House of the Dragon

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KnightDamien
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House of the Dragon

Sat Aug 27, 2022 6:34 pm

I thought we had a thread for this but I can't find it.

Definitely an interesting first episode. Really harkens back to the good seasons of GOT, which is obviously what they're going for. We still desperately need people in TV and film that know how to make a night-time scene without just making it actually so dark you can't see, but it's not nearly as bad as later seasons of GOT got.

The short version is.. I liked it. A lot. I hope it trends upward in quality rather than downward, because if it stays consistent here, this could be a pretty amazing show.
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House of the Dragon

Mon Aug 29, 2022 3:07 am

Definitely enjoyed the first episode a lot! Felt more like the original series and the books to me.

I loved all the detailed armor! Daemon had that really cool dragon armor (but come on! You need to wear a visor when jousting!!).

I don’t know what happened with the joist turning into a deadly melee though. That was out of the blue. But at least we get to see plate armor actually able to deflect blades and things like that. Using actual anti-plate weapons like maces, axes, flails, and things. Instead of the paper thin armor from the original series. You can’t pierce plate armor with a sword. Anyway, I liked the combat in this episode a lot.


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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Aug 29, 2022 3:19 pm

The melee was to show all the pent up disdain the houses have for each other.

Are they going to nerf leadership again in the his series? The king made a heart breaking decision based on council. Then he made a sensible one. His brother is a brute and dolt. His daughter so far demonstrates good leadership as Danerys did before they turned her into Dark Phoenix or MCU Wanda.

The Princess showed more good leadership qualities when she chose the captain of the guard and squelched her Uncle’s temper tantrum. Matt Smith is playing the adolescent in an adult body well. As Milly Alcock is playing the adult in an adolescent body better.

I fear in GoT manner they’ll ruin her too.

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Re: House of the Dragon

Tue Aug 30, 2022 2:03 am

Akatsuki wrote:Anyway, I liked the combat in this episode a lot.
I mostly agree. In that specific sense I had a few quibbles. I really hated Daemon targeting the horse in the joust. That's illegal. He would be disqualified and thus.. the single combat couldn't have happened as he would have been declared to have forfeited, AND would have had to buy buddy a new horse. But that would make Daemon look like an idiot, so they just ignored the actual rules and had him do it anyway and I'm supposed to think he's.. what.. clever? It was stupid. If he was going to target the horse, they should have gone to great lengths to show him do it in a way that looked accidental but obviously wasn't.

Yeah, definitely the visor thing, too. Not wearing a visor in a joust isn't brave or daring. It's patently ridiculous and stupid and no one in the age of plate armor would ever even consider it except [email protected]#$ The Joker in what was half medieval movie and half medieval spoof movie. So that should say it all.

In terms of the armor -- it all looks really good for what is actually there. The problem I have is what isn't there. For a bunch of knights/men-at-arms engaging in the melee with what is obviously weapons of war (very strange, actually), no one is actually protected. Great, you have plate armor on. You're not wearing ANY voiders. Anywhere. Basically all of your joints are super easy targets. I get it.. mail is heavy and uncomfortable for actors. But, I mean.. don't sign on to be an armored soldier in a medieval movie, then?
And mail is kind of expensive to make if you want it to look nice. But then.. don't make a medieval TV show, I guess?

But really.. all Daemon had to do was one little poke of his very pointy sword into his opponent's completely unprotected inner elbows, underarms, inner bicep, etc.. to end that fight immediately. Voiders, people. I don't know how you look at a suit of armor with all those huge gaps and say 'yeah, let's just put some cloth there, I'm sure that's how real knights did it.' Silly.


