Wednesday, June 11, 2014

So I Finally Finished the First Season of Game of Thrones

Internet confession time! A few years ago my brother was on my case about watching the first season of Game of Thrones, which was the new kid on the block back then. I'm a big fantasy/Sci-fi dork so it shoulda been right up my alley, right? Wrong. A night spent marathoning the first 6 episodes left me bored out of my damn mind! What was the big deal? This is a fantasy show right? Something to do with adventure, magic, and broadly drawn characters. Not so much. Instead I was treated to a 6 hour Renaissance fair with occasional bouts of bloody violence. I had tasted the waters and was not satiated. Yet here I am, finally wrapping up the first season. Why, you may ask? Because I'm surrounded on all sides by the damn thing. My siblings like it. My in-laws like it. My friends like it. Hell! My dogs might even like it behind my back. Plus it gives me something to work on over the summer and then write about. Oh and GOT gets searched for a lot so maybe I'll up my weekly page views. Now let's do this on a pros and cons basis.
Something good/bad: It was easy to pick back up.
It was really easy to get back into the swing of things. I didn't have to look up anything special or consult episode guides to remind me of my place in the story. One could take this to mean that the show is very memorable. One could also take it to mean that nothing all that in-depth took place over the first six episodes. Let's call in a mix of the two. I know some stuff happened cause I can remember crippled kids, sword fights over cg holes in the floor, melting iron over someones head. It's odd for someone like me though who can forget what the hell happened over a month long break of some pretty monster show that there weren't any missing details to this tale after several years of my absence.
Something Personal: Where's the Fantasy?
Like I asked earlier. Isn't this supposed to be fantasy? Until the 9th episode there's nothing to mark this as anything other than a remarkably inaccurate period piece. Nah, I should be fair. There was that ice zombie guy in part 8 but even that coulda been some kind of disease, not anything fascinating or magical. In the 9th part we are presented with blood magic. It's supposed to be dark and scary annnnnd they don't show us anything. Within that same episode they also prep viewers for a grand old battle between armies. All human mind you but warfare is a large part of fantasy storytelling annnnnd they don't show it. The last scene of the season finale finally presents us with the most basic fantasy element; dragons. Just dragons. From what I know of future seasons the mystical bits start to take up more screen time but for now I am unimpressed. I list this as a personal issue rather than a con because I'm very demanding of my fantastical tales. I want strange races that populate every corner of the world. Magic spells, unique forms of transportation, the works. Some flying snakes and architecture with little regard for safety just ain't enough for this guy.
Something Good: Ned Stark
Time for a positive. Sean Bean. Dude can carry almost any scene he's in. Plus he gets to play one of far too few characters with any real moral backbone. This is used to turn him into a plot point though as the one man with scruples gets his nugget lobbed off. I've frequently obsessed over the concept of killing off what seems to be your leading man. It's a good trick to pull off on your audience and I respect the story for doing. Plus it acts as the catalyst for everything set to fallow. Good guy, good actor, points.
You've got it backwards kid. Close your mouth and open your eyes.
Something Awful: Jon Snow:
A few weeks back during my write up of the dark crystal I remarked on the long history of bland fantasy heroes. Well here he is folks and he's as interesting as a moist towelette. This is a double whammy thanks to both the character being a bland mouth breather and his actor fitting that discirption to a T. Think I'm being too cruel. Watch a few scenes from the second Silent Hill movie (just not the whole thing. Nobody deserves that kind of punishment). Sean Bean is also in that flick and while he's not even trying to give a passable performance, he still pulls it off. Kit Harrington on the other hand provides the best unintentional comedy I've seen in years. Every time the show switches to Snow I just start to blank out. There's nothing interesting about this whiny turd. His friend Sam thankfully makes for some decent parts but he has yet to receive anywhere near enough screen time to make up for his dullard buddy.
Something Good: Tyrion.
Ahhh the internet's hero. Tyrion shows off what the show is capable of accomplishing while also illustrating all of it's other flaws. Here we have a richly developed character played to his fullest potential. He's straightforward and crass. Tons of fun to watch. Naturally this means that every other person treats him like dog shit. Every scene with him is great, but it reminds you how much the other characters suck and how you don't want to go back to watching their plot lines.
Something awful: This Asshole.
With any production featuring a cast this large and varied there are bound to be weak links. However; Emilia Clarke is fucking horrible. I swear you can actually see Ms Clarke hold her mark in the set for fear of getting out of frame. She's stiff, corny, and oh christ the scene where she's wetting her huggies while Drogo makes a big speech is embarrassing to witness. I know I'm not the only person to have leveled these accusations at her and I'll cut her a break, her role sucks too. Like the portions with Jon Snow, I catch myself waiting for her scenes to end. This phenomenon is made worse by the editors usually bookmarking their parts next to each other for 8 straight minutes of pain. Her continued presence is going to make this show a chore for me. I really can't overstate how much I hate her scenes.
Something Good: Jorah.
The only thing that gets me through the Daenerys storyline is the prescience of Ian Glen. I swear he could eat cup noodles in a scene and not seem out of place. Yet again we have one of a small number of characters who actually has some honor to him. While everyone else is running about, making speeches about how fucking awesome they are, he just keeps it cool. If he was not around, I would skip the parts with Daenerys. Period.

And the Rest:
As you can probably tell I'm not in love with most of the characters. I'd say this is because I mainly want my entertainment to be an escape. There's assholes all over the world. Why would I want to watch a show that focuses on almost exclusively on their kind? Granted some of them like little finger and the unic can make the underhanded dealings seem fresh and fun. Yet for every part we get with someone like them we have to deal with people like the Stark family being absolute tits. Oh and let's not forget to mention the collection of women in the show. As someone attempting to finish my own novel, I've always found important spots for the girls in my stories. Not only can you get as much depth from them as the men but the influence they can hold as mothers, daughters, love interests, allows them to hold enormous sway over the tale. So they'd better be awesome people to read about. Yet every woman in this show is reactionary, flighty, and most are downright despicable. And I don't just mean the villains. The only one I don't actively dislike is Arya, and so far she just kind of stumbles from one situation to the next. Once again, I know I'm not alone here. There are plenty of articles about the woman of this show, several are flat out hate letters about Sansa. I don't know what the writers of this show think about chicks but they're aren't doing a good job presenting them.
Oh god! He's still making that cunting face!

 Sooo will I continue in my quest? I suppose so. I still don't get the love for this thing. It's not bad. I'll admit I actively watch shows that are worse. It's just that for every part I enjoy, there's something I hate just as much. Really I want to see the five or so characters I really like all meet up and go on a better adventure than the one I'm currently viewing. For now, I'll hold true to catching up with the rest of the world and waiting impatiently for the Neil Marshall episodes to pop up. You'll be seeing more of this my friends. Oh yes.

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