Just finished mainlining Season One of HBO’s Game of Thrones, thanks to the DVD set Kate got me for the holidays, and I’m as hooked as most everyone else who’s seen it.
The thing that’s really interesting to me about this series (I have not read the books) is that the major characters are all fascinatingly contradictory. The Lannisters may be the people you love to hate, yet all of them — even the father, who’s the least fully-drawn and most purely evil of them — have their positive, even admirable qualities. (Okay, maybe not Jeoffrey.) And the Starks, our heroes, can be blinded by their own good intentions, even to the point of acting stupidly from time to time, yet stupidly in a very real and understandable way.
This is television characterization, of course. These characters, as much as I enjoy them, are really fairly melodramatic and simplistic. The cast is so large that, even in what is in effect a ten-hour miniseries, most of them get only some tens of minutes of screen time, so they are unavoidably shallow by comparison with the depth of characterization possible in a novel. But they feel much deeper than they are.
I’m also rather in awe of the show’s ability to inflict massive infodumps on the viewer by having the characters deliver their information during a fairly explicit (and often completely unrelated to the info being dumped) sex scene. I mean, it feels like a cheat, but I am in awe of the chutzpah.
All the other aspects of the production are stellar. Cast, costumes, sets, music, cinematography. I am, as I said, hooked.
Fortunately, the Season Two DVD set will be out next week.