On a more technical note.. I wonder about Daemon's choice of weapon. He wields Dark Sister - a Valyrian Steel sword. They're supposedly much sharper than any other sword (and more durable in order to be able to maintain a sharper edge without taking damage). Thing is.. to fight a guy in plate with a sword, you use a technique called half-swording, where you actually hold the sword blade with one hand to guide the point into openings. But.. could you do that with Valyrian steel? Medieval swords were pretty damn sharp and there's a specific technique to holding a sharp blade without hurting yourself. But it does have limits. You would not want to hold a surgical scalpel that way. If it's -too- sharp, it'll just cut you no matter what.
So did Daemon bring a sword he basically would have no way of winning the fight with? Unless Valyrian steel can cut through armor (I don't -think- it can)? Or unless we're intended to understand that the lack of voiders in armor is not a costuming mistake, but an in-universe reality and Daemon was intending to take advantage of it?

Oh well, just stupid musings from someone way too nerdy about weapons and armor.

Still a fun show. Haven't watched the second episode yet, as I gotta wait for the kids to be in bed while I simultaneously still have enough energy to stay up and watch something. VERY excited, though.
Akatsuki wrote: I don’t know what happened with the joist turning into a deadly melee though
Pretty much how real history worked. Both in the sense that unhorsed men could choose to continue fighting on foot, and in that jousts were almost always accompanied by melee on foot for additional, smaller prizes and far less glory and reputation. I -think- we're meant to take all the various duels to be jousts that ended in melee as both combatants refused to concede, though.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Fri Sep 30, 2022 5:46 pm

I thought there'd be more discussion around this series, but given the nature of the first half-season, that's not completely shocking.

I had hopes that this show would overcome the original's deficiencies and eventually top it. I had similar hopes for Better Call Saul. It seemed like Saul was a sure bet to do it until the last three or four episodes, which I didn't care for. I gave up on those aspirations for HotD after episode six.

I should note that I hate prequels. They give up narrative tension in favor of fan service. Because this series is only loosely connected to Thrones, I thought it had a better chance. Unfortunately, it lacks the political intrigue and depth of early Thrones. It might still catch Thrones, but I don't think I'm capable of enjoying it as much. The simple fact is House of the Dragon isn't rewatchable for me. I'm always willing to rewatch the first five seasons of Thrones. It's nearly perfect television.

It's the birthing scenes that did it. I was okay with one. Queen Aemma's death was formative for Rhaenyra and Viserys. If I was writing or directing, I still wouldn't have gone in that direction, but I could understand it. Every subsequent scene has felt cruel and unnecessary. With Thrones, women were second-class citizens. The difference is that it was subtextual. You could both think about the broader ramifications and lose yourself in the world. Here, the treatment of women defines the show and the universe. It's stomach-turning.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Benioff and Weiss revealed their incompetence when they went off-book. Fire & Blood, the book HotD is based on, is not a traditional novel. The writers are forced to make inferences and fill in the gaps. It's not quotable. The themes beat you over the head.

As a relatively insignificant sidenote, they seem to have blown it with the Rhaenyra casting. Milly Alcock had verve and stage presence. Emma D'Arcy, at least to this point, has been totally flat. I wish they would've just kept the younger cast in place.

I'll keep watching it, and it might even be above-average television, but it sure as shit ain't Game of Thrones.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:56 pm

TheSameIdiot wrote: I gave up on those aspirations for HotD after episode six.
I will say that I think there's a lot of things being done well in this show (some less well, but that's the nature of TV). It's the necessities of the story they want to tell that are causing problems. The first few seasons of GOT are so rewatchable because there's steady, continuous movement through a single story and the stories of multiple characters, to the point where most seasons have something approaching a complete narrative.

HotD suffers because of the nature of he story it's trying to tell where you almost -can't- have any of that. I pretty fervently disagree with changing actors to show age. Especially when, to go along with the whole 'this show feels very sexist but not in the way it should' discussion, only the children and female characters get changed. Vis and Daemon get to be played by the same actors, but the virtually adult women that were playing the main female characters get dumped for different actors because... reasons?
It's extremely jarring. Remember how one of the biggest complaints in early GOT was the constantly changing Mountain actor. Milly [email protected]#$ Alcock is 22 years old. Somehow she can play a 16-year-old, but not a 26-year-old. What the [email protected]#$ is that? And it really doesn't help that Milly and Emily Carey were possibly two of the best presences on the first few episodes. They command the screen in a way some of the more seasoned, older actors even can't.

