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Complex, Brutal, Smart And Sophisticated--A Fantasy Epic Geared Toward Adults Proves HBO Does It Best,
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This review is from: Game of Thrones, Season 1 (DVD)
Few shows have been more eagerly awaited than the arrival of HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's masterful and massive epic "Game of Thrones" (the first in a series). As the books have progressed, however, faithful followers have cried foul as promises have yet to be delivered. But no matter where you stand in that controversy, there is little debate to the majesty and quality of the novel "Thrones"--an almost instant classic in the adult fantasy genre. Multi-layered and ambitious, this sprawling tale charts a powerful story of intrigue, political machinations, and violence amidst the brutal landscape of a nation divided. It is not a production you could approach half-heartedly. To do justice to the novel's intricacies required a massive cast, extensive period sets and costumes, lavish effects and a focused and intelligent screenplay. Well, creators David Benioff (a top notch novelist himself--check out City of Thieves) and D.B. Weiss were up to the challenge and the astute HBO has once again backed a winner. Make no mistake, this is no cheesy kid's story--this is dark and relentless entertainment for people who enjoy quality programming.
At the heart of "Game of Thrones" is the Stark family. Living in relative isolation, patriarch Sean Bean is called to assist the King when a vacancy opens up due to suspect causes. Suspicions have fallen on the King's wife (Lena Headley) and her twin brother (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and there may be further nefarious acts in store for His Royal Highness. When the Stark's young son witnesses something he should not have, a violent act that will have long range repercussions occurs. This, however, is just the jumping off point for a tale with numerous dimensions. There are the exiled Targaryen siblings, a brother and sister who have a claim to the throne and hope to retake the power seat by aligning with a barbaric and powerful tribe of warriors. Bean's illegitimate son figures prominently as well, as a guardian on The Wall preparing for imminent danger. There are so many other peripheral characters and story lines, it would be impossible to delineate them all concisely. There are assassination plots, vigilante justice, court intrigue, various sexual escapades, vicious barbarism, unseen monstrosities, plenty of wolves, family drama, and a dragon egg or two.
Through it all, there is a recurrent theme that "Winter is Coming"--a threat that poses a menace and a danger that may be unavoidable. This show is not for the faint of heart, and should only be considered for age appropriate audiences. As an HBO production, the screenplay doesn't shy away from the gritty violence that this time period and life style would necessitate. I, for one, appreciate the authentic feel to the drama. This show is also not for the casual viewer. It unfolds at its own pace, much like a good novel. It requires both patience and attention to really appreciate just how sophisticated and complex this tale is. It is a grown-up and smart piece!
The show looks absolutely fantastic. Technical aspects of the production are as good, or better, than any comparable feature film. The cast is also uniformly excellent. It would be impossible, again, to highlight everyone in the cast that deserves a special mention--so I'll limit my accolades to Peter Dinklage. As Tyrion Lannister (the black sheep brother of Headley and Coster-Waldau), Dinklage steals just about every scene that he is in. Funny, sardonic, and wise--this Imp (as he's called) has a terrific knack of putting things into perspective. Dinklage has had many great roles in his life--but this is a performance of true star wattage. Don't be surprised to see him invited to the Emmy race for Best Supporting Actor! He is one of the best things in this great presentation. I truly admire and recommend "Game of Thrones" because it never panders. It requires your active participation in the narrative to fully appreciate how well constructed it is--and any show that treats me as an intelligent human being deserves recognition in this age of formulaic TV. Watch it--and read the books (Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings especially are monumental)! KGHarris, 5/11.
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Showing 1-10 of 62 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 6, 2011 6:01:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 6, 2011 6:02:19 AM PDT
I can hardly remember a series which has created so much positive buzz before most people have had a chance to see it. I can hardly wait to see it myself, but unfortunately I don't have SKY (I live in the UK) and haven't seen it yet. Roll on the DVDs then...and thanks for the review.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2011 5:18:27 AM PDT
Can you get HBO online and take their service? If so, it is worth it.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2011 7:47:36 AM PDT
No, unfortunately I can't get HBO online ...while living in the UK. However, I actually prefer to wait for the DVDs, so I can watch at my own pace. Thanks for the thought, though...
Posted on Jun 18, 2011 12:26:21 PM PDT
Annie Feng says:
Game of Throne would not be able to get any nominations, however good the casts are, because it's not considered a primetime TV series, which the Emmys award. However, I have high hopes for The Golden Globe next year.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2011 1:25:19 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:22:18 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2011 3:05:23 PM PDT
Annie Feng says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2011 5:41:20 AM PDT
A. Whitehead says:
The show came out too late to qualify for the last Emmy Awards. It has been entered for the next ones, though.
Posted on Jun 22, 2011 5:56:07 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:22:19 PM PDT]
Posted on Jun 22, 2011 1:46:14 PM PDT
Jonathan Abrams says:
Great review overall, but I just wanted to point out that the Targaryens are not twins. Visarys is older than Dany by a couple of years.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 1:51:41 PM PDT
Samuel N. Starkey says:
Actually Viserys was 9 when Dany was born. She was not born until after their exile and he held it against her that their mother died giving birth to her.