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Game of Thrones: What to Expect.
Someone on our forums mentioned that s/he advises viewers to treat everything up until Episode 9 as a prologue, because it's then that the story starts. Really, this is understating it: the entire first season is a prologue, and the actual story will finally begin once Season 2 airs.

So why watch a show that need a 10-hour Origins Issue? Simple: you're in for a hell of a ride.

It's Low Fantasy, with an emphasis on drama and politics; personality drives all the Shocking Swerves, not magic. Character Development is central to the series; replace one character (and their strengths, their insecurities, their hangups) with another, and events would doubtless turn out differently. Gray And Grey Morality rules the roost, and each viewer's list of "good guys" is likely to be different (with the exception that Tyrion is probably on everyone's). Anyone Can Die, to an extent that makes Joss Whedon look like a pussy. The casting is nothing short of stellar; almost every actor and actress has justified their inclusion, and Peter Dinklage won acting awards for his role, an upset for fantasy. And HBO isn't shying away from the sex and violence, which is good: in Westeros (as in Real Life), much revolves around these two things.

Of course, it demands a lot of its viewers. Continuity Lockout has set in by Episode 2. There are Loads And Loads Of Characters, to the point that Main Characters are missing from episodes. The sex has been criticized as gratuitous, and your favorite characters might lose their heads at any moment. There are Four Lines All Waiting (and it's going to get worse) and the actual Myth Arc is not readily apparent. (Spoiler: watch the very first scene of the season, and then the very last, to get the fandom's best guess.) And, well, there's so much going on, a 10-hour Origins Issue was necessary to set it all up. This is not a show for casual viewing; you have to commit and hold on tight.

So, what are you looking for? Those seeking fun frolics with supernatural elements are best served by something like Avatar The Last Airbender. But for a sprawling epic fused to wonderful characters, go with Game Of Thrones.
I haven't had any intention whatsoever to watch this series, but your review may have changed that. The things you brought up as positives almost uncannily matches the things I value in fiction.
comment #8182 ArtisticPlatypus 20th Jun 11
To be fair, magic makes for some pret-ty shocking swerves, particularly from book 2 onward. In fact it's reserved for the most shocking swerves, and the supernatural elements are rather important as well (see the Others / White Walkers, Melisandre's crazy shadow-child-things and the followers of R'lhorr, and Bran's dreams of the three-eyed crow). These elements do not make it a bad story — just less firmly rooted in "realism" than it's often said to be. The character development and political drama is already present and accounted for, only gets better from here on out, and the rest gives viewers something to look forward to in future seasons.

I agree with the rest. (Though as an aside, I'd also recommend Avatar to anyone looking for a show with stellar character development.)
comment #8188 gfrequency 20th Jun 11
An excellent review. Game of Thrones may be the sole example I know of where the TV series (or movie) was actually as good as or even better than the book.
comment #11330 Philbert 12th Nov 11
>Implying Avatar The Last Airbender isn't a sprawling epic fused to wonderful characters. >Wat
comment #14308 Tagoph 14th May 12
dude, i agree with you that "[game of thrones is] a sprawling epic fused to wonderful characters" but commenting on atla really does not get you anywhere in this review; despite being a series aimed at children, atla is also a "sprawling epic fused to wonderful characters". Hell, now I want a big comparison.
comment #18208 adolescencerush 14th Feb 13
I think the big difference between A:TLA and Game of Thrones is that A: TLA is a family show, while Go T is an adult show. Granted, this is coming from someone who has a) grown up with A: TLA and thus has a lot of nostalgia for it, and b) never seen an episode of of Go T. So please take this with a grain of salt.
comment #24946 JamesPicard 25th Jun 14
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