The Expanse Season 1 Finale Review: Into the Great Unknown

The Expanse S01E09 / S01E10: "Critical Mass" / "Leviathan Wakes"

We haven't checked in with The Expanse here at TV.com for a proper review since the pilot, and you can blame Syfy's decision to start it just before winter break, the glut of television shows out there, or me. (Just blame me.) But I'm here to fix that with a review that will touch on the final two episodes that served as the Season 1 finale, but serve more as a review for the first season overall. 

And I think that's fitting considering a few things. First, The Expanse played out more like a televised novel—because hey, it was a novel—that wasn't in a rush to go anywhere. We talk a lot about shows playing out more like a long movie (Marvel's Jessica Jones is the most recent example of that), but though The Expanse was similar to that in its heavy serialization, it was even more patient than that and needed that time to establish its universe. The Expanse's first season almost served like a 10-hour pilot that slowly dealt out information, asking viewers to give the show their trust and settle in slowly. The world The Expanse was building continued to grow even through the last seconds of the first season, as if it wanted to tell us that there's still so much to explore. Looking at the season as a whole, instead of its hourlong individual parts, better tells us what the series accomplished (which was a lot).

Second, the two-hour finale made up of "Critical Mass" and "Leviathan Wakes" wasn't exactly full of fireworks or big moments, but continued The Expanse's deliberate pace of the hardest of hardcore science-fiction interspersed with blips of suspenseful paranoia, political unrest, and the rare but incredibly effective action sequence. But both hours were incredibly satisfying, as all of Season 1 was. "Critical Mass" tied up the question of where Julie Mao was by flashing back to her actions and showing things from her perspective after Miller gathered up enough clues and found her corpse in a crappy hotel room covered hair to toe with the strange bio-weapon or alien disease whose discovery by Holden and Nagata highlighted "Salvage." "Leviathan Wakes" was more of a straight-forward escape episode as Miller and Holden (as well as Holden's crew)—finally together after converging in "Salvage"—bounced off Eros while its citizens were systematically murdered with overdoses of radiation and that mystery blue sludge that eats people. Was it genocide? Was it an act of war? Was it an experiment on people who couldn't defend themselves as a test for something bigger? The final hour was the close of a chapter instead of an all-out television finale.


The thing about The Expanse is that it got away with episodes that largely amounted to one small thing—there was an episode mostly about finding a password—because it's never claimed to be anything different and because it executes its patience in outstanding fashion. When I reviewed the pilot, I mentioned that all the hallmarks of a great space opera were there. The show looks amazing, there's a clear sense of what the show is, and there's a unique universe that's obviously in the grasp of the producers. The biggest challenge The Expanse faced was the same problem most grand-novel-to-television adaptations that want to be big hits have: it had to find momentum that would hook viewers. But the pilot didn't have much of that at all, instead choosing to tell three distinct plots (stories surrounding Holden, Miller, and Chrisjen) that never converged. And as I continued to watch further episodes, the stories stayed far apart, only putting Holden and Miller in the same room at the very end of Episode 8. That's an eternity in TV land! Even Game of Thrones smashed its characters together in the first episode and defenestrated a kid. I suspect that the structure of the series pushed some viewers away who were looking for more action, aliens, and anything, which were things The Expanse was not interested in putting out there. 

But those who let themselves get pushed away ought to think about coming back. The Expanse isn't for everyone, but it's rewarding for those who like challenging television. I mean, I know I overloaded myself by binging much of Season 1 over a half-week period, but even those who seemed on top of the happenings were confused by the series' intricate story. And that confusion is necessary to the show: The Expanse's overall conspiracy remains hidden under layers of complicated politics and the unknown, something we're experiencing right alongside the characters. 


What The Expanse did oh-so well to avoid slack was find ways to make its "dull" moments exciting. The aforementioned episode ("Windmills") that featured Holden's crew searching for a password should have been a shotgun-in-the-mouth hour that had to be slogged through, but it pieced out plot developments in a manner that used the situation to its advantage. The cat-and-mouse game between Kenzo the spy and the crew (and the cat-and-mouse game between Kenzo and the viewer) created thick tension while Holden's crew looked for a way to avoid Martian patrols. There's a fundamental understanding of how to write suspense that The Expanse's writers have that can make any situation exciting. Also take for example the pre-fight sequence in the hotel lobby of "Salvage." Holy shit that was so good! Amos knew something was up and eyed the room while Kenzo the spy tried to act cool about signaling some muscle to come over and take care of everyone. Similar nail-biting fun came in "Leviathan Wakes" as Miller and Holden hid in the pachinko arcade, a friendly conversation that turned into a deadly game of hide and seek, culminating in a coin waterfall of a jackpot falling on a man as he was choked to death. The Expanse knows how to set the mood, something that captures the noir-ish, brooding heart of the series. 

Most notably, what the two-hour finale and the season in general did was deliver consistent pacing—remember, pacing doesn't always mean moving as fast as one can—and crack open a story at just the right speed to make viewers eager for more. It felt like the story just got started in the final three episodes, and I'll reiterate my feelings that Season 1 was almost a prologue of sorts. 


