Martin's rape fixation seems toned down a little from the second book where it's relentless. I find this book much more focused and interesting than the second as well, but these books often have a problem where certain character plotlines are just dead weight. Like the Denerys storyline was good in the first book but is a big load of nothing in the second. I struggle with the Arya chapters as well.
I feel like when he got around to writing as Jamie he couldn't resist making him a more amiable character than he'd been characterized as up to that point. Jamie in his first person chapters really doesn't come across as a guy who'd casually throw a kid out of a window.
Re: Tender Mercies, this seems like one in a long, long line of award winning 80's prestige movies that are completely forgotten. The 80's is comparable to the 2010's in terms of how big the split is between blockbusters and oscar bait. If you look through the lists of nominees back then there are so many films no one ever watches or thinks about.
Re: It's A Kind Of Magic, I only saw Highlander for the first time last week. Had I seen it when I was 11 I'd probably have nostalgic attachment to it, but seeing it fresh now, it's sort of bad!
I'm sure it's been pointed out a million times but it was a bizarre choice to cast a Frenchman with a weird French access to play The Highlander, and then cast Sean Connery with his cartoonish Scottish accent to play a Spaniard.
They also cast the police chief from Police Squad as a cop named Frank, which I thought was funny.
Also funny is the mix of casual homophobia and the music of Queen being used in the film to represent machismo.