Game of Thrones Season 1 – TV Review

I review the first season in one of the best TV-series currently airing, Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones – Season 1 Review

Game of Thrones Season 1

There isn’t really much point in me writing a review of this series, is there? Because pretty much any fantasy fan will of at least seen a portion of the first season by this point, especially as the show is entering its third season already and is a massive success, and I probably have nothing more to add other than the fact that this show is really, really awesome.

A Song of Ice and Fire is the series that Game of Thrones is based on, its first Season based on the first, epic-length book of the same name, and takes the audience to the fictional world of Westeros, a land ruled over by a King on the Iron Throne, Robert Baratheon, who must juggle the uneasy peace between the seven noble families fighting for either the Crown or their own survival. The Lannisters and the Starks are the most prominent families in Season 1, and it’s very interesting to see the different outlook of these battling households. The Lannisters include Cersei, the King’s wife, and, Jamie, the Kingslayer, who are brother and sister, and the always likable Tyrion, played spectacularly by Peter Dinklage who is one of the highlights of the show, as well as the detestable spoiled child, Joffrey, the believed offspring of Robert and Cersei. They’re based in the South of Westeros, and are very interesting characters to deal with. Under the hands of any other, they would all be one-dimensional people who we want to hate with the exception of possibly Baratheon and Tyrion. However, the characters themselves are superbly well drawn, and really develop over the course of the series, even Joffrey – who is easily the character who everybody loves to hate, particularly in the latter stages of the series.

Up north, we have the Starks, lead by Eddard, played to perfection by Sean Bean, and his wife, Catelyn, and their many children, Bran, Rickon, Robb, the tomboy Arya, the aspiring noble Sansa and Eddard’s bastard son Jon Snow, all allow for a very different perspective from the Lannisters and provide a deep contrast to the well cultured Lannisters of the South. The Starks are used to the cold weather, and maintain that the Old ways are best, as long as the dark, foreboding  motto – Winter is Coming. And Winter is Coming indeed. To the North, a giant 500ft frozen wall, protects Westeros from the monsters unknown. Regardless of who emerges on top of the power-play in the South, if the wall is breached, then all will fall.

And across the seas, the offspring of the former Mad King, form an alliance with the Dothraki, a barbaric tribe of nomadic horsemen intent on winning back their Kingdom. It certainly sounds like an epic, complicated plot, and if you fear that it’ll sound like a Lord of the Rings rip-off with more sex and violence, then don’t fear, for it’s a completely different beast.  Dan Weiss and David Benioff are exceptional writers and are really capable at adapting Martin’s series to screen, which many other writers would shy away from at the sheer scale of the task. But both writers really excel, and there isn’t a single episode that is a let down out of the entire lot. It’s no surprise that the Martin-penned 8th episode The Pointy End is probably the best of the  ten episode-long, but it still manages to be very entertaining.

However, not everything’s perfect. The first season seems to do a lot of telling, and not showing when it comes to epic battle scenes in particular. There aren’t any major confrontations shown on screen here, and people standing over dead bodies in what is meant to be the aftermath of a battle, claiming that they have thousands of men with them and generally doing a lot of sitting around in tents preparing for war didn’t really convince me, and I would have loved to have seen a full scale battle at some point in the season. The large amount of added sex is also off-putting as some, and has been described as essentially soft-core porn, and it’s pretty noticeable when certain scenes weren’t featured in the novels.

Acting wise, the cast is incredible. Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage are the show’s greatest actors, but there are other stars that shine too, Maise Williams (Arya), Emilla Clarke (Daenerys) and Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) all contribute to an awesome cast, with a lot of actors allowing for a somewhat daunting attempt to try and juggle them into every episode with enough screen time to keep fans happy, and you’ll quickly find yourself becoming attached to one or the other. They’re all flawed, human characters that are believable and each have their own quirks. The rich back story and detail provided from A Song of Ice and Fire really pays off here in the show, and we’re lead to a compelling tale that spans ten one-hour long episodes.

If you are one of the few who haven’t explored this series yet, then I strongly suggest you get on board. Its plot is very strong, the characters are awesome and it’s one series that you won’t be able to stop watching. If you go into this expecting a Lord of the Rings rip-off then you’ll be surprised,because this show is far, far more than that. There’s a reason why it’s my second favourite show behind The Walking Dead, after all. And, for those who have not yet read the books, then you get the benefits of an utterly unpredictable masterpiece.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

SEASON 1 EPISODE GUIDE: S1x01: Winter is Coming, S1x02: The Kingsroad, S1x03: Lord Snow, S1x04: Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things, S1x05: The Wolf and the Lion, S1x06: A Golden Crown, S1x07: You Win Or You Die, S1x08: The Pointy End, S1x09: Baelor, S1x10: Fire and Blood

One comment on “Game of Thrones Season 1 – TV Review

  1. My wife and I tried to get into the series, but we only lasted two episodes, which kills me because I always hear people talk about how good it is once you get into it.

    My wife also bought the first book, but failed to get through it, and she’s a determined reader. (I am not.) But we had heard the first book was atrocious, with too many characters and in serious need of an editor with a sharp pair of scissors.

    Our plan, based on a friend’s advice, was to watch the first series and then read the books. Given what you’ve said above, I’m thinking I need to give the tv show another shot because the books look awesome — very thick and dripping with character and surprises, my friends say.

    Anyway, thanks for the review!

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