Friday, June 24, 2011

Game of Thrones (No spoilers)

I've just finished watching the last episode of Game of Thrones and I thought I'd share a few thoughts about the first series now that it's finished. I know a lot of people won't have had the chance to see it yet so I'm not going to spoil anything.

I should probably say first off that I've never read the books, so I came to it only as a mildy curious viewer. I may check out the first volume (on which this series is based, I believe) now. I'd be interested to hear what fans of the books thought of the adaptation.

There were a few complaints early on in the series that there was a lot of exposition. There was. There are a hell of a lot of characters in this story, and a rich and detailed world in which they live. What wasn't mentioned so much was how masterfully this exposition was slipped into the scripts.

OK, it's true. There are a lot of characters, and all of them come with their own back-stories and relationships with each other. There are several families with alliances and feuds dating back generations. Game of Thrones chucks you straight into this and doesn't hang around to wait for you to catch up, but then neither do Eastenders or Coronation Street and I don't hear anyone crying about that.

The characters and back-stories in Game of Thrones are no more complex than those found in Albert Square or Weatherfield. There are a lot more swords though.

This is a rich show with a fantastic cast and brilliant scripts. I loved every second of it and don't quite know what I'm going to do for a year while I wait for series two.

It seems rude to pick out a few members of the cast when the performances are so good across the board. I'm going to do it anyway though. Sorry.

Sean Bean is on great form as Ned Stark, head of the Stark family, loving parent and an honourable man. He gives Ned great integrity, and a lovely, quiet outrage at the political schemings of others.

Emilia Clarke, as Daenerys Targaryen, has one of the most engaging arcs of the series. Her situation changes considerably over time and Ms Clarke, in her first major screen role, plays the part beautifully. I think we'll be watching her on our screens for many years to come.

Iain Glen plays Ser Jorah Mormont, an exiled knight who is far from home, and gives him the stillness and poise of a man who could drop you where you stood before you knew what was happening.

I'll not be the first to say that Peter Dinklage is an absolute revelation as Tyrion Lannister, a boozing, womanising dwarf who relies on his wits to survive. Well, that and his family's money and reputation. A pleasure to watch and one of the show's greatest selling points.

Game of Thrones is also littered with distinguished supporting actors, the likes of Peter Vaughan, Julian Glover, Charles Dance, Jerome Flynn, Clive Mantle, Owen Teale, Roger Allam - well, you get the idea.

It's also got one of the best opening titles sequences I've seen for years.

I didn't mean to gush quite so much but if you are, somehow, still reading then I urge you to check out Game of Thrones should you get the chance. It's dynamite.