Thursday, April 14, 2011

[TV] Winter is Coming - Game of Thrones on HBO

I went and did it - I subscribed to HBO specifically so I could watch this series. That's not something I've ever done before that I can remember. There have been some great-sounding shows on Pay TV. I remember when The Sopranos was all the rage, for instance. I didn't watch it because I didn't have HBO and I wasn't interested in getting it. I've still never seen that show. Or True Blood. Or the Tudors. Or Rome. I could go on. Oh, I've never seen Sex and the City, but I consider that to be a really good thing.

But Game of Thrones? Hell yeah, I was going to sign up for that. The first novel of George R. R. Martin's consistently brilliant series is a magnificent merger of complex characters, vicious political intrigue, and breathtaking imagery. Seeing all that come alive is too good to miss.

I've actually had the pleasure of enjoying a performance of this series already. Roy Dotrice read the first three novels of the series for the audiobooks and he was absolutely incredible. He deftly changed from one character voice to the next, making each unique and believable, while even weaving together similar accents for characters from nearby regions. It was an impressive display of voice acting. I'm baffled how he managed to remember them all. I used to listen to these audiobooks when I'd drive to work in Ithaca and on my all-too-frequent drives to the home office in Connecticut. I think I've listened to the whole series at least three or four times, and I've read it another three or four times. Wow - have I actually gone through these massive books as many as six or eight times??

Oh yeah, and I'm currently re-reading the series, since the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, comes out in July. So I guess that will be seven reads. Or eight. Or nine. I can't keep track. But it's THAT good. There's nothing else of this size that I've read that many times, including The Lord of the Rings (which I believe I've read about four times, but even including The Hobbit it's not as big as Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire). It's so good, that I even forgive Martin when it's taken him five years to finish each of the last couple of novels. I'll go back to grumbling about it if the next one takes as long, then I'll forgive him again when it's out.

All I've seen to this point are previews, but I've seen quite a few of them and they look fantastic. The actors are spot-on for how their characters were described, and include the likes of Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, and Jason Momoa, to name just a few. Martin has been involved in the development of the series and seems extremely happy with how it's turned out. That's a pretty good endorsement, since most writers are very picky about how their work is adapted.

So I'm sold. I'm in. I'm going to be right there on Sunday night for the premiere, and then each following Sunday until the first season has aired. As to whether I'll keep HBO... we'll see.

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