Monday, July 18, 2011

Game of Thrones is Awesome!

This years must see TV miniseries at the Zartimus household (while we wait for the walking dead to start up again) was the 10 episode series Game of Thrones. How the hell did these books get by my reading list. That George R.R. Martin dude can really write a good yarn! It's like The Lord of the Rings meets The Sopranos (of course it helps to have the guy who played Boramir in LOTR actually have a lead part in this thing). Not only that, but if you find yourself getting attached to a character or two LOOK OUT because he'll kill them off faster than you can frickin' blink.

I LOVE THAT! It adds to the realism. Death is final and in this book/mini series if a bad person is in a position to screw you over for money, power or sex, they do! They stab you in the back, strip your clothes off before you're all the way dead and wipe the blood off on your clammy skin (because they already took your clothes remember?). It's loosely based on the War of the Roses and the 100 years war so you get a great feel for medieval times. There's magic in the series but it's not up-front. It really takes a back-seat and isn't used as a crutch ("A Wizard did it").

It has simply amazing characters and awesome subplots and layers and intrigue and mystery and gets you hooked even if you need a family tree book to keep everyone straight, who's related to who and why and how and whatnot. Even swords become major characters in this story. You catch on quick and pretty soon you know the Lannisters from the Starks. Every house has a sigil (the Starks have the Dire Wolf as theirs) and that helps keep them straight when they're about to clobber each other on the battlefield. When the series started I cracked open the book and I'll say that the adaptation is superb. It's faithful to the book but speeds the right things along for brevity. Nothing is missing that doesn't need to be there. The casting is excellent (although I saw the show first, read the book second so I'm already biased). One of my favorite characters is "The Imp", a high-born Dwarven lord. He really stirs up crap in this series (when your brother is the medieval Brad Pitt and your sister is a hot incestuous psychopath it tends to affect your personality).

In the novels the author titles each chapter after the name of a major character so you see the story through their eyes only for that whole chapter. The characters get scattered early so some very major plot points don't get spoon fed to you, they are picked up through hearsay or in passing from other characters. It's an awesome technique I've never seen used before and easily lends itself to film. If you haven't checked it out, do yourself a favor.

Another great touch is the intro credits sequence that depicts the Seven Kingdoms and other parts of the land, introducing them as a huge clockwork diorama. They seem to introduce the new lands as they are about to appear in the episodes of the show by adding them to the sequence. You see the Wall, Winterfell, Kings landing, etc.. A great touch.

Check it out!

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