What that deliberate pacing did was develop The Expanse's characters in a way that felt natural. Many of Holden's questionable actions were explained the more we spent time with him and really got to know him, and not through exposition or other cheats. Ditto for Miller, and especially true for secondary characters like Amos and Naomi. While it's not too common for characters on Syfy to have much depth, Holden and Miller have become incredibly rich characters that are fascinating to watch, and part of that is because The Expanse has given them room to breathe instead of focusing everything on plot. 

And while we're here, I should say something about Thomas Jane's performance, which has exceeded expectations. The man has created someone beyond a goofy hat and a goofier haircut who feels like a living, breathing character ripped from the pages. And really, there wasn't a weak link in the cast that I could see. 

All of it—the cast, the mood, the visuals—added up to one incredibly impressive first season of hard science-fiction. The Expanse may not have ended with big answers or big spaceship battles, but it exited one step closer to exposing the grand conspiracy without detailing too much. And that just makes me more excited for Season 2. Even if I don't know exactly what's going on. 

What did you think of Season 1 of The Expanse?


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Mar 22, 2017
Just finished this thanks to Amazon Prime and I love the show so far. It did start slow but, by Episode 3, I was hooked. It really hasn't disappointed me in any way yet and the writer here was spot on. I look forward to starting Season 2 which I've been recording on my DVR.
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Apr 05, 2016
I read the books and this Season is essentially the first HALF of the first novel, with the parts about Chrisjen thrown in for funsies.
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Mar 19, 2016
Doesn't look like Space our local scifi channel is interested in showing another season since they seem to have aired the last two eps on the same night without so much as a proper notice. But then it could have been shoddy schedule writing. :|
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Feb 23, 2016
The slow and patient pacing may throw some off, as the review noted. Still, very well executed, and I found myself looking forward to it every week. Here's to another season... sometime in 2017 :(
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Feb 16, 2016
Question, I had no idea that the last episodes were the season finale. Why such a short season?

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Feb 16, 2016
I seem to be in the minority but I found the show too slow, too many disparate threads, and no satisfaction. There are so many characters that you don't get to understand any of them. I'll watch but I find it aggravating. Yes also pretty depressing which I'm not sure I need any more of that in my life.

then again, I'm still waiting for a show to replace Farscape.
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May 06, 2016
you should just stick to that kardashian show
this one is not for you...
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Mar 23, 2017
I'm still watching but I do t know why.
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Feb 10, 2016
Fantastic!
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Feb 08, 2016
This show is pretty amazing.
Typically adaptations from book to screen involve making the action faster and paring down subplots and secondary characters. The Expanse went and did the opposite : it turned what was essentially an action-packed thriller and turned it into something much more thoughtful and deliberately-paced, with more layered characterization and a more detailed background, while keeping it all unrelentingly bleak.

That was a ballsy choice, especially from SyFy, but it might pay off in the long run, assuming, of course, that there is a long run.
Let's hope the word will spread and the show will attract more viewers who enjoy hardcore sci-fi and intricate storylines (and with a better tolerance to the blackness of space and the dim bluish light of spaceships than Jonathan Banks' character in the pilot)...
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Feb 06, 2016
This for me is one of the best Sci fi shows I've ever seen and I can't wait for next season. If it gets cancelled I'll get the book, shit I'll get the book anyway, I am sold.
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Feb 06, 2016
Agree fully with the review, but why only one review after 12 great episodes? Try promoting this great show a little more, otherwise low ratings and ultimately termination are its future.
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Feb 15, 2016
You've seen 12 great episodes? I've only been able to locate 10, including at IMDB. What am I missing? I want those other 2 great episodes!
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Feb 05, 2016
Nothing I could add to the short but accurate review - it was a near-perfect 1st season of scifi at its best! Thomas Jane did confirm that he is a great addition to any cast in any project, the look of the show is just stunning, even contemporary scifi movies don't look as good, and the slowly unfolding story drew me in more and more with every new episode. The whole thing didn't start with a confined crew knowing each other for years but instead we see the birth of a unique crew over the course of a whole season, that's awesome! I can't wait to see the fallout of Amos' shooting Miller's colleague and what Miller will do.
OMG Miller handling old grudges:

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Feb 05, 2016
I know you can not compare the budget on the TV program with the movie, but I enjoy the overall visual effect from the show. At least, it does not look cheesy.

Yes, I was somehow a little lost in the storyline when three stories were in progress at the same time. I kept telling myself one way or the other they would join together.

I really wanted to rip Miller's head off for the last three episodes. He became a pain in the butt. I was like WTF, it was over for season 1. It didn't really have that finale vibe.
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Feb 04, 2016
Miller's hair (and also many of the Belters) is deliberate, as many of them have had to wear old space gear which burns and scars them. It's the reason why they have parts of their head shaved. Also Anderson Dawes has scarring near collarbone for the same reason.

I like the story telling and the character development, so, action scenes for the sake of action never appealed to me.

