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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.
  # comments: 6
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Just how much sex do they need to show in one episode?
I'm sick of this from HBO. We have porn for when we want to see sex. Some of the sexual scenes in here seemed necessary but plenty of it seemed gratuitous or at the very least it seemed as though the story was steered about to serve the purpose of making sex scenes relevant. Do you have a story or not? Then tell it already. Quit trying to score a cheap thrill.
  # comments: 26
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Read the books.
An amazing series, but people really need to read the book series to understand a lot of what's going on. Don't bother watching or commenting on the series otherwise.
  # comments: 14
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Growing Strong
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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A wonderful and addictive series
I'm writing this as someone who hasn't yet read the book series, and now I can't wait to read them. I generally don't go much for cable shows that pile on the sex and violence, which is definitely true of this series, but it's strengths far outweigh these aspects (frankly, even though I understand the books have a lot of sex and violence, I figure that a lot it in the show is to satisfy an HBO requirement).

Game Of Thrones is excellently written and has many interesting and complex characters. I will echo a common opinion that the show has truly talented child actors who inhabit their roles. I really hope the kid who plays Joffrey isn't like that in real life...

All in all, this is a must-watch and makes me optimistic about future tv and film adaptations of fantasy and science fiction novels.

  # comments: 1
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My thoughts so far as of episode seven, from a fan of the books
I was annoyed at having a new character introduced at first (the fanservice prostitute a distracting introduction as I didn't remember her from the books, with good reason) but now I see the point: often the books depicts a character's point of view and his thoughts. Outside having that character narrate everything he, or she, is thinking (which doesn't make great television) you don't have many options. Introducing new characters with which they interact instead, and that explain the same plotpoints (thus staying true to the story and preventing plotholes by having main characters share important plotpoints which make later decisions stupid) is a neat solution as long as they remain secondary characters. So far so good.

As with a lot of HBO shows, they seem to love blurring tvshows with porn and I can't see myself recommending the show to anyone outside my age range. Even the Sopranos were never this explicit, they'll probably outdo trueblood soon at the rate they're going. But if the porn keeps the show on the air then it's a small price to pay. (porn is cheap, special effects are not, same reason I forgive not seeing the direwolves all the time)

Casting wise for the main characters are all very good with a few exceptions.

Tywin Lannister didn't do it for me (I expected John Glover) but it's only been a first impression. He might be decent. Catelyn Stark is ok but not great, the actress that plays Cersei manages to be more sympathetic than her so far. Jon Snow sounds really whiny but that's also in the role so I might just dislike the character. <<The Mountain>> is pretty hammy but I'm not sure that can be avoided. He has the physique though. Finally the king is not very impressive either.

Now on a good note. Everybody else is very good. The child actors are especially promising and Tyrion's actor steals every scene he's in. You should also note every character that didn't seem as good as the others are relatively minor roles.

Finally the editing is very comprehensible, the story even seems simpler to understand as opposed to the books and the pacing of the story means we should have enough material for the next decade. Hopefully the next book will be out by then.
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stream-of-conciousness reactions
The prologue was shot like a horror film, which ticked me off because all the fans of the book know exactly what's going on and want to see the character designs on the Others already, while I imagine the new people are just plain confused.

It seems like a number of characters are bigger jerks than in the books, most notably Ned and Robert. Whoever they cast as Jaime was great for the role, he was the doucheist looking man I've ever seen. However, his hair was a different shade from Cersei's, which is an issue because their hair color is a plot point.

The direwolves have an unfortunate shortage of screentime, sadly skipping Ghost's staredown over chicken and his first encounter with Tyrion. Maybe their appearances will pick up over time, but I worry that they'll never quite reach the point of being pretty much constantly around whenever their Stark is on screen.

Credit sequence was cool.

Minor but hilarious issue: Right at the start, the background had buildings with walkways that appeared to have glass walls.
  # comments: 4
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Didn't really like it...
Just saw the pilot episode last night. I got all the hype for the series (and have heard of the book, but never got around to reading them... too much else to read!) and so was expecting something very, very good.

By the end of the episode, I had a rather vague understanding that there was intrigue going on at the capital, there was some renewed evil 'white walkers' thing going on North of 'the Wall,' and this ex-princess (who's brother is trying to take the throne) is being used as a bargaining chip and got fossilized dragon eggs (which will obviously hatch, despite, ya know, being fossilized).

Now don't misunderstand where I'm coming from: I love fantasy. Lord of the Rings was a favorite (books and the movies, both great in their own ways). I've played Dn D (and all kinds of other RP Gs... Dn D not being a favorite, but thats for another review...) and generally I'd consider myself (and most would consider me) pretty good at understanding and appreciating complex plotlines and the various other traits that Game of Thrones is attributed with. Perhaps most importantly, I have no aversion to grittiness, sex, violence, etc, taking part in a series. (Pillars of the Earth was pretty darn gritty, but it was just about my favorite tv series ever, around the same area as Firefly).

Now, I want to make sure that I'm not missing something from this series that makes it great. But, it seemed to me, it was basically just a bunch of sex scenes— which is taking the easy way out to explain relationships.... not that bad in an of itself, but the fact that they managed to make such a long episode consist of about 30% sex shows how gratuitous it really was. Other than that, they had rather poorly explained ideas that there would be upcoming intrigue (the white haired fellow is clearly planning an invasion, while something is going on with all the royals.. the second in command being killed...but not much else has been explained as of yet). For the most part it was just discussion of whether Boromir would accept the king's job offer... with a lot of associated narmy acting.

Looking into it (I wanted to know why it was so popular when to me it lacked any substance) basically lead to "its like the book!" so why is the book so popular? Is it just out of sheer grittiness? Surely there must be more. So, what am I missing?
  # comments: 10
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