04 May 2011

Some initial Game of Thrones thoughts

As I have mentioned before, I am a big Song of Ice and Fire fan, even though I've grown a bit disillusioned with the series.  I am also becoming a big fan of the Game of Thrones HBO series; I'd better be, as I signed up for HBO just to watch it!

I like what I have seen thus far.  I think the opening title sequence is awesome.  I think the casting is largely spot-on.  The acting ranges from decent to, in the case of Peter Dinklage, excellent.  I know the writers and directors of the show had to make some tough choices about what to add, consolidate, and remove and, I can't complain about much of that.

The only issue I have is that, at times, the show can be a bit confusing with it's cuts from location to location and by introducing and maintaining relationships between all the characters.  Some of that is inevitable, given the continent-spanning setting and multitude of important, speaking roles.  Given the later, it wouldn't surprise me if entire, fairly significant plot strands do not appear (say The Onion Knight or even Theon and the Greyjoy Rebellion, though I think the loss of the later would lead to fandom mutiny).  There's just too much!

The series thus far has been temporally continuous, with each episode showing us what is happening at roughly the same time with lots of different people.  That makes sense, even if it does lead to occasional scatteredness.  But I wonder if some of that temporal continuity couldn't have been sacrificed for some character/story continuity.  Then, you'd have each episode follow one principle character for a certain time period, giving his or her perspective on events, with possible flashbacks to fill in some back story.  This, in effect, mirrors the method of the books, where each chapter is a character's point of view.  In short, use the Lost method of storytelling.  Choose five or six principle characters -- Ned, Jamie and/or Cersi, Jon, Tyrion, Danerys, -- give each one two character centered episodes, then add other character centered ones as necessary.  You'd get an Bran episode in season one, a couple of them in season two, etc.  And every so often you'd just throw in a larger plot-focused episode around big events, like a battle.

The disadvantage of this is there aren't as many episodes in a season, so maybe too much of the story would be lost.  But it does make the series a bit more character-driven.  And, as an added bonus, it would inevitably cut down on what I feel became the central issue with the books -- character POV bloat.

My .02.  Is anyone else watching the show?  I'm a bit surprised I haven't seen much about it on any of the 572 blogs I seem to follow. :)

6 comments:

  1. Yes Ive been watching it -and I agree that the casting is inspired. It helps a great deal that much of the dialogue is lifted straight from the book in my opinion. I know plenty of people who haven't read the books who are enjoying the series and not finding it too hard to follow. However, two of my friends whom I watch it with have not read the books. They assure me that my after-episode commentary (where I go into more detail about certain backstory events not covered in the series) only enhance an already enjoyable story. Don't get me wrong, when I say commentary it's more accurate to say I answer their questions about the setting.
    But my point is that they seem to be enjoying it even without having read the books. Having me there to answer questions seems to be a bonus rather than a neccessity.
    So the writers & directors must be doing something right.

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  2. I agree 100% and I think you're suggestions for improving it even more with character episodes is cool and interesting (and not something that I had thought of). It is very well cast and (much like the books), I'm really digging Tyrion and Aria. The Dothraki stuff... it's *ok*, but I have a feeling that it will get a little better.

    Also, the wife hasn't the read books and she is already hooked.

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  3. I've watched the first episode and enjoyed it. The other two are dvr'ed. Haven't read the books.

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  4. I've been watching it and enjoying it. I think your suggestions would probably help though. TV does work differently from prose, after all.

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  5. I have been watching it. I think the last episode was the one that finally pulled me in enough that I would go out of my way to continue watching it if circumstances prevented me from catching through normal channels.

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  6. Thanks for all the responses!

    The more I think about it, the more I like my idea. With the character-centered episodes, you get to do cooler stuff. Say last weeks was a Ned episode; this week's could be the one Bran episode of the season. You get Hodor, Bran climbing around, learn a little more about Robb and get introduced to Theon by name. You then also get two cool elements -- the dismissal of Tyrion from Bran's perspective (which is nice because Tyrion is nice to Bran) and you can get the three-eyed crow dream. I am not sure if they are going to to the later at all, since Bran waking up seemed to be connected to Lady's death.

    Hire me, HBO!

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