Elsa

Finally...I've waited so long to post this...

I finally am able to access the internet again J I have fully functional netbook at home and my new desktop will arrive in one week. Woo hoo…giant monitor on its way. And bonus, we will now have a functioning network at home which means both niviene and I will be able to use the network and internet at the same time.

Now on to yet more enjoyable news…Real Madrid won the Copa Del Rey. It was so satisfying to (a) see them winning a title again and (b) see them beating Barcelona. This is such a great confidence builder for them to take into the Champions League semi final. No matter what, they can walk around with their heads held high. And Jose Mourinho, total champion. The teams he has coached have gone on to 10 different league cup finals – of those 10, he has won 9. Impressive.

The premiere of A Game of Thrones was spellbinding . I’ve been aching to post about it and FINALLY have the chance so be prepared for the long winded commentary to follow.Watching these characters I have loved and loathed over the past few years come to life was just simply a dream come true. Of course there were changes – some good, some bad. I was considering dissecting the contents of the first episode but I think perhaps a character breakout may serve my purpose…rating HBO character versus book character… 

 
Winterfell
Ned Stark – HBO Ned>Book Ned - It would be very difficult to find something wrong with Sean Bean’s portrayal of the patriarch of the Stark family. I honestly found Ned to be somewhat bland in the book – a lot of inner turmoil which really didn’t read out well as the book progressed. On screen, with the correct actor in the role, all those internal struggles were conveyed with simple expressions and gestures. I sympathized with HBO Ned whereas with book Ned I just wanted him to make decisions and move on with his life. Hopefully HBO Ned will continue to be strong willed, clever and resourceful. Book Ned seemed all too clueless at times and I just didn’t buy it from such a supposedly prudent character. Best Ned new scene – when he stood up to Jaime Lannister at the feast. HBO Ned means business…

Catelyn Stark – HBO Catelyn>Book Catelyn – I must commence by saying I love this actress playing Catelyn. She makes her likeable and credible. I realize you are supposed to sympathize to an extent with Book Catelyn but I never could…I never liked her. Albeit Book Catelyn was very sensible, but she just would do random things that annoyed the hell out of me…again, stuff I would find out of character in keeping with her personality. Anyhow, I heard they are cutting the “It should have been you line” so I won’t be throwing things at the TV when she is on. That is a good thing. Fav Cat scene in the first episode – when she tells Bran that she knows he is lying because he always looks down at the floor/his feet before he lies. Awwwww

Jon Snow – HBO Jon<Book Jon – As perfect as Kit Harington is in the part, I am going on the assumption that HBO wants you to slowly get to know Jon and slowly get to like him. Otherwise, the fact that HBO seems to have dumbed down his character IMO is somewhat disturbing. Book Jon is emo but not THAT emo. HBO let Jon suddenly become a borderline wimpy, mediocre guy who just wants to go to the Wall. Book Jon had a purpose – he went to the Wall for a reason. Seems HBO forgot that. Further, Book Jon would never have stood there and taken that crap from Theon…in fact, I can’t forgive HBO for taking away Jon’s brilliant and commanding line, twisting it around and giving it to Theon (i.e. the direwolf scene when Jon claims Ghost). Shame on you HBO…you need to make up for that. (I’ll continue my Jon Snow rant when I get to Tyrion Lannister) Although the fangirl in me did appreciate the haircutting scene…two thumbs up to HBO for adding that one…then again, why did you have to cut his hair? It was perfect.

Robb Stark – HBO Robb = Book Robb – I believe HBO has somewhat reduced Robb’s importance. I reckon that’s a good thing. He was just a mediocre character in the book…typical first born, heir to the Winterfell, nice kid. Blah, blah, blah…we all would rather Jon though, just sayin’

Sansa Stark – HBO Sansa>Book Sansa – I’m pretty sure most people watching already hate Sansa. I hated her in the first book, tolerated her in books two and three, but started to see her character grow in book four. In the HBO series, I actually felt a little bit less hatred towards her. She just seemed like a typical young teenage girl – I guess actually ‘seeing’ Sansa made realize how normal she is for a girl that age. Annoying, yes. But not nearly as bad as book Sansa. BTW, another fav scene in the series was when Cat rolled her eyes as she was fixing Sansa’s hair and listening to her rave on about how handsome Joffrey. Exactly how I felt. I’ll be curious to see the interactions between her and Sandor as the series progresses. And I can’t wait for the tournament. 

Arya Stark – HBO Arya>Book Arya – Hard to believe I’m saying that. Book Arya was my favourite female character. I thought for sure she would be nearly impossible to get right on screen. BAM! That’s Arya…in fact, HBO Arya is more Arya-ish than Book Arya. HBO Arya is a little more obnoxious – it helps balance out her character. Love the scene when she shows up late to greet the Lannisters…and she is wearing a helmet…that is sooooo Arya. I also loved it when she kept looking around and asking “where’s the imp?” and Sansa telling her to “shut up” – none of these scenes were in the book but it was so bang on with their characters. Her intro moment pretty much summed her up – Sansa being praised for her needlework while Arya looks on with slight disdain, only to show up a minute later on the archery court to show off her true skills, which clearly aren’t ‘needlework’…well, not yet…. And bonus points for the scene where she flicked food at Sansa and then the grimace she makes when Robb has to lift her away from the table and pull her out of the banquet. PRICELESS If someone as a gif of that moment I must have it!!
 
