‘Game Of Thrones’ Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 3 years ago by

game of thrones 11 min preview Game Of Thrones Series Premiere Review & Discussion

The acting is top-notch all round. Highlights include Addy’s boisterous and loose-tongued Baratheon (who gives little resemblance to his more comedic roles), Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 300) as the disinterested and cold queen, and Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral) as Tyrion, the noble-blooded but bitter dwarf. Even the child and teen actors show impressive range – which they’ll need to keep up in order to do the continuing story justice. In a setting so far beyond what’s recognizable to modern eyes, the characters feel natural and appropriate.

The production values are nothing short of stellar. Game of Thrones easily bests the likes of Camelot and The Borgias, and de-thrones Rome as HBO’s most ambitious period piece yet. Sets, costumes, props, cinematography and the Irish, Scottish and Moroccan shooting locations combine to make a wholly encompassing medieval atmosphere. Computer effects are used sparingly, and practical effects take center stage. The cold and foreboding lands of Westeros and the sunny coasts of Essos are almost literally night and day, creating a stark contrast that mirrors the differences in the people and culture of the two fictional nations.

game of thrones knights Game Of Thrones Series Premiere Review & Discussion

As uncompromising as Game of Thrones is with its visuals, it cuts no corners in atmosphere, either. The pilot has sex, violence and crude language in abundance, putting even Starz’ salacious Spartacus: Blood and Sand to shame (if it has any). Viewers expecting chivalrous lords and virtuous ladies will find neither: this is an adult story intended for mature audiences. The Dothraki wedding scene in particular brings new meaning to the word “bloodlust”. While fans of Martin’s novels and HBO’s uncompromising storytelling will be satisfied, those hoping for a more traditional fantasy tale may be turned off.

The action is somewhat lacking in the first episode, but this is not unexpected. After the attack and execution in the first act, the rest of the episode is dedicated to setting up the core conflicts of the first season. Like the ever-present Winter, the action is coming, and the shocking end of the pilot will leave viewers craving resolution all week.

peter dinklage as Tyrion Game Of Thrones Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Game of Thrones takes place in a world that is unsurpassed in fantasy literature in both its scope and breadth. It makes no apologies and very few concessions to an unfamiliar audience. Dozens of vital characters and decades of history are thrust upon the viewer in a very short time. (This is the sort of thing TiVo was made for.) George R. R. Martin has a co-executive producer credit for the series, and it shows: if you’re unfamiliar with the Song of Ice and Fire novels, prepare to rack your brains keeping the various leaders, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers and legitimate and illegitimate offspring separate.

The upshot is the pacing. With so much material to cover, Game of Thrones clips along quickly, never pausing long enough to drag. While this doesn’t make it any easier to keep the characters and their relationships straight, it makes for compelling storytelling. Even so, there’s time for some impressive dramatic moments: the conversation between Tyrion the dwarf and Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and the first intimacy between Daenerys and Khal Drogo stand out.

game of thrones bow and arrow Game Of Thrones Series Premiere Review & Discussion

If you’re a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, you don’t need to be told to watch Game of Thrones. Likewise, general fantasy junkies have been waiting for Sunday’s premiere for months. But even if you’ve only enjoyed fantasy or medieval tales in passing, you’ll find something to like. HBO’s excellent production values and unparallelled episodic skill are on full display here.

-

Does HBO’s Game of Thrones live up to the hype? Absolutely. Get ready for an epic experience when the premiere airs this Sunday at 9PM.

« 1 2

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: game of thrones

43 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. Your excellent review has peaked my
    curiosity even more than it was, Michael.

    I have been watching Camelot and The Borgias
    so far but there is no guarantee I’ll stay on board.
    This looks like a lock to keep my interest throughout.

    • Man, Camelot wend downhill really fast. By the third episode I was ready to quit.

      • Yeah, ain’t that the truth.
        I am ready to bail on it myself.

  2. Watch this show! I’m a huge fan of the books which anyone who likes fantasy, thrillers, murder mysteries, any book etc. should read. The books are, in my opinion, some of the best writing ever produced and just plain brilliant. I’ve been following the production on the show very closely and everything coming out has been mind blowing. The HBO creators “get it.” Just pure bloody fun. Character driven and amazingly realized on screen it has been so incredibly hard to wait a year plus just for Sunday. Not to mention the six years waiting for the next book in the series. Seriously. Check it out.

    • taking a shot in the dark, guessing by your handle are you a Glen Cook Black Company fan?

    • The “FacelessMan” nailed it!! I was going to make a comment, but he said EVERYTHING I was going to– EXCELLENT!!!

  3. This almost makes me want to get HBO. Will have to have it recorded for me so I can watch it.

  4. Everything points towards the TV series doing the books justice and the books are amazing!

  5. I wish I had HBO just for this. But I am going to have to wait until the DVDs, unfortunately.

    • You own a Computer … and you’ll have to wait until the DVD’s… hmm ….