But moving aside from that; for this story to make any sense, we can't start at the Dance. So we're starting way before it. But to do that the show absolutely must cover a huge span of time compared to how quickly it has to do it. That's a hard sell for audiences because characters are basically growing old off-screen. We're not seeing their journey. We're not seeing their daily life. We're seeing snippets. We're seeing the cliffnotes of the lives of MAJOR characters, and that's a huge problem to overcome, in my opinion. And I'm not even sure what the answer is.


That is all to say that I think the show started good, got a little iffy, and will get good again once we settle in to the timeline that we're going to stick with for a while. I think, if I'm remembering the story properly, we may have one more time jump to get where we need to be, though less drastic than this last one. And after that we should be able to stay with characters for a while, and that will really help with engagement.
Right now the show feels a lot more like one of those medieval history dramatizations; a live action text book giving you the major details of some historical event. Which is, of course, pretty much exactly what this show is so far. I respect that they try to put in as much 'humanity' to each episode as they can, and that's important, but I don't think it'll ever be enough to counter the issues I raised.
I'd say the only way to make this problem go away would be for each 'time zone' to be an entire season. And even that could end up being really boring because, as George often said in his histories, the reason for the jumps is that nothing interesting happens for long periods of time.

TheSameIdiot wrote: I should note that I hate prequels. They give up narrative tension in favor of fan service. Because this series is only loosely connected to Thrones, I thought it had a better chance.
I think a prequel is mostly always going to be about spectacle over substance. You know what's going to happen already. There are, or should be, VERY few surprises. This show has the benefit, with George being on staff, that they can use his unreliable narrator thing with the history books to put in a few swerves or play with expectations... but we know where this is going and we know how it ends. Period. You CANNOT deviate very much if you want this to actually tie in to anything else.
So you've got to be here mostly for big battles and dragons fighting each other and people [email protected]#$ and getting murdered. You're here to -see- it happen, rather than because you want to find out -what- will happen.

TheSameIdiot wrote:It's the birthing scenes that did it.
Yup. I understand they probably did it because it's there for shock factor. And they drag it out because it's MORE shocking because you keep expecting the scene to pull away and it never does. I get it. But I don't need or want to see it for that long and it comes off that the SHOW, not the world, hates women.

TheSameIdiot wrote: The writers are forced to make inferences and fill in the gaps. It's not quotable. The themes beat you over the head.
But it's fair to point out that Martin is a producer here. He's directly involved with the show and telling them how things should go. So at least when they're filling in the gaps, they literally have the guy that wrote it on speed dial. The problem with that is that I don't think he ever intended to fill in those gaps, so even he's going to be doing some shoulder-shrugging and guesswork.


And all of that long-windedness is to say...
TheSameIdiot wrote: I'll keep watching it, and it might even be above-average television, but it sure as shit ain't Game of Thrones.
If it continues on the trajectory it's on, with the quality they've put into it, I think it will go down as slower to get started than GOT, but ultimately a better show. GOT will forever be hamstrung by an absolutely abysmal, insulting, horribly written final TWO seasons. And there's no saving or excusing that. It will always, to I think most people, feel unfinished. It's a great five seasons, a middling season, and a horrendous two seasons. I think HotD will go down as a rough first season, and a great few later seasons (not sure how long it's intended to go for), if they manage to iron out the issues they're having and once it gains some traction and sticks with the main actors.

