Game of Thrones – Pilot Impressions

Targaryen

A winter worth relishing

Game of Thrones, HBO’s hugely anticipated and long awaited new show debuted on Sunday night in the US. There was an incredibly large amount of hype surrounding surrounding the adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, generated by a multi million dollar budget and early glowing reviews from the press. Thankfully, the hype was justified and it seems HBO have delivered yet another top shelf drama. 

Going into the pilot, I was cautiously optimistic. I don’t usually like fantasy, with the exception of Lord of the Rings but the hype still managed to get a hold of me. The show doesn’t dwell on its setting. Instead, it cleverly uses it to establish a complex and rich world of lore and characters. And like all HBO dramas, this too is character driven. The cast is absolutely huge, with Sean Bean leading the pack. That’s not to nullify others, all involved turned in strong performances with not a chink in the ensemble armor. Dialouge was a delicate and well balanced mixture of sharp writing and fantasy ‘ye olde English’, allowing for the creation of believable yet appropriate characters.

The pilot had the daunting task of introducing the world of Westeros to the viewers, one with an almost incomprehensible amount of history. In preparation for the show, I thought it might be a good idea to familiarise myself with the lore and even then, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer density of it. Thankfully, the pilot presented the various houses and political motives with a good degree of clarity. I feel like it held a lot back, a wise decision in an effort to be prevent most viewers, who like me won’t be familiar with the series, from being completely overstimulated. That’s not to say spoon feeding was incorporated, like all HBOs dramas, if you don’t pay attention, you will get lost. But that’s what I love about such shows. They don’t take the viewer for an idiot.

I feel like I’m becoming somewhat of a broken record, consistently mentioning HBO and comparing it to their established standards but I think it’s important to mention. Violence, swearing and gratuitous nudity are something we’ve come to expect from the cable station and all are here in plentiful supply here. Thankfully too, the censorship of so many other American shows is something which irritates me greatly, serving to break the suspension of disbelief on some level.

Game of Thrones is off to an impeccable start. Most importantly, I think it’ll be able to find an audience with those not typically accustomed to fantasy fiction and in doing so, hopefully give the genre a much needed jolt.

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