HBO’s Game of Thrones: A Regal Television Experience

If you’ve seen an HBO series, you know they tend to do shows right. They don’t hold back.  Their shows are believable and real. After watching the first two episodes of Game of Thrones, I can see that they have kept that reputation alive–Game of Thrones is a fantastic show.

If you’ve never heard of the show and are a fan of fantasy, genre TV, or just quality TV, you’re missing out. The show is based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book of that series is A Game of Thrones. Typically shows adapted from books suffer severe criticism from those who have already read the book(s): ABC’s Legend of the Seeker is a perfect example. ABC took the concept and the names and then disregarded the books near to entirely. Fans of Goodkind—the book series’ author—were alienated and upset to see an outstanding book series turned into relatively cheap TV. The acting was sub-par, the plot had gaping holes, and the show didn’t have the budget to make it look real.

Game of Thrones is a different animal entirely. While there will certainly be some debate over how the books were translated to screen, I think readers will be pleased with the overall results. Game of Thrones is simply well done, there’s nothing on TV quite like it. The closest storyline is Starz’s Camelot and, though I like that show, it is unable to match the caliber of Game of Thrones. One could easily say that Game of Thrones is a more mature and filling Camelot with a better budget. Everything you see, from the scenes and dress, to the lighting and camera angles, contributes to this believable show. You rarely find yourself pointing out what is CGI(computer-generated images).

This is Game of Thrones in a nutshell:

Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Political and sexual intrigue abound. The primary families are the Stark, Lannister, and Baratheon families. Robert Baratheon, King of Westeros, asks his old friend Eddard Stark to serve as his chief advisor. Eddard, suspecting that his predecessor had been murdered, accepts so that he can investigate further. It turns out more than one family is plotting to take the throne. The Queen’s family, the Lannisters, may be hatching a plot to take control. Across the sea, the last surviving members of the previously deposed ruling family, the Targaryens, are also plotting a return to power. The conflict between these families and others, including the Greyjoys, the Tullys, the Arryns, and the Tyrells, leads to war. Meanwhile, in the north, an ancient evil awakens. Amidst war and the political confusion, a brotherhood of misfits, The Night’s Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and the horrors beyond.

Two episodes, that’s all it will take to get you hooked on this show. The first episode throws a lot of characters and different story lines into the mix. While I wasn’t entirely sure of the overall story, I knew I liked it. The second episode gives you a chance to gather your bearings while still progressing the story. It’s so interesting that you just can’t help yourself: you want to see where the story goes. I was so curious as to how it all pans out that I bought the first book of the series. When a show can get you reading in addition to watching, you know it’s good. A television show that makes you want more is one worth your time.

While I’ve only just started reading the book, the show seems to follow the book almost to the letter. While I doubt it will be able to keep that parallel for long, it shows that the show is genuinely trying to do the books justice and not muddy the story that is already there. The fantastic opening to the show (below) is a perfect example of how the show makes an effort to bring the book to life, here taking the book’s map and making it into so much more.

This will be a hit show for HBO, there is no question–already IMDb users have given the show a 9.4/10 based on more than 2,500 votes. HBO has already renewed the show for a second season just after the first episode aired. The only downside to this series is that the first season comprises only ten episodes.

After watching the trailer below I’d be genuinely surprised if you didn’t give Game of Thrones a look.

2 Responses to “HBO’s Game of Thrones: A Regal Television Experience”
  1. I agree. This a great show. Unlike, say True Blood, which is just over-the-top and fun (but really bad when you think about it in terms of the acting and writing), Game of Thrones thus far has been over-the-top and fun but really strong in the acting and writing department. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds. Hopefully fans of the books won’t spoil too much for us by revealing what happens. And that opening credit sequence is just awesome.

  2. Dave says:

    Sounds awesome!!

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