After all the advertisements and buzz, Game of Thrones finally premiered at the beginning of this week. Already it has been renewed for a second season despite ratings that were only decent for an HBO show. (Then again, HBO execs say they expect this to be a show that builds its ratings slowly in much the same way that True Blood did. Which makes sense since genre TV can be a bit trickier than regular shows.)
After seeing the pilot, I have sort of mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it was sort of very confusing. There were so many characters that we had not one but two incest-y scenes but the second almost went over my head because I wasn’t sure who the characters were. (I didn’t realize they were siblings until I read EW’s recap afterwards.) This issue could be resolved by people using each other’s names a little more for the first few episodes. This issue didn’t bother me as much as it does in other shows, if only because I understand how hard it is to establish the back story in a fantasy type genre, especially considering that GRR Martin wrote this story originally to be unfilmable. I figure I will pick it up over time and anything I miss I can pick up in recaps.
The opening sequence is a haunting, exciting bloody scene that gave a fantastic introduction to the creepy creatures that the main characters worry about. It did give the feeling of an entirely different show, when most of the rest involved talking and establishing relationships and politics. some people might find this frustrating, but I have a feeling the fighting and carnage is the kind of thing that will build as the series continues. After all, two armies are getting ready for battle and some creatures unseen for a long time have returned.
Of the characters, the one I am rooting for/feeling for the most at this moment is Daeneyrs, whose brother has forced her into a marriage with a barbarian in order to form an alliance that will allow him to retake the throne. The wedding night rape scene is utterly heartbreaking, but I have a feeling (having never read the books but intending to) that that Daeneyrs will go from this weak, forcibly manipulated girl to a surprisingly strong woman sometime in the future. At least I hope so because I think that would be an interesting transformation to watch.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the pilot was the cinematography. The show is expensive-movie-quality. (Which it better be considering that it was rumored to have a budget of over $60 million for the season.) The actors are also solid, fleshing out the world in an exciting and believable way.
I would say that if the pilot is any indication, the series will be as exciting as the many others that we have grown to love on HBO. I can’t wait to get to know the characters better and see where it takes us.