If we want to see more quality science fiction shows, we need to support it for the networks to keep making them for us :)

Love the show
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Feb 16, 2016
His long weird hair is stupid. Try scissors. Makes him look creepy for no reason.
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Feb 04, 2016
The Expanse is awesome. Enough said.
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Feb 04, 2016
I love the show but am concerned about the ratings. I hope that season one ends up on Netflix, and before season two starts, so it can build an audience. This show should deserves huge ratings.
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Feb 04, 2016
What? That was the finale? Well it was good, the only thing that wasn't too clear was the deal with the dead ambassador, was he spying for Mars?
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Feb 04, 2016
The dead ambassador was murdered because he uncovered information about the drives used in the ships that destroyed the Canterbury and the Dowager. His friend figured that out, she is aware her boss and Mao are up to something sinister which is why she told her husband to take the grandchildren to Luna so she could work covertly to bring them down.
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Feb 05, 2016
Oh thanks, I thought that given his connection to Mars he might be a spy too.
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Feb 04, 2016
Ratings are really bad, and it is very expensive. Hopefully thee word will get out and ratings picks up a bit.

Second season premiers in 2017 and it will contain 13 episodes
Air date 18-49 demo Viewers (mil)
12/14/2015 0.33 1.189
12/15/2015 0.27 0.854
12/22/2015 0.15 0.676
12/29/2015 0.17 0.633
1/5/2016 0.22 0.631
1/12/2016 0.22 0.713
1/19/2016 0.17 0.502
1/26/2016 0.25 0.721
2/2/2016 0.20 0.555
2/2/2016 0.20 0.555
Season averages 0.22 0.70mil
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Feb 04, 2016
I'm honestly a bit shocked, a little disappointed, that they cut the show off where they did. This is the part where the book took off like a rocket and bummed that we'll have to wait until the next season to see it.

Over all I think they did a very good job on the adaptation. I remember when I saw the first teaser way back when and nearly vomited at how terrible it looked. I think my exact comment was "it looks like something from the 80s!" but man did they really do a great job with the visual.

I don't know if there is enough left of the first book for all of season two unless they really stretch things out, but I am eagerly waiting to see how they do.

I just hope they've got the budget for the titantic events that are about to happen.
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Feb 04, 2016
So people will get the spaceship battles and character smashing that Game of Thrones apparently does so well. I must be among the few that didn't find my attention span tested beyond it's limits. Yeah the wait is gonna kill me too, this was one of the few shows I couldn't wait for the next episode of.
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Feb 05, 2016
The whole "It's Game of Thrones... IN SPACE" that people were doing with the books a few years ago, and again with the TV show, did nothing but turn me off them...

Okay so I like GoT on TV, but the books? Tried 'em, couldn't get into the dense prose.

The Expanse is nothing like GoT... except you know it has politics in it... and I guess humans? Except the ones in the Expanse are actually likable.
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Feb 06, 2016
I think the book comparison is partly because they are written from multiple POV characters.
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Feb 07, 2016
Err...
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Feb 04, 2016
I don't know anything about the book, looking at it just from the series point of view i think SyFy has a strong, high quality series with this. Some excellent world building and story telling although it does require some patience. The way it all came together toward the finale i felt was a satisfying payoff. The first season made a strong enough impression on me to where i'm anticipating what's to come and that's the feeling you should have with a series if it's at least decent. Looking forward to what comes next and the continued world building of this series.

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Feb 04, 2016
season one was GREAT! Guess its time to go read the books haha. I hope they make it a couple more seasons, a lot of SyFY shows dont....But I guess we will see. Reminds me a bit of Treadwater, another Chad Coleman project. Well they arent exactly the same at all, but touches on some similar underlying human stories at least.
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Feb 04, 2016
I'm far from being some sort of source material purist. I'm not going to shout "Hey, in the book he has beige shirt and on screen he has off white!". But I expect screen adaptations to stay true to material as much as possible. I understand that certain changes are inevitable. Some stuff is unfilmable, some stuff has to be compressed, some stretched out etc. and if show is going to jump the shark they would at least wait until second season

Comparing this to Game of Thrones it didn't want to wait that long and went off to write its own story pretty soon, roughly after half of season. And I must say that I simply can't understand the purpose of such changes. It's not as if characters have to be changed to be filmable, quite the opposite. In the books all characters are likable, if somewhat flawed or with their own uirks. Here some are downright nasty and I wouldn't want to turn my back on them.

Which begs the question of what writers are going to do with this show. Because changes have effects down the road. Because if character jumps left instead of right that means that later he can't jump forward because he is in different place.

