Our full-time TV critic, Mekeisha Madden Toby, wrote up a nice review of “Game of Thrones,” extolling the virtues of Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister. And he deserves every kind word.
But HBO sent me the first four episodes, too, and I just had to throw in my two cents. (Of course, the downside is I have to wait a month to see what’s next, not just a week.)
While it doesn’t seem to move with quite the breakneck pace of the first season, it more than makes up for it with the complex web of intrigues that makes it even more compelling.
And there are so many new characters! Yet, I didn’t have too much trouble keeping them in my head. I could significantly add to my casting post from yesterday, but I think my friend and colleague Rob, who did those great family trees for me, would hurt me.
I could go on and on about how awesome this show is, but I’ll just hit a few high points:
The conniving: Oh, so much conniving. Loyalties shift, and there’s the constant courtly dance as everyone tries to figure out Tyrion Lannister, who has come to King’s Landing to serve as Hand of the King — a position that did not end well for the last two who held it. Those two found out secrets and threatened to reveal them. Now Tyrion knows. I’d say I doubt anything will happen to him, but that’s not the way this show works.
The newbies: With so many important characters dying last season, there’s room for new ones now. Plus, minor characters from Season 1 get promoted. And we get an intriguing crop of women, especially. The big one is Melisandre, a priestess of the Lord of Light who brings some magic onto the show, literally. The others, I don’t want to spoil. But I look forward to seeing what they add to the mix. Of course, there are more new characters than dead ones, so I fear the show might get stretched too thin. Even in four episodes, we barely see some important names. But I’m optimistic.
The unpredictability: Seriously, you usually don’t know how something is going to go. Or who’s going to die. Just when you think, “Oh, they can’t kill him off,” bam! He’s gone. Or, “Surely, he won’t side with her.” But they do become allies. Or, “but she can’t be a bad guy.” Oops, there she goes down the dark path. I’ve never enjoyed being kept guessing so much.
The opening credits: I love this sequence. It’s a bit steam-punk and just looks so cool. Even if it didn’t change with every episode, introducing new places on the map that will be important, I’d still watch each time.
A couple minor disappointments: In these first four episodes, we only see one dragon once. I know there are probably budget constraints, but still. I hope to see a lot more of them this season.
And the show still has a difficult time giving the world a sense of size. Trips between distant cities and lands take only as long as needed to advance the plot, something that annoyed me in the first season and makes keeping track of passing time difficult, as well.
But those are minor quibbles for a great show. I can’t wait to see it in HD.
Though, I must say, I think George R.R. Martin, author of the books on which this series is based, might want to spend some time with a therapist talking about his incest issues. Seriously, it’s really starting to creep me out.