Game of Thrones Episode 3 Lord Snow
First, sorry to everybody I’m an episode behind, but I’m going to try and catch up this week, at least as far as GOT is concerned. As it happens, I’ve got too many ideas for post floating around coupled with some busy time in the world of Kaufmak, coaching a baseball team (I know, right?) work (getting my own office, whoo-hoo! But graduation and writing season approaches, uh-oh) a house that I love but needs work and oh, yeah I wrote a check with my mouth that I really need to cash with a complete dissertation (eek!) Crazy as it might sound though, blogs that I want to write weigh on my mind as much, possibly more, than any other deadlines. Probably not the best thing, but it’s more than likely that I LIKE to write this stuff whereas work is, well, work and the dissertation almost feels like a task from another life, but more on that on another day (shoot, another blog post to put on the list of Blogs To Do.) So as a break from work and dissertation that I have in fact been working on today, I’m getting to Westeros for a spell.
This episode pretty much got all the players in their proper locations for the rest of the story. Tyrion is on the road, Jon Snow is at the Wall, Ned Stark is in King’s Landing, Daenerys is constantly on the move, like her adopted people and interestingly, Cat Stark is on the road as well. While the “roadies” may settle from time to time, trust me they are all over the map. Of course forgive me if I’m confusing my books with the TV show. Anyway, Jon Snow quickly makes a name for himself on the Wall, easily besting his classmates and demonstrating his natural leadership by the end of the episode. Ned is pulled even further into the high politics of King’s Landing and Cat lets him know of a possible plot to kill their son, Bran. Ned also begins looking into events that his predecessor as Hand was investigating before his death, probably not the best idea.
My favorite bits from this episode are the little vignettes that give insight into a couple of relatively minor characters, namely King Robert, Viserys Targaryen and Arya Stark. Yes, I’m including the King and the pretender king in this list of minor characters because if it hasn’t become apparent by now this story revolves much more around Ned Stark on one side of the Narrow Sea and Daeyns Targaryen on the other. Basically the King and the Pretender display themselves as less than admirable characters, Robert as a drunken ass and Visreys as a sociopathic narcissist. Either way, neither of them is heroic though one is at least a bit human, when sober anyway.
Arya’s story may get a bit of short shrift in the TV adaptation, but at least they have the characterization right. The introduction of her “dance” instructor was a fun little scene that demonstrated the wisdom of making this a series as opposed to a single film. Even if the books were adapted to three hour films, so much would have to be cut to get through all of the important plot points, such things as Arya and her fencing instructor. However, I think HBO and the powers that be did learn their lesson from the production cost of Rome. That series was quite expensive to produce, basically pricing itself out of existence after only two seasons. Watching Game of Thrones, a few cost conscious moves are apparent. That’s not to say HBO has gone cheap, but a few costs have been cut. The special effects are a little less crisp. This could be a function of watching in HD, kind of showing the seams as it were, or it could be that a little less was invested in the shots. Basically, a lot of the exterior shots are just, meh, especially establishing shots of the Wall. I suppose making a 700-foot wall of ice look realistic is a challenge, but it just isn’t quite there. Also there have been a number of shots from the streets of Kings Landing that look very much like a well-lit studio and though they are well populated, it’s apparent that it isn’t a real street. Overall the producers are being quite smart, keeping the amount of actors on screen to a minimum but getting the most out of the story nonetheless. If anything, it reminds me of watching so many series on the BBC. So many shows from the BBC work with substantially lower budgets than their American counterparts yet deliver on story and performance.