  6. Nice review…surprised that they didn’t send you all 6 screeners though…

    • As the title states, this review is for the series premiere (1 episode). Not sure why it would be relevant to discuss further episodes.

      So, no need to be “surprised.”

  7. SHOT IN NORTHERN IRELAND AND MALTA! NOT IN MOROCCO.

    • While mostof the sow was sht in Ireland I heard that the Dothraki scenes were filmed in Morocco…

      • Wow shouldnt try to write anyhing on no sleep at 6 in the morning.What I meant to say is that

        While most of the show was shot in Ireland I had heard that the DOthraki scenes were shot in Morocco..

        • I think I read somewhere they did originally shoot in Morocco, but then re-shot in Malta?

  8. @ Michael…..while I can appreciate your enthusiasm for this show (it’s practically oozing off my screen), sentences like….“Game of Thrones takes place in a world that is unsurpassed in fantasy literature in both its scope and breadth.” really bothers me. I try not to use the term “fanboi” too often but when I read reviews with that type of verbiage, that is what I think of.

    Saying unsurpassed is pretty much calling its world superior to ALL other fantasy literature including the venerable LotR. Sorry but that I have a problem with. Other than Tolkiens Middle-Earth, I could name probably 10 other worlds that are at least as good, if not better so please restrain yourself a bit ;)

    About the show though….I have to say I’m sad I don’t have HBO but I can’t afford it just for 1 show. :P Any chance this will get picked up by a cable channel down the line and re-shown?

    • Sounds like you’re complaining about something being “fanboy,” and then refuting it with your own personal “fanboy” comment.

      • Bravo for defending your fellow writer but I wasn’t the one who just said that the Westeros > Middle Earth (and EVERY other fantasy world for that matter) in both scope and breadth.

        And I was just doing a bit of tit for tat. ;) Maybe the “if not better” was a bit excessive but I’m just some guy posting on a website. You writers, on the other hand need, should be holding yourselves to a higher standard.

    • I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and skimmed the history and lore of the other Tolkien books. I’ve been reading fantasy and scifi books since elementary school. While I haven’t read A Song of Ice and Fire, I did some pretty exhaustive research for this review (spoiling a lot of the series for myself in the process, I might add) and I do believe that Westeros has more pure content than Middle Earth. Granted, there may be more history and mythology in Tolkien’s work, but for the complexity of the active stories, settings and characters (which is what I was referring to) Martin wins hands-down. This isn’t a judgement against Tolkien or any other fantasy author: I’m merely stating that the literary “weight” of the Song series is more than anything I’ve read, or even heard of.

      • Dude, when you admit to only skimming Tolkien’s other material (including the Silmarillion which had too much depth even for me) and not even reading the book in question, I don’t think you are qualified to set this fantasy world above all others. Not to mention we really have no idea what you have or have not read. Is it REALLY better though than Moorcocks Young Kingdoms (and Multiverse), Leibers Nehwon, Donaldson’s “The Land”, Niven’s Ringworld, Kurtz’ Eleven Kingdoms, McCaffrey’s Pern, Herbert’s Dune (and other worlds of the known universe), or even Jordan’s Wheel of Time world? (to name just a few)

        “This isn’t a judgment against Tolkien or any other fantasy author: I’m merely stating that the literary “weight” of the Song series is more than anything I’ve read, or even heard of.”

        But yet it is a judgment and while that might not have been your intention, that is how it comes across.

        I expect you, as a journalist, to be a bit more objective in how you present “the facts” and to temper your opinion by both what you do and do not know. You want to call it epic, fine, you want to set it up there with other great fantasy worlds, ok, but to call it unsurpassed in breath and scope is something I don’t think anyone is qualified to say.

        • We’re just going to have to agree to disagree here.

          “Unsurpassed” doesn’t mean that it’s the most complex fantasy story ever, it means that no story is more complex. But just going on the stories that you’ve listed, (I’ve read Ringworld, Pern, Dune, and Wheel of Time) I would say that yes, the Song of Ice and Fire series is more complex. It doesn’t have quite as much history as some of them, but the amount of active characters and conflicts, the parts that the reader/viewer must keep track of simultaneously, is greater.

          And again, you seem to think that I’m making a judgement call on Martin’s work and everyone else’s.(“Is it REALLY better though”) That’s neither stated nor implied in the review.

          • World English Dictionary

            unsurpassed — adj: superior in achievement or excellence to any other.

            So yes, you are putting it on a level above all others.

            Your original article also didn’t say anything about the story just being more complex. You said the world itself “is unsurpassed in fantasy literature in both its scope and breadth.” Which is over and above just having a very complex story. if that was your intention, why did you not say exactly that?

