Without shelling out beaucoup bucks to subscribe to HBO for mostly inferior programming simply to watch Game of Thrones, I was lucky to find friends of mine had downloaded it on iTunes and was able to watch it with them. I think it costs about 2.99 an episode, but it’s well worth it. You don’t just stream the episode, but get to keep it. With this series, you’ll probably want to rewatch it.
The quality of the show is outstanding. Usually, I’m skeptical about big TV miniseries. All too often, these are directed poorly. I can’t stand anything where it changes camera angles every few seconds for no artistic reason (i.e. The Event). By keeping the camera jumping around like a new puppy, it allows the filmmakers to cover up the glaring flaws in their set designs or in their actors. With Game of Thrones, it’s all so thoroughly created on the screen that the directors let the camera linger, letting you see the actors’ nuances as well as the often stunning backdrops. I applaud this approach.
As for performances, it’s Arya who steals the show (played by Maisie Williams). I wouldn’t be surprised if the young actess were nominated for an emmy. She captures the pluck and tenacity of the character well. As for Sean Bean, he’s good as well, but I almost wish he weren’t hired–mainly because it invites comparison to The Lord of the Rings when it should stand on its own. Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion, proving he can play just about any role. Last I’ve seen him he was on Death at a Funeral, playing a guy who blackmails a dead man’s family at a funeral, claiming he was the man’s significant other. I’ve also seen him on 30 Rock used mostly for sight gags. Here he plays a serious role, seriously well.
Another obvious bonus is that the author himself, George R. R. Martin, helped write the TV series. I read in Syfy magazine that when he sat down to write the script, he included a montage on the first episode featuring every major power in the seven kingdoms amassing armies, and was later told it couldn’t be filmed, as that one montage would take up the budget for the entire series.
The main flaw that I’d point out about the series is that it excises many of the dramatic scenes from the book in favor of fastforwarding to scenes involving violence or sex. It’s like it expects the viewer to have a hugely deficient attention span. Many of the scenes in the book involving characters simply conversing (and these are the scenes that provide the book its core) are cut out or shortened or made more punchy. For this reason, I’d recommend reading the book and watching the series. Plus, the series is a great help to readers of the book; watching it, I had an easier time keeping track of the plethora of characters inhabiting Westeros. I’ve heard it’s been picked up for a second season (Clash of Kings). I might have to get HBO then.
Here’s a link to another post I wrote about Game of Thrones.
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What were your thoughts on the Game of Thrones Mini-Series?