North's weather and walked his men into a massacre for his trouble.

    There are flaws in Season 5, and most of them involve Dorne. Saving Ramsay for Jon and Sansa, especially after what they did to Sansa by putting her in the Jeyne Poole role, was a much better way of concluding the Ramsay storyline than just having Stannis take Winterfell. With that said, there was likely a better way to get Roose and Osha off the show than the uninspired deaths they gave them the next season.
     
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  12. DarthSkywalker

    DarthSkywalker May the Force Be With You

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    What? :funny:
     
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  13. Roose Bolton

    Roose Bolton Son of Katas

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    Stannis wasn't defeated by Ramsay in the books and while I believe Ramsay wrote the Pink Letter, I don't believe it's accurate. To be quite honest I'd be surprised if the character even makes it beyond the first third of the novel as it seems to me that Stannis will likely defeat the Freys on the frozen lake, and the Manderlys will help the Stark loyalist/Baratheon force into Winterfell and subsequently Ramsay will be devoured by his own hounds as in the show, though likely with Asha in the Jon role and Theon in the Sansa role.

    I think they could have easily rolled this all into one battle of a larger scope and had Theon and Sansa kill Ramsay in that same episode rather than essentially jettison Theon from the narrative and stringing along Ramsay's arc for an added season.
     
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  14. Ezio Auditore

    Ezio Auditore Lord of Firenze

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    Totally agree on these points.
    However, i have to disagree with you about the first thing you said about Stannis, and concord with what Roose said. They clearly didnt like Stannis at all.
    The best example of this is how different from the books his arrival at the Wall was handled. Remember that ep, the moment Stannis appears dark and evil music swells, and then he tried to disgrace Mance only to be disgraced himself both by Mance and Jon.
    The only time he started to be sympathetic was some episodes before he burns her daughter alive and he dies without glory.

    Anyway, im in a grey area here. I agree that D&D have made bad decisions (Stannis, Talisa, Theon not being the one who ended Ramsay, Ironborn) and really awful decisions (Umber/Rickon, Dorne, JAIME'S WHOLE ARC, the whole northern plot from ADWD, the whole Tyrell/Faith arc specially Loras' characrr), but they've also made very good choices as well (BriennevsHound, Tyrion getting quickly to Dany, removing fAegon, Robert's added scenes, Arya/Tywin in season 2, Hardhome, Battle for the wall in one episode, and so on) and some of those chances (whether good or bad) would have made more sense had the books being published, for example, perhaps the Dorne plot will not have an overall importance to the story so they directly created one of their own (because of Pedro Pascal's popularity) but most book fans believe the book plot to be important in the future so they rant about it( im being hypothetical of course)
    Another example could be fAegon's whole purpose. IMO he is only there to make it harder for Dany to win the throne. I mean, i dont think Cersei will hold power after burning the sept and she will be totally alone (remember Jaime parted ways with her) so fAegon will take most of the kingdom and when Dany arrives she will have some firm competition (the REAL dance of Dragons 2.0)

    I wasn't refering at all to that. What you wrote basically tells me you read only the tittle of the thread.

    Anyway, Im from Argentina and although Im a history fan, I don't care about them making an altered version of the US Civik war. Hell, tarantino made a movie about Hitler and all his high rank officers dying in a theater(one of mh favorite movies) and nobody cared.
    Im going off topic at this point. So I beat leave it here.
    Sorry for my english
     
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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  15. BullMcGiveny

    BullMcGiveny Probably Disagree

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    I blame the realities of media production a bit for the state of the show, but mostly it is D&D's own habbits, such as a lack of foresight, and poor prioritization.
     
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  16. XtremelyBaneful

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    I read the first few sentences of your OP, not just the title.

    But all I'm saying is I don't feel sorry for them
     
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  17. DACrowe

    DACrowe Well-Known Member

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    Maybe, but I never really felt Stannis was going to beat Ramsay. And while we don't know his fate in the book yet, I imagine the pink letter has some veracity to it since we know that the red witch will have to find a reason to burn Shireen (unless it is just to bring Jon Snow back). I do think there is a good chance the Boltons will fall due to the Northern resistance and Manderly's scheming, which will be satisfying to see, but it will be a big moment when Ramsay goes down. Whether it is halfway through a 1500 page book or near the end, I just imagine it will all be more expansive than the show.

    As for Theon and Sansa getting him in season 5 of the show? I don't know, I'm just not crazy about Season 5. I do think it was a bit odd they sent Theon back to Yara in the show, and it seems they don't really know what to do with that character to me. But I do like Sansa coming back with an army and ultimately defeating Ramsay from a position of political strength and not because of the deus ex machina of Stannis saving her and Theon, and then allowing her to do the bastard in, as it were.
     
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  18. DACrowe

    DACrowe Well-Known Member

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    I simply meant to say I do not think Stannis is the badass his literary fans suggest. Even Martin has admitted astonishment and surprise that Stannis has so many fans. I think Jon's perception of him as being brittle and somewhat untrustworthy in the novels is the one taken by Martin, and the most accurate one of Stannis. While I agree D&D showed apathy toward a character fans love, I just don't think there is as much there, there in regards to his character.

    And yes, they have made some terrible choices, but I'm actually quite happy with Sansa being the one to dispatch Ramsay on the show. Yes, in the books it should be Theon (which to me means it will be none of them), but on the show, Sansa deserved it more. I also thought how they wrapped up the Sparrows and Tyrells (at least the young ones) with Cersei was kind of brilliant. Season 7 dropped the ball a bit by not showing political fall out from blowing up a sixth of your own city. There should be riots in the streets against Cersei, however it is a very Cersei thing to do and what a very satisfying conclusion to that storyline. Out of curiosity why did you not like Talisa? They took a fairly irrelevant stock character in the books and made her likable before her, ahem, departure.

    With that said I agree that the absolute worst change might not be Dorne (because it isn't so hot in the books yet either), but Jaime's arc. By wanting to keep him around Cersei as long as possible they have kind of ruined the journey he was on for the first four seasons oh, so beautifully. It really is a shame.
     
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  19. Loki882

    Loki882 Well-Known Member

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    From what I've heard, D&D themselves felt like 7-8 seasons would be enough. HBO had said that they'd be more than happy to let the show run longer (it is a rating boom for them).

    Also D&D made poor creative choices purely for their own reasons:

    -They didn't want to use the Dorne at all, but included it because they loved working with Indira Varma and wanted to give her more to do, and because they assumed that, just because Oberyn was popular, his daughters would automatically be as well (oops). That's the only reason it's here (and why it was butchered beyond belief).

    -They personally didn't like Stannis's character, so they undercut/truncated his storyline and then killed him off unceremoniously.

    -They did the "Sansa gets raped" plotline because they "wanted to show off Sophie Turner's acting more" essentially (not like she got much chance there anyway).

    -Etc.

    And now they just seem to be rushing through things because they want to finish things and move on to that poorly-conceived Confederate idea that they're working on.

    D&D have exposed their greatest flaws as writers. They're good at adapting another person's work, when they have it as a guide to crib from. But when it comes to coming up with their own material, they're not nearly as effective.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  20. Ezio Auditore

    Ezio Auditore Lord of Firenze

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    Actually what I meant when I talked about the Tyrell/Faith situation was not its resolution (which was beautifull). Mainly because of how they rendered Loras'character.
     
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  21. Loki882

    Loki882 Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear lord did they butcher Loras Tyrell's character. And in the most stereotypical way possible.
     
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  22. Roose Bolton

    Roose Bolton Son of Katas

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    Ramsay's not exactly a massively powerful villain on his own, he's just a sadistic thug who has been able to perform serial rape and murder because his father was a powerful lord and his country was caught up in a major war. Moreover, the Bolton cause is screwed. ADWD makes a big point of this. Even their closest allies are tediously loyal at best and they're surrounded by enemies within and without, they're sitting on a powder keg of death, Stannis is just the accelerant to light it up. Lady Dustin and Theon both reflect that Stannis only needs to "bloody" the Bolton cause for every other lord of the North to pounce, and I believe that's what's going to happen, with Stannis "dying in the attempt." At the same time, I think the elements for Shireens death are already in play at the Wall: the Pink Letter. Melisandre can't see Stannis (her view of Azor Ahai) in her flames "only Snow" so that would throw the Baratheon cause into dire straits at the the Wall. I think that's far more logistically sound than Stannis getting defeated, and then somehow going all the way back to the Wall through the months of deadly and near-impenetrable winter weather only to sacrifice her and then somehow try and march back.

    And mostly, its important to remember the Bolton storyline isn't Jon or Stannis' arc, it's Theon's. It's always been Theon's, and with Stannis's army he's already in position to see it to an end.

    As for Season 5, it's not a good season. But that's at least partially because they condensed it to the point where the entire build up of the Northern storyline was the conflict between Team Stannis and Team Bolton, with much of the season showing the latter being awful, but what we ultimately got was an anticlimax where Jon dies, Stannis dies, the Boltons triumph and Sansa and Theon vaguely slip away. I think had they had gone the extra mile and properly concluded the Bolton arc then and there the entire season would have had more weight.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  23. Ms. Marvel

    Ms. Marvel Screwed up Avenger

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    What did they do to Loras? They certainly portrayed him a lot better than they did Renly.
     
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  24. TheFuture

    TheFuture Rising

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    Didn't help that they miscast the role in the first place. I haven't seen enough of his work to give a definitive opinion but when you're two biggest roles to date are ones you were ill fitted to, it's not a good sign.

    I don't feel sorry for D&D anyway, mostly because I don't think they even feel sorry for themselves so why would I? They backed a winner in developing the show that's still smashing records (both legally and illegally) 7 years on from its debut, so I don't think they care about the criticism of their talent at this stage.

    They're not deserving of sympathy either as even when they had the source to fall back on, they still made mince meat of it at times, and showed at best indifference to criticism then, and at worst displayed dismissive arrogance.

    At the end of tge day though, it is what it is. I still appreciate the hell out of those 2 guys for what they've done.
     
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  25. godisawesome

    godisawesome Well-Known Member

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    Loras in the novels is pretty much a Tyrell version of Jaimie, emphasis on Jaimie's martial skills and more knightly virtues (bravery, boldness, dedication, and dangerous fighting abilities). And to use a TV Tropes phrase, he, like Book!Renly, is also more of a "Straight Gay;" a person whose manner of carrying themselves and interests fit the heteronormative stereotype, but still has a romantic focus on the same sex. He's almost literally Jaimie 2.0, but further back in his story and with a different social taboo; he joins the Kingsguard to protect his sister, has a powerful and overriding loyalty to his love, is somewhat defined by how dangerous of a horseman and jousted he is, and even his hubristic mistake in the last book is a macho badass move. Jaime actually warns him about the potential mistakes he could find in his his way, but still acknowledges that without his own sword hand, Loras might be the most dangerous and skilled warrior in the Kingsguard.

    Contrast that with TV!Loras, who, after the Tourney of the Hand (which in the TV show left out his previous impressive victories without the "mare in heat" trick) and his actions in Season 2, never really has his "manly" traits emphasized again, and seems to play more to a stereotype of what a homosexual would be at the time.

    Please note, I'm an evangelical straight guy, but that's how I see the difference. I will admit that it's conceivable they wanted to showcase a more openly gay individual to out modern eyes, but I can't comment on whether or not that was the right choice.
     
    #25

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