“Winter Is Coming.”
So last week I finished watching the first two seasons of Game of Thrones based on the popular George R.R. Martin novels. I was then informed by several friends that I was obligated to write a review.
Be careful what you wish for.
I’ve had other friends hype this show up like it was the second coming and more often than not, HBO consistently produces quality television.
This show right here? *SMDH*
I’m debating whether or not I’ll even watch season 3 but as a buddy and I agreed, there is a certain shiny train wreck factor to the show that simply cannot be denied.
Before I begin the review, let me put up the disclaimer. I have not read the books and at this point I have no intention of doing so. As a number of my friends have pointed out, quite emphatically I might add, there are certain plot elements that are handled far better in the book than it is in the tv series. Having not read the books, I will not argue that point.
So I am only reviewing the television series only in this review.
Bran Stark- He’s strong, wise and decisive but he’s not impulsive. The times he has had to make tough calls or even arguably bad calls, were situations that would’ve stumped most adults. Despite repeated attacks made on his life and suffering a life-altering tragedy, he still carries himself like a true king. Unlike the other Starks, he thinks things through and and doesn’t act on impulse. The fact that he has psychic dreams is also interesting and I enjoy watching this young precocious character’s journey.
Arya Stark- My ride or die chick right here. Don’t let her age fool you. She refuses to be weak or docile. She kicks ass and takes names. She somehow manages to keep herself alive and stay one step ahead of her foes. She’s a true warrior princess and would make the finest Hand of the King.
Tyrion Lannister- As it was pointed out to me by a buddy. This is my hetero patronus. What makes Tyrion a bonafied badass is that he plays his position and he plays it well. He’s not a strong or a skilled fighter nor does he pretend to be, but he’s no less dangerous. He knows how to maneuver and talk his way out of any situation. Always outnumbered but never outgunned. He’s usually two steps ahead of everyone and has an uncanny knack for self preservation.
Also, Game of Thrones writers. I notice you keep referring to Tyrion Lannister as an imp. You forgot a ‘p’. It should be pimp. You may wanna fix those typos in the script.
The Lannisters- These medieval Nazi Aryan purebloods are hands down one of the most villainous families in history. But damn it are they entertaining to watch. And moreover, the Lannister clan is led by my Dear Sweet Brother Noompsi (20 points of awesome to anyone who knows that reference).
The shocking twist that goes down in episode nine of season one.
The Stark Clan- They are the stereotypical trope that you see all the time from white protagonist families. They are headstrong, stubborn but their boorish ways will win the fight. Ned, Catelyn, Rob and Jon are especially guilty of this. They are some of the most obnoxious nauseating characters ever and they’re supposed to be the sympathetic protagonists. Ned refuses to properly utilize the information he discovers about Joffrey’s birth and it gets him killed and starts a war. Jon is too busy trying to get to third base with some redhead in the middle of a blizzard wasteland while he’s supposed to be hunting zombies, I mean white walkers. Catelyn releases the one bargaining chip the Starks had for a prisoner because she’s impulsive and weak.
I’m not going to even discuss the rampant misogyny in this series. Wait, I lied.
Let’s start with the “small stuff” first:
Catelyn Stark releasing Jamie out of the hope that the Lannisters would have mercy on her kids kinda played into the old trope of a woman being too emotional and weak to make pragmatic and realistic decisions.
While I saw glimpses of potential with her character, Daenerys aka Dragon Girl often acts like Bella Swan. Men fall at her feet for no reason and want to give themselves to her. This is especially the case for men of color. And I had to appreciate the entitlement she constantly displayed. Often she had nothing to barter or negotiate with yet she constantly made demands of strangers like they owed her something.
This doesn’t even count the really fucked up shit:
Dragon Girl gets raped in the first episode, develops a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome, learns the mystical ways of giving good sex so she can properly satisfy her rapist in ep 2. Then there’s the repeated attempted rapes of other female characters, or discussion of rapes throughout the season. I’m not even talking about the over-the-top nudity, brutalization and abuse of women. Look, I get this is HBO and this is to be expected but this shit is over-the-top and ridiculous even by HBO’s standards.
Then there’s the rampant homophobia. The two resident gay characters who are a frikkin homophobic punchline.
One gay dude who is vying to be king is living on the downlow and trying to figure out how to “rise to the occasion” for his wife. And in a most violent world where killing and violence is a fact of life, he’s soooo scared of all of that violence and blood.
The other, his secret lover (his wife’s brother), is prissy as all get out, has long flowing goldilocks and is known as the knight of flowers or some crap.
So you mean to tell me that in a world of brutal hardcore badass warriors, it is impossible for a warrior king and an accomplished knight to be masculine badass warriors. They both have to be weak and prissy.
AND THEN THEY KILL OFF THE CUTE ONE! FUCKERS!!!!!!
And what the hell is up with all the incest on this show? I’ve noticed HBO has been toying with the whole incest theme in their shows for the past several years.
They teased and hinted at it with 6 Feet Under, then Rome, then Game of Thrones (it’s been a free-for-all) and now True Blood.
I’m starting to wonder if this is a required mandate from HBO brass.
Speaking of Rome, I’m seeing a lot of the same themes, tropes and idioms in GoT.
While Joffrey is living proof why incest is an abomination, the fine ass of Jamie Lannister proves why some abominations aren’t a bad thing. And yes I did see the 10 minute video of Tyrion flexing and keeping his (p)imp hand strong across Joffrey’s face. It was GLORIOUS!!!!!
The only thing more entertaining than this trainwreck of a series is the weak ass arguments Martin apologists try to make.
“Martin wants to convey historical accuracy about how bleak and dark this world was.”
Historical accuracy. That argument went out the window when the white walkers arrived and Game of Thrones became a medieval Walking Dead prequel.
And then there was the fail in the comments of this most excellent review:
The Final Verdict: D+ and this is me being generous. Game of Thrones does the political intrigue and the soap opera elements well. But certain buildups fall flat and battle sequences and aftermath are cut out like they’re about to go over budget. More than that, I’ve seen the same tired tropes and the same cliched characters over and over and over again.
There’s this ongoing argument that speculative fiction is supposed to be progressive, forward thinking. We’re supposed to explore different concepts. Yet I see the same stories about straight white people for straight white people.
While Richard K Morgan’s the Steel Remains is a mixed bag for me, at least it has a dark skinned woman and a gay man as the central protagonists. At least it’s giving us something different other than the straight white power fantasy with extra helpings of rape.
I may watch next season for the snark factor but if you haven’t seen the series, I wouldn’t bother.
But above all else, remember kids: when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.