Game of Thrones comes to Sky Atlantic
George R R Martin’s epic Game of Thrones finally airs here in the UK on Monday, broadcast on Sky Atlantic.
And chronicles was given the chance to take a sneak peek at the the first two episodes before they air.
Verdict? It looks good, it looks as though it keeps very much to the spirit if not the letter of the books, and some of the acting is superb.
Game of Thrones: Story
The first episode covers the first few chapters of the book, and for the most part is pretty faithful.
There are necessary abridgements – for example, in the feasting scene at Winterfell we don’t have the dramatic entrance of the cast, and lack the increasing tension with Jon Snow that leads to him storming out.
However, we do get a nicely done feast hall scene regardless, with Jon’s conflict covered in his short exchange with Tyrion after.
There are a couple of additional scenes, though, deemed important to have in order to help introduce characters. And watching these, they do indeed help set up and flow the story and characters.
I doubt many original readers will be purist enough to complain about these when they watch the show, not least because they tend to be short regardless.
Overall, a shorter abridged version of the novel as you’d expect from a TV series, but still very much centered upon the original story.
Game of Thrones: the characters
The characters are an essential part of the novel, so how are they represented in the series?
Well, firstly, not every character will look exactly as readers will imagine them – but the cast list has long been leaked, and there’s a general approval.
The way they play is all important though, and from what we’ve seen from the first episode, it shouldn’t disappoint too much.
The female characters are especially well acted, and makes it easier to empathise with them.
For example, we see Queen Cersei try to ignore Robert drunkenly kissing a big serving woman, which inevitably means some of her later actions can be better understood.
Daenerys is especially well-acted – very important, as so much of her early introduction in the novel is internalised. Yet Emelia Clarke performs admirably in terms of face, voice, and posture.
Game of Thrones: overall verdict
About the only criticism I can lay at HBO for the production so far is that there’s more nudity than required. We don’t need to see a woman flashing her boobs to know she’s a whore when she’s plainly telling us she us.
However, much of the nudity is based around the Dothraki scenes, and we’re already told explicitly in the books about the men coupling with the dancers.
Otherwise, it’s a top-notch introduction that shadows the novels faithfully and with finesse, despite all the inevitable limitations of trying to carry a huge novel as a TV series.
So far episode 1 has been an enjoyment, and I thought about the different scenes long after watching.
However, I’ll not watch the second episode, as I’d rather enjoy it with everyone else in the chronicles community.
In the meantime, the question remains of how far HBO plan to go with this.
With Dance of Dragons shortly to be released, there are only two more A Song of Fire and Ice novels left according to Goerge R R Martin’s original projection.
The question is whether HBO – which has taken an ambitious leap of faith to start the series – will carry the series through to its epic conclusion.
Or whether Game of Thrones will only ever cover the first book, and leave it at that – creating a nice well-rounded TV introduction, and finish on a high.
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