Game of Thrones: Winter has arrived

(Ep.1/10) “Winter is coming,” the members of House Stark are fond of saying, and a cloud of vapour rises before their faces at each syllable. Winterfell, their home territory, is already pretty freezing, and winter hasn’t yet arrived. When it does arrive, it’ll last for decades.

You’d think a holiday in the south would be just the ticket, but when Ned Stark gets the call that the king needs him to be his right-hand man and move to the more salubrious surroundings of King’s Landing, he’s not happy. He’s a northern kind of guy (he’s Sean Bean, after all), and being the King’s Hand is not a job you’d want, given that the previous incumbent is dead, possibly poisoned by the evil Lannisters.

Ah, the Lannisters. I shouldn’t love them, but I do. Evil, scheming, immoral (brother Jaime and sister Cersei are a bit too fond of each other, let’s say), but undoubtedly glamorous. Then there’s their brother Tyrion, a dwarf who makes up for his lack of inches with a razor-sharp wit.

HBO’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s epic novel (the first in an, as yet, uncompleted series), showing in the UK on Sky Atlantic,  is wonderful. It’s probably testament to Martin’s brilliant writing that what was shown on screen last night in the first episode was so exactly how I’d imagined the world of the book in my head, particularly the Winterfell scenes.

 The task of introducing such an array of characters, in various different settings, wasn’t an easy one to achieve in an hour, but it was done really well. Captions indicating the locations were only used the first time each one appeared, and after that it was left to the characters and the very different feel of each location to show where we were.

The cast are excellent. Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen had exactly the right combination of fragility and inner strength, and her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) was just… spooky. Peter Dinklage looks like he’s going to be a perfect Tyrion and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Jaime has the perfect mix of flashy good-looks and ruthlessness. I also liked the early glimpses of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), who shoots arrows better than her brothers and can’t be doing with needlework.

A great start, and I’m looking forward to seeing the story unfold.

Posted by PLA          (more Game of Thrones posts here)

7 Comments

Filed under Drama, Game of Thrones

7 responses to “Game of Thrones: Winter has arrived

  1. Tim

    Was it just me, or is Jaime Lannister not just the doppelganger of Prince Charming from the Shrek films? I kept expecting him to toss his golden locks back L’Oreal-style …

    I loved this opening episode. It manages to set the scene without getting bogged down in lots of heavy exposition, it looks incredible, and it has Peter Dinklage – who I have been a big fan of ever since The Station Agent – as a heavy-drinking, whoremongering dwarf whose twin siblings make him look like the moral, upstanding member of the family. What’s not to like?

    Want more episodes. Want them now.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/04/20/game-of-thrones-season-1-episode-1-review/

    • pauseliveaction

      Oh, now you’ve gone and ruined Jaime Lannister for me. I won’t be able to look at him the same ever again (in my head, when I was reading the book, he was played by Richard Armitage).

      Did you hear the news that series 2 has already been commissioned? So you will, eventually, get lots more episodes. Hurrah!

      • Tim

        I like to share the pain. ;-)

        Every time he appeared, I half expected him to do a slo-mo hair-toss, turn to the camera and say “Because I’m worth it.”

        Yeah, I saw the recommission news. Probably a no-brainer – I understand the initial ratings were good (but not stellar), but international broadcast rights, DVD sales & other merchandising make it a sure-fire winner. Me, I’m off to check out whether anyone in Westeros runs family planning clinics …

      • Tim

        Oh, and congrats on the win with Sky Atlantic. What exactly did you win, and why?

      • pauseliveaction

        A T shirt, I think! Though some dragon eggs would be nice – I’ve always wanted a dragon. They asked people to tweet which house they’d be in and why. I said Lannister, because of the evil, corruption and decadence and Tyrion having all the best lines.

    • Corumba Love

      Only got around to watching this tonight (little bit pished plus Old Girl struggling to stay onside) and heard Prince Charming even before I saw him. Seems the chap is channeling Rupert Everett in both sound and vision.

      Oh, and damn you Pause: was going to offer to review some Sky (ie non Terrest) series for you but you’ve beaten me to it by around two decades.

      On GoT itself: when TV progs do period, the budget shows. I’ve not read the books but I think I’d love them.

      • pauseliveaction

        You would like the books, they’re brilliant. Not such much fantasy, more like made-up history, they’re so real. Tyrion Lannister is one of the best characters in fiction.

        If you’re serious about doing some reviews for us, pop us an email pauseliveaction[AT]hotmail[DOT]com and let us know what you fancy reviewing!

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