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1-1: "Winter Is Coming" 2011.04.17 (recap)


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#391

FacelessMan

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 3:48 PM

But I have no way of knowing anything other than what the show shows me. This was not evident in the episode. Nothing was really evident, it was just a very raw introduction of an entire people.


If not evident then why are you looking for it? What it showed you was an entire people, as you put it. And on screen they were shown with various real-life ethnicities, and what I noticed the least was "black" and "white" ethnicities. So how is it a racial thing if it has many different colors in the group? You do later say what you saw as featured were mostly dark skinned. I only saw a few in the background periphery that were dark skinned. Some have even pointed out that some, even featured, were white people(which I didn't notice). Point is many groups were there but most of us didn't notice certain ones. But then why should we, it's 2011 and we shouldn't be scouring everything we see for certain races. I watch something and don't look for racism or wrong things or whatever. That's not a enjoyable way to live life. Now sure, if something really stands out I, we, should notice. But nothing did. Proof of that is different viewers noticing different things in the group of Dothraki people.

Fer cryin' out loud--those of us who haven't read the books don't have this context. Based purely on this episode alone, we have no reason so far to believe that there are going to be "a wide range of cultures on display."


Well, there were many different real-life ethnicities(ranging from white to black in terms of color) displayed among that Dothraki culture, so that dispels any likely racism. So the problem isn't racist, it's the fact that any group of people would be displayed as savages in a work of fiction?

Edited by FacelessMan, Apr 19, 2011 @ 3:53 PM.


#392

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 3:54 PM

The race issue didn't immediately jump to mind, but I try not to universalize my own perceptions of what could be offensive. I think that what we've been shown of the Dothraki people and culture could very well lead people to consider their portrayal as stemming from racial stereotypes.

And they probably have a point. The Dothraki are nomadic tribesmen, warlike, and don't share the social norms as the Westeros characters, which are pretty British (and considered the "standard" for much of the audience). They are very, very foreign.

Which makes them frightening, especially to someone in Dany's position. Especially since our first encounters with the Dothraki are at a large wedding, where even the WASPiest among us tend to let loose, I think our view (through Dany's eyes) of them is going to be more exaggerated than it might be after more time passes.

Just my 2 cents.

Addendum: Carlita09, I think your specific point about the virginal white girl with the giant dark savage is absolutely valid - the portrayal disturbed the hell out of me, and I've read the books.

Edited by MikeyMo, Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:02 PM.


#393

Carlita09

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 3:54 PM

Well, there were many different real-life ethnicities(ranging from white to black in terms of color) displayed among that Dothraki culture, so that dispels any likely racism. So the problem isn't racist, it's the fact that any group of people would be displayed as savages in a work of fiction? That seems silly.

That's not at all what I said (or what anybody has said). My point is that dispelling people's problems with the first episode with "this, this, and this happen in the books!" isn't helpful. Some of us haven't read the damn books. We're talking about the show.

And good God, the race of the particular actors in the wedding scene isn't the only problem people had. I, for one, am not talking about that; I stated my specific qualm on the previous page.

Edited by Carlita09, Apr 19, 2011 @ 3:59 PM.


#394

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 3:55 PM

To be honest, as someone who has read the first book and was prepared for the wedding feast scene, it still struck me as.......off. I know where the story is going and still had to push past a feeling of discomfort.

If you're a black woman, you don't want the first time you see another black woman on your tv screen to be her shaking her ass, breasts bared and engaging in public animalistic sex. I don't care who voted for Obama. Sorry. It's not a bar to me watching the show or enjoying the story. I didn't burn the books or turn it off in disgust but it's just like really? Sometimes when things like this happen you wonder if anyone is paying attention behind the camera. There are things that go over just fine in print that are more jarring in living color and that scene definitely ended up in that column. When you are trying to build a world, nothing should knock your viewers out of the spell you're weaving. Mileage is obviously varying.

#395

Ulle

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

I type too slow and by the time I post there are posts I've missed. This time I checked first, so I'll change this to:

Yes, what Carlita09 said. You can't assume that your knowledge of the books should color how we saw this episode.

If not evident then why are you looking for it?

I am not "looking for it", as I said I reacted to it when I saw the scene.