HotD has potential. GOT started so strong it didn't even need to have 'potential' - but they squandered every bit of fan goodwill while HotD still could use that potential to create something that people remember -fondly- in a few years, unlike GOT.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Sun Oct 02, 2022 9:10 pm

KnightDamien wrote:
Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:56 pm
But moving aside from that; for this story to make any sense, we can't start at the Dance. So we're starting way before it. But to do that the show absolutely must cover a huge span of time compared to how quickly it has to do it. That's a hard sell for audiences because characters are basically growing old off-screen. We're not seeing their journey. We're not seeing their daily life. We're seeing snippets. We're seeing the cliffnotes of the lives of MAJOR characters, and that's a huge problem to overcome, in my opinion. And I'm not even sure what the answer is.

I've put some amount of thought into this. The time jumps absolutely kill any narrative momentum. I don't feel positively toward anyone besides Rhaenyra.

If I were writing, I would've set the first half of episode one at the beginning of the story. Put anything vital to the plot in that half hour. Then I would've worked in flashbacks throughout the rest of the season.

At least then I wouldn't have felt betrayed when they replaced Alcock with D'Arcy. (I knew it was coming, but Alcock's screen presence has not been kind to D'Arcy.)

KnightDamien wrote:
Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:56 pm
I think a prequel is mostly always going to be about spectacle over substance. You know what's going to happen already. There are, or should be, VERY few surprises.
So you've got to be here mostly for big battles and dragons fighting each other and people [email protected]#$ and getting murdered. You're here to -see- it happen, rather than because you want to find out -what- will happen.

Journey before destination, but at the same time, you're basically cutting your story off at the knees. I hate prequels. I know this was George's preferred Thrones spinoff and everything else, but as I've said with Star Wars, the interesting thing is the universe, not the same six characters.

This is a million percent better than any Star Wars spinoff because it doesn't feature a prominent Skywalker and a Glup Shitto cameo. At the same time, the Targaryens are basically the Skywalkers in this case.

I would've so much rather had a Dunk and Egg series, the canceled Naomi Watts spinoff, or a Princess Nymeria show. Give me something in the distant past/future or something unrecognizable. This, with its politics, war, and dragons, is basically GoT Lite.

KnightDamien wrote:
Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:56 pm
But I don't need or want to see it for that long and it comes off that the SHOW, not the world, hates women.

Bingo.

KnightDamien wrote:
Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:56 pm
If it continues on the trajectory it's on, with the quality they've put into it, I think it will go down as slower to get started than GOT, but ultimately a better show. GOT will forever be hamstrung by an absolutely abysmal, insulting, horribly written final TWO seasons. And there's no saving or excusing that. It will always, to I think most people, feel unfinished. It's a great five seasons, a middling season, and a horrendous two seasons. I think HotD will go down as a rough first season, and a great few later seasons (not sure how long it's intended to go for), if they manage to iron out the issues they're having and once it gains some traction and sticks with the main actors.

HotD has potential. GOT started so strong it didn't even need to have 'potential' - but they squandered every bit of fan goodwill while HotD still could use that potential to create something that people remember -fondly- in a few years, unlike GOT.

I can see that. If you want them to land the plane and do it right from start to finish, I get it. For me, despite how smart it was, Thrones was comfort TV. There's probably an element of nostalgia there because I first watched it in college in 2012, but I would much rather watch the first five seasons of Thrones and ignore the shitty parts than be subjected to one of those birthing scenes again. I don't think I'll ever be able to stomach a rewatch of this show.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Oct 03, 2022 4:01 am

They should take a few thousand dollars out of that CGI budget and get a cinematographer who knows how to light a scene.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Oct 03, 2022 1:22 pm

I mean, what Game of Thrones? Is this show as good as first four seasons of GoT? Absolutely not. But as someone who didn't like original "Fire & Blood" at all, I like this show much more than that book or the last three seasons. Even season five had some awful moments (Stanis stupid death, burning Shireen and other nonsense). That was hard to watch...