Bran Stark – HBO Bran>Book Bran – Almost the same as Arya…I loved Book Bran and I had my doubts that they would be able to get the character right. OMG…first off the boy playing Bran is absolutely break my heart gorgeous. Between him and Arya, they make me wish I had children. I think this first episode wasn’t that difficult to carryover on to screen but I’ll be curious to see how HBO Bran plays out the rest of the season. A lot of internal struggle in this character. Whereas a 52 year old veteran actor (i.e. Sean Bean) can convey that internal struggle of Ned Stark it will be quite a challenge for this young boy to pull off such an achievement in the portrayal of Brandon Stark.
 
Rickon Stark – HBO Rickon = Book Rickon – Really we didn’t see enough of Rickon to make an honest judgement. I’m certain he’ll be a non-existent character through most of the series so it won’t matter too much unless they include the crypt scene. I’ll get back to you on Rickon if that scene does happen.

Theon Greyjoy – HBO Theon>Book Theon – I have to like HBO Theon better simply because he is barely in it. You wouldn’t even know he was anyone special – you’d probably think he was just generic squire to Ned Stark. In the Book, when Jon called him an ‘ass’, I pretty much agreed and never looked back from there. He was an annoying character in the first book and becomes progressively more annoying throughout the series (aka fratboy douchbag!!) so the less I see of him the better.
 
King’s Landing
Robert Baratheon – HBO Robert>Book Robert – Everyone dissed HBO for casting Mark Addy in the part. I wonder if they are still complaining. I think he is perfect…granted he ain’t 6’5” like book Robert but he certainly gets the ribald, boisterous King down pat. And he makes Robert even more likeable. In fact it makes me wonder why HE wasn’t cast to play Henry VIII in The Tudors…far more believable than JRM IMO.
 
Cersei Lannister – HBO Cersei<Book Cersei – I despised Book Cersei. She was scheming, cold and used her sexuality as a weapon. Yes I hated her…but I also LOVED to hate her. There is nothing likeable in HBO Cersei. In fact she almost seemed weak in that opening episode – afraid to stand up to her husband…afraid to offend anyone by saying the wrong thing…calculating, but in a reactive rather than proactive way. That was a tamed down Cersei….Book Cersei on downers. I expect HBO will be better able to capture her in all her manipulative, depraved glory once she is back in King’s Landing so I will hold off on final judgement. 

Jaime Lannister – HBO Jaime=Book Jaime – Well this one is a difficult one. In the first book, I simply loathed Jaime Lannister. How could you not after the “the things I do for love” scene. But Book Jaime eventually does redeem himself and becomes one of my favourite characters. I think of him as the ‘Han Solo’ of ASOIAF….there is just the right amount of charm and swagger and genuine goodness to make you forget that he did some really crappy things in his past (and in fact those nasty things are pretty much justified at one point or another). A couple of extra scenes for Jaime in this first episode…I guess to attempt to counter that shocking scene at the end. Meh…you still hate the guy…but I can already see the potential being laid to have the audience shift their opinion of Jaime. BTW it was a riot perusing my Twitter timeline after the big finale…all the newbs were tweeting how they were sooooo shocked by it. I couldn’t stop LOLing. And the hatred for Jaime …all I can say is, wait and see my friends, wait and see. Best LOL Jaime Lannister HBO moment: when he arrives at Winterfell and pulls off his helmet, you hear Arya in the background saying “that’s Jaime Lannister, the Queen’s brother”…it’s such a L’Oreal ‘because I’m worth it’ moment worthy of Book Jaime and his flowing locks….

Tyrion Lannister – HBO Tyrion<Book Tyrion – Oh dear. Much like my beloved Jon Snow, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO TYRION? Yes he has that side to him but for Gods sake how dare you make his first scene in a whorehouse. Book Tyrion’s first genuine scene, and coincidentally arguably MY FAVOURITE SCENE IN THE ENTIRE SERIES, was rendered irrelevant because of that travesty. Yes the brilliant Jon meets Tyrion scene was included but completed abridged and completely a shambles IMO. It was meant to be a genuinely heart-warming scene of advice and wisdom, of two people feeling each other out and coming to the realization that there is more to each of them than meets the eye, that their titles and names mean nothing and that respect means everything….GONE….GONE…UGH, I can’t even…HBO..why? why? I cried when I read that scene in the book and was crying for a very different reason when I watched it on TV. Book scene cemented me as a member of Team Tyrion. That is the very scene that introduced me to Tyrion AS I SEE HIM throughout the remainder of the series. OK I realize I’m being subjective here and you are crafting a series for millions of viewers, not just me, but you just can’t dumb down Tyrion. I know it’s tempting – he is a great character to boost your ratings by making him over the top rowdy and hilarious but please don’t go wild with him. It would be so very wrong. You fall in love with Book Tyrion not because he is the drunken party loving “Imp” but a wise soul who can move mountains with his words. Yes he is a lot of fun but to an extent he provides the