Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The box of Thrones

If ever I wanted a nice big boxset of something, it's of Game of Thrones. And it doesn't even exist yet. The final episode of the first season showed that they're playing the long game. They plan to film all four books and they want us to watch one after the other. HBO would be mad to cancel it. They love big boxsets as much as anyone. In five years time this thing will exist. Seasons one, two, three, and four. Maybe coming with a fold-out map. It needs to happen. The first season finale was like a prelude to everything else. The Watch rides out beyond the wall, the Starks gear up for a big fight, the dragon princess gets some real dragons, and Joffrey proves himself to be the evil bastard you always thought he was. He was just slapping children before. Now he's got heads on spikes. Put him in a room with Arya and a sword and he won't last long. Or Tyrion can sort him out. Tyrion, who's the cleverest person in the Seven Kingdoms - clever enough to want to stay away from all this war and nonsense. If the last episode seems uneventful, think back to the start of the season, and how much has happened since. Little things turn into wars and major characters die without warning. Game of Thrones is The Wire in Middle Earth, literature on screen.

Which makes me wonder if I should read the books. I could read the whole story right now. But the show is so good I'll wait for it to come back. The books seem like spoilers at this point. They can stay in their own boxset. Unless the show gets cancelled of course, then I'll read them in a week.


  1. Reading the books has allowed me to appreciate the little changes made in the name of efficiency, or added effects like Ned’s private Viatnam flashback which could have only worked on a visual medium. Unfortunately it has also polluted my viewpoint, those final scenes would had more impact if I had not known exactly what was going to happen.

    That battle where Tyrion gets knocked out by his own charge, Big Trouble in Little China style? Doesn’t happen in the books. I thought it was a stroke of genius though. Not only is it hilarious, but it saves the cost of putting thousands of men battling on screen. Tyrion ascends to new levels of awesome in the next book trying to control Joffrey and his sister, you could base a whole book around that alone. Shae the whore is much more fascinating here, in the books she’s a spoilt airhead with zero personality.

  2. That's what I'm afraid of. I wouldn't normally choose the adaption over the book, but I have to stay loyal to the show now. I don't want it spoiled in any way.

    I thought it was building up to a big fight in the last episode. That probably shows the biggest difference between TV and book. It doesn't cost anything to write a battle. From the point of view of someone who hasn't read the books, they've more than made up for the cost-cutting gaps.

  3. I accepted those financial shortcomings because at its heart Game of Thrones is more of a character study grounded in political intrigue, though there are negatives in the TV series too – a lack of subtly for one. Littlefinger’s big reveal was completely ruined when he went off on a maniacal rant earlier in the same episode, and there were a few characters that got one-off scenes which as far as I can tell, served absolutely no purpose.

  4. Perhaps. The nudity isn't very subtle. Especially as it usually comes with exposition. I don't think many of this show's viewers are going to get bored by somebody talking about backstory. Sometimes they need to trust that we're paying attention.