Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Game of Thrones: Part One

I think that, perhaps, I should stop making muttered disgruntled comments about how a show with a largely British cast is only available to those in the US, or with Sky, as, with Khal Drogo's frankly disturbing (yet long-awaited) declaration of love, I have now seen all episodes, and consider myself up to speed.  (Glances guiltily from side to side.)  It's a valid point, though; why is it that people generally imagine fantasy characters - whoever they're written by - speaking in the good old Queen's?

Anyway.  That's neither here nor there.  On the whole, I'm rather impressed, although to be honest, the first book is arguably the Fellowship of the series - a small (ish) cast and a relatively simple plot.  I wonder how they're going to proceed, when things start to get confusing.  Are they even going to keep the same name for season two?  

I would suggest that even at this stage, things are a little complex for the viewer who hasn't read the books.  To be fair, most of the questions that my husband needed to ask in the first episode have now been answered - just a little too late.  He made it about ten minutes in before saying, 'Meh,' and turning back to 'The Wise Man's Fear'. 

I'll start with the Starks.  Ned is perfect, although that's not a surprise.  Casting Sean Bean was surely a no-brainer; he's played this role many times before, hasn't he, really.  I am upset that they cut his 'I dishonoured myself, and I dishonoured Catelyn' line, as it shows so much about his character.  Although, I suppose, the viewer doesn't really need it.  They only need look at Sean Bean's face to realise that this is one of very, very few characters in this show who 'does the right thing'.  Anyway, it's not a huge problem for me, as I'm of the school of thought that Jon Snow's parents are actually Lysanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen...but it's a good line to throw at Robert.  Have a bit of respect for your wife, you old letch.

I've read some negativity about Michelle Fairley as Catelyn.  Principally, people seem to think she's not pretty enough.  (This could suggest something rather superficial about fantasy fans, couldn't it?)  Well: I'm not sure I would be very pretty after raising five children and living in a place where even in the summer, it snows.  As it happens, I don't think she's unattractive, but this just shouldn't matter.  It makes no difference to how she captures the character, which is brilliantly.  I absolutely loved the scene when she arrests Tyrion.  I loved that in the book, too.  It doesn't matter how highly Tyrion ranks on my 'favourite characters' scoreboard - which is, certainly, in the top five - there is just something about this line that resonates with me:  'She did not know what was more satisfying: the sound of a dozen swords drawn as one or the look on Tyrion Lannister's face.'

One thing cut from the book which I am very, very happy about is the scene where she gets the letter from her sister.  And she's naked.  And it's OK for Maester Luwin to see her thus.  With her husband present.  In a post-coital glow.  Because?  'He's delivered all five of my children.'  No.  No no no no no no NO.  Women do not act like this.  OK?  We don't.  But let's not visit the Martin-is-a-bit-of-a-pervert train of thought today...

Maybe I'm wrong.  I've never experienced childbirth.  Does it turn you into an exhibitionist?  I'm curious...

It's difficult to say what I think of Robb, because we've barely seen him.  But you could say that about the book, too.  I've read them all, and I still don't really know all that much about his character.  Similarly, I don't think I've seen Rickon either.  I've gone through IMDb pretty carefully, too.  Have they even cast him?  Well, the above image would suggest they have, but...

The other three are pretty good, though.  They found just about the cutest child actor they possibly could to play Bran, didn't they?  He doesn't even need to act, much.  Just gaze at the camera with that adorable innocent little expression and those diagonally-inclined eyebrows.  Aw.  Love Arya, too.  The scene when she's having her first 'water dancing' lesson was funny and uplifting all at once.

I was unsure at first about Kit Harington as Jon Snow: who are you to play my favourite character.  He's won me over, though, mostly from his scenes at the wall, and I should admit to the very smallest of crushes.

I'm not massively happy with the way they've done the direwolves.  When they found the first five, they didn't really show what a massive wrench this is for Jon; I know what these creatures symbolise, and it don't include me.  Similarly, you don't really feel his happiness when he discovers Ghost.

However, what I'm really disappointed about is the lack of screen time they've been given.  I'm not just talking about shots of adorable little puppies, although that would, admittedly, have been nice.

I think, for example, I've seen Ghost three times: his discovery, the threatening of Jon's fellow recruit at the wall, and when he takes his vows.  Yet I got the impression from the book that Ghost is always  by his side.  He's a ranger, and Ghost is his animal companion.  You don't even need to look at the amount of fan art that's out there to realise that this is the distinctive image of Jon Snow in every reader's mind.

When you consider how important these animals are, not just to the plot but also the characters, I think they've been done an injustice.  Having said that, I did feel a very small tear developing when Arya throws stones at Nymeria, and when Lady is executed.  It's also lovely when Summer rushes to Bran's defence, although they didn't follow that up with Ned's realisation - I've just killed my daughter's probably principle protector.  Whoops.

Anyway.  That went on a bit, so I think I'll save the rest of my thoughts for another blog.  Although, I would like to share this:

Made me smile.

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