Monday, July 17, 2017

Game of Thrones - The Complete First Season

Going back and watching a show for the first time well after it's become popular is always going to give the view a different perspective than those who watched from the beginning. Game of Thrones has become of phenomenon over it's six seasons (and counting), but examining the beginning of its run it's hard not to feel somewhat mixed about the results (especially compared to the undying fervor of its fans).

Over ten-episodes we are told repeatedly that Winter is coming. As foreshadowing goes it's not exactly subtle. By the end of the season Sean Bean has performed his perfunctory role (which fans of his know all too well), we finally get some dragons (pathetic that they might be), and things are just starting to get interesting. Winter, however, still feels far off. If Winter is coming, it's taking the long road. The lack of a central protagonist also makes it hard at times to invest in events our their outcomes. Who should I be rooting for? The Starks? Jon Snow? The Targaryens? It seems only the Lannisters are hard-set as villains, although at least one of their member breaks that mold.

Based on the novels of George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones feels very much like an adaption. Most of the information is told to the audience through long dialogue rather than shared on-screen. Instead of flashbacks we are instructed on important events, stories, and character moments through one actor reciting lines to another. Doesn't that sound exciting? Given that the first season also has the two most important battles take place entirely off-screen and it's hard not to be a bit infuriated with how events are being presented.

What we're given instead is politics and deception to the nth degree. With a wide range of characters (far too many to list here) whose stories unfold separately, the show struggles at times to keep the thread of current events running through all of them. Even with these limitations, the First Season of Game of Thrones does plenty to set-up the world and foreshadow dark events (almost all of which take place at the tail-end of the season). And the deceptions and politics are interesting to watch unfold, if maddeningly slow to play out.

Despite my complaints, I enjoyed the show's initial season and will continue to work my way through the events surrounding the war for the Iron Throne and dominion over the seven kingdoms and beyond. However, I'm hoping over the next few seasons the meandering pace will be quickened and we'll be given more show and less tell.

[HBO, DVD $25.48 / Blu-ray $29.99]

No comments: