Games of Thrones on HBO (no spoilers!)

So, I didn’t watch the preview last night, and I didn’t do a reread of the books because I didn’t want to nitpick.

I wanted to wait until it starts so I can watch it all at once. Who wants to talk about the show minus spoilers? :D

I wonder who that little tramp girl with the bow is?


I’m looking forward to this. My friends have been trying to get me to read the books for yonks but I could never get into them. Maybe this will spark my motivation to go through them. I don’t want to be the only nerd who hasn’t read them.

OK, here’s a sort of thought I have had ever since learning that HBO was making the series… “How would they get across the concept of the 7 kingdoms / 7 major houses of Westeros and distinguish them from what is happening across the seas?” I mean, it’s one thing to read the books (as I did) with constantly being able to reference the maps at the beginning or the lists of houses at the end. But how to make that information accessible to people being introduced to the saga for the first time via the TV series?

I’ve taken in everything that has been officially provided by HBO to this point. Not to provide spoilers but anyone who has not read the books will probably want to catch the 'Making of…" trailer length videos which have been produced and which go over the basics (geo-politics, history of Westeros, major houses; also costumes and locations) in vague yet comprehensible terms. This will give you a leg up as the series begins and plunges headlong into what will seem to some a soap opera level of disparate characters and plot lines and help to make some sense of it or at least prepare you for it. Having watched them I generally feel that they were well crafted toward not giving away any major spoilers and the writers (inc. GRRM), producers and actors do a nice job of briefly getting anyone who cares to watch them up to speed.

But beyond that, and when the series officially begins, I’m looking forward to how they distinguish between the different kingdoms and cut from ‘chapter to chapter’ as we move about the story. Establishing scenes by quickly panning over a map of Westeros and listing the name of the castle or kingdom would not be a bad idea I think and it seemed that they did at least partly do that during the preview of the first 15 minutes. That’s the sort of thing that I imagined and I’m glad to see they are incorporating something like that.

Well, now you’ve spoiled that there are seven kingdoms and seven houses.

Tom Chick is looking very stern right now and he doesn’t even know why.

Yeah but…

I didn’t say anything about the trees!

Er… nothing. Don’t read that. Nothing to see here.

/whistles nervously

Establishing scenes by quickly panning over a map of Westeros and listing the name of the castle or kingdom would not be a bad idea I think and it seemed that they did at least partly do that during the preview of the first 15 minutes. That’s the sort of thing that I imagined and I’m glad to see they are incorporating something like that.

I’m thinking they could show those square barcodes in the corner whenever a reference to some house/history/kingdom is mentioned and viewers could use their iphones or whatnot to scan it and get that info on the spot if they care to, similar to what they do on The Weather Channel. Or perhaps even work the barcodes into the shield sigils and banners somehow…

It’s the smith’s father’s best friend’s daughter, duh! ;-)

Don’t read the books. The spoiler threads are full of people who have apparently ruined the show for themselves, unable to enjoy anything that isn’t a straight recreation. Just enjoy what will most likely be the FIRST well done fantasy series ever on TV, treated with respect. Most others are already missing the point with their whining.

Oh fuck off, Cat. Jesus.

Go back to the spoiler thread!

Heh, read the books. They are great, and I am sure that the series will struggle to show every character with the depth presented in the books. (The nature of the diffferent medium)

I view the books and TV series as complementary, not as replacements for each other.

The TV series is inevitably going to condense things and lose a lot of the rich texture and interlocking detail of the novels. On the other hand, it’s going to look amazing and potentially bring visual sequences to life better than the novels, enhance characters through the medium of acting, and generally move at a faster clip. And some of the modifications feel a lot like “deleted scenes” from the book, like the Stark family scene in the 14-minute preview.

Saw it, thought it was great. Bumping for non spoiler justice.

I enjoyed it a lot but I’ve read the books. My wife also enjoyed it and she hasn’t read the books.

I posted this in the show/spoiler thread, but having watched with my wife (a non-reader) last night I can honestly say I’m worried that this initial episode didn’t do enough to lure in Game of Thrones newbies. While folks like me were delighted to see favorite characters and old friends brought to life on the screen, I’m not sure that there weren’t simply too many of such characters for new people to keep track of, and that the overall plot might not have been somewhat confusing or even lost altogether in the jumping between locations and characters.

I’d be very interested to hear other non-readers opinions on this, and not just for the first episode, but as the series continues as well (provided you are sticking with it).

I will say that non-readers who were confused by or ambivalent towards this first episode should give the series at least two more episodes to really get going. I won’t spoil anything except to say it gets far more interesting fairly quickly.

I enjoyed it and haven’t read the books. Most reasonable people aren’t going to be turned off immediately by not understanding everything that’s going on. That’s kind of the appeal, actually, having a huge, intricate world slowly revealed to you. I didn’t get the feeling that I was missing anything by not having read the books.

I watched last night with my GF (who has also read the books) and we both enjoyed it a lot.

I think for the non-reader the hook that will bring them back is that last scene of shoving Bran out the window. Great place to end it without even indicating if he’s going to survive or not.

I had a few nit picks about the details of some of the armor and costuming, but pretty minor stuff overall, and what they do have does look spectacular, even if it doesn’t match the book perfectly.

Two things I think they might have failed to push home in the opening are:

  1. Cersei and Jaime are twins in addition to being siblings. Not a major point, but it would have been a good one to get across.
  2. Except for the opening credits where they showed the map I don’t think they really established that Pentos is across the ocean from Westeros. I’m sure it will be more apparent as time goes on, but I’m not sure new viewers will really appreciate that aspect.

I think they established the sea pretty well. Besides the map in the beginning, they had dialogue about bringing Drogo’s army across the sea to retake their kingdom along with multiple shots of the siblings gazing out over the ocean.

I think where they might’ve improved was in establishing just who the two blond kids were, why they were across the sea, and exactly how Robert got his throne. I’m sure they’ll flesh it out, but it was pretty vague.

My SO thought it was fine. He specifically has forbidden me to explain any more than I already have about the background of the series.