Game of Thrones, Season 1 Review
Took me long enough, didn’t it? These days, hearing news or watching a show that’s been on for four years is pretty much waiting a lifetime for your friends who want to talk about it. Yet now that I’m watching it is when I’m telling them to shut UP about it so they don’t ruin everything.
That being said it took me a very short time to finish Game of Thrones season one, because, as you know, it’s awesome. I keep thinking it’s like a Medieval Watchemen.
This show is about as great as I was told it was. I’ll get to the “about” later. But to stay on topic, the acting, dialogue, general script, characters, costumes and everything in between is pretty much as good as it can get. With it being an HBO show, the budget is a bit bigger than a cable show’s would be so while certain CGI effects are noticeably CGI, the show knows better to keep those shots to a minimum to serve the subtlety of the story.
Now I say “Subtlety” in the sense that there are vague supernatural happenings seeded throughout the show but this isn’t Lord of the Rings where the main characters themselves are creatures that don’t exist; in the place of Westeros, even the majority of the characters don’t believe in the monsters and demons others talk about. Polytheism underlines all the characters beliefs, spoken of in terms of the “old and the new” while others seem to believe but don’t care. It’s the gods and monsters talk and brief glimpses of said creatures that let us know we’re in a completely different world than a time long gone from our own timeline.
Other than that, subtlety isn’t what this show is going for. Every other scene features sex or violence, sometimes in the same scene. Nothing is held back and it lets you know you’re in a world where any terrible thing can befall any character at any time. It’s refreshing and exhausting.
One of the great things about the show and perhaps its major draw, are the characters. Love them or hate them, each one has their strengths and weaknesses as figures that each serve a purpose. While few fall in black and white areas of morality, each has something intriguing about them even if you hate them. This is something most of film and television seem to think isn’t it important. It usually comes down to who the writers/producers/whoever want you to cheer for. In Thrones, we’re shown so many characters with their own agenda, ideals, and reasons for doing what they do, even those that are doing things you hate, you can see why most do what they do. Except Joffrey. Gad, I hate him.
2004’s Troy (ALSO with Sean Bean and various GoT supporting cast members) wasn’t perfect but it did excel in having you take an interest in either side and it really depended on who you liked, because if you cut it down the middle, there are “good”.and “bad” on each side, with those same characters making decisions of the opposite nature at times, adding a very human quality to a world that’s otherwise very difficult to relate to. Game of Thrones does the same; everyone’s goals are understandable and could be attained, even if you wouldn’t make the same decision. Especially Joffrey. Gad, I hate him. I really thought I was prepared for how much I would too, but nope; he exceeded expectations.
Top 5 Characters (Season 1), no order
1. Tyrion Lannister
It’s tough to dislike him, really. Though he’s a philanderer, rooting against him just seems unsaintly considering who the rest of his family is. While other characters are more physically imbued, Tyrion’s strength is in his tricks and dialogue. His team-up with Bronn has had some of the funniest interactions the show has offered, and who could have a problem with Tyrion after watching him slap Joffrey around? That was great.
To be honest, I’ve heard more hype about his character than any other and I didn’t think I would like him as much as others did. But when you’re watching, letting all hype and notions about the series fall away, him and the series, are generally just entertaining. It’s good that actor Peter Dinklage has a got a role to call his own, similar to Chris Pratt’s portrayal of Star-Lord. I mean this in the sense that they’ll always have these fitting roles associated with them but without them being stereotyped.
2. Ned Stark
This is a given as well, being that The Bean can do no wrong even if he has been in Silent Hill and its sequel. As mentioned in the ‘Themes’ section, Ned being one of the few truly righteous characters in a world of deceitfulness makes you side with him even more than you would normally with a story like this. But here, everybody’s so bad but Ned it seems, making his goals all the more comprehendable.
You really do want to see Ned Stark get what he wants but the longer he’s in the mud, the deeper he sinks. You’ve got to feel for the guy that’s got everything he needs but keeps getting dragged down by Robert and his gang of merry backstabbers. Without seeing the next four seasons in their entirety, I’m sure Stark will retain his place on mine and most’s “favorite characters” lists.
3. Daenerys Targaryen
Another character that seems to be a fan favorite, she’s going against so much, it’s tough to not at least want to see her live. The “Mother of Dragons” starts off being sold but her jerkwad brother so he can have an army, but even after she warms up to her new husband- whup– he dies.