So the way I see it there are two ways this could go. One is that show is desgned as miniseries and there will be only two seasons, covering first book, which ends with sort-of closure. OK, it could work as 4 season series and cover second one that is closely tied to first book. Or show will start to write its own story and use books only as general outline, which is what GoT is doing and Dexter did to much greater extent.
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Feb 04, 2016
Just making a guess here but i would think it would be boring and not satisfying for artistic creators to simply follow the source material completely like paint by numbers. They probably want to also make their own imprint and do some of their own artistic creating within the piece as well. I can't fault any artistic person for that, although i do understand how people who are familiar with and have a place in their heart for the source material can be shaken by such changes. If i'm familiar with the source material and it's being made for movie or series i usually expect their to be changes as it's a different medium with usually other creative people in the mix. Not to mention isn't it kind of cool and satisfying to have different variations on it? The book is still there to enjoy and remain unchanged but then there's another vision/expansion of it to also enjoy. I don't know. I think people who are familiar and love the source material can be a little too protective over it that's just my feeling on it.
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Feb 04, 2016
As I've said, I understand certain changes are inevitable. Because of different media, increasing tensions etc. But can you see any good reason why Johnson was turned into opposite of book Johnson? And this will be a problem in second season when Roci does that thing to that station, not to mention if show plans on covering second book when relationship between Johnson and Holden simply can't be same as in the book so work they do simply can't happen. With these changes you aren't adapting material to screen, you are rewritting it.

And is there a good reason why Holden's parents were created into these anti-government group? Other than "Because we can"
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Feb 04, 2016
I read the book fairly recently and the show followed it very closely so I'm not sure what you think was too different. I'm guessing you mean Amos, but honestly he was a weak character with no real personality in the book so I'm happy to see how complicated he is here. Alex was also bland in the book so again I'm happy to see this one have some personality. Everyone got along too well in the book to be entertaining on the screen. These people feel like misfits while they seemed more like a well-disciplined unit in the book. I like this better. Miller is basically the exact same.
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Feb 04, 2016
What was different? Are you serious? Ignoring Amos being much nastier character here, Fred Johnson being resident asshole and evil guy who never went through post Anderson Station reformation and becoming voice of reason, way Roci is enlisted into OPA/Johnson's service (related to previous point), copying Avasarala from second book (though I'll admit they changed only the way her son died and increased her anti-OPA stance), UN spy on Tycho who hitches a ride on Roci, encounter with MCRN, rockhopper attacking Martian ship (which seems to be replacement for rockhopper ship getting blown apart by MCRN in the book), Holden's family being extremists and anti-government and forming collective for their nefarious means rather than as tax reduction scheme, Havelock being completly different character (if that was even his name) thus removing most of Inner planet/Belter tensions, Miller/OPA interactions. And whole Eros situation: how protomolecule came to be, how it was introduced to Eros, what happened there, people hitching a ride on Roci, cop getting shot.

Some are understandable because TV show has to have some more visual stuff and book can just say "Relations between Belters and Inners were never good" show has to show that through action. But I don't understand why they had to change Johnson so much and pretty much turn his character upside down. If show plans on doing more seasons that will be serious obstacle because this screws up storytelling down the road because TV Johnson will not do things book Johnson does. This is even worse character assassination than what GoT did to Stannis.
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Feb 04, 2016
the worst thing IMO is that Holden is no where near the definition of being charismatic.


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Feb 04, 2016
So glad this is renewed for season 2!
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Feb 04, 2016
Along with The Magicians, there are now at least two shows on television that are turning out to be much better than the excellent books they're based on. (And for anyone who has read the books---no spoilers, of course---just consider what these unsuspecting viewers are in store for! If we liken the Expanse to a roller coaster, Season 1 was basically the slow climb to the top of the first big hill---Season 2 is going to start with the first screaming descent, and careen forward at a rip-roaring pace.)
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Feb 03, 2016
Easily the most interesting point of the finale was that the new life form is intelligent. And the funniest, that the scientists think they can teach it how to behave.
The show, apparently, has swept into an apocalyptic tale of either the forces of both sides pull together or all die. I doubt the inoculation jab is going to mean a damn in the end, when the life form can choose to attack from the molecular or 'basic' physical levels. Compelling viewing.
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Feb 03, 2016
Episode 9 really good explaining what happened to Julie. Maybe expecting a little bit more in episode 10, but let's wait for the next season to see what's in store for us.
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Feb 03, 2016
I enjoyed the books and am excited about the show. Unfortunately, no one here was talking about it. Had to go to Reddit. The show really could have used the exposure, too. A shame the staff here couldn't be bothered to give the show its attention.
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Feb 04, 2016
I have to agree, disapointed that TV.com didn't do more with it.
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Feb 04, 2016
I think to say the episode Windmills was no more than just a search for a password is a shallow knee jerk reaction.

I feel it examined Holden more fully, from his family on Earth to his stark comparison to Amos and his simple philosophy of the churl.
It was necessary as Holden never wanted the mantle of leader after his military experiences, he initially was liked by none of his crew but then they all decided to join him after he gave them opportunity to leave. They chose to stay with him despite the risks and believed in his motives.

Even great scenes like his search for a good coffee on the Rosanante harkened back to the woman he lost on the Cant that showed him to add ground up match heads to the bad coffee to chemically improve the taste. I felt very little was wasted on this show and it was lean not unnecessary filler that some might have disregarded it as.
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Feb 04, 2016
Agreed. The episode also established that Holden feels guilty for dragging the Martians into the fray by suggesting that they destroyed the Cant, shown by his desire to do right by them. He is trying to take some responsibility there. It set out Amos's philosophy with The Churn speech, so you know he doesn't take any of this personally--he's the one always making the smart play, not necessarily the right play. "Windmills" really established Avasarala as well, that she is Who She Is, Wherever She Is, for example. It also was the first big hint that Errinwright is looking for a patsy and is using Avasarala's contacts (the spy) behind her back.
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Feb 03, 2016
I really love it ! , i've read 2 of the books so far which i also enjoyed , Tim said it right : great show with a good cast and stunning visuals , can't wait for season 2
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Feb 03, 2016
I love this show so much. Can't wait for Season 2. I honestly never really even noticed the slow pace until I saw someone mention something about it online a few episodes ago. I'm into story for character, so even if a plot is slow-paced, I can really enjoy it so long as the characters are good (like Penny Dreadful).

I'm torn as to whether or not I should read the books in the meanwhile. On the one hand, I'm really enjoying the television series on its own, and I'm afraid I'll really like the books and then find the television series disappointing (which is what has ultimately happened for me with Game of Thrones). On the other hand, I really don't want to wait another year for more of this world and its characters, which I have really grown to love.
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Feb 04, 2016
I tore through the whole series of novels after watching the first few episodes, and I say read them! The TV show is better, so you won't be disappointed, and there are already a few significant differences. More than that, reading the books gave me a much better understanding of the world and the characters (much as reading ASOIAF does for watching Game of Thrones, whatever your opinion of book vs. show)---this helped me enjoy the show and the characters even more (particularly Amos).
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Feb 03, 2016
Really depends on how well you can separate the show and the books. Like you, I find myself unable to get much out of GoT because the books the show is based on are so much better, but most of the time I can keep books and TV separated. I read the books for both series first, and I actually really approve of the Expanse TV show, despite some major differences in character. The changes are easier to rationalize, as they are made for reasons other than shock and spectacle. When I watch The Exapanse, I find myself asking: how will that translate? Wonder if they'll keep XYZ in there? I don't ask: if they changed ABC, how does XYZ make sense anymore ? (As I do with GoT).
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Feb 06, 2016
I don't think they've made any major changes to the characters. I think people forget what the characters were like at the start of LW and are comparing the show's characters to the ones at the end of NG.
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Feb 07, 2016
I disagree. Amos is much better fleshed out in the show for the material being covered (the books hold these cards until "The Churn"). Avasarala is not some foul-mouthed granny, as presented in the books: she's regal, even though older. Likewise, I find Naomi's lack of patois really jarring: isn't she supposed to come from the belt? I can't decide if they have made her a transplant like Julie Mao because of the accent.
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Feb 03, 2016
I read the books once I heard SyFy is going to make series, did not regret one bit. I am really enjoying the series, can not wait for second season although I know what's gonna happen. Books are space opera, so you forget some details after few months
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Feb 03, 2016
First 12 Monkeys and now this show. What is going on, Syfy? Why are you so entertaining lately?
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Feb 03, 2016
I've read all the books in the series but the first one was 2.5 years ago and of course I've forgotten details while remembering the primary plot line. The show followed the book very closely and cemented my memory last night with Holden getting doused with radiation and Eros becoming a protomolecule experiment. The characters are fairly well taken from the book, which Childhood's End were not, and for the most part they fit the part nicely. The one thing that has always troubled me though is Holden, he seems too young and somewhat inept compared to the character in the book who always seemed very aware and in control from the beginning from what I recall. I would dare say though that while this show was excellent in most respects if you haven't read the book/s that it might be difficult to follow. I will definitely be looking forward to season 2 with great expectations.
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Feb 04, 2016
Wait, what? the show took so many liberties with source material it's basicall writting its own story. Characters were changed, people were added, people were removed,e vents unfolded differently. yes, Plot roughly follows plot of book but only in broadest sense.
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Feb 04, 2016
In the books, Holden was definitely not in control from the beginning---he evolves and matures as the series progresses, so you might be thinking of "later" Holden. Even then, he's an ice hauler with a bit of military training, not a military officer---so his naive ineptitude makes a lot more sense than him being a natural leader who consistently wins games of chicken whether playing against trained marines or heads of state.
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Feb 05, 2016
I didn't mean he "was in control" as events did carry him along in the books. But as I recall he didn't seem to hesitate much and was secure in his decisions. He used his people well and seemed like a good leader. In the show he just seems like he questions himself constantly and doesn't really know what to do, just gets carried along on a sensible path. And he just seems too young in the show, he seems to be in his late 20s, the book I rather assumed he was approaching 40. Not I am not saying his part in the show is a negative, it is very good but definitely different than my picturing of Holden from the books.
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Feb 03, 2016
Holden is much better in series, in the books he was cardboard do-gooder-now-it-all-idealist-everybody-needs-to-know-everything-damn-all -the-consequences. He is much more realistic and relatable now.
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Feb 04, 2016
I feel Holden is much more of a damp squib in the TV series. He does not serve his purpose to inspire.
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Feb 04, 2016
Description of Holden in books is that he is charismatic, but most of the time he comes across as stubborn spoiled brat. He is better in further books, but he is really cardboard in first
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Feb 05, 2016
the first book was all about Miller for me. He sure fits the look in the tv series. But it's irritating how the producers like to do with all the short scene cutaways. It would had been great if they did something similar to the format of the Leftovers.
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Feb 03, 2016
From what I understand the first season didn't even finish the first book. I love the show, but I don't think the ratings are on par for this to get to season 5 and beyond. Maybe this should burn through more plot next season.
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Feb 04, 2016
It's a lot harder to establish a Sci-Fi world in television than it is in a book, where you can spend a page explaining how everything works and be done with it. That's what has slowed down Season 1---all the world building. Now that's largely out of the way, there's no reason to think each book will get its own season: Books 3, 4 and 5 could all be compressed, and by quite a lot---book 3, especially, is a very compartmentalized story that could be told over just a few episodes. Moreover, with Avasarala being a main character in the show, I suspect books 4 and 5 will be merged completely, with Avasarala's perspective handling the important bits of book 5 while the other characters handle book 4's story. So right there, you have books 3-5 potentially happening in as little as a single season.
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Feb 04, 2016
putting Avasarala so front and center is quite a mistake. The politics involved is actually quite simple and is wholly inadequate relative to the political dramas on air. They should focus on Miller and Holden alone.
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Feb 04, 2016
Um... wat?