I enjoy it a lot. This show definitely has potential. I don't really care about Rhaenyra though, as many people seems do. She makes too many stupid decisions. In GoT world it can be a serious mistake.

Also surprised they didn't make show about Robert's Rebellion first. But then again, maybe they didn't want it to be so close to GoT (because of the last bad seasons).
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Re: House of the Dragon

Tue Oct 04, 2022 2:06 am

TheSameIdiot wrote: I've put some amount of thought into this. The time jumps absolutely kill any narrative momentum. I don't feel positively toward anyone besides Rhaenyra.
Absolutely. And to be fair to the characters that also do have a though-line in this, Rhaenyra is one of the few that's, so far, actually a character. Vis isn't really going to have an arc. He's there to set up the larger conflict and then die. And that's made abundantly clear very early on. Even Allicent feels like she's partly only there to foil Rhaenyra rather than as her own unique character.
Again, I'm sure some of this will iron out as we get a chance to stay with specific actors and characters for a bit longer. And again, I'm sure a lot of it is just because the side-characters have the personality and scope of historic figures mentioned in biographies of actually important people. They won't feel fleshed out until we have time with them beyond just setting up the bare bones of what this story is even about.

TheSameIdiot wrote: If I were writing, I would've set the first half of episode one at the beginning of the story. Put anything vital to the plot in that half hour. Then I would've worked in flashbacks throughout the rest of the season.
Okay, so it's not just me. I thought it was -very- strange that we got a full series of episodes showing this progression. But maybe they felt it was just too much to do in flashbacks without it becoming a meme that half of the show is flashback. Or maybe they felt like it would ape too much off The Witcher, especially the first season, with all the time jumps.
TheSameIdiot wrote: I know this was George's preferred Thrones spinoff and everything else, but as I've said with Star Wars, the interesting thing is the universe, not the same six characters.
Agreed. Though I see where George is coming from in that, of the prequels they could really do well without twice the budget, this makes sense. It has all of the elements (eventually) that were winners for GOT; sex, court intrigue, tons of twisting interpersonal relationships, violence, and dragons. I don't think The Long Night, for example, necessarily brings in the same crowd of viewers as GOT did. Nor would something set in the east. And I don't think even HBO really has the budget for a proper Old Valyria story.

Dunk and Egg, as you said, is the next most obvious choice. But I think that actually IS still in the cards. George did say, not terribly long ago, that HotD isn't necessarily the only thing. It's just the first, and testing the waters for interest in more TV shows from this universe.
TheSameIdiot wrote: There's probably an element of nostalgia there because I first watched it in college in 2012, but I would much rather watch the first five seasons of Thrones and ignore the shitty parts than be subjected to one of those birthing scenes again. I don't think I'll ever be able to stomach a rewatch of this show.
I agree. But there are a few things in GOT that are hard on the re-watch as well. Like watching a pregnant woman get repeatedly stabbed in the stomach. So.. fair's fair, I guess. I do think they've gone overboard and I hope we're done with overdoing it like that.

TheSameIdiot wrote: They should take a few thousand dollars out of that CGI budget and get a cinematographer who knows how to light a scene.
Oh my [email protected]#$ god, right? But it's not just GOT/HotD that's guilty of this. Some of the Marvel stuff has been just as bad. Have to basically black out the entire living room to watch a show these days, and even then I can barely see what's going on. I get it, it's [email protected]#$ night time. [email protected]#$.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Oct 10, 2022 3:52 am

That was the first Thrones-quality episode. Just fantastic.

Considine, D'Arcy, and Cooke were all great.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Oct 10, 2022 12:49 pm

I gave this show an honest try, I got to episode 6 and then had to bow out. Ultimately, I just didn't find myself rooting for any one character, even the main girl. I just didn't care about them. It got too soap operay overall. I loved GOT, and yes, that show was one big soap opera too, but there were multiple characters that I was invested in with that show, plus it benefited from jumping to different locals throughout the kingdom. HOD is mainly localized in one spot. Yeah, I just wasn't feeling it.

