GAME OF THRONES AS A WHOLE:
Nothing ever created by Men is perfect enough to please everybody. But when the question of perfection is brought to the individual, the answers quickly increase in number and variation. It depends on what that person has seen, heard, played, touched, smelt,tasted, and most importantly, loved. If a man only listened to Mozart, then Mozart will be perfect until he is introduced to Beethoven. He will then have the choice of calling 1 perfect or like them both well enough to say they’re equally good, even in difference, until somebody introduces him to Captain Beefheart. I am no exception to the rule, and I can tell you all about what is, to me; a perfect movie (Amelie), a perfect video game (Persona 4), or a perfect TV show (Firefly). In terms of perfect TV shows, I can tell you now that Game Of Thrones has entered my personal list.
The Sopranos prepared me for this show, but due to the quality of seasons 2 and 5, I can’t call the Sopranos perfect. Game Of Thrones however, has remained consistent in its quality. There isn’t a single bad episode. Every one of them is important to the bigger picture. It could be suggested that it’s imperfect because you can’t just pick an episode and watch it. That you need to start from the beginning and watch it in the correct order. But if you’re used to the extreme content, it isn’t exactly a chore. How extreme is Game Of Thrones? Well, it’s gorier than Gladiator and 300. It uses a lot of unfriendly language, but isn’t as bad as The Sopranos in this case. It contains probably the same amount of wedding presents as Osama Bin Laden’s personal collection, and at times it presents us with rather creative torture and death scenes…including more than 1 way to use gold.
The cinematography is exactly that – it is like watching a long, continuous movie that is broken up into seasons and episodes. Lots of brilliant and interesting photography involved. The music is excellent, reminisce of big-time epics about ancient eras as well as the last 15 years of fantasy cinema, Japanese RPGs, and it features that memorable intro theme that I don’t get bored of hearing. The cast also fascinates me, so many of them from Britain and Ireland, including numerous extras from Northern Ireland (some of whom I know), as well as a handful from the USA, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Made by Americans, but mostly not presented by them on screen. Which should be fine for them, because everybody loves the American actor known as Peter Dinklage after they see this show.
The fact that they shoot in so many locations to tell the multiple stories is not only expensive, but a fantastic idea and a great way to speed through the shooting process (I would assume). I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of the locations where they shot certain scenes (such as the Dark Hedges from the end of Season 2 Episode 1), but unless you could afford to go to Scotland, Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, and Malta, you likely won’t see all of it outside of photographs and videos.
The story? Yes, the story…what can be said about the story? It’s a number of the different stories all happening at once, and the viewer is placed in the position of a God or a Devil watching all of it. Our nicest characters have their flaws, and even our nastiest characters have some redeeming qualities…at least Joffrey behaves himself around Maragaery…that’s something, right? We see the lies, the mistakes, the misinterpretations in both body and verbal language. We see the choices that are disagreeable and internally disagreed. We witness the heart over the head and vice versa. We witness unjust death, betrayal, self over others, blindness to truth, sweepings under rugs, contradictory orders and corruption. The list is seemingly endless. It is a story about humanity in a world of fantasy.
I feel it’s a good idea for me to give an opinion on the different characters in the show, while providing as few spoilers as possible. No deaths are mentioned, so don’t be afraid if you haven’t seen the show. Remember, nobody on this show is safe. They are all in danger of dying.
Thoughts on Characters:
NED STARK: 10 years after SHIELD mysteriously brought Boromir back to life and gave him a new name, new memories and Tony’s ancestors (Don’t ask about Tahiti), Ned is a surprisingly honorable man in such a chaotic scenario. However his desire for truth and the keeping of the rules is among his flaws.
ROBERT BARATHEON: A man with a once excellent reputation as a warrior. As a king he is mostly selfish. Hurting others based on his absence, womanizing and neglect, more so than intended cruelty.
CATELYN STARK: A beautiful woman in both soul and mind, she has a character that was built from many hard and overcome days, as well as mistakes and bad judgement. However, her growth doesn’t stop when the story begins.
ROBB STARK: Robb’s a great kid, but his mountains come from the fact that he’s far too inexperienced for what he’s thrown into, and his youth encourages some hasty, dishonorable decisions.
SANSA STARK: Sansa places every viewer and reader into the role of a parent with a teenage daughter. Overwhelmed by excessive hormones and blinded by an ideal life, she is rude, stubborn and annoying. But when her bubble bursts, she eventually becomes quite adorable. She also demonstrates a hidden intelligence
ARYA STARK: One of the strongest tomboy characters I’ve ever seen. Arya has her father’s lust for justice, while also maintaining a rebellion of what is expected of her as a girl. However, her goals may lead her down a dark path. Expect her to be an ancestor of Desmond Miles. In Whedonian Archetypes, she is 1 of many warriors, whose fight appears to be never ending.
