I’m usually not the type of person to get hyped up about a TV show before seeing it. Usually I just end up watching a show in one go when the first few seasons are over and done with. It takes quite amount of effort for a series to actually have me sit down and watch it.
Dexter? I only started watching that when it was around season 4, heard about it before that but really didn’t care. Firefly? Saw it years after it was cancelled. Breaking Bad? People were watching season 3 by the time I finally gave that one a shot.
TV doesn’t really have much of a priority with me. If I do end up liking a show, I usually end up loving it all the more. Probably to a further extent than most TV-junkies love their time sink of choice.
And then there’s the Game of Thrones. I hyped myself up for that one. Hyped myself up bad. I watched the trailers, interviews, joined in on discussions about it, I did everything your average crazed fanboy would do. It’s something completely unlike me. Sure, I often get carried away with fanboyish tendencies of things I love, but never before it’s actually released. Somehow Game of Thrones ensnared me before it even began.
True, I read the book first. But I’ll have to admit that I only started reading the book for two simple reasons.
One, I felt like every fantasy series I had read since Robin Hobb’s amazing Farseer trilogy to be lacking. There were promises coming from the mouths of fans everywhere that A Song of Ice and Fire would, at the very least, equal that level of writing. The only problem with that is that it’s coming from the mouths of fans, and fans often let the strangest things escape from there. Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth fans came with the same promises, and that wasn’t too promising a road to pursue.
Two, the build-up in anticipation of the TV show. There were words travelling the internet stating that George R.R. Martin himself was content with the direction the TV show took his work in. Instead of wanting to violently stab, maim, choke, poison or repeatedly punch the people involved, fans were actually looking forward to the TV adaptation of the series. The usual online cries of butchery, blasphemy and desecration put aside. That actually made me want to feel part of this online circle of celebration of fine words of fantasy.
So I ended up reading it. Gave it my approval. Read some other books, then came back for Round Two: Clash of Kings.
But enough of that, we’re discussing the TV show here.
With all this excitement and hype that I’ve built up around it over the past month or so, I was really afraid that no matter what the show was going to do, it was going to leave me behind disappointed. Or worse yet, that the show was simply going to suck. A Song of Ice and Fire is one of those detailed series full of intricacies that would take a large tome of explanation to successfully carry over to the reader. Heck, you could argue that the books ARE large tomes full of detailed explanation of the history of Westeros. It thrives from its complexity and uses it against you, multiple sides warring against one another, trying to lie, cheat and outsmart each other at every turn. Since every chapter is written from the point of view of another character, large truths are often left completely obscured until the author allows you to know about them. How does this translate over to TV?
Surprisingly, it translates well enough. At least, if you’ve read the books it does. I still haven’t had the opportunity to get the opinion of a non-reader myself, and I can honestly believe there will be a lot of confusion in it for them. Whatever isn’t relevant to the happenings on-screen RIGHT NOW simply don’t get explained. Yet at the same time the narrative still manages to come across a whole experience. And for those who do have questions about the how or why of the events, there’s always the official Viewer’s Guide, as well as fans that are more than happy to help you explore the depths of the story with you.
One of my biggest worries was that the actors wouldn’t fit their roles correctly. Boy was I wrong there. Even my biggest worry, Tyrion Lannister, The Imp, is more than perfectly cast. My only question marks right now are surrounding the Dothraki. No thanks the extreme speed at which the show seemed to have tried to work its way past those scenes. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of Dany and Viserys and their time with the Dothraki, because as disjointed is sometimes felt in the books, which it still does in the series, the contrast between the ongoings of King’s Landing and the savage wisdom that came with the Khalasar was highly enjoyable to me.
So no, Game of Thrones most certainly did not disappoint. In fact, it gave me that tingly feeling I had seeing The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time a decade ago. If you love fantasy and you’re not watching this show yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.