First impressions of Game of Thrones

First impressions of Game of Thrones  

Article by Tianya

Mine eyes have seen the glory…Last night, I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones. We will of course have full, in-depth reviews once the show begins airing, but I wanted to share my initial thoughts and impressions after watching the first 62 minutes of this, hopefully, long-running series.My first thought, as I tweeted, was they actually did it. They made A Song of Ice and Fire into a TV series. I was literally smiling throughout much of the episode, because it was so amazing to see the books come to life on screen. I’ve waited two and half years for this moment, hoping the show would be as good as I know it could be. And it is!What David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have done is taken George R. R. Martin’s work and made it their own. There are changes, yes, but they are made to enhance the story, not detract from it or alter it. Translating the books page-for-page would have been a mistake and David & Dan realized that. They have taken the source material and set about retelling the story, but for a different medium. Add a scene here, condense some dialogue there, but the major beats of the story are present. The closest analogy really is what Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings.Some purists might complain. The prologue is changed, Dany’s wedding night plays out differently, Catelyn’s motivations are altered, there are the, now well-known, aesthetic and design differences. But to me these are minor quibbles and didn’t detract from the experience. If you let these minor things get to you, you are missing out on a great adaptation. Because, really, it could have been a LOT worse.The thing I loved was the new scenes, most of which served as introductions to the characters and storylines. Hewing exactly to the book in this regard would not have worked for TV, so these new scenes were necessary. And they felt completely natural. Almost like watching “deleted scenes” from the book. My favorite of these is how they establish Arya’s character without giving her a word of dialogue. Great job by David and Dan.Overall, it just works. The pacing is good. A lot is set-up but it is done efficiently and I think it will both inform new viewers while hooking them. (And that ending will help too.) The characters are all familiar and true to their book counterparts. There are no Arwen situtions. It’s hard to judge performances this early on, but if I had to pick some stand-outs from episode one I would say Peter Dinklage, Mark Addy and Harry Lloyd. All the performances were good though. I’m less concerned about some of our early acting worries; Sophie does well as Sansa and Headey plays Cersei true to the books, as a cold bitch. The sets look amazing, of course. They really captured Winterfell. It also seemed to have more color than it did in some of the previews, which is good. The effects are well-done. The music (assuming it is final) is fine, subtle but not overpowering.As a fan of the book, I think you will enjoy the new scenes most, especially the not-so-subtle nods by David & Dan to future events. Assuming you are not one to nitpick, I think you will really love this adaptation. It is just so rich and detailed that the few minor changes don’t bother me in the slightest. You can really tell that this adaptation was handled by folks who really love and understand the books, but also understand how to write for film and TV. Myles McNutt has taken to calling it a “love letter” to the books, which I think is an apt description.Well I could go on, but I’ve probably said too much as it is and I really don’t want to spoil it all for you guys. We are only two weeks away from the whole world getting to experience this show. And I am more hyped than ever. Now to watch episode two…

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