Point is many groups were there but most of us didn't notice certain ones. But then why should we, it's 2011 and we shouldn't be scouring everything we see for certain races. I watch something and don't look for racism or wrong things or whatever. That's not a enjoyable way to live life. Now sure, if something really stands out I, we, should notice. But nothing did. Proof of that is different viewers noticing different things in the group of Dothraki people.

My reaction to a scene is not determined by whether "most of us" reacted that way. I certainly wasn't scouring or looking for racism, it stood out to me and I mentioned it. I don't think the fact(?) that the majority didn't see the same indicates that I must agree with you. I found the scene unpleasant. I agree with you that on rewatch it wasn't quite the same as when I saw it the first time, but that doesn't mean my reaction was invalid. It was a reaction, and I stand by it.

ETA: Son of a... Still typing too slow! Consider this posted between post 391 and 392.

Edited by Ulle, Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:02 PM.


#396

revelation

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:07 PM

I think the casting of the few prominent black dancers was a mistake. The Dothraki are not black at all. There should not have been any black people at the wedding. The whole issue has led to some viewers getting confused about the ethnicity of the Dothraki and whether it is a reinforcement of a racial stereo-type by Martin's books.

Martin does not write the Dothraki as being black, but olive skinned possibly. They have long hair but not dreadlocks so clearly not black. There are a few black characters in the books series and they are quite clearly described as such.

George RR Martin was not involved in the casting of these extremely minor characters, so these few dancers being black in the TV show does not reflect on his writing at all. If the casting had not used those couple of black dancers then this issue would not have arisen at all and everyone would have been happier. Newbies would not have raised red flags about African stereo-types and those who had read the books would have been happier that the TV show more closely followed the books.

People dancing, rutting and fighting to the death at this wedding was accurate to the books. There were no mention of any black dancers at all. It was a mis-step by the casting directors.

Edited by revelation, Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:10 PM.


#397

FacelessMan

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:09 PM

That's not at all what I said (or what anybody has said). My point is that dispelling people's problems with the first episode with "this, this, and this happen in the books!" isn't helpful. Some of us haven't read the damn books. We're talking about the show.

And good God, the race of the particular actors in the wedding scene isn't the only problem people had. I, for one, am not talking about that; I stated my specific qualm on the previous page.


Of course I know that..I was just showing how silly it is to see racism when it was like a rainbow of real-life races displayed. And I'm saying based on that particular season in the episode..not further on in the book. In the book it's not a rainbow of color. So just seeing the episode, I don't see where racism would be inferred based on seeing a savage-like culture fighting, dancing, and screwing when there isn't any particular race presented as part of that culture.

All that said, I am not someone who liked the Dothraki in the book and I don't see any redeeming values from them. They are just a savage warrior culture IMO, and I don't find them very interesting.

If you're a black woman, you don't want the first time you see another black woman on your tv screen to be her shaking her ass, breasts bared and engaging in public animalistic sex.


Probably true, but doesn't mean it's wrong or racist to show. The woman just happened to be a black woman doing that. You, as a black woman, are going to be more sensitive to something like that, which is understandable. And understandable that it would make you uncomfortable. It's cool that it doesn't completely turn you off to reading/watching..that would be a shame! In context of the show, if there was going to be a black person in the first episode it would be there, because everything else we've seen so far involves people of caucasian descent. The reason she was on there most likely is because she was an extra from the Malta area, and they seemed to be grabbing extras regardless of ethnicity. Maybe they should have had the foresight to not put a black woman shaking her hoo ha's as the first representation of a black person seen on the show. Frankly there shouldn't have been any black people cast in that scene at all..just confusing to the viewer to see so many races as part of the Dothraki.

Edited by FacelessMan, Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:11 PM.


#398

BloatedGuppy

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:11 PM

I think the casting of the few prominent black dancers was a mistake. The Dothraki are not black at all. There should not have been any black people at the wedding. The whole issue has led to some viewers getting confused about the ethnicity of the Dothraki and whether it is a reinforcement of a racial stereo-type by Martin's books.



Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Dothraki take a lot of slaves (something of a past time in that part of the world). That would account for a pretty heavy mixture of ethnic groups at the wedding.