            I would agree that Martin’s books have very complex character interactions instead of focusing on a small number of individuals but is the world he created superior to all others in breath and scope? I find that a very presumptuous statement of opinion.

            • I have read the Lord of the Rings series and, while I agree that the world Tolkien created is astounding, I would not say that it is more complex than Westeros. The mythology of Middle Earth is very complex and in-depth, admittedly more so than that of Westeros, but the complexity of Westeros lies in the political machinations of the people. He goes more in-depth on the political situation of his world than any other fantasy author I know of… and every character has their own political aspirations. Everyone is vying for power. I think that this is what he meant when he was talking about the “unsurpassed complexity” of the series.

              Also let it be noted that I have both LOTR and ASOIAF on my favorite series list and I cannot place one above the other because they are completely different. LOTR is mostly about the fight of good vs. evil… although some of the characters are ambivalent. ASOIAF is mostly about the treacherous nature of politics and almost all of the characters are ambivalent.

  9. Implications and measures of the work against others set aside… is it any good?

    Seems so. Think I might just take a look, whaddyasay?

  10. It was Brilliant!! (The show!) and the Review was bang on too!

  11. Blew my mind, awesome awesome awesome. Only drawback is I have to wait 7 days to get another fix.

  12. Did they cut out the youngest son, Rikon?
    I liked the first episode. The “White Walkers” looked straight up scary!
    I was curious to see how they split up the episodes and the end of the first one was a good transitional spot.

    • Rickon was there they just never directly introduced him… he was the kid the camera turned to after Bran missed the target.

  13. def gonna check this out!!

  14. I think it is going to fast…. They are cramming a lot of information into 1 hour.

    I know the book ran the stories simultaneously but it just feels rushed here.

    Drago and Targaryen could have been left out. They could have been mentioned between the King and Stark. Then covered in a later episode.

    This episode should have covered the Wall and Starks. Then the King and Starks then the Starks and Lannisters then Drago and Targaryen.

    Maybe they just wanted to introduce and it will level out a little in the coming episodes.

    • Could not have agreed more. The episode needed to be broken in two. A flash of intro at the end of episode one for the Targaryens, all the rest of them in episode two. Also, where’s the character development for Joff? We know we hate him almost at “go”. Besides being rat-faced, there’s nothing to suggest what a twat Joff is.

  15. So, huge fan of the books. Huge. I have been waiting, not so patiently, for the series to premiere for a long long time. I know this was a first episode and there needs to be A LOT of set up for a show of this magnitude but ::::SPOILERS/OPINIONS but only of this first Episode::::

    I’ll go with the good first because there really is a lot of it.

    CGI, Settings, Visuals. All top notch and very vibrant. You get a sense that this place might actually exist and it IS gorgeous.

    The performances and casting are spot on. I had SOME concerns over a few of the choices (as a big fan it’s hard to shake that mental picture you develop of a character) but everyone has really become their character. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion WILL be most everyone’s favorite. How could he NOT! Kit Harrington, Sean Bean, Maise Williams, and Mark Addey all great too. Really tight casting.

    The BAD:

    I read someone else’s comment on this but the music is just…. hoaky. They have this amazingly real and gritty place and it sounds like the soundtrack to Willow. Not knocking Willow as it is one of my all time favorites but that is a much different type of fantasy. Whimsical and skippy A Game of Thrones is not. This show needs a Conan the Barbarian (Original movie with Arnie) type soundtrack. It needs to bring depth and a gravity to it that alone could lift the show from mere fantasty to EPIC status. Side note: Conan would not have been half the movie it was without that brilliant soundtrack; one of the best fitting and engaging in movie history (think I read an article on this site about it actually)

    Kings Guard Armour. I know they said they had to make some changes so it played better on screen from pure white scale mail to the cream colored pseudo Samurai outfit but…. I don’t know. It just doesn’t work for me. I understand they were trying to create this world’s own unique style but I kind of wish they stuck with more traditional design and really just killed it in teh details (which they did! It’s amazing but would look so much better on “real” armour)

    Heavy handed dialogue, exposition, and sound effects!? The Tryion intro scene with the hoover vacuum… um I mean Lady of Loose Moral Character had me sighing. A little over the top even for a scene like that. Dinklage nailed it in that scene too. Oh! and there are definitely NO brothels in Winterfell. Ned Stark would NEVER have that. I don’t know if this was meant to happen in the town just outside of Winterell (never explained or mentioned) but it didn’t seem like it.

