Game of Thrones — A Final Review

I had previously posted my initial thoughts on the HBO series Game of Thrones. In particular, clinic I was a little uncomfortable with the “HBO”ing of several scenes, look particularly when it came to nudity and sex.

I ended up watching the entire series, purchase to see if things got better after the pilot episode. What I discovered is that the “HBO”ing of the sex and nudity was really inconsistent. Some episodes there was very little, and other episodes it was even more gratuitous than the pilot episode. Interestingly, the times when the sex and nudity were the most galling were in scenes that were not actually in the book (e.g., the monologue of Petyr Baelish).

What watching the series encouraged me to do was to read the books. By about the third episode, after having to ask Chuck every five seconds what was going on, I caved and started reading the books. Oh. My. Goodness. If you haven’t read the books, but caught the pilot episode of GoT and were turned off, my suggestion is skip the show and read the books. The books are fantastic. I polished off GoT in three days and then read the second book ‘A Clash of Kings’ in less than a week. I have started the third book, ‘A Storm of Swords’ but have had to get Chuck to hide the book so that I can get work done on my papers which are due in 23 days (eek!).

What the show fails to do is explain things. Indeed, it leaves a lot out. It leaves out character development. Heck, half the time, the show doesn’t even identify which character is which. The vastness of the universe created by Martin is lost in the adaptation to the small screen. The show fails to present the nuances of the rules of honour and chivalry of the world, which means that for a modern audience watching the show, the actions of certain characters seem barbaric instead of justifiable or even noble.

On a positive note, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion is fantastic. The fanboys are right, Dinklage deserves an Emmy for his performance (This picture posted to the discussion threads sums it up so well, even if they had to resort to colourful language). If I were to decide to watch season two, I would watch it solely to see Dinklage. Otherwise, I’m sticking with the books.

Game of Thrones

I watched the first episode of HBO’s new series Game of Thrones. It is based on the books by G.R.R. Martin. While I haven’t read the books, ask Chuck has, case and we’ve spent many many hours talking about this world of Westeros and Essos.

I like fantasy novels. I like novels that create elaborate worlds with their own morals and rules and cultural structures. And I like books that have complex characters. In Game of Thrones there are an awful lot of ‘bad’ people who end up winning, troche and an awful lot of ‘good’ people who end up dying because of of their principles. This is the type of writing that I like.

In anticipation for Game of Thrones, I watched the teaser trailers, and the introductions to the different families. I signed up to follow Game of Throne on Twitter. The buzz was amazing.

And then I watched the first episode.

Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot of potential. My biggest problem was that they HBO’d it. They ramped up the sex and nudity to the point that it made it uncomfortable to watch. It was distracting and didn’t serve any purpose, other than, I suspect, to get the fan-boys titillated.

After watching it, I turned to Chuck and said, “are the books this graphic?” His response was no. In fact, things of a sexual nature are mostly told but not described.

For example:
* In the book there is no whorehouse scene.
* In the book Daenerys was fully clothed when her brother “inspected” her, there was no mention of Dothraki dancers having bare breasts, and the “wedding night” scene between Daenerys and Khal Drogo was handled very differently.
* Flipping ahead, it’s about a hundred pages before sex is even mentioned again (Daenerys thinks back to her adjustment to Dothraki life, including how difficult it was for her that her husband would insist on nightly sex even though she had hideous saddle sores from learning to ride like the Dothraki).

News is out today that Game of Thrones had been picked up for a second season. My only advice: HBO you don’t need to sex things up to tell a good story. A good story will attract ratings and audiences. And, you’re more likely to attract a wider audience if you keep things a little more discreet.

I really hope the second episode next week is better.