Friday, August 5, 2011

Game of Thrones (TV) - The Kingsroad

In this episode, I noticed the something interesting about the opening credits. First off, they are jaw-droppingly epic. It takes you on a crazy tour of Westeros, the continent on which much of Game of Thrones is set, and you watch as the architecture of various cities grow and assemble before you. Second, the music is insanely awesome. While maybe slightly repetitive, it definitely embodies the ancient and heroic grandeur that comes with the series. Lastly, and I just noticed it this episode, but the cities that are focused on actually change! It looks like they alter to focus on wherever we spend good parts of the episode on. For example, wherein the first episode we have Pentos, the merchant city where Daenarys starts her journey, in the second we have Vaes Dothrak, the city of the horselords where Khal Drogo takes her. Sure, this is a relatively minor thing to point out, but I thought it was pretty sweet. Most starting credits stay the same. And, of course, with my affection for strategic games, history, and geography, I couldn't help but get nerdily excited.

Now, for my favorite moment of the episode...

That's right. I'm so glad that they carried over Tyrion treating Joffrey like this. Somebody has to, given how much of a little prick Joffrey is. And, I feel kind of bad saying it, but they cast Joffrey perfectly because he just looks like the kind of arrogant kid you want to slap. Poor kid. But perfect for the character.

Not Quite So Bitchy - Cersei Lannister

This episode got me to thinking about Cersei Lannister and the actress who plays her, as this character is feeling quite different from that of the books. In the books, Cersei Lannister is, in her purest essence, queen bitch of the realm. Certainly, she is in a loveless marriage with the King but, to a certain extent, she desires that position for the power and influence that it brings her. More than perhaps any other character, Cersei is motivated first and foremost by power, retaining that which she has and getting more of it. It is through her that Robert is antagonized and persuaded to grant more and more authority to the Lannister household, despite any reservations he might have. This desire of hers dominates her character and makes her act like a total bitch to anyone who might affect it, causing her to brusquely dismiss or attack anyone who gets in her way. Her incestuous relationship with her brother, which results in her bringing forth the idea of killing a child to preserve its secrecy, only cements her as one of the closest characters to a villain in the entire series.

By contrast, I haven't really got this impression from Lena Headey's performance as said Queen. Lena is able to look regal and beautiful (necessary for the role), but there have been very few moments so far that have made me look at her character and want to strangle her. It is almost as if she is incapable of portraying a domineering bitch. A good example would be the end of the first episode. In the book, unless my memory is failing me, Cersei actively gives the impression that Bran needs to be killed in order to preserve the secret of her incest with Jaime. In the TV show, she looks panicked and uncertain and says only that, “He saw us!” while not appearing to know what to do about it, leading one to believe that it was Jaime's idea to toss the boy out the window. And then the scene where she tells Catelyn how much she wants her son to recover, in the next episode?

This sort of inability to act dominating also shined through to me when Cersei suggests that one of the direwolves die for biting her son. Instead of coming off savagely proud and happy that her will is being carried out (as happens in the book), she politely and quietly states that the direwolf must die and then merely looks on as the Starks spaz out, leading one to almost believe that she is just doing as a queen must in this scenario. Perhaps it is nitpicky, but I just don't feel it matching up with the book's portrayal of her.

The Great and The Questionable - Arya Stark and Jon Snow

Arya, however, has matched up perfectly, actress to character. Lovable, young, yet roguish, and proud... Arya is embodied perfectly in the little actress Maisie Williams. Every scene with her makes me extremely excited as to the awesomeness I know will come in the future, when Arya is left to fend for herself with her family scattered.

Jon Snow I am still on the fence about. Part of it is that I'm still too hung up on his looks; in the book, Jon Snow is one of the only Stark children to have the “rugged looks of the North” whereas, in the TV show, Kit Harington looks like he should be in some southern Italian royal guard. Again, I feel kind of bad judging on looks, but he just doesn't seem to match up with the description in the books, instead coming off looking like some member of the Renaissance era Venetian nobility.

There's also the peculiar matter of how his trip to the Wall and “taking the black” has been handled. That is, it has barely been truly touched upon. The TV show has done a fair job of explaining how those who go to the Wall are the dregs of society, but it hasn't done a good job of showing how permanent and important a decision it is to become one of the Night's Watch. The nasty ramifications of being Ned Stark's bastard are also merely skimmed over; we are led to believe in the TV show that Jon is going to the Wall simply because Catelyn doesn't like him, when the truth is more that, as a bastard, he doesn't have a future. Hopefully they will touch more on this later, as Jon being a bastard is an important facet of how he defines himself as a character.


  1. Jon Snow is soooooooooo hot! Saying that makes me sound like I'm thirteen, and I think I am. Also, he sounds like Russell Brand, which is super hot.

  2. Also, I've totally wanted to slap/hurt Lena Headley as Cersei. I think the problem is Laura Flynn Boyle is just too old to play her as is the chick from Resident Evil.

    1. What, Milla Jovovich from RE? She's younger than Lena Headey, I can tell you that much -.-

  3. Oh, and in the book, she does whisper "we have a wolf."

  4. "Perhaps it is nitpicky, but I just don't feel it matching up with the book's portrayal of her."

    I feel the same way. Part of me is realizing how incredibly hateful Cersei would come off as if she acted exactly like she did in the books.