Monday, April 18, 2011

Game of Thrones Premier [HBO] Review

I'm not big on television, but I picked up Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin a few days ago, through Amazon's recommendation system and started reading with a general awareness that it was a television show now. I had no idea that the show hadn't started and that I had started reading the book just in time to watch the premier on Sunday.

Season 1, Episode 1: Winter is Coming 
Runtime: 62 minutes

The visuals: Gorgeous. You can really tell that the budget for this show was fairly enormous. I was especially in love with the shots of the Wall as well as the shots of Danerys and Viserys and their location. I do wish that there had been more pops of color (other than the heart tree), but the dark somber color scheme obviously fits with the story better.

This is also my first time watching a HBO show, so I was a bit startled by the nudity and sex. I know sex is pretty important in the books, but I can't help but feel that they could have accomplished the same effect in the show in a classier fashion. Same for the nudity- not sure if all of those breasts were really necessary. Some were, but some seemed to be just there because they could be.

The acting: The acting was mostly spot on. All of the actors are very talented (it's especially evident in the younger cast members). I understand that Sean Bean was the fan favorite for the role of Ned and he did not disappoint. He vibed well with the other actors and I can't wait for the political intrigue Ned's about to be stuck in.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow (my favorite character from the book thus far) was a bit too emo and intense at times for my taste, but it is a character with a lot of issues. He was perfect with Arya though and I look forward to seeing him really develop as a character.

Emilia Clarke was perfect as Danerys. I was a bit skeptical at first, but from the previews of future episodes, I can really see that Clarke is can deliver her lines magnificently, especially "I pray for home too". Wow. I really wish that they had kept the scene with Khal Drogo true to the book though and I wish they had kept in her line "Tell him he has given me the wind"
I only have one small problem with the acting and it's Lena Headly as Cersei Lannister. She's perfect in her role as ice queen for the most part (more please), but something about the way she walked as she exited the carriage and let Ned kiss her hand bothered me. I not sure what it is, because that was basically Cersei's attitude....I think I felt that her very brief fake smile was a bit...too modern and too brief. I still can't pinpoint what it is exactly, but that scene...argh.

The story-telling: I had no problem keeping up with the plot because I had just read about what happens in the first episode a day ago, but I can definitely see that people without prior experience with the books (or people who haven't read them in awhile) could get lost. The transition from Winterfell to the Targaryens is a case where I'm not sure everyone would have realized how important those characters are and how they relate to the plot (or even their location in relation to the others). You can tell the producers tried to make it clear what information a viewer should keep in mind, but there really is a tad too much information being presented at once and I think some viewers may lose track of the important points. It is the first episode though, so I expect the next nine will be better and won't be as information-vomity.

In conclusion: Would I watch the rest of the show? As of right now, yes. This episode was a good set-up and I want to see how the rest of the considerable plot developments come across on-screen. Also, I hear that this will be a very true-to-the-book rendition, so I want to see how that is handled. The books are definitely my priority though and it'll both help and hinder to have the visuals from the show in mind as a read.

And I definitely hope for my direwolves in the upcoming episodes! And more Jon Snow! Emo or not, he's not horrible to look at and his character will really pick up soon. :)


  1. That's my issue with all HBO shows. I really tried to get into Rome because I am totally obsessed with that era of history, but it seems like they threw in a bunch of sex/nudity/gore/etc. just because they could. I'm no prude, either. xD But it really ruined a lot of the show for me, because it's kinda hard to concentrate on the plot when there's boobies everywhere and people's brains are falling out.

  2. Haha, I noticed every show is starting to get more raunchy. I really like True Blood and I loved the raunchiness of it, but sometimes it was a little too much.

    Then again, a lot of the premium channels offer faire such as this, I don't think it's entirely uncommon, even if unnecessary.