Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming

Via the magic of YouTube, I've now seen (most of) the first episode of Games of Thrones, HBO's new fantasy drama based on the Song of Fire and Ice books by George R. R. Martin. And yeah, it was very good.

Though I don't think I did myself any favours watching it on a small iPod Touch screen in 12 minute chunks. I'm sure this thing would've looked pretty spectacular in hi-def on a big screen.

Also, having seen a lot of preview clips - including all of the first 10 minutes or so - and "making of" documentaries, I felt somewhat spoiled before seeing this show. I already knew that the sets and locations looked pretty amazing and that it was obvious a great deal of money had been spent. I'd seen most of the characters and knew the actors playing them were, for the most part, top notch. Together with the fact that I've read the first three books this show is based on, meant that it all felt very familiar whilst I watching this yesterday - including the "shocking" ending. It was almost as if I'd seen most of it before!

As I've seen someone mention elsewhere, the episode itself seemed somewhat bleak. Probably because a lot of it was set in and around the brilliantly-realised Winterfell, which is supposed to be bleak. The mysterious and gruesome pre-credits opener beyond the frosty Wall also added to the cold and depressing nature. Still, you could see it was meant to be this way and accurately reflects the books.

I found the periods of quietness, and lack of a rousing (and, some might say, intrusive) score an unusual choice. Other than for those chilling scenes beyond the Wall, I'm not sure it entirely worked. I think I wanted a little more noise. Perhaps I've watched too much Doctor Who?

There were some slightly dodgy effects with Brandon climbing across the tops of Winterfell - and also the scenes of him clambering up walls seemed to go on a little too long. But otherwise, it looked pretty impressive. And the time watching it went quite quickly I felt.

So, overall, it was a solid start and great to hear that HBO have already renewed it for a second series after these first 10 episodes. Though whether I'll get to watch the next episode next week will be up to Youtube!

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