I personally think that George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice And Fire series is one of the best fantasy series EVAR. Now, if only he'd finish the damn thing already, it might well be THE best ever. Best of the rest, I mean. LOTR still rules.
Anyway, when I heard that HBO was making a TV show out of the series, I was skeptical. Hollywood haven't actually had a good track record of adapting fantasy series' into TV shows (remember the Earthsea disaster?), and if they can't even get a CHILDREN'S FANTASY NOVEL like Earthsea right, what are the chances of them getting a series as expansive and deep as A Song Of Ice And Fire right?
The first worry I had was when they called it 'Game Of Thrones', without the 'A Song of Ice And Fire' in the title, or even the 'A'. C'mon lar, 'A Game Of Thrones' sounds much better than just plain old 'Game Of Thrones' right?
Anyway, yesterday I managed to catch the pilot episode of the series, and somehow... it was kinda underwhelming. But that was probably because I had completely forgotten just how slow-moving the beginning of the series was, especially before the action moved from the cold frigid environment of Winterfell to King's Landing. That doesn't excuse the rather uninspiring opening titles though...
But anyway, my memory of the series slowly started to come back as I continued watching the show - and I remembered just how tragic a lot of the book was. Just knowing how some of these characters would end up eventually was enough to give me a sense of dread. But made me curious as to exactly HOW they would pull the whole thing off.
The show certainly doesn't cut any corners - the set is marvelous, the costumes are great, and they don't skimp on the language or the er... sex scenes.
Oh, and House Lannister certainly don't disappoint. Jaime Lannister is suitably jockish and cocky; while the best casting in the show has to be Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister - you immediately take a liking to him, and this was great for me because he was my favorite character in the books anyway.
I do have a few complaints though. One - Lena Headey just seems a little too head strong and tough-looking to be a convincing Cersei Lannister. But considering how utterly evil and power-hungry Cersei is, I suppose Headey should be able to pull that part of the character off. Just that I always pictured her as a more er... blonde, doll-ish, mean cheerleader type of bitch, and not well, a former Sarah Connor.
Also, the Stark kids seemed a little too unremarkable at first. I suppose it's just the first episode and we'll probably get to know them and recognize them better, but for now, it's a bit hard to tell between Jon Snow and Robb Stark. Sean Bean is great as Lord Eddard Stark though. And you can totally see what Catelyn Stark is capable of in the future, even in this brief one episode.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daeneyrs Targaryen is shaping up nicely (and I don't mean her body shape, which she reveals more than one time in that first episode). And Viserys really is a bastard.
Oh, and one more thing - what the fuck is with all the hoo haa over the supposedly anti-feminist elements in the show? If you'd actually bothered to read the books or heck, the Wiki on the series, you'll know that the books are populated with really, really powerful women; women who will eventually dominate and shape the series. Sure, there's some gratuitous nudity, and in the beginning, the women are largely portrayed as submissive and expandable, but isn't that how Mad Men is like as well? So just because it's 'fantasy', it's not ok? Geez.
Anyway, I'm definitely gonna give this series a chance, especially since I know what an awesomely brilliant story it becomes as it progresses along. My one concern is that other non-fantasy viewers might not give it the chance to grow it deserves.
As for the books... bring on A Dance With Dragons, George, I want to read more NOW NOW NOW!