In a previous article, I mentioned my severe hatred for books that are made into movies and TV shows. There are several reasons for this and most are unavoidable. Books have to be condensed, certain scenes are lost, characters aren’t portrayed well, oh and of course the need for artistic liberties, which is something I will never understand. Why do you need to take something that isn’t yours, with a HUGE fan base, and try to make it yours by completely changing things [See Legend of the Seeker – A new take on Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind]? So when I first heard that one of my favorite books, George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones was being made into a TV mini series, I was pretty ticked. Then I heard that HBO was going to be doing it and I thought “Well at least it’s the appropriate medium VS trying to stick it on the CW”. I had hope that HBO would be operating with a movie budget and that Game of Thrones would be filled with violence, sex, intrigue, and high quality actors/costumes/sets as some of their other shows are. So I decided to see if they would destroy my favorite book and waited impatiently for winter.
Winter is here and I am pleasantly surprised. I have always been a huge knit-picker of the Harry Potter movies and my friends waited for me to go postal on my Panasonic. I was ready – but it was really good. For those who haven’t seen the first episode, I suggest not reading any farther as there are some spoilers.
The first episode starts with the prologue of Game of Thrones and ends with Bran’s fall. The opening scene is fantastic: seeing the Wall in all its glory as well as our first brush with the cold ones was dead on. My second breath taking moment was Ned in the Gods’ Wood. The set was beautiful and captured not only the beauty of the imagery but also gave it that magical touch.
The dialogue for the most part is pulled directly from the books which is what I would expect since Martin had a hand in the making and writing of the series. The characters were fantastic, though Cersei’s hair in some parts did seem wig-like and unnatural. I was very impressed with the casting and was pleasantly surprised that the actors captured and portrayed the characters perfectly. I don’t think they ever mention Theon Greyjoy’s name and yet, the moment he spoke, I knew who he was. Tyrion was fantastic – As one of my favorite characters, I wanted to know that Peter Dinklage was going to be able to catch the essence of this dynamic character. He was funny, witty, and most of all the brooding dwarf that I had always pictured.
In Pentos, the Targaryens’ were amazing. Viserys gave me goose bumps with “You do not want to wake the dragon”. Daenrys already shows her courage and power just from stepping into the heated pool. The Dothraki culture and life style was also right on the mark and made a beautiful contrast of yellows and sun against the bleak grey and white of Winterfell.
Sure there are a few things that can be picked at such as Danerys’ marriage to Khal Drogo is a few chapters after Bran’s fall but even this can be argued. Martin has said that several of the events that occur in the books happen at the same time so certain chapters are either different takes on one event or are occurring at the same time the previous chapter did. Another example is the scene with the dire wolf pups. In the book, Robb sees them yet in the first episode, Ned is the one who follows the dead elk to the pups. Very small changes and for the most part, not noticeable. I eagerly await, Episode 2: The Kingsroad on April 24th.