I assume you're only going by the show, because if you read the books and believe that, you may actually be crazy.

But even the first season involved multiple red herrings, devious political treachery, razor's-edge diplomacy... and all of it amidst the slow-burn shadow conspiracy to instigate a three-way interplanetary war. Avasarala was central to all of it, offering the audience the only glimpse at the political big picture.

In later seasons, her role is going to be even more crucial to telling the story. She's essential in Books 2 and 5, and Book 4 would benefit from diversifying the story a bit by letting her (and Earth politics) flesh out the rather thin plot from the book.
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Feb 05, 2016
finished Cibola Burn before watching the tv series. The double crossing and second guessing of the UN political game etc is not presented in anything particularly unique. The main bioweapon - alien gate storyline is though. I always felt the authors included Avasarala just to pad and pace the action.
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Feb 03, 2016
Honestly, the ending of 3rd book should be the ending of the series
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Feb 04, 2016
What? No. That would be cruel. Book 4 could be skipped entirely, but Book 5 absolutely must happen---especially with Avasarala being a main character.
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Feb 04, 2016
So book five is back on track? I couldn't pick it up after dreadfull 4th
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Feb 04, 2016
... and, just to add a bit more about book 4: The show is putting the political/diplomatic tensions front-and-center much more than the novels did, what with Avasarala being a main POV character. I think this approach will make Book 4 play out a lot better on the TV show---there's a lot of Earth/Mars/OPA friction in that story, but it's overshadowed by the book's exclusive focus on its main characters. If the show tells the same story, but keeps it grounded (so to speak) with Avasarala's politicking as a POV character, I think it will be much better.
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Feb 04, 2016
Oh yeah---Book 4 was definitely the low point of the series for me, too. Just so tonally different from the rest of the books. But Book 5 is definitely worth the read. It does start off a bit slow, but soon gets awesome. Ends on a great note that's left me really excited for the next one, too! To be honest, if they adapted each book faithfully as a single season of television, I think Book 5/Season 5 would be the best of them all.
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Feb 03, 2016
I didn't read them, but I am sure this show is in good hands and they will make the right decisions going forward.
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Feb 03, 2016
I'm seriously gonna have to give this show a go, i keep hearing great things about it, people calling it the new BSG
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Feb 03, 2016
It not the new BSG, it far superior to BSG, especially BSG in the latter seasons.
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Feb 04, 2016
It's not "far superior" to BSG, not by a long shot. They're both excellent, but let's not get carried away.
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Feb 03, 2016
Sorry but you're wrong
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Feb 06, 2016
How do you know he's wrong if you've never seen it?
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Feb 06, 2016
Because it's Battlestar fucking Galactica - it will take a miracle for ANY SyFy show to better that masterpiece

Plus 1 season in and they are already saying it is FAR superior to BSG, i think they are just saying that because it is currently on TV and they enjoyed it
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Feb 03, 2016
I get the comparison because they are both in space and are both from Syfy, but other than that I don't think they really have much in common.
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Feb 04, 2016
They're both gritty, high-realism space operas that take themselves more seriously than other shows in the same genre---I definitely see the comparison, and I'm a fan of both.
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Feb 03, 2016
People who call it "Game of Thrones in space" are even more off target. It has some distant relation with GoT through some writer who works on both or something, but it is nothing like GoT. I have not even seen more than a few clips of GoT but i can tell directly it is nothing like it.
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Feb 03, 2016
Really? "Game of Thrones in space"? That's just stupid, does everything get compared to GoT now?
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Feb 04, 2016
Yes, everything is compared to Game of Thrones now.

