TR Review: Game of Thrones, Ep. 1


?So I finally watched the first episode of Game of Thrones last night, and I was not disappointed. I actually have a hard time imagining why any fan of the books would be disappointed with the show — yes, it changed a few things, dropped focus on a few others, and rejiggered a bit of the timeline of events, but really, I think all those things were necessary to clarify/streamline the book’s massive storyline into a first episode, as well as a 10-episode season. Plus, they were exceptionally necessary to get audiences who hadn’t read the book up-to-speed on the book’s major plot lines.

That said, I have no idea how I would feel about the episode if I hadn’t already read Game of Thrones. Although the show did a good job of showing pretty much all the major characters without burdening them with introductions (I assume they’ll get parceled out slowly, as not to overwhelm viewers) it was probably a bit maddening to see all these clearly important characters and not know who they are. More importantly, compared to most TV shows, the first Game of Thrones episode is really pretty slow — it’s all build-up until the very end, and even then the news of a possible murder of a character we haven’t seen isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Which is why I don’t really mind HBO adding some extra tits and violence to keep new viewers interested until the story picks up. If viewers manage to stick with the show a few episodes, I’m sure they’ll be as riveted with the characters and story as the people who read more the first dozen or so chapters.

A few random thoughts:
? To anyone who complains that GoT had too much gratuitous sex and violence — you clearly have never seen an episode of Starz’ Spartacus. It makes GoT look like Thomas the Tank Engine.
? The only nudity scene I thought was gratuitous was Viserys undressing Daenerys. I understand the point, but it was kind of incest-y, and frankly, Game of Thrones already has that shit covered.
? Also: I know Daenerys is 14 in the book and supposed to be 20 in the show, but goddamned if the actress didn’t look 16 anyways. Kinda freaked me out.
? Tyrion had about three minutes of screentime, and Peter Dinklage still knocked that shit out of the park. I’m calling a Best Supporting Actor Emmy right now.
? I thought Lena Hedley as Cersei and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime did a great job, too. That kid who played Joffrey was delightfully douchey, too.
? Also, Kit Harington as Jon Snow also was fantastic. Easily the most interesting of the Winterfell folk, although that probably stands to reason.
? The only character that I thought suffered in the book-to-TV translation was Catelyn. Her begging Ned to stay in Winterfell in the show (instead of telling he has to go, because it’s jis duty to the king and country) makes her seem selfish and weak, which as anyone who’s read the book knows, she isn’t. Not sure why they did that.
? I love that Speed Racer‘s Roger Allam is playing Magister Illyrio. And, now having mentioned Speed Racer, I will have to watch it again later tonight.
? I mentioned this on Twitter, but Tim Van Patten — a.k.a. Max Keller of Master Ninja fame (and more precisely Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame) — directed the episode. I know he’s directed a ton of HBO series’ episodes, including Deadwood and The Sopranos, but this never fails to blow my mind.
? I want a Dire Wolf puppy.