HBO rolled out the much hyped and highly anticipated new series last week. How does it compare to the books? How does it stand on its own?

 

Game of Thrones

Season 1, Episode 1: “Winter is Coming”

Background

For the initiated, I’ll lay down the basics behind the series. The TV series “Game of Thrones” is based on the first book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series titled, “A Game of Thrones.” All indications point to the whole series (and HBO has already renewed it for a second season) will keep the title of the first book. Frankly, I don’t blame them, it sounds more interesting. Season one is supposed to cover the first book. Season two will, presumably, cover book two.

The series isn’t done and the author, George R. R. Martin, is taking his sweet time getting them finished. As of right now, there are four books in the series, some of which have been reviewed by yours truly. Book 5 is being broken into smaller books and will be released in July.

The title of this episode comes from the Stark family motto “Winter is coming.” In this world, Summer and Winter can last for years (I don’t know how this doesn’t mess with plants’ lifecycles, but there you are). The saying basically means “Bad stuff is about to happen, are you prepared?”

Review

As a fan of the books I was, in short, very impressed. There are few niggling issues here and there, but it is only episode one and they’re off to such a great start, I will give them the benefit of the doubt about tying up loose ends.

The characters are spot-on to the book. Though they aren’t explored as deeply as the novel does, you get the basic sense of each one.

Seeing as this was HBO I was expecting (and wasn’t disappointed) about the graphical nature of the show. The books are bloody, messy, and dirty. Violence and sex play a major role in this series. Often at the same time. This show is not for the kiddie crowd. This is an adult show with adult themes. And let us rejoice in it!

High Points

  • The opening scene North of the Wall.
  • Every scene with Tyrion.
  • I knew it was coming, but they still managed to startle the hell out of me with the “The Things I Do For Love” scene.

Low Points

  • Not enough Tyrion.
  • We seem to be missing a major character, Theon Greyjoy. (Found him!)
  • Khal Drogo feels like more of an underwear model than a warrior king. But it’s the first episode and in the books he’s not exactly loquacious.

Scores

Originality: I’ve yet to come across anything this interesting in the Fantasy genre. 6/6

Effects: These are minimal, but they are incredible. Mostly it’s the CG shots of the castles and cities. And they look awesome. The Wall is truly…well, you have to see it. Stark and frightening. 5/6

Story: The intrigue starts early and just gets deeper. Can’t wait to see more. 5/6

Acting: This isn’t an easy series to be in and has to be tough in both character and what they’re called to do. The cast is outstanding so far. 5/6

Production: Insanely detailed costumes, weapons, and sets. Great to see something not from WETA for a change. 6/6

Emotional Response: It’s tense, gritty, and graphic, all leading you to be engrossed and fascinated by the whole thing. And the final scene of the episode will startle the hell out of you. 6/6

Overall: An awesome start to what should be a great series. Fans of the books will not be disappointed. 6/6

Total Score: 39 out of 42