BRAN STARK: On the surface, Bran is damaged goods. But he possesses a gift that succeeds anything he could have done with his body. This is a rarity within a world where his body would have been his prime focus of strength.
JON SNOW: Jon Snow, like his half brother Robb, is a great kid. Unfortunately he is not identified for who he is as a person, but rather what his father did to create him. No matter what he does, his mountains are based on choices beyond his control. He also proves to be adaptable, capable in battle, and thoughtful.
TYWIN LANNISTER: I personally like Tywin in the show because Charles Dance has such a fantastic presence about him. A tall shakespearan actor, he was an excellent choice for the role. Tywin is a shell of a man, in terms of compassion. But he is capable of it in quieter moments. Unlike many characters, he is also capable of making incredibly difficult decisions that can make both him and a lot of other people unhappy. To say the least, the man has a lot of cojones.
JAIME LANNISTER: Jaime Lannister’s burden is based on a different type of reputation. He is a man capable of love, trust and compassion underneath a shell of wit, sarcasm and darkly chosen words. His heroic deeds and loyalty are overshadowed by 1 simple fact: He murdered the last king, even if it was the Mad King, and therefore he cannot be trusted. In their history books, he is known simply as the King Slayer.
CERSEI LANNISTER: Cersei, like Catelyn Stark, married a man she didn’t fancy. She experienced many trials and troubles growing up, and they didn’t stop when she became both a wife and a mother. But unlike Catelyn, who became stronger and more mature in mind and character – Cersei became a bitter, scorned and greedy woman. She is a tragic villain who chooses to love nobody but Jaime and her children. She hates the rules and traditions of her world, and she rigs “the game” to not only have a consistent advantage, but also to hide her disgrace. As long as it takes away from everyone but herself, she will make sacrifices. The history behind her actions and behavior makes it all understandable, but it doesn’t provide an excuse for them. On the chart of Whedonian Archetypes, Cersei well and truly is the Bitch. Love Lena Headey, who appears to be a colourful and funny woman off-screen, but feel free to hate Cersei.
TYRION LANNISTER: Tyrion is part of the top 3 most disadvantaged characters in the whole story. He is a dwarf (“All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes”), he can’t fight particularly well, his father and sister hate him and blame him for his mother’s death, his nicknames aren’t particularly flattering (Imp and Half Man) and he is preferably hidden away when possible. However despite this, Tyrion is 1 of the most loveable characters in GOT. He is intelligent, witty, charming, honorable, capable of love and compassion, often just, and a devil with the ladies. He has his glimpses of insecurity and loves his wine, but He embraces his role in life, and walks like a Boss nearly everywhere he goes. In Whedonian Archetypes, he is best suited to being “The Relief”. He almost makes you cheer when he walks into the room.
JOFFREY BARATHEON: Joffrey’s character is inspired by the Roman Emperor Caligula in the book, and in the show, actor Jack Gleeson borrowed from Commodus, the main villain in Gladiator (2000). He is a legend, because he well and truly has no redeeming qualities, as a Warrior, a King, and a human being. It could be argued that he was simply raised that way, that his mother Cersei possibly encourages his cruel and bullying behavior. It could also be argued that her behavior rubbed off onto him. However, the fact that Cersei’s other children turned out lovely, suggests otherwise. The boy is terrible! He’s the classic school bully in the most powerful position in the land. We all hate Joffrey, but from what we’ve seen of his actor Jack Gleeson, quite the opposite. I remember hearing that the nicest people make some of the most amazing villains.
STANNIS BARATHEON: Stannis is a very serious, inflexible and humourless man, but also an entitled and religious one. He seeks to be king, but also seeks to do it the ‘right way’. The way the ‘true’ God would want him to do it. His sacrifices are harsh, but less personal and more business. He is very capable in all areas of his work, but has absolutely no charisma, charm or lovability. It is also debatable whether he is protecting his daughter or ashamed of her.
DAVOS SEAWORTH: A smuggler of great legacy in his trade, Seaworth has a surprising amount of honesty and loyalty. Not a Yes Man in any way, but also assertive in truth and beliefs.
RENLY BARATHEON: Renly is a very popular and charismatic king known for his great ability to provide pleasure, distraction and entertainment. However, his easy-going attitude and lack of battle experience makes him rather unpopular with his royal peers.
WALDER FREY: A really, really dirty old man. He likes his wives very young. That’s enough to hate him already.
LYSA TULLY: Westeros’ resident Hikikomori who chooses not to leave her castle in order to stay alive after the murder of her husband Jon Arryn. Her sense of justice is clouded by her emotions, fears and anger, to the point that her court trials are antagonistic and slandering in nature.
SHAE: She is a beautiful, but difficult woman. Though English (or whatever it’s called in Westeros) is her second language and she speaks it well – she is prone to taking anything said to her out of context.
