I finally had a chance to sit down and watch HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and boy, am I glad I did! Having just finished the first book in the George R.R. Martin series, the story has been very fresh in my mind. So to be able to watch those things that I had just imagined in my head come to life on the screen was both exciting and terrifying.
However, my fears that the series wouldn’t do the books justice were completely ungrounded. It seems as HBO has taken the very imaginings of my head and made it into a series.
That’s how perfect I feel the first episode of “Game of Thrones” was.
First, let’s talk about the casting. I’ll admit that when I first imagined Eddard Stark, it was Sean Bean. I don’t think anyone else could possibly have played him. Finally hearing him say “Winter is coming” fulfilled my own little private fantasy. He has and always will be the perfect Lord Eddard.
However, the rest of the cast are equally appropriate in their parts. I especially liked Maisie Williams as Arya. She embodies the princess-would-be-tomboy effortlessly and I’m really excited to see how she fares in the future once she has received Needle (the sword Jon Snow gives her later in the story).
Speaking of Jon Snow, I didn’t envision him as pretty as he was on screen, but Kit Harington nailed it, regardless. I already knew that Peter Dinklage would be a perfect Tyrion, as he’s already proven his acting chops and range, but I was truly surprised by Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon. I had seen photos of him that made me wonder if he could pull it off, but he did! And the rest of the cast are equally as talented.
The set/scenery was breathtaking. When I first saw Winterfell, I believe I gasped. It was exactly as I had pictured it when I read the first book. And seeing Bran climbing the towers and walls just made it all that much more real. We haven’t really seen a lot of the other places mentioned in the books yet, but we will. And I expect to be equally in awe.
Strangely enough, the last scene in this episode left me aghast, even though I knew it was coming. Well done, HBO, well done!
The story itself keeps directly in line with the books, too. Yes, there’s incest (what royal family doesn’t have incest in its history?) and sex and violence and all the usual things that some people complain about (but are as evident in the books as in the television series). But if you’ve read anything about monarchies and kings and queens (and I do admit to being a bit of a royalty buff), you’ll know that history itself is chock full of all of those things and more! That’s what makes the “Game of Thrones” story so interesting. It’s less fantastical and almost historical.
I can’t wait to see how the rest of the episodes are handled, although I might have to stop at some point if it gets close to where I am in the book series. I do want to finish those first, so I have a busy summer reading schedule ahead of me!
Gina Bellafante wrote a response in the New York Times about the backlash from her previous review. Unfortunately, though, she still doesn’t understand what a review is, as it had no mention of the acting or the script or even the value of the production itself. So I hope I covered those things in my own review.
She is also apparently wrong about the appeal of the show. Just after one episode, HBO has picked it up for a second series.