Monday, 23 January 2012
‘Game of Thrones’ Episode One: ‘Winter is Coming’
Then I saw this post and was off down to my local HMV in the time that it would normally take for Robert Baratheon to father another bastard child. I might still have to wait a little while for a cheap box set deal but the first episode should be enough to keep me going in the meantime.
Before we get started, is there anyone who hasn’t read the books? How about anyone who hasn’t seen the first episode of ‘Game of Thrones’? Really? I don’t believe that…;o)
Look, if you haven’t read the books or seen the show then you need to be aware that I’m not going to skirt round any spoilers; if I see one coming at the end of a paragraph then I’m just going full steam ahead. The season defining spoilers don’t come along until much later but even so, you’ve been warned.
The bottom line is that ‘Winter is Coming’ really worked for me, I’ve definitely got my eye on the box set now (even though I’ve read the books). Some of the CGI scenery is a little too obviously CGI (I thought the Direwolf pups looked fine myself) but when that’s the only thing wrong with the episode, well… you can’t complain really can you?
What we’ve got here is an episode that introduces us to the Seven Kingdoms, sets up all the players on the board and then has them jockeying for position while nasty stuff is starting to happen up North beyond the Wall. Those scenes in particular were superb as far as I was concerned, tense and shocking moments that held my attention straight away. The producers/directors (I can never tell the difference) are obviously not afraid to skimp on the blood and that is definitely in keeping with GRRM’s grim medieval world.
There’s only an hour to get all the initial stuff set up and so it’s inevitable that not everything will fit in. It seemed to me that events took precedence over characterisation although the main players do get a chance to shine. Peter Dinklage in particular shines as Tyrion Lannister. When an actor replaces my own mental image of a character then I just know that they’ve done a good job. When I next read the books it will be Dinklage’s Tyrion that I see. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's Jaime Lannister was almost as impressive but looked a little too much like Prince Charming (‘Shrek 2’) for me to be totally convinced. Sorry, that’s just the way it goes sometimes. And just where is Rickon Stark? I couldn’t see him but that’s not saying that he wasn’t there. Help?
Like I said, all the main events (from the opening chapters of ‘A Game of Thrones’) are covered in enough detail that the viewer is left with a decent idea of who means what to whom and why certain events are still resonating down the years. You can see how certain events build up a good head of steam (poor Bran) that will carry things along nicely in terms of pacing. From what I could see of the scenery, Ireland looked like a good place to film Winterfell. Where were the Dothraki scenes filmed? That looked gorgeous as well.
Apart from a couple of ropey CGI moments, ‘Winter is Coming’ really kicked things off in fine style and promises good things for the rest of Season One. You probably all knew that already though ;o) Don’t expect to see me talking about the rest of Season One anytime soon as I’m waiting on that box set…