    I’ve gone on forever and even though I might say more I’ll stop. Overall it just felt like this first episode was made to shock and awe an audience into getting hooked (same kind of cheesy feeling I got from the first episode of Camelot which I was not expecting of this show). Now not saying that they shouldn’t have gone with that approach but I don’t think they pulled off the shock and awe in a non cheesy way. They should have split this into a two hour premiere episode with the first hour dealing with Winterfell and the news of the former hands death/murder and the second taking us across the Narrow Sea to Dany and Khal Drogo. Though they packed a lot of story into the first hour it had almost NO impact on me and I’m ALREADY completely invested in these characters.

    I will of course be watching every episode, probably two or three times, and I hear that this is by far the worst episode in the season. I still have high hopes that this set up will lead to what makes this story great and that’s the overall character arcs that stem from this staging. Again, I hear it just gets better and better as it builds steam (much like the books) and the production and acting SHOULD be enough to bring most non book fans back for every episode.

    Rant ending……. maybe… no yeah. Done.

    • Oh! Last thing; I promise.

      The opening credits is absolutely amazing. Great idea and amazing graphics to bring the map to life. Gives us a little story as it unravles and I hear it changes a bit from episode to episode. This is the one place I didn’t mind the music as the opening theme is actually pretty good and grew on me when I replayed it. The music during the show however, just read my post above.

    • I’ll agree that the music is just kind of there. Nothing outstanding. Which is too bad – the theme from the intro and closing credits is a solid piece of music.

      Also, “Lady of Loose Moral Character”? How dare you pass judgement on a poor peasant girl! Where I’m from, we call them “Women of Negotiable Affections.” :)

  16. If that is how they are opening the first show then it is not right. The book reads that the bodies where found by a scout then when the commander and another scout go back the bodies are gone. The camp site is still there but no bodies. Then the commander sends scout one up a tree to see if he can see anything. While there a group of men that look more like zombies with blue skin attack the commander with glowing swords. Once he is dead scout one comes down. He picks up the broken sword of the commander to take back as proof when the body of the commander stands up and kills him. Then the story picks up with the death of scout two.

    Just saying they have it wrong. I am a big fan of the books and will watch the show. But I will pick it to part if this is a pattern.

    “The series opens with a scouting party of the Night Watch patrolling the woods outside The Wall. They track a group of wanderers, finding their corpses desecrated and scattered. The party is attacked by savages, leaving a lone scout to flee his post and run for Winterfell.”

  17. Nothing could quite match the opening 5 miniutes, which were absoluely stunning. Visually bleak and brutal, the rest of the episode just never hit the same heights. Agree with faclesssman, the opening credits are great

    But overall there’s plenty of promise. It’s a mature and well measured, and yes the production quality is amazing. It’s going to be hard keeping up with the multitude of characters and their various subplots and agendas. What makes Sparatcus so compelling is that all characters are kept in the same proximity, making the stories ever the more intresting.

    Very much looking forward to next week..

  18. It’s astounding that no matter how well done something is people will still complain. Insanity i tell you.

    • Its amazing how some people laud something for greatness when others think it is not that great.

      When you take a book that has been read (tons of times im sure) and put it on film you have to expect constructive feedback.

      The readers see the film in their mind as they read it over and over. So to have it show up on screen and be different they will discuss and or state why.

      Logic dictates it will not be word for word however somethings that are different will be pointed out.

      Also some people may not think it is that good. It is called an opinion. You think it was done well Frank may have thought it sucked.

  19. I was overwhelmed by sheer awesomeness. My roommate had no clue what was going on (I enjoyed explaining) but he still enjoyed it. I’ve never felt so confident about an adaptation as I do about Game of Thrones. The ending of Episode 1? PERFECT! Who cares if not every detail was spot on? Think bigger picture, I say.

    Although I do admit something about Cat’s look is way too old. She’s hinging on cougar for Ned if you add a few more lines to her face (no offense to the actress, the role itself is flawless). And the direwolves? Only Bran’s was shown after the initial adoptions; I’m looking forward to seeing what they look like bigger (CGI maybe? Huskie puppies don’t last forever).

    Overall, I can’t wait. For every episode. If this show ran opposite The Walking Dead I’d be a very content man.

    “The things I do for love.” (SHOVE)

  20. QUOTE:
    “The pilot has sex, violence and crude language in abundance, putting even Starz’ salacious Spartacus: Blood and Sand to shame (if it has any).”

    You must be out of your ever-loving mind. No show currently on TV–or in the history of TV–could match S:B&S for per-episode sex/violence/language ratio. NO. SHOW.

    Oh wait… there was Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.

    Ok, NO. OTHER. SHOW.

  21. After being exposed to the viral marketing of this new series I was curious but this article has provided me with an urge to actually watch it. I guess I will dvr it from now on. Thanks for the article btw

  22. the ending was completely shocking, and took me and my mum completely by surprise. when my mum asked about the sex I said, “It’s because it delves into that medieval setting… and it aims to appeal to teenage boys like me…”