So Bill, what is your take on this series now that it's around half way done. Anyone else care to comment?
I am generally quite pleased with it thus far, especially given the monumental task of trying to bring such a complex story with at least 20 (maybe more like 30-40) IMPORTANT characters to the mini-series format.
Casting is amazing...not a single actor/actress was miscast and ALL the performances are spot on with how the characters are portrayed in the book. Especially good are the actors/actresses who play Jon Snow, Ned Stark, Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Geoffrey Lannister, Caitlyn Stark, Viserys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, and Lyssa Aryn. In particular, all the "villains" are superb!
Sets are equally good, although you can tell the budget is small because you don't get the sensation of how big things are supposed to be (except "The Wall"). Costuming, weapons, etc. are all on a par with LOTR, from my perspective.
Music is "fine" meaning it is not bad but nothing has stood out yet, either.
The main problem, if you want to call it that, is that even at a 12-part mini-series, if one has read the book(s), one realizes how truncated the mini-series is (and has to be). Much backstory is left out and characters are introduced with little exposition, despite these characters being vitally important to the story. Given the constraints that a TV series must have, I am MUCH MORE than satisfied and am glad they are leaving the "tone" of the story as dismal, pessimistic, and cruel as the book(s) are.
Kathryn (my partner), who is a medieval studies scholar, praises the series for depicting how things really were at that stage of human history what with families turning against each other, alliances shifting daily, betrayal and violence being commonplace and anyone not of noble birth was pretty much fucked no matter what. She usually finds depictions of medieval kingdoms to be “whitewashed” but this is accurate from her perspective. One day a person is favored by the king and the next day, he or she could be be-headed.
Still, I don’t see how anyone who has not read at least the first book can be following this, unless they watched each episode 2 or 3 times. I think the producers should introduce each episode with the cast (the ones who appear in that particular episode) by showing the picture (in costume) and who they are playing, e.g. “Sean Bean as Ned Stark, Hand of the King” “Lean Headley as Queen Cersei Lannister” etc. That would help newbies keep all the players straight.
To give you an idea who many characters you HAVE to keep straight due to their importance to the story, go herehttp://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/index.html#/game-of-thrones/cast-and-crew/index.html
cause nearly everyone on this page is relevant to the storyline, at least in the upper part of the web page (the upper part lists 19 characters alone).
So, all in all, I am very pleased and am VERY HAPPY that HBO has already committed to a second season. Once all the necessary exposition and introduction of characters is done, the action picks up, to say the least, and the real murder and mayhem begins. Woot!