Game of Thrones, Season 1

Hey! I finished Season 1 of Game of Thrones! Where is my pass into the Cultural Zeitgeist Club?

Took me long enough. And wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought, either. Despite not being a fantasy person, I found myself wrapped up in the exciting story, again, and the minutes flew by just like the pages of the book. Okay, not nearly as slowly as the book. I’ll watch Season 2 at some point.

I think I had intended to watch this season much sooner after reading the book, so I could compare the two with scholarly comments, but I actually lost myself enough in the details, instead of getting tripped up in them. Or maybe I just didn’t care enough to compare them. I don’t know. The point is, I like Khal Drogo and Daenerys and Ned and Jon Snow much better in the flesh, and [spoiler alert] now only two of those people will be around next season, and damn it, I’m going to have to get used to that. You win or you die, or something.

It’s funny how seeing a character manifested on the screen can really make or break them for you. Or, maybe not. I was indifferent towards most of the on-screen portrayals of the characters from Ender’s Game, but I still feel very passionately connected to book Ender. Here, though, with GoT, I guess I felt pretty indifferent towards most of the characters, and only occasionally stoked when their storylines would come round. Watching the show, though, I felt righteously stoked whenever a Dothraki scene came on, and visibly sneered whenever I had to stare at Joffrey. I also secretly wished that Jaime Lannister and Khal Drogo were played by Denis Leary and Joe Mangianello, respectively, but only because of those guys’ strong resemblances to Nicolaj Coster-Waldau and Jason Momoa. (Time to write some bizarre alt-casting fan fiction, I guess.)

Anyway, Emilia Clarke’s performance as the Khaleesi really grabbed me. She’s such a waif, but she’s so commanding and strong, and her story so fascinating. Her relationship with her English-speaking aide, whatever the hell his name is, was also a beautiful one, and a refreshingly platonic one in a world filled with so much boning.

Actually, from what I had heard, I thought there’d be a lot more sex in this show. Not that there wasn’t a lot; there was. But I’ve watched shows with more explicit and graphic love scenes, and this didn’t shock in the least. It was bizarre watching Tommy Carcetti directors-commentary, though, while two women went at it. Not very mayorly, methinks.

I’d get more into the acting performances, but I have a hard time pinning down what’s good and bad when none of the accents are traceable. I know, I know, I should just suspend my disbelief, but I can’t! This is why I don’t read fantasy, and why my biggest complaint with the book was the language. It’s just something I’m not into. And it distracts me enough that I can’t tell who is acting the shit out of their roles and who isn’t. I’m going to take a gander and say that Sean Bean as Ned Stark, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, the aforementioned Clarke, and Kit Harington as Jon Snow all killed it, only because they all made me like their characters even more than I already had before.

The line between good and evil is very blurry in this world, Westeros, whatever you want to call it. There’s a lot of literal and figurative backstabbing. The term “honor” is bandied about like the term “like” is in the Valley. It’s insane. It made me wonder how important family actually is to these people, and I’m inclined to think that family is basically a front for honor. Maybe I’ll learn more as the show progresses and I get deeper into the mythology of George R.R. Martin, but from an outsider’s perspective, children are accessories, had as results of sex and kept as continuance of the family line. Honor is “doing the right thing,” which may or may not be standing up for your family. Honor is stabbing and killing and making sure that the least number of people hate you. Honor is pulling out your sword all the time, whenever it seems like someone might be mad. Honor is defending yourself. Honor is every man for himself. I wouldn’t last a week in Westeros, that’s for sure.

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One comment

  1. patricksponaugle · December 18, 2013

    Welcome to the Cultural Zeitgeist Club!!!!!!!!

    Great observations on the book and show. Hope in the future you enjoy Clash of Kings/HBO Season Two Game of Thrones as well.

    Also glad you liked Daenerys’ relationship with Ser Jorah, her Westerosi knight. Jorah is one of my favorite secondary characters (along with Bronn the sell-sword) and Iain Glen really portrays him well on screen.

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