All of this opposition and the fact that we see hints and bits of her power, from walking through fire to actually bringing dragons to life, her timid nature that soon turns to fierceness feels natural and makes me feel as though we’re really seeing a character develop naturally and deeply.
4. Jorah Mormont
In period films and television, you’ll normally get the “trustworthy advisor/soldier” type that the main character can rely on. But in Thrones, there are so few decent characters, you feel like you can vicariously depend on Mormont the way Daenerys does. We see bits of his fighting ability and we hear snippets of his past to make him feel like a person whose goal, not creation, is to serve “Khaleesi.” This, in contrast to similarly written characters that only serve the main character. Mormont feels like a deep enough of a character that if Daenerys were to die, he could still carry his own story.
But, seeing how this show unfolds, I’m sure he’ll bite it at some point. He’s too cool to make it all the way through.
5. Tywin Lannister
I don’t know exactly why, but I like this guy. It could be the fact that he’s on the opposing side to the Starks and related to the three most despicable characters on the show (thus far), yet still manages to come off like that pissed off old dad whose kids are just living disappointments to his legacy. His “promotion” of Tyrion and his way of accepting the savages Tyrion hired was like a modern day dad that sees his kid’s friends and just shakes his head while mumbling “Idiots.”
Tyrion’s story of his dad while playing his drinking game made you immediately hate him while he was off screen, but the role Tywin plays in conjunction with the others surrounding him give him a bit more depth than simply some pissed off old man.
A major underlying theme, at least of the first season, seems to be that staying straight in a crooked world can screw you over. Not that there’s not a better way to word that. Bean’s character of Ned Stark seems to be the only character, if not member of the only family, that attempts to do the honorable, righteous decision throughout the season. While everyone has selfish intentions and conniving behavior, Stark is the only man trying to just make everything right and keep from ruling, other than his own province.
This is especially true in the capital. As the King’s Hand, or head of the counsel, he comes into contact with a committee of backstabbers and manipulators and perhaps Stark’s only flaw is his inability to deal with said manipulators. If ignorance is a sin, this is Ned’s. But past this sin, he really does just want the simple life with the right person in charge. Once he’s convinced to do otherwise (seizing the throne with Baelish) for the first time, he’s betrayed, thrown in prison until he’s forced to admit his “treason.”
Again, when he admits this lie for the sake of keeping his family safe by keeping himself alive, he’s betrayed again and beheaded. I knew it was coming since before I watched the show because Bean was playing him, and it was a spoiler I’d been made privy to early on, but it was still effective and it made me hate Joffrey even more. Have I mentioned that I hate him?
So while I don’t take a cynical message away from the show so much as I do the type of world we’re viewing: cruel, unforgiving, and violent. If you want to survive, you’ll have to lie, cheat, and connive. Rhymes! Yet it’s not even proposing that to live that way is right simply because you live, if that’s all you reap and sow. More on that in the future.
I’m only half way through the second season so you could still call me a novice to the show, but seeing as how the series is called “A Song of Ice and Fire,” I can’t help but imagine Daenerys and Jon Snow playing a major role when it comes to taking the throne. Both have plot lines that take place far from anything else going on with the other characters, most of whom are very self-involved with matters that, in the long run, won’t matter much while these two are dealing with things that will have to play a huge role later on. Jon Snow is literally surrounded by snow and ice while Daenerys is constantly wandering through sand, heat, and is the “Mother of Dragons” which have been described as fire embodied.
As a so-called “prediction” this is pretty vague, I’m really only saying that I imagine these two characters will have monumental parts to play. While their “fire and ice” undertones are the opposite, they have much in common with being the last of their families (Snow is with the Stark’s but not by blood) while having to bare the burden of their families’ shame. Jon is a “bastard” while Daenerys’ “Mad King” father and the like are noted anytime her family is mentioned. While staying on the outskirts of the rest of the characters and their roles, I imagine Snow and Daenerys being the chinks in everyone else’ armor that they’re not yet aware of.
Let me throw in that as sick as Jaime is, I really want to see what they do with his character. A true villain in attempting to kill a little boy for seeing the perverse act he happen to witness, even his slightly redeeming qualities keep him horrendous in nature and I’m eager to see what happens with him.
Sidenote: Expect articles to be to a minimum until I can finish this freaking show and keep the internet from spoiling it otherwise. Thanks for the patience. All will be typed!