Mini Review Resurrection: Game of Thrones.
It’s been a while since any of us have done one of these, so I thought that I’d resurrect an old format for a series that’s pretty much universally loved. I have the following disclaimer to add at the top, though: I neither know nor care about the original series of novels it is based on. So I don’t want to hear one “Waaaaaaah, it’s not like the book, waaaaaah” because I don’t know if it is or not and, more importantly, I couldn’t give a red fuck.
Where: On my fucking sofa.
What is it then: HBO made the series, and it’s based on a book that I’ve never heard of and don’t care about. It’s a hugely complex fantasy saga about the succession of King Robert in the West and the problems in the North and East- particularly the rise of Danaerys. There are battles, zombies, an entertaining midget and plenty of boob.
Who? It stars the following people in no particular order (amongst): Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Iain Glenn, Mark Addy, Michelle Farley, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance and “new” Conan Jason Momoa.
Worth a watch? I think so. I did all of them in 2 days at the weekend, and after a slightly rocky start (I only made it to episode 4 because of Dinklage’s lascivious, drunken midget) it kicked on and became, well, fairly epic. The acting for the most part is revelatory- I’d never heard of Clarke before this, and she’s really good, Momoa has made me feel fairly happy about him being Conan, and Gillen, Headey, Glenn, Bean and Dance can play this shit in their sleep. The revelations though are Addy as King Robert, who puts the Full Monty lovable chubster behind him, and Dinklage who NEEDS A FUCKING AWARD for his performance here. I don’t care which one, in fact, if we bother with the Golden Changs again this year, then I’m nominating him for one. Stupendous, but helped by the fact that he has both the most complicated character (Danaerys excepted) and the best lines. Plenty of violence and lots of boob (and a bit of minge) also help keep me amused.
Christ, that sounds great! Calm down, there are problems. To begin with, it’s too big. I couldn’t give less of a fuck about John Snow joining the Night Watch, and there are far too many minor characters and pointless storylines that distract from the main thrust of the series. Actually, I think there’s a fairly fucking incredible film to be made here that pares the Stark clan right down and focuses on Danaerys in the east- hers is easily the most interesting story and I’d see a series based solely on what she’s up to. I watched it in one hit, and honestly the lack of focus was at times intensely aggravating. Furthermore, some of the characterisation is borderline cardboard- notably Cersei and Ned Stark himself.
Oh. Putting me right off now. Well, I’m not meaning to. The acting is top-notch for the most part, it’s lots of fun, there are moments of levity to brighten an otherwise painfully dark story (all provided by “the Imp” or Addy) and the final two episodes are fan-fucking-tastic and really a punch to the balls. Furthermore, the production design is high, the sets are spectacular and it feels properly fucking epic. Which is a very hard trick to pull off.
Well, that’s me interested again. You should be, it’s more than worth a watch.
Final thoughts? A few, this is a polished, shiny, ballsy epic. It’s actually one of the more ambitious series that I’ve ever seen, and Mrs. Jarv would give it a maximum. I’m not going to, because I’m partially sulking that I want more Danaerys/ Kaleesi and less of the crap in the North/ at Court. Nevertheless, the good far outweighs the bad here, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t recommend it. The final shot is in particular spectacular and really sets it up for the next series.
I’m, I suspect, being generous here, as I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and there are massive flaws. However, Dinklage is fucking awesome, and it aims high. I’ve been reading about the next few novels, and I think it could improve exponentially here, because the stories separate naturally, and there’s plenty of room to ditch extraneous parts of the novel (it’s crying out for this, actually). This, therefore, means I can ignore all the stuff I’m not interested in and watch the stuff I am. Still, best series that I’ve seen in a while and more than worth a crack.