:-)
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Feb 03, 2016
This comment has been removed.
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Feb 03, 2016
An you are right it nothing like GoT, an it not really that much like BSG, it probably closure to Firefly than anything else but without the wild west feel.
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Feb 03, 2016
I'm so glad to see a science fiction series, on SyFy no less, that embraces big ideas, and speculates about a future that seems very plausible and grounded in reality. So many sci-fi shows these days settle for creating violent visual spectacles, with no effort to flesh out the characters, or the universes they take place in. By creating a very believable context, and letting events play out realistically, rather than forcing them to fit plot points, the show has hopefully set a new bar for future programming to live up to. More please!
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Feb 03, 2016
I absolutely love this show. I love the pace of it, the way we're not given all the answers right away. I also love the politics, who's the real enemy? Every side has a point! (of course I'm siding with the OPA :) )
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Feb 04, 2016
After their heavyhandedness with the Martian pilot that wanted water and the corruption with Miller's boss I think I'm more of a Wellwaller (traitor to my own kind) haha!
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Feb 03, 2016
I absolutely loved this show's first season. Some might think it was too slow, but when things (e.g. character development, plot pacing, etc.) are handled well then a "slow-burn" makes a mystery/thriller that much better. I was dying for a new episode as soon as the latest one finished, so I think the writers and showrunners did a superb job on that front.

Also, the show did a lot of little things very well. From how the lighting was handled during scenes in certain parts of the stations to developing an entire quasi-new language for native residents of the belt/space stations, the show surprised me with how in-depth it went while building its own universe this season.

I'm really looking forward to when the show comes back for season two. I just hope the show did well (in the ratings), and that SyFy treats it accordingly.
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Feb 03, 2016
I want more, now, that was awesome series, such a shame we have two wait a whole year for more episodes.

Love the ships, the ship designs and the stations are awesome and CGI is awesome in this show.

And the way the show flow from one episode to the next shows the skills of the writers behind this show. They know exactly where they want to go and how they are going to get there, unlike BSG for example.
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Feb 03, 2016
What a ride! I honestly did not expect such great adaptation of the book, in my opinion it exceeded the book as it grounded characters more (Holden especially, he was bordering on caricature in the books).

I read 3 from the series, and although I know what is going on, I am hooked and really impressed with characters and world building and how they made me jump in my seat and keep me sucked in all the way trough.

I am not sure if this is good fit for SyFy, hopefully viewers will look pass that and give it a chance it deserves. If it was amazon or netflix, everybody would be buzzing about it as they already established that they do serialized series that need more involvement from the viewer which is heavily rewarded.

Although it ended before actual book end, finale is basically the same (also ends mysteriously, it just closed couple of other threads).

If they choose to follow books, the 2nd season will be better, as all the heavy lifting is already done, and viewers can really enjoy the ride.


I am surprised by the pacing as I expected more action heavy finale, but I am glad that they kept it on slow burn
More+
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Feb 04, 2016
"If they choose to follow books, the 2nd season will be better, as all the heavy lifting is already done, and viewers can really enjoy the ride."

THIS. Leaving the "oh my God" moments from the end of Book 1 so they could combine them with the "oh my God" moments at the start of Book 2 (Ganymede! Bobbie!) was a masterstroke---Season 2 is going to start off action-packed and with a breakneck pace; it's going to catch the audience totally off-guard, and it's going to be glorious.
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Feb 03, 2016
I really enjoyed this show, for the most part, and they managed to tie off all the plot threads I wasn't crazy about. I think S2 could be amazing.
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Feb 03, 2016
I absolutely loved this! Seamless combination of futuristic space scenes (Joe Miller) and cool retro atmosphere (Jim Holden). Can't wait for season two...
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Feb 03, 2016
Game of Thrones had a good start but quickly turned to shit but thankfully books were great. The Expanse on the other hand has been superb from episode 1 to episode 10 and from what I've read so far (only a couple of chapters) the written version is at least as good. I won't be able to wait that long on season 2 and I'll definitely read every book of The Expanse series there is.

One of the things that this series does great is keeping the viewer on the edge of his seat. You really don't know when someone might die (unless someone will spoil it to you) and you don't see anyone with an obvious plot armour. Characters are great and do believable things instead of doing things that you would expect from a tv character. E.g. in this episode Naomi has let the girl go even though she knew that would mean death to her. In another show a character like her would act heroically and force her to go with her even if it meant fighting with this girl's guardians.

I'm really impressed with how good this show is.
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Feb 03, 2016
Really? Books great and show isn't? You're living in a dream my friend. Game of Thrones is shit both in TV-show AND in books. Boring as hell. In books even more boring.
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Feb 04, 2016
"You're living in a dream my friend. Game of Thrones is shit both in TV-show AND in books."

