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Breaking Bad

enthroned

Amazing series.  Amazing episode last night.  Talk about a gut punch.

Walter White is a bigger monster than anyone in Westeros.

(I need to do something about that).

This is the final season of BREAKING BAD.  I think GAME OF THRONES may have a shot at upsetting BB for this year's Emmy (only a shot, though, I think they are the clear favorite), which pits us against their previous season...  but there's no way in hell that anyone is going to defeat BREAKING BAD next year, when their last season is the one in contention.

Admittedly, trying to handicap the Emmys is a mug's game.  You never know.  But for what it's worth, I think this year is our best chance of actually winning one.  Given the splash the Red Wedding made, our profile is likely as high as it is ever going to be.  We had a great season.  If the Academy is ever going to give their ultimate accolade to a fantasy show (something that is by no means certain), it's going to be this year, I think.

But we'll see.  BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN, DOWNTON ABBEY, HOMELAND, and HOUSE OF CARDS will have something to say about that as well.  All good shows, I think.  A couple are great shows.  HOMELAND is the defending champ, MAD MEN's won four, and HOUSE OF CARDS has that whole "gamechanger" thing going for it.  Should be an interesting race.  We'll all know on September 22.

Comments

( 85 comments )
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patrickplatz
Sep. 17th, 2013 06:14 pm (UTC)
Yay - Emmys!
Oh, holy taters. I really hope Game of Thrones will win, as the Red Wedding was really something entirely new. I have never seen something that impressive. Good luck to you, Mr. Martin.
The fanbase will be watching your appearance.
westeros_fan
Sep. 17th, 2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
Glad I'm not the only one who saw Walt's phone call as an act intended to get Skyler off the hook with the police for her involvement in the money laundering, and with Walter Jr. and the neighbours for staying married to "Heisenberg". It's even possible that he intended to return Holly all along (but I doubt it - the look on his face when she started crying for mama makes it seem unlikely), that he took her with him only to make the sham call that much more convincing and ensure the cops would still be there whe he made that call.

Not saying he's a nice guy or anything - showing the neonazis where Jesse was hiding then rubbing Jane's death in Jesse's face would be tough to explain in that case. (Another sham, meant to put Hank's killers at ease and buy himself time to buy a big honkin' machine gun to use on them. That's my best attempt, and even I'm not buying it).

Still, Tywin-level bad-brokenness? I don't know. Would Tywin have tried to call off the neonazis if he thought it might save, say, Kevan's wife? There's only one person I know of who'd know for sure...
douglascohen
Sep. 17th, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
I'm getting a real kick out of reading my favorite author of my favorite books ever offering his thoughts on my favorite TV program ever.

Breaking Bad is the only story currently going that gets reactions out of me the way your Song of Ice and Fire books do. HBO's Game of Thrones might get those reactions too if I didn't essentially know what was coming each episode and season. I still enjoy the episodes, but a little bit of the luster goes away when you know what to expect.

I think "Rains of Castamere" has a great shot at the Emmy this year. I know it's up against "Dead Freight," the train heist episode from Breaking Bad. I enjoyed "Dead Freight" more, but again, that's because I knew what was coming in "Rains of Castamere." Well done episode, but as a fan of the books it lacked the gut punch you speak of Breaking Bad (which it seems to be delivering this year with each and every episode). This said, if either "Rains of Castamere" or "Dead Freight" fail to take home the Emmy, the fix in.

And I agree with you, Breaking Bad is going to clean up at the Emmys next year. These last eight episodes have been nothing short of superlative. As someone on their Facebook page said, they're going to need all seven of those barrels to take home all those Emmys.

At this point, the only thing left for them to do is stick the landing in the last episode. As with your books, I have every confidence they will.

Joseph Nobles
Sep. 17th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
Interesting parallel between ASoIaF and BB emerged last episode
Todd/Jesse = Ramsey/Theon?

At least in the power dynamic that began in "Ozymandius."
bardtk
Sep. 17th, 2013 11:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe a wandering ex-maester who deals with some spiced up version of milk of the poppy...
bartclub
Sep. 18th, 2013 12:31 am (UTC)
The Todd character
For me the biggest breakout performance is from the actor who played Todd. The character itself is so written because we can tell that "something" is just off about this guy, but he doesn't necessarily act like a obvious crazy person. He seems more like a child looking to please those he admires and is just naturally curious about things. Even after he tortured Jesse, when he came back to get him out of the hole he didn't seem to that he was proud or ashamed at what he had done which, would normally distinguish a vicious person and a moral person. The way he picks up Jesse almost seems to be like he's picking up a bird with a broken wing while ignoring the fact that he was the one who broke him. The complexity of a character who doesn't have much screen time really shows the level of depth the show has.
Bob Gonzo Crowl
Sep. 18th, 2013 12:45 am (UTC)
I dunno about Walt being worse than, say, Ramsay or Walder Frey
Walt has done some terrible things, but like, not the whole "have my dogs sick on you while you run hopelessly into the forest so I can just end up finding you, raping you, and potentially flaying you alive if I wasn't entertained during the hunt" bit.

