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Game of Thrones returns!

April 2, 2013

Game-of-Thrones-1_0

So, Game Of Thrones began it’s third series last night over on Sky Atlantic! It seems to me like as the series have gone on, the hype is building exponentially. I feel like a bit of a GoT veteran for having read all the books already while loads of people I know are only just jumping on the bandwagon and sharing in the thing I’ve been raving about for ages.

But am I raving about the new series? Of course, but I’m not entirely happy with the first episode of this series, in much the same way that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending of series two. Of course, the TV adapter folks have to work a bit of artistic license to make it more cliffhanger-ish and appealing to a wider TV audience because lets face it, even the most amazing book in all the world can have a slow few chapters where not a lot of interest happens and you can’t do that so much in TV, but there’s artistic license and there’s really departing from the book. Really departing from the books is what I think the adapters are on the verge of doing. Some of the long dramatic absences have been pulled forward – it’s quite a way into the third book (as I recall) that you find out Davos survived the battle, and they’ve accelerated the Danaerys storyline to take away a slow-burning but thrilling reveal in the appearance of former Kingsguard knight Barristan Selmy. So I was disappointed with that.

Otherwise, I felt like this episode was a bit underwhelming. I know it’ll get better and build to a really dramatic conclusion just like the first built to Ned Stark’s execution and the second ended in the Battle of the Blackwater, but it felt like the writers were spreading themselves too thin trying to include all the different yarns that George R.R. Martin weaves together in the books. My favourite GoT storyline is the Jon Snow thread, and there wasn’t nearly enough of that. My second favourite is the Stark storyline, with Rob going to war against the Lannisters as the sort of self-styled King In The North, and that was sadly minimal too. I’d be happy to see way less of Joffrey and Sansa as well. Even though they’re at odds, their characters are growing increasingly annoying as the plots around them progress, and after two full series, their reappearance in the third is close to unbearable. I hope they manage to do justice to it when they get round to playing up the King’s Landing storylines.

Watching this first episode and seeing how thin the writers have spread the plot trying to cover off everything and make sure most of the storyline avenues have been included makes me wonder how they’ll cope later on with the TV equivalents of A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons, which, although two separate installments of the saga, run over the same period of time, just focussing on different characters before meeting up again towards the end of Dragons. Some of what I think are the more interesting storylines weren’t even included in this first episode – what of Brienne of Tarth and the escaped Jaime Lannister? What’s happened to Arya? Who else is there from the second book that wasn’t mentioned and has been forgotten? Hopefully, the next episode will pick up some of these stories.

Game Of Thrones airs on Monday nights on Sky Atlantic in the UK, or on Sunday nights on HBO in the USA.

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