Saturday, January 19, 2013

Game of Thrones

While visiting my father last week, I watched the first season of Game of Thrones on DVD.  Game of Thrones is an acclaimed HBO series.  I don't subscribe to HBO so I had never seen the series.  I was given the DVD set as an Xmas present and decided to watch it while with my father.  Consisting of 10 episodes (each approximately 60 minutes), I'd have a hard time setting aside 10 hours if I was at home. However, when with my father, I spend more time indoors.  My father doesn't have a DVD player; I don't either.  I had to watch the DVDs on his desktop computer.

Despite the less-than-ideal viewing conditions, I consumed the 10 hours of content in 12.5 hours.  The multi-layered, fictional story of Westeros is highly addictive.  Game of Thrones is primarily about the scheming and positioning for power among the royal families from the Seven Kingdoms.  Incorporating disparate historically based plot elements evoking medieval England and Mongol warriors, Game of Thrones creates an elaborate fictional universe which is at once realistic but also involves dragons, winters which can last for decades and zombie like creatures from the other side of a massive wall (Hadrian's Wall and The Great Wall of China seem the inspirations).

More familiar elements are at play such as illegitimate children, incest, honor, family bonds and royal court intrigue.  There is a goodly amount of nudity, sex & violence to keep one's attention.  Best known among the extremely large cast was Sean Bean & Peter Dinklage.

Although the time commitment was enormous, I can't image watching the series as it was originally broadcast - 10 consecutive weeks.  The plot is extremely intricate & characters meet and then double back and eventually discover one character knows another. I would imagine several plot details and nuances would be lost to memory if you saw the series over 2.5 months.

I know people who hole up for a weekend while watching television series like I did for Game of Thrones (on a TV though; not a PC).  There is something to be said for it.  I think watching it in extended sittings is the most efficient way to consume the product.  I had never watched so many DVDs in such a compressed time period.  I don't know how often I'll be doing it again but I have already looked for the Season 2 DVD set (coming out on February 19).

Lena Headey as the scheming Queen Cersei Lannister, Dinklage as her brother, Lord Tyrion Lannister (often drunk and in the company of whores)  and Emilia Clarke as the exiled Princess Daenerys Targaryen who is beginning to recognize her own powers particularly stood out among the large cast.

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