I unexpectedly found my parents HBO channel populated with the infamous, much awaited, WATCHED BY GIRLS epic, George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. It had been a long time since I read the book, but I had the following mental notes prepared – “Wall scary, direwolves cute, Arya kickass, Danaerys victim turned powerful queen, Viserys (in my head pronounced VISerys TAR-ger-in) a monster, Jaime and Cersei all kinds of mess, Bran stay off the roof, Ned and Catelyn are North People and not the moral compass we hope they will be, Jon hawt, Tyrion….. oh Tyrion. How do we lovehatelove thee.”
HBO did not disappoint. Casting was great – in particular the Stark family but also every other member of every other family. Peter Dinklage is just as essential as we knew he’d be, and just as made for this role as this role was made for him. Some characters in the book, like The Hound and Sandor Clegane and Benjin Stark, and whoever Theon Greyjoy is…in reading, they all blur together for me, so it’s nice to have faces put with the names at last so I can start remembering them.
The landscape was perfect – sprawling hills, dense woods, dank crypts… Made me want to go to Wales except I rather expect none of the Seven Kingdoms actually are Wales.
Clothing was terrific – I shuddered at the idea of trying to keep all those silks and furs clean amidst the apparent mud farming industry of the Stark holding.
A quick rundown of plot points covered… The White Walkers are back over the Wall, King Robert is bringing his retinue, incestuous Lannisters and all, up to Winterfell where the Starks are constantly bracing for Winter. Across the sea to the south, the last remaining scions of the Targaryn (TarGERyn) dragon kings are arranging political marriage to gain access to an army that will restore them to the throne. And…GO. The adapters and directors do a good job of whisking us from storyline to storyline – if you haven’t read the books, you’re left with a solid sense that Things Are Unfolding, and if you have, you’re reveling in the foreshadowing moments that are neatly left in for your delectation without being allowed to hold up the plot for more than a minute. See: Daenarys gingerly holding dragon eggs and Bran climbing like a monkey.
It’s HBO so they take full advantage of their broadcast rights to swearing, nudity (so far only women’s nudity. Gee I guess that’s just exactly what we all tuned in to see, right ladeez?!?! Even as a lady who likes other ladies, I say hmph), loud sexysex noises, and gory entrails galore. Some of us had watching companions who did not share our exuberance, much less our two solid years of anticipation and industry-gossip-following, who asked “So what’s the appeal?”
Is that Game of Thrones is epic – there’s adventure, betrayal, drama, sex, empowerment, tragedy… it’s Lord of the Rings but instead of all of us reading books finished decades ago, it’s still being written right now, and we’re ALREADY seeing it brought to life.
And so far? It’s fast-paced, sharply edited and going for the throat.