Every time I think I've read the most ironic thing ever, someone comes along and writes something even better.
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Feb 03, 2016
First three books are good IMO (especially 3rd) but whatever. Saying however that books are more boring than TV show is just ridiculous.
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Feb 03, 2016
For a book reader, season one was amazing and beyond expectations (outside the fact we only got 75% of the first book). I am worried about the rest of the audience, though. The show might have left too many things up in the air for the average viewer, specially regarding Avassarala's plot, which didn't seem to have done much. Just when she understands what's going on, the season ends.

Character development in particular was trully a well done work of art. We trully got people, and not just plot device manequins on this series.

I hope it does well, and I am anxious for season 2!
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Feb 04, 2016
I know what you mean---as a book reader, it feels like Season 1 stopped right at the very moment the story gets truly exciting. But people who haven't read the books seem quite happy with the result, which surprised the hell out of me. Now, just think how Season 2 is going to begin, what with them combining the last bits of book 1 with the start of book 2 (Ganymede! Bobbie!)
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Feb 04, 2016
Oh, yeah! there is Bobby for the next season! I almost forgot about her!
THe only thing that I miss, from the adaptation, is a foul mouthed Avassarala. But, oh well, its fine if the trade off was getting a great actress such as Agdashloo to play the part.
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Feb 04, 2016
Yeah! That is exactly how I feel! You nailed it! I am glad that you - as a book reader as well - got that impression! And it seems you are right about non-book readers.
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Feb 03, 2016
I haven't read the books, but I absolutely love the show and its pacing.

I think the writers/showrunners did an amazing job, and revealing info so slowly put us viewers (that haven't read the books) in the same boat as a majority of the cast which was is always fun when watching a mystery/thriller (which is what I'd classify this show as).

Can't wait for season two!
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Feb 03, 2016
EXPANSE managed to keep me hooked/watching while still being disappointed. There wasn't enough. Not entertaining enough. Kept thinking it could be better, but aside from the episode aboard the Martian ship, it wasn't. For now I'll probably stay hooked into next season, but may drop it if it doesn't improve. Hope they at least add some hotties/T&A!
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Feb 04, 2016
Book reader here: They stopped 75% through Book 1, literally at the point where the story gets absurdly exciting. So definitely watch Season 2, you won't be disappointed :)
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Feb 04, 2016
Thanks Eunomiac
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Feb 03, 2016
Exactly! I do watch it too, because it somehow attracts me. But I'm sooooooooooooooooooo bored with tons of senseless dialogues and action close to zero. Would prefer a more balanced show myself.
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Feb 03, 2016
I loved it but here was a weird thought. I had been thinking last week that I probably need to marathon this because I'm sure I missed things. But the two hour block was a little much. I probably could have controlled that better myself by just going to bed at 11 and letting my dvr record the rest. Well basically I was fine with some of the tension but I know Holden is still the main character in book five and I understand we aren't all the way through the first book yet.

Hope Alex didn't get them in too much trouble by shaking the Roci's disguise.

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Feb 04, 2016
Easy with the spoilers, Kate: You may have known that, but plenty of other people didn't, and now you've spoiled it for them.
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Feb 03, 2016
I'm sure he made up for all that shaking by tracking the bad guys communications back to their headquarters.
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Feb 03, 2016
Maybe, I'm just worried about the whole, because he found them, they might have noticed them and the more and more people they keep taking on board, well, I just wonder that they showed us the story of the Butcher of...well that station in full of workers who were basically trying to unionize, they start looking more and more like that. Of course, also, come to think of it, Alex technically just noticed Dresden's ship, right?
Its funny how distrustful I still am of Fred Johnson, when the evidence seems pointed in that seemingly equivalently ranked guy we see all the time. Also, randomly, while I presume we get a Amos flashback story (because there is a short side story called the Churn which he has made reference to a few times), is it only Holden and Alex who could land back on Mars or Earth? Like, everyone else is Belters? Actually, come to think of it, I have no idea what the gravity situation is on Mars.
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Feb 03, 2016
1/3 gravity on Mars, which should mean normal growth for humans.
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Feb 03, 2016
Thank you for spoilering, now I know he has plot armour.
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Feb 03, 2016
Well is it THAT surprising that a main character has plot armor?
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Feb 04, 2016
In post-Game of Thrones world? Yes.
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Feb 03, 2016
lol
We have at least 3 "main characters" here (besides Holden we have Miller and Chrisjen) and the rest of Holden's crew had almost as much screntime as he did.
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Feb 03, 2016
It's not really if you just go to Amazon and read the general description which is all I did.
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Feb 04, 2016
Going to Amazon.com to read the description of book FIVE, then broadcasting it on a forum filled with people who haven't even gotten to the end of book ONE... Yes, "It's really" spoiling.
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Feb 03, 2016
rotfl
"It's not really a spoiler that XYZ dies, you can read it in the 5th book subforum after all". It's that level of stupidity. If you would read "general description" of A Dance with Dragons before even finishing Game of Thrones you would also be massively spoiled (even more so if you would read A Feast for crows description since it spoils several deaths).
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Apr 05, 2016
Except... that you might assume Ned Stark is still a main character (and alive) after reading the description of Dance with Dragons.
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