But Walt let Jane die so that was pretty hardcore.
socraticlaughtr
Sep. 18th, 2013 12:56 am (UTC)
Quote:
Walter White is a bigger monster than anyone in Westeros.

(I need to do something about that).

- that is a high compliment and makes me worry for every other living person in Westeros.
Kate Turner
Sep. 18th, 2013 01:10 am (UTC)
The Emmys!!
Well, the one thing that kills Game of Thrones at the Emmys for the third season is the tape submission format, which you must know about. It's very difficult for casual viewers (Emmy voting members on panels) to follow the many characters and truly feel the impression of the great impact moments. Last year, your "Blackwater" episode was an incredible achievement, but it went un-nominated because HBO submitted too many episodes for consideration in the writing and directing categories for voters to rally around one single submission. This year, though "Rains" got in writing, it has some really stiff competition from episodes less geared around a single event, fitting the mold of many of this category's past winners.

Sunday night should be really really interesting, since I don't think there was a standout season of the nominees like there will be next year with Breaking Bad's final season. (Though that season could lose once the show is no longer on the air.) Homeland had major flaws in its execution and character development, but its six tapes are very strong and don't necessarily reflect the problems and the heavy criticism the show received--unfortunately, that's the Emmy process for you. Breaking Bad has never won before, but the first half of its final season was exactly that, a half. It had the buzz with the new episodes airing during voting the last few weeks; 5A, however, didn't quite live up to the greatness of earlier seasons, which went unrewarded. And Game of Thrones reached new ratings highs, with one of the most talked about episodes of the year--but still, I feel, hasn't reached a stride in balancing the storylines, often repeatedly relying on the same episode structure.

So Drama Series can really go any of these three ways. Very exciting! I don't think that this will be as high as your profile will get, especially if the showrunners nail the execution. Eventually Thrones will reach a point when the win cannot be denied, as critics and the all-powerful Internet will be calling for a win, as what happened to Lord of the Rings at the Oscars and is happening for genre show Breaking Bad this year.
mikerhoa516
Sep. 18th, 2013 01:10 am (UTC)
Walter's path into darkness had noble a origin, and he only mines his potential for deviousness when he really needs to. It's for those reasons alone that I can't see him being as evil as Ramsay or The Mountain. Those two characters are true monsters that are allowed to flourish because of the horrid lawlessness of war, and their evil is so deeply entwined in their DNA that it's difficult to think of them as anything else .

Sure when Walter was yelling at Skyler over the phone you could practically see the horns sprouting from his head, but he knew the cops were listening and that was his way of deflecting any culpability away from his family and putting it squarely on him. It was, incredibly, an honorable gesture, and of course honor is not a trait that's usually found in evil people.

But it's certainly an interesting comparison. You're characters, namely Ramsay and The Mountain, are two of the most psychotic and dangerous people I've ever encountered in literature. They are both true prophets of destruction; the stuff of nightmares. Water is capable of becoming that, but he hasn't killed any real civilians (yet) and the innocents that have been hurt or killed in his wake (Brock, Drew Sharpe) seem to weigh heavily on his conscience. That said, when it comes time to calculate his next move, his ruthlessness knows no bounds. He does put on the porkpie hat and morph into a character whose evil is so cold and unyielding that it certainly would give the worst in Westeros a run for their money.

But Walt doesn't live there, he only visits. Ramsay and The Mountain were born to bring about chaos in the most vicious ways imaginable. It's what they were born to do. I just don't think Walt's quite there yet. But they are your characters, and you certainly would know better than I.

Can't wait to see the new character(s). I'm really excited to learn more about the White Walkers, and their propensity for evil looks to be a gold mine of depravity...

Jeff Bunting
Sep. 18th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
my thoughts
Ramsay would have offed his family and then faked his death, loose ends and all. Plus he would have preferred to torture Jesse himself. So not the biggest monster than Westros but a monster with so much depth that you actually feel for him.

In so many ways I think that all he is seeking at this point is revenge and his end.

Edited at 2013-09-18 03:09 am (UTC)
IvanGrozny5
Sep. 18th, 2013 03:27 am (UTC)
Gregor or Ramsay beat Walt quite handily in the 'evil' department. I mean, damn, Ramsay would have probably flayed baby Holly alive after her show of disrespect towards the end of the episode, while Gregor would have smashed her head against the wall. Certainly neither would have been that broken up at the reality that their entire family hates and fears them.