THEON GREYJOY: Theon is a young man who experiences an overwhelming identity crisis. He tries to please a biological family that is happy enough without him, while hurting those who really cared for him. A little boy who is trying to fit in with a bad crowd, and doing it badly.
SAMWELL TARLY: If Jon Snow were Frodo, Samwell would be the Samwise Gamgee of GOT. A kind, caring, and book-smart young man, who for some reason is greatly hated. It is possibly because of his excessive weight, and possibly because he isn’t warrior material. In truth, it is probably both, as neither would help him in battle against the supernatural forces beyond the wall.
MARGAERY TYRELL: Margaery is fun to watch and her goal is simple. She portrays herself as being a very intelligent, cultured and nice person, because she is! However she is also taking advantage of those qualities to get what she wants. Either she is an excellent actress, or what she is doing plays to her strengths with ease.
OLENNA TYRELL: This woman is fantastic. An expert in politics, witty, sarcastic and one elderly lady you wouldn’t dare cross.
MELISANDRE: The Red Priestess is a real tweener. It’s hard to know if she’s good or bad. Her words are beautiful, encouraging and powerful, but she possesses a dark aura about her.
DAENERYS TARGARYEN: The Mother Of Dragons not only wants the throne, but desires to use her great power to free slaves and bringing justice to tyrants, and especially those who abuse women. It is 1 way to win over an audience. The best word to describe Daenerys is “Potential”. She is a higher being who struggles between the person they were and the person they are becoming.
VISERYS TARGARYEN: Unlike his sister, Viserys is like a poor man’s Joffrey. He is spoilt, jealous, unhappy, violent, and demanding. Feeling entitled, but deserves nothing.
PETYR BAELISH: Littlefinger is a self-made man, and a powerful at that. The council chooses to underestimate him because he wasn’t born into royalty. But often he will have his way. Not a trustworthy man.
VARYS: The Spider has many eyes and ears in the form of his child spies, and is potentially the one person in the whole world who knows everything going on. A mysterious man, he has the power to do what he likes with his words, and claims he is all for order and peace. A eunuch, it could be argued that he has nothing to lose but his life.
GRAND MAESTER PYCELLE: An old man who is much more than he seems. Also very loyal to whoever he likes best.
BRONN: Bronn is awesome, if you pay him. He’s a witty sellsword who is more than capable of looking after both self and others. His scenes with Tyrion are among my favourite to watch. They would star in an awesome spin-off show together.
JORAH MORMONT: Jorah is very much in the role of a foreigner in GOT. A northman like Ned and Robert, he walks through great deserts and wastelands while protecting Daenerys Targaryen and her new family, the Dothrakis. After selling poachers into slavery (a possible good intention gone wrong, as selling slaves is against the law in this world), He was sentenced to die, but escaped. An excellent fighter, particularly for his age, and his respect for the very people he was originally spying on and now protecting is admirable.
KHAL DROGO: Little can be said about him, other than he is a man set in his ways, and he is a ferocious leader.
THE HOUND: Sandor Clegane is 1 half of a large, brutal tag team not named Lannister. Is there a difference between the tall Hound and his giant brother The Mountain? Yes, The Hound is the nice one…and he has a nasty burn on his face that makes him stand out in the crowd. Is he capable of extreme violence and bloodshed? Yes. But is he loyal? He is, and he also makes exceptions when morally necessary. Although his great fear of fire is enough for him to make his own decisions, and even defy orders.
BRIENNE OF TARTH: Brienne very loyal and at times quick to judge. She is incredibly strong and a great fighter, but she is also overlooked, based simply on the fact that she’s female. A burden she has to overcome.
GENDRY: A young armoursmith whose life is made hell simply because of who is father is and who his mother isn’t. He is skilled in his trade, and he ends up going on a big adventure…all because of Robert Baratheon.
YGRITTE: An even bigger Tom-Boy than Arya (or at least much more experienced). Ygritte isn’t shy to say what’s on her mind, and would be a difficult person. But at the same time, she’s far from boring.
ROOSE BOLTON: The lord of Dreadfort is an efficient businessman who is mild-mannered and patient, but he is also a tactician and prefers climb and increase over loyalty.
RAMSAY SNOW: Joffrey might be a monstrous little boy, but Ramsay is a terrifying psychopath. He is like a demon from hell torturing the damned. Some even call him “Heath Ledger’s Joker in Game Of Thrones”. And unlike Joffrey, he’s an excellent actor and very bright, with a morbid sense of humour that milks his deeds. On Michael Stone’s scale of evil, he would be a 21 out of 22…if he decides not to kill his torture victims, but if he does, he’ll definitely be a 22.
Overall rating? I did say it was a perfect show to me. 10/10.