Game Of Thrones is a show that takes a sprawling, imaginative, well-realized epic and condenses it into ten short hours. And here's the thing: it pulls it off. The narrative deftly juggles multiple locations, twisting political plots, and Loads And Loads Of Characters, pulling out the essentials with a grace and clarity I can only wish all adaptations could achieve. Any problems early in the show (some jarring scene transitions and a bit of Wall Of Text-style backstory, though artfully done, felt odd at times) have been smoothed over as it progressed, and the last few episodes in particular are supremely confident in their presentation. This is a series where events move forward at a rapid clip, often skipping hours, days, or even weeks, and yet it takes the time to sit back and meditate on the characters as well. Some of the best moments come from the monologues, which consistently reveal interesting personality and motivation for characters across the enormous Ensemble Cast. The acting is uniformly superb, with everyone from big-name stars to veteran character actors to young unknowns delivering understated, believable, and deeply moving performances. Yes, there is lots of sex and lots of violence. Yes, Continuity Lockout is in full force, and it takes a decent amount of concentration to keep up with the tangled web of characters and plot. But wow, is it ever worth the effort. For the most part, Game Of Thrones is a triumph, a tv show that looks like a big-budget movie and feels like a fully realized world. The attention to detail in every aspect pays off, from the exquisite armor to the construction of the Dothraki language, which the fluent characters speak with absolute conviction. I care deeply about too many characters to list, and am fully invested in their development going forward. Granted, I have read the books, but that doesn't really matter when all's said and done, because this show speaks for itself.
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