We watched the opening episode of HBO’s new fantasy drama series last night – Game of Thrones. It’s been showing for some weeks on Sky Atlantic / in the US after months of filming in Ireland and lots of hype on both sides of the pond.
It’s based on George R R Martin’s epic Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series, the first four books of which I blitzed through last year. Rich, immersive, politically complex, multi-faceted plotlines with an enormous cast of players. I wondered how it could make the transition to the screen and, having seen the first episode, I’m totally sold.
Atmospherically lush (that is the right word) you’re immediately sucked into the world and the politics of the Seven Kingdoms. The casting seems fairly spot-on at the moment – especially Tyrion Lannister – and Sean Bean is appropriately gloomy as Lord Eddard of Winterfell.
As you’d expect given the format, it whips its way through epic fantasy at quite a pace. Given that Mr Martin has taken some years to pen the fifth novel in the series, I do wonder how the pressures of commercial television will come to play in driving the completion of the series. In fact, Mr Martin has taken such a long time to get the next novel out that there has been some furore from the fans – evoking this perspective from fellow fantasist Neil Gaiman (in short, George R R Martin is not your bitch). He is, however, in some sense, probably at the beck and call of the nice people at HBO, which has picked up the show for a second season…
Trailer here for the epically curious: