TV Series | Fantasy | HBO
With “Game of Thrones,” HBO delves into the epic fantasy world of George R.R. Martin’s seven-book series “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The plot revolves around seven noble families fighting to gain control of the Iron Throne. With a story spanning years and featuring dozens of major and minor roles, the story is certainly complex. Add a world with more political backstabbing than you can shake a dagger at, and parsing this tale into compelling, hour-long segments seems a daunting task.
So how well did they pull it all off? Well, the word “commendably” comes to mind. If the first episode is any indicator, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” could be for TV what “Lord of the Rings” was to film: a long, complex, beautiful and oh-so-good introduction to the fantasy genre.
It’s apparent that HBO spared no production expenses. The cast is large and star-studded (“Lord of the Rings” fans will recognize Sean Bean, formerly Boromir, as Eddard Stark); and the visuals are impressive, convincing and befitting of the story’s epic nature. Costumes are meticulously detailed; props are well designed and handled; and you could make a convincing petting zoo from all the animals brought onto the set.
While “Game of Thrones” clearly has all the pieces of the epic fantasy puzzle, some of them aren’t put together as well as one might hope. Fans of the books might notice some minor, yet puzzling discrepancies between page and screen, especially for an adaptation that so closely follows its source material. Likewise, the acting, while generally excellent, is sometimes overplayed, leading some scenes to be less convincing than others.
All told, however, “Game of Thrones” is a remarkably strong effort. If they can keep the story going as strong as it started, they have a surefire winner on their hands.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.