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A Game of Puppies

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Finally got around to watching the first episode of ‘Game of Thrones’, the highly anticipated HBO show based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. Even before the show was first aired, there was tons of controversy about it, based on the most ridiculous review I ever had the displeasure of reading. It’s particularly insulting to know that the author Ginia Bellafante completely discarded the huge segment of women who enjoy fantasy, because A Song of Ice and Fire is boy fiction. The worst part might probably be that despite the outcry of people insulted by her review that didn’t actually review the show, the author still doesn’t understand why people are upset.

I have read the books multiple times, and actually prepared for the show by re-reading just a couple weeks before the show started. I will try to loosely recap the show here in my blog. Not as a detailed by-play of every scene, like many recaps do, but things that I found notable.

Gorgeous theme. I am a huge sucker for maps. It’s one of my fantasy shticks. If I flick through a book in a store, the inclusion of beautiful maps will make it more likely that I purchase a book. I thought the theme was very interesting, with the maps, the sigils of the main families of the books, the gears. Nicely done. If you haven’t seen it, HBO has made it available on YouTube.

I went away from this episode with being happy of two things. The casting is very tight. I thought many characters seem exceptionally good fits. Amongst the best were Ned Stark, Jon Snow, Jaime Lannister, Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark. Those characters immediately worked for me. Tyrion Lannister was good, but not a 100% fit for me, and I don’t know how I feel about Cersei yet. She doesn’t seem vindictive enough. Maybe that’ll come into play later, but she seemed too nice somehow. Still, overall the casting was very convincing to me. Immediate dislike of Theon Greyjoy and Joffrey Baratheon, heh.

The other thing I was happy about was that they really stick closer to the book than other book adaptations. There were certainly moments that didn’t match the book completely, but the general feeling of it was that they’re going to follow the book to a T. I don’t know why Tyrion got a gratuitous whorehouse scene, but then, they might touch on his personal history with whores in the near future.

I wonder why they made all the Stark kids older across the board. It looked like every single one of them is two years older than in the book. Speaking of Stark Kids, I thought Bran was so adorable. He won my heart over immediately. I liked the hints we got of Arya, but there was definitely not enough Arya in the show this week. I think everyone who’s read the books probably likes Arya and Tyrion best, they’re fan favorites, and deservedly so. She is the character I am most excited about. Also, need to see more pups. Weren’t they adorable?

For an HBO show, there was little sex. Anyone remember the first episode of S1 True Blood? That was pornolicious, and I was happy Game of Thrones wasn’t. I am however not sure why every single sex scene so far included doggy-style. It only makes sense for the Dothraki, because that is what they do. Didn’t make sense for…well, not spoiling it, but it didn’t make sense for me in the final scene. Unnecessary change from the book.

Now that I mentioned the Dothraki, that was probably the most disappointing stuff of the first episode. Viserys was lacking the crazy, Illythio didn’t look anything like I imagined him. Where was the yellow forked beard? He wasn’t even really fat. And the Dothraki didn’t look like specific people, they looked like random extras. I expected them to look more Mongolian, or at least more exotic than they did. I have high expectations of Danaerys. I like her storyline very much. I want her to grow into the powerful Targaryen lady she is. They depicted her weaker than she was in the book, in the wedding scene, and I hope that won’t be a continuing trend. I thought the Targaryens looked very good, but seriously, Viserys needs more crazy. My dear friend Ria told me that the thing that bothered her most was that they didn’t dye Emilia Clarke’s brows enough, that they were too dark. That’s first world girl problems for you in fantasy, I tell ya. 😉 Just for Ria I made a screencap of the brows too.

Overall, I am happy, and also glad to hear that they already got renewed for Clash of Kings. It’s so rare that you get to see fantasy that’s well done. How did you folks enjoy the show? Disappointed or pleased? Indifferent or confused?

16 Comments

  1. They made all the kids older partly so Khal Drogo wasn’t marrying and having sex with a 13 year old on screen.

    I’mma do my own post on the show soon, because I have way too much to say – in a tl:dr version – I loved the show, I think they got the Dothraki wrong (there were supposed to be 40k dothraki at their wedding…and all manner of shiny gifts and nuances.)

    • Yeah, I was disappointed with the Dothraki. The setting was wrong. I know they filmed on Malta, but I don’t know why. I don’t associate Dany’s story with cliffs and the sea. The Dothraki as they were there had no soul, they were just random extras. They were no people. If that makes any sense. I wonder if we’ll get to see Drogo with his bloodriders.