#399

Kalbear

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:15 PM

I think the casting of the few prominent black dancers was a mistake. The Dothraki are not black at all. There should not have been any black people at the wedding. The whole issue has led to some viewers getting confused about the ethnicity of the Dothraki and whether it is a reinforcement of a racial stereo-type by Martin's books.

Again, the Dothraki are about as ethnically varied as you can get in a pre-industrial age culture. Saying they all look one way is kinda like saying all Russians look one way. That there were darker women or lighter women or whatever in that group makes sense both from a casting perspective and from the story.

Probably true, but doesn't mean it's wrong or racist to show. The woman just happened to be a black woman doing that. You, as a black woman, are going to be more sensitive to something like that, which is understandable.

As a white man I was pretty sensitive to it, because in the US it has racial overtones that are reminders of much more negative things. And when you're talking about something that isn't actually history, that could have whatever ethnicities the author wishes - and you see the 'savages' being depicted as dark skinned, shaking their ass and fucking like animals in public - that should reasonably set off warning signs.

Does it mean you can't ever do these things in media? No. But bear in mind that it is likely going to elicit specific reactions as well. That's all. Should it? In a perfect world where there wasn't a history of genocide towards 'savages' or a history of slavery, sure, that'd be great. We're not there, and it's a huge, egotistical privilege to simply dismiss it as something that people need to get over.

#400

revelation

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:21 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Dothraki take a lot of slaves (something of a past time in that part of the world). That would account for a pretty heavy mixture of ethnic groups at the wedding.


The Dothraki do indeed take part in slave trading, and that would provide a valid explanation for the presence of those black dancers at the wedding. However the presentation of the only black actors cast in the first episode as being slaves would have also raised red-flags about racial stereo-types. Just remove them entirely from the cast and there is no issue. Then we would all be talking about the correct etiquette of disemboweling at weddings instead of black stereo-types.

#401

Ulle

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:30 PM

I was just showing how silly it is to see racism


Please stop trying to make the opposing view be silly, outdated, racist, nonexistent, grasping, and what have you. It's not adding to the discussion, and I find it quite rude to be honest.

#402

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:32 PM

MOD ANNOUNCEMENT

I've created a hotbutton thread, which is where discussions of racism and misogyny should go.

Please remember that people are allowed to judge a television show based on the episodes which have aired. That's the whole point of this website. If you are confident that they will change their minds when later events happen, it is not your responsibility to tell them. Let them experience the show for themselves.

#403

Lady V

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:36 PM

Moved post to the new thread.

Edited by Lady V, Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:50 PM.


#404

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 4:36 PM

Just watched this, in post-Passover hangover and am hooked hooked hooked!

So much that it drove me here after months to see what everyone was saying. I loved Catelyn-- she seems about the right age; people in tough climates often look more weathered than you might think. I met teenagers in Jordan who looked 40. People guessed my age as 21 and I am... so not 21.

I found her firm, smart and capable. I'd have to watch again to pick up on any real animosity towards Jon.

I was so thrilled they got to keep the puppies. They are so cute.

I was reading some spoilers but had to stop as they really ARE spoilers. But it is going to be hard to wait a week for epi2.

It is really nice to see onscreen a family that actually seems like a family, and Ned's did. I loved little Arya and her mocking bow and her naughtiness. I liked all the kids even vain Sansa.

Cersai was just horrid though-- I don't find her pretty-- and Jaime even worse. No love for him whatsoever.

The white horse as a wedding present gives me some hope although I too watched the Borgias and don't need to see any more ethereal sweet blondes being raped, thanks.

that so many who loved the book loved the show is enormous praise for it.

I also liked that the landscape was just not pretty in this world. (except for wherever it was platinum blonde siblings were). I'm kind of over the green hills of camelot thing (over Camelot in general, I think!)

#405

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 5:15 PM

lucindabelle, I'd gotten so wrapped up in the ongoing discussion (now moved to a different thread) that I'd forgotten to add my overall thoughts on the episode.

In short, I was really impressed. As someone who has read all the books (twice, plus the audiobooks), I was honestly quite a bit nervous that the show wouldn't live up to my expectations. But I thought the casting was by-and-large excellent - I'm withholding judgement on Robb until he has something to do - and the scenes that didn't conform to the book were among my favorite.

My biggest complaint is that I don't like being forced to stop in the middle of such an engrossing story. NEED. MORE. NOW.

#406

JenL

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 7:40 PM

If you think about Dany's marriage as a sexual act (yes, there is an alliance aspect, but go with me here), then both Cersei and Dany use sex to achieve their goals. The difference is that because we don't see Dany as grasping for power, you are more sympathetic to her.

Except that, from what we saw in this episode, Dany did not in any way enter this marriage to achieve a goal - unless "don't make my brother angry" counts as a goal? She did as she was ordered by her brother (head of family), her lord (head of Family/clan), her king. Whatever may come from this wedding, however she may grow or whatever power she may claim, she didn't choose to enter the marriage in order to DO anything.

#407

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 7:58 PM

Sorry, you are right, Dany is not entering into this marriage with any semblance of goals, and I was thinking more of how things turn out in Book 1. But Dany enters into the marriage with as much choice as any woman did back in that time. All marriages then were arranged, and while Cersei certainly wanted the power of marrying the king, none of the other women in the series had any more choice in who they married than Dany did. I just wanted to use that to point out the similarities between Cersei and Dany again.

#408

NoWillToResist

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 9:47 PM

So, I haven't read the books (and hadn't heard of them, for that matter) but a friend was very excited about it so I tuned in due to their pitch: fantasy, kind of like a grittier LOTR with less magic, best-selling books, Sean Bean. ;)

Really, really liked it. They had me from the first images. Hell, they had me at the CREDITS.

I wasn't bothered by the nudity/sex. Frankly, from everything I'd read about the series lately, I thought it would be more porn than serialized novel. I think I over-prepared myself because my feathers weren't ruffled. If I'm not mistaken, I just saw a bunch of boobs and bare asses. :)

I hate the way women have no personal power or autonomy but I figure it's par for the course considering the world they inhabit. I will give the series credit for not sugar-coating things.

I could have done with a little less gore/violence but, again, looks like a pretty harsh life, so...it is what it is.

What is it with the incestuous stuff though? Man. That is...erm...kind of fucked up.

Okay, time for the shallow: love the virgin bride's eyes. I think it was when she was given the books at her wedding that I was most struck by the riotous swirl of colours in her irises. And her husband has a nice upper body.

Speaking of those two, I had such naive hopes that he would follow up his tenderly brushing away a tear from her face with an indication that the marriage didn't have to be consummated right away but I appreciate the way it played out insofar as I find it far more realistic. I mean, considering the man's world this is set in, it would have been laughable to find a ruler willing to wait for his bride to be ready.

Also, I've read a lot about the dancing at the wedding feast and I confess I'm a bit confused. Again, I haven't read the books but I assumed that the uh...sexy times in the dance were kind of a...tribal celebration/enactment of the impending union. I did not think the women were actually being fucked. Were they? I thought it was all simulated. Anyway, I wasn't offended by it; I just chalked it up to a more 'earthy' attitude towards the human body/sexuality. That would be strange and fearful to someone like...uh...the bride (yeah, the names will take a long time). Culture shock to the nth degree.

If a wedding with fewer than 3 deaths is considered a dull wedding, I'm surprised the groom didn't skewer a few folks; after all, as the big kahuna of that group, wouldn't he find such a pedestrian wedding (only ONE death!) kind of an affront to his status? ;)

Dinklage was fun and I want one of those direwolf puppies. SO CUTE!!!

The vistas were gorgeous and the opening scene with the zombie kid and forest chase etc. were very tense.

So, yeah, I'm in. :D

Edited by NoWillToResist, Apr 19, 2011 @ 10:18 PM.


#409

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 10:28 PM

Again, I haven't read the books but I assumed that the uh...sexy times in the dance were kind of a...tribal celebration/enactment of the impending union. I did not think the women were actually being fucked.

It wasn't a reenactment. It was as real as the disembowelment.

#410

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 10:58 PM

It wasn't a reenactment. It was as real as the disembowelment.


Considering that the men kept their pants on, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one.

#411

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:07 PM

And speaking of all the introductions . . . were we ever told who the guy in the lion helmet was? The camera certainly focused on him quite a bit as he rode in with the King's entourage and we saw him raise his visor (he looked to be in his 40's or 50's with a light beard) but I don't recall seeing him at all after that. Did I miss it?

