This post is intended to be spoiler-free till the last paragraph
Damn, what a great first season. Basically, medieval times aren’t my favorite genre, but this world is more vivid than some of the worlds pictured in series with modern setting. I’m glad I began to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ when the 9th episode was already about to air, I don’t know how psyched I would’ve got if I would’ve had to wait a whole week in between the single episodes.
Sometimes I thought I had recognized a change of scene and anticipated the next, but the current would continue and last almost twice as long as your average scene in films or other TV Series. To recognize how conditioned we are in these matters, I found quite shocking. However, the long lasting scenes and dialogues result in serious storytelling1 and deeply drawn characters. They die like flies, but you get to know them very well beforehand. ‘GoT’ isn’t called ‘The Sopranos with swords’ for nothing.
For not falling behind on whose sister sent a raven about whose murder to whose sister’s husband, check out HBO’s Viewer’s Guide, it keeps you from googling and finding yourself on a wiki(pedia) page full of potential spoilers.
This series’ dialogues are a joy to listen to, and they have a certain self-awareness to them. I also really like their humor. In one scene, King Robert Baratheon and his despised wife, Queen Cersei Lannister ask themselves what it was that held together the Kingdoms all these years. ‘Our marriage?’ he asks. Silence.
In other TV Series, this would’ve been a moment of weakness, in which the wannabe-sentimental moment had been cheaply exploited for a kiss, so the masses could relax in their chairs and join the characters in their fake world, dreaming of theirs to be that simple. No, ‘Game of Thrones’ doesn’t do that. After Robert asks the question, he and his wife burst out laughing and quickly settle on their hate to having held it all together. I almost applauded, but I couldn’t, I clenched my fists in silent expression of gratitude to the writers and producers who didn’t go down that road.
I also like the violence in this series. It’s not omnipresent, but when it’s there, it’s raw, bloody, sometimes quite unexpected2 and most of the time totally approved by everyone, even by the casualties-to-be. And you say our society is depraved about this.
What about the rest? Some supernatural content and magic is beautifully justified with the world of ‘Game of Thrones’ being another universe than ours, adding other nice touches like seasons lasting for several years. Huge fan, out of pure longig for this fantasy world I already bought the first of the books3 the series is based on. Maybe this one gets me to read novels again.
Can’t wait for the second season. I just attention, spoiling 9th episode wonder if they casted Sean Bean solely as ‘cart horse’ for the first season. Otherwise I can’t figure out why you’d slaughter the most popular actor of the cast, i.e. cast him for a (main) character who is decapitated in the first season, literally by the book. I’m not arguing his death, it’s okay, GeekDad is absolutely right: Letting the honest and honorable die makes the story, be it TV or novel, so good. Plus: In my opinion, Ned Stark was too whiny and naïve for King’s Landing anyway. I mean, who has half his guard slaughtered more often?
Do watch this.