Game of Thrones – Season One

Why am I watching this? I’ve read all the books, so there are no surprises. I know that Ned Stark gets his head chopped off and that Danerys hops into a fire and climbs out with three dragons. What’s the point? Did the books leave me wanting so much that I need to witness the violence and sex in color?

I don’t have answers for you. All I know is that back in April I was staring down the barrel of 10 hours one-way to Maui (and back) and I needed something to watch on my iPad, something that my wife had no interest in, so I went this route. I only got through six of ten episodes on the trip because we had some stressful flights (that’s a whole different story).

After I got back it took my a while to get through the last four, like five months, but it was worth it. Aside: I really can’t watch any TV show on TV unless it’s a couples event with Gail. I can consume screened entertainment by myself on iPhone or iPad, but I just can’t sit down and watch TV by myself unless it’s sports.

HBO really didn’t pull any punches on this thing. If anything could pollute network TV for you, this is it. This struck me especially during episode seven. There’s a scene where we first meet Tywin Lannister, who’s having a heart-to-heart with his son while he’s skinning a deer, which really captures the danger and cruelty of the man. He keeps talking and skinning the damn deer, pointing with the knife, wiping his hands occasionally. It’s freaky. I can’t remember if this happened in the book, but it surely took his character and expanded upon it for me. In fact, most of characters were done richly and accurately I thought. Nice job.

It’s not the sex and violence that sets this thing apart. The cool stuff in this story are the politics and emotions of power. It’s about gaining power for yourself and/or your family. The filmmakers are very patient with developing this. You have to stick with it, but you get rewarded with some insightful thoughts on the pursuit of power and different methods to gain or lose it.

It’s really cool stuff.