Here's my bone to pick with the genre in general, keeping in mind that I AM a fan of the genre: There are 200 years between this show and GOT. Lord of the Rings had what? 5,000 years between the time Elrond and Esildur defeated Sauron and Bilbo finding the One Ring? In all this time, ZERO advancements in technology, medicine, architecture, or even fashion. A hospital in 2022 looks a heck of a lot different than a hospital in 1822. But not in this genre. Apparently no real scientific minds to speak of in society. Thousands of years go by and no one wonders if there's a better fix for your sword gash than milk of the poppy.

Again, this isn't a major complaint, I still love this genre.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Oct 10, 2022 5:31 pm

That's something I think about sometimes, in the back of my mind, when I see how similar weapons and armor look across all the eras. Styles change but the basic technology remains stagnant. Doesn't ruin anything for me at all but just something I have fun dwelling on for a moment now and then.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Oct 10, 2022 6:48 pm

Paddy Considine was [email protected]#$ great. Just like this episode of House of the Dragon.
yojoebro82 wrote:
Mon Oct 10, 2022 12:49 pm
I gave this show an honest try, I got to episode 6 and then had to bow out. Ultimately, I just didn't find myself rooting for any one character, even the main girl. I just didn't care about them.
I have the same feeling about The Rings of Power. I dropped it at episode 3 or 4. No Regrets.
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Re: House of the Dragon

Mon Oct 10, 2022 8:56 pm

yojoebro82 wrote: Here's my bone to pick with the genre in general, keeping in mind that I AM a fan of the genre: There are 200 years between this show and GOT. Lord of the Rings had what? 5,000 years between the time Elrond and Esildur defeated Sauron and Bilbo finding the One Ring? In all this time, ZERO advancements in technology, medicine, architecture, or even fashion. A hospital in 2022 looks a heck of a lot different than a hospital in 1822. But not in this genre. Apparently no real scientific minds to speak of in society. Thousands of years go by and no one wonders if there's a better fix for your sword gash than milk of the poppy.
Yeah, for sure. This is something that actually infuriates me with a lot (99%) of fantasy. Total lack of progression because everyone wants what they consider the 'coolest' thing. So.. you want plate armor? Great. Plate armor forever. You want no firearms? They will never be invented even after 6,000 years of people living in at a Renaissance-ish level of military technology where they should have -already- invented firearms. Main hero has a sword passed down from his great great great grandfather? What a lucky break that it's the exact type and style still finding regular use today!

In the interests of making for a better narrative, I'm totally cool with drastically slowed development. You can explain that away, or just not explain it. Whatever. But if some type of progression happens over time, then you create that illusion of a moving world even if you're intentionally pumping the brakes on everything the entire time.


I think the only time I've really seen this done well is ONE specific aspect of the Lord of the Rings films, where the 2nd Age Gondorians led by Isildur and Elendil are exclusively wearing mail as their primary body armor while Isildur and Elendil are wearing a lot more of what we'd call 'transitional plate' (plate elements over a lot of mail). And by the time we get to the War of the Ring, the 3rd Age Gondorians are wearing a type of full plate armor down to the last man and only the 'Ceremonial' troops are still primarily wearing mail. Meaning that the rich, powerful people got the BEST, most advanced stuff first, but that it clearly slowly trickled out over time until it became the common thing.
Which is basically how it happened in real life.

Yes, this 'adoption of plate armor' basically means they went from 'late 13th century' to 'mid 14th century' in like 3000 years. But at least something -changed-.


Coming back to HotD.. the lack of progression is something I noticed right away, but it's also something I completed expected. Medieval-type TV shows and movies LOVE plate armor and it's very hard to get them to give it up. Definitely partly because any kind of good-looking mail is hard and time consuming to make. Probably why no one in this goddamn show is even bothering to wearing voiders.

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