#412

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:10 PM

And speaking of all the introductions . . . were we ever told who the guy in the lion helmet was? The camera certainly focused on him quite a bit as he rode in with the King's entourage and we saw him raise his visor (he looked to be in his 40's or 50's with a light beard) but I don't recall seeing him at all after that. Did I miss it?


It's a stylized dog helmet. I don't think he was mentioned again, but he was focused on and has neat head gear. Make of that what you will.

#413

true gamester

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:12 PM

That was "the Hound" aka Sandor Clegane. It's a snarling dog helmet.

#414

Dietes

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Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:55 PM

And he's the guy with the badly burned face who was talking to Tyrion when the hunting party left.

#415

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Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 12:22 AM

I loved Catelyn-- she seems about the right age; people in tough climates often look more weathered than you might think.


How old is Catelyn supposed to be? And is there supposed to be a huge age difference between her and Ned? Because I thought the two of them looked reasonably age-appropriate, and like normal people. They have power and social standing, but I didn't have the impression that either one of them was supposed to be at all glamourous. To me she looked like a fairly typical woman old enough to have five children. (Also I liked her performance.)

#416

Tee El

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Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 12:23 AM

I thought the blonde sister who was forced to marry the barbarian dude looked a lot like Piper Perabo.

I definitely enjoyed the show a lot more than Camelot (which I stopped watching after 2 episodes). Great production values, good cast/acting, and holy incest Batman! The ending with the boy being thrown out of the tower was just f---ing brutal. The problem for me is that I don't know if I care to put in the effort of knowing all the names of the many (perhaps too many) characters, kingdoms, and tribes. But the action and drama ought to be enough entertainment to keep me interested.

#417

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Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 12:42 AM

How old is Catelyn supposed to be? And is there supposed to be a huge age difference between her and Ned? Because I thought the two of them looked reasonably age-appropriate, and like normal people. They have power and social standing, but I didn't have the impression that either one of them was supposed to be at all glamourous. To me she looked like a fairly typical woman old enough to have five children. (Also I liked her performance.)


I'm not sure honestly, she was engaged to his older brother, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything given the typpical marriage age in Westeros

#418

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Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 12:57 AM

Catelyn and Eddard are both I believe in their mid 30s. Possibly aged up slightly for the show, but the Stark children haven't been much, so I don't see why the parents would be besides Sean Bean being 52.

#419

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Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 5:23 AM

I'm happy to see so many people enjoyed the show. I myself am a fan of the first book. I picked it up when I heard this series was starting, and found the entire story to be incredibly good. I'm waiting until the end of Season 1 to pick up Book 2.

Don't have much in the way of a review. I felt that the episode was very faithful to the books. I don't want to say anything that could in any way be considered spoilers, but for anyone who is on the fence, I found the first 150 pages (which will likely be the first two episodes) to be slightly dull when I read the books.

As for WatchrTina's question, you see the man briefly talking to Tyrion as the hunting party is leaving. His name has yet to be mentioned. On the topic of introductions, I feel the goal of the first episode was more an introduction to the family dynamics (in this case, the Starks, the Lannisters and the Baratheons) then to individual characters. The families are key to the story, and I think it makes more sense to introduce families first and then individual characters. We were given a base, but it wouldn't surprise me if in the second and third episode the names of secondary characters are dropped and the names of primary characters are emphasized.

#420

NoWillToResist

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Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 8:16 AM

It wasn't a reenactment. It was as real as the disembowelment.

Considering that the men kept their pants on, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one.


Yeah, that's why I didn't think sex was actually happening. I mean, sure, I didn't expect to see penises on screen, but they could have given us a bare ass from the side/back (basically what they did with the twins at the end). Since everyone seemed fully clothed, I figured it was all a show for the wedding. Basically, a rain dance for the wedding night. ;)

I was amazed at how much Ned's wife reminded me of Joan Allen. I did appreciate that she seemed more...plain...than the queen. They appear to live in a harsh place, so her no-nonsense look makes a lot of sense.

I suppose this is technically a spoilery question, but since I don't think it's necessarily plot-relevant, I'll ask: do we ever find out if their marriage was a love match or arranged?

Edited by NoWillToResist, Apr 20, 2011 @ 8:21 AM.