It's just that Walt's evil stings that much more because we know, on some level, he isn't a total sociopath. He isn't a Gregor or Ramsay. If he were, he'd have had clear sailing from nearly the very beginning: all he had to do was sit back and do nothing when Jesse tried to kill those two drug dealers, or do nothing when Hank was about to lose his job, or if the worst came about poison Hank with the Ricin the moment he figured out Hank was on to him.

Really, if he were truly indifferent to the fates of others, the whole premise of the series wouldn't exist. He cared about his family and didn't want to leave them with nothing when he was gone. That's how it started, even if in the process it slowly turned him into a monster.

What makes Walt so uniquely awful is that we know he has the impulse to do both good things and evil things...and yet, for the sake of his ego, routinely chooses the evil things while pretending to himself its the right thing, all done in the name of family. Its hard to say whether Ramsay and characters like him even have an understanding of what doing 'good things' even means.
yamilongo
Sep. 18th, 2013 05:09 am (UTC)
I think Arya could be a bigger monster than Walter White :)
Adele_Quested
Sep. 18th, 2013 10:56 am (UTC)
What makes Walter White more horrifying than most of the monsters in Westeros is that he would actually know better.

I don't see Walt's attempt to buy Hank's life as a sign of him still being a fundamentally decent person (too little too late; a fairly empty gesture at this point, unlikely to accomplish anything; Hank himself after all realizes that it's pointless; and it doesn't change anything about the fact that Walt has always been perfectly willing to gamble with other people's lifes), but rather as sign for his desire to still view himself as fundamentally decent person. And no, this is not a purely academic distinction.

See, the truly horrifying thing about Walt is that his idea of what a decent person would be is probably not completley misguided (in contrast to pretty much all the beasts in Westeros, who are often mentally ill, deeply traumatized and biographically damaged themselves and/or too dim-witted/myopic to transcend the fucked-up value system of their respective milieu).

Walt has both noble and ulterior motives for nearly everything he does (which makes him very human; I think this actually true for most of us). But he has a preternatural knack for forgrounding his noble motives and rationalizing the ulterior ones away - in his communciations with others, but probably also in his interior monologue - which makes him so much more dangerous (and thus more horrifying) than the average Joe. That phone call to Skylar? Yes, that was clearly him trying to exonerate her. But still, I'm would bet that some part of him completely meant it - only part of him though, because another part of him is clearly smarter than that. And so he gets to vent his spleen, and still have some hope to be the hero after all (to Skylar at least, who realizes what he is doing; maybe at this point he still hopes for some gratitude from her; I wouldn't put it past him), with very little cost to himself (he would have to go on the lam anyway). Walt knows how to do right when it suits him. In spite of everything he still has the right moral instincts - he just habitually chooses differently, again and again and again.

I see some paralells to Tywin Lannister, who also most probably rationalizes most of his atrocities with a concern for the "family" (or rather the legacy of his house), ironically completely destroying the very thing he claims to promote. Like Walt, he has a bit of a history of feeling like the underdog, bullied by the people who looked down on his dad and later by Aerys, a giant chip on his shoulder with regard to being disrespected and a certain intelligence that robs him of the excuses someone like Victarion or the Mountain might have. But I'd place Tywin pretty firmly in the "misguided notions of what a decent person would be"-camp. It's not so much that he repeatedly chooses wrong; it's mostly that he's too myopic to see his actual choices. And he probably has less of a need of still being liked by others in spite of everything, which actually makes him more sufferable in a way. He's a ruthless piece of shit, but at least he doesn't ask for my sympathy. Walt does.

No, the only potential candidate for actually pulling a Walter White in Westeros would be Tyrion.



Edited at 2013-09-18 11:16 am (UTC)
Vismitha Mahesh
Sep. 18th, 2013 02:35 pm (UTC)
had'nt planned on watchin the emmy's.... it plays at 2 in the morning in my country! but for this one hope i shall kick my sleep good bye!!!!
nikleas
Sep. 18th, 2013 04:48 pm (UTC)
I propose a tie
I fear that judges, even when they are supposed to be voting with only the previous season (or first half of current season) in mind, can't help but think about the current buzz and current episodes when casting their votes.

It's also a timing issue. The show / movie that gets the most buzz at the time of the voting gets a huge advantage. We see it often when films released too early in the year do not get the oscar nod because it fell off the radar for a lot of people.

That said, both shows are amazing, so may the best/luckiest one win. I would not mind a tie!
grrm
Sep. 19th, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)
Re: I propose a tie
Your point about timing is dead on. Shows that air in the summer and fall have an edge over those that air in the winter and spring.
Chad Cottle
Sep. 18th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
Walter White Worse than anyone in Westeros
I don't know, George. Ramsey Bolton scares the bajeezus out of me. Every chapter in Dance where he appeared I found myself unconsciously holding the book just a bit further away, eyes wide open.

d_c_m
Sep. 18th, 2013 06:20 pm (UTC)
LOL!!! Now we truly can fear for all of the Westeros characters. :)
Aditya Visweswaran Iyer
Sep. 18th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
As if all the maniacs of Westeros weren't already enough...
Blessing Akpabio
Sep. 18th, 2013 11:48 pm (UTC)
Walter White biggest Monster?
Well dear George I would have to disagree with that observation...I mean walter would definitely look like a saint beside Ramsay..lol
Ali Shuaa Juhdi
Sep. 19th, 2013 01:47 am (UTC)
Why Walter is worse than Ramsey
many people here say that ramsey is worst than walter white, and i do agree that Ramsey's crimes are more heinous, but The Bolton bastard is mentally ill, joffrey is a kid, a spoiled kid.
Walter white is a mentally stable adult who was good until he willingly choose evil.
I think Tywin lannister is close to Walter, but still, Tywin lives in a world where you HAVE to do these kind of things to survive.
Gato Chungo
Sep. 19th, 2013 03:24 am (UTC)
Is WW really a mosnter? :|
... but I think that Walter said what he said at the phone 'cause he knew that he was being recorded! That way he has removed all guilt from her wife, as long as the police concerns: "I told you to keep your mouth shut", "you knew nothing (hehehe) of what was going on", "I threated you the whole time", bla bla bla (but he didn't mention her washing money nor her sending thugs to threat her former boss, or her suggesting to murder Jessie, etc). He was crying all the time, and he only called when he realized that Holly needed her mom. Also he leaves her in the firemen cuartel with a note, probably for them to return her. Also, he did tried to save Hank, twisting the situation desperately as he usually does, but unsuccesfully.
Aaaaand for the Pinkman affair, I think he was just extremely angry and dissapointed of him. That punchline about his girlf was him cutting all relationship with him (also, he probably now blames him in some way for Hank's death). Nevertheless, I still hope that the final episode will be about helping him to escape the fuckin' neonazis. I really loved WW up until he poisoned the child. That's a line he shouldn't have crossed! And his breaking up with Jessie and saying farewell to his family, is like his own inner death. I pity him! :(
That's why I didn't consider WW a monster, just a really fucked up desperate angry guy, like some comic strip I saw earlier surfing the web, if WW would have lived in some other country with a quality universal health access, BB would have finished in the pilot xDD
PD: I love cats too, and really enjoyed the Voyages of Tuf (I read it in spanish, so I don't know if that's the correct title). Peut-être Westeros needs cats. Lots of them. ASAP! xDDDDDDDDD
Spawn_of_Santa
Sep. 19th, 2013 12:46 pm (UTC)
It's not so much how evil he is...
It's how evil he became!

Watching WW go from a damaged, cancer-ridden innocent to a crime-UBER-Lord was an amazing ride. It's what we should have gotten with Anakin Skywalker's story, but didn't.

William Moffett Jr.
Sep. 19th, 2013 01:25 pm (UTC)
Monster Mash
Must admit, I have barely opened up the books, or seen even an episode of the Game of Thrones show (though I update myself occasionally on what the show's about via the A.V. Club). It's next up on the ol' art-seeking list, but my brain can barely contain the universe of Breaking Bad, so it may be a while.

As a devout fan of Gilligan's show, I don't really think anyone...even William Shakespeare himself, can craft a fully realized monster as complex as Walter White...and he isn't even the most evil figure in the show (Uncle Jack really isn't three-dimensional though, and Todd is also more of a satanic-sponge than an active agent of malice). Though, let's just do the thing Seitz mentioned recently, and Whitewash accountability...blame it on the money!
justjohn
Sep. 20th, 2013 06:51 am (UTC)
Okay, here's an example of why your TV adaptation is milder than "Breaking Bad"
In that scene where Theon gets, er, altered, if this were Breaking Bad, as the camera blurred, the tune "Happy Days Are Here Again" would have sprung up.

But in a fantasy world, where weather and seasons work differently, magic kinda exists, and people's biology works differently (for instance, there's no such thing as leg hair and people can be strapped to something for weeks on end without pissing themselves,) you have to work to reveal your world, as opposed to mocking our world.

You're at a genre-induced disadvantage.
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