  2. I need to go re-read the book, but casting Sean Bean always seems like such a horrible spoiler…

  3. I quite enjoyed watching it. The Tiz slept through most of it, but I has been yelled at not fer ta reveal what happened in case she catches it on the “On Demand” (she ain’t read the books). Very happy fer ta see what HBO already done picked it up der a second season.

    Expects ta see more of Arya in later episodes. The ‘behind the scenes” reports say the actress totally nailed the role. I suspects the kids is all a little older than the book ’cause is damn hard fer little kid actors ta play complicated roles. Anakin Skywalker comes ta mind….

    The direwolfies? Everybody in show business hates workin’ with animals. I loves me dogs, but I’d hate fer ta have ta act with’em. They just don’t get movies too good, even the talented ones. Sadlies, I think they gonna stay minor characters.

    All the doggie-style rump pumpin’ is prolly a movie business thing too (I noticed it in some other movies as well). One, it lets ya get both faces in the frame, and two, ya can get away with both actors pretty much fully dressed and havin’ ta do very little rubbin’ and touchin’ and intimatifyin’, makin’ they’s lives a lot less awkward. All the while maintainin’ the “our sex scenes is srs bzns” image.

    • Ratters, I love you. Did I mention that? That last paragraph sums it up very well. I would be interested what your SO thinks about the show, without having read the books. It’s probably confusing.

      • My husband and I were just talking about that after watching the first episode. We loved the books (just read the first one this Christmas, working on the 2nd one now), but it is so hard to imagine what makes sense and not to someone that doesn’t have all that backstory in their head.

        Would be very interesting to hear about that. 🙂

  4. Loved it. I’m sure it’s some kind of sacrilege but one of my favorite scenes was the added one in the brothel. Perfect intro to Tyrion and Jaime’s relationship, especially since there isn’t a lot of time to establish it. Everyone was brilliant, and from what I’ve heard it all only gets better. I’d heard so much about the credits and before I saw them I didn’t know what could be possibly be so great about opening titles. It looks like they put more effort into those than a lot of folks put into an entire show. I can’t wait to see the other locations as they pop up on the map. I am a giant nerd.

    As a die-hard – and widely frowned at – Jaime fan, I was happy to see he’s got more to do than stand around being thought of as an ass and That Thing at the End of the Episode. (No, not Cersei, the other thing.) I’m curious to see what they do with him next season. Shutting up now. Otherwise I’ll go on all day.

    • I think Jaime has been cast exceptionally well. Here’s to hoping we’ll see a season 3, for more Jaime for you. The amazing thing about the books is that it’s all shades of grey, and who you like now, you might hate then, and vice versa.

      In that scene, Jaime was certainly a very caring brother. Though I wonder how Tyrion really feels receiving whores from him, with his backstory.

      • Ah but remember Tyrion doesn’t find out about the Jaime thing until later on!

        I haven’t seen this yet but you’ve inspired me to start a re-read in anticipation of ADWD. The Starks as a whole make me quite sad right from the start – Arya, Jon, Ned, Bran and Robb are some of the only really decent people in the whole series. I hope at least some of them get a happy ending.

        • He doesn’t find out the truth of it until later, but he certainly knows what Jaime told him was true and what happened afterward.

          I started reading them again, too. Halfway through Clash of Kings for the fourth time. I have so many other things to read but none of them could possibly be as good, lol.

  5. I thought it was SO GOOD. Really happy with it, and it was great to see my friends’ and husband’s faces fall at the end when they realized what was happening. I mean, not great, but a little amusing since I was the only one who read the book and knew what was going to happen.

    Can’t wait to see more. The little glimpses of Arya were incredible and I am so excited to see more of her. She is an incredible character.

    Funny quote from my friend Amy watching the show with me, after Arya hits the target while Bran is trying to aim… “Yeah, there’s no reason women would like this show.” Boy fiction indeed!

  6. They aged up all the kids for Dany, but also I think to help people buy the maturity of Robb and Jon. And the Sansa and Joffrey stuff. But practically, it also helps them cast actors they know can carry some of these crucial roles. All the critics say Arya and Viserys two of the best young actors, along with Dany, so I’m expecting great things of them.

    Also heard they made a decision to make Cersei more quietly calculating. Agree with you on Tyrion but will take all the differences cos he’s a spectacular actor. Also adored Jaime, but my super annoying friends said he was prince charming from shrek, incl hairstyle. I will never forgive them. :-p

    • Yikes, Arb, your friends suck. Those are images that won’t go away, because now I see it too.

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  8. Long time reader from TankLikeAGirl.
    Seeing as how the second episode is out now, what did you think of Joffery?
    I think he fit the role of “little shit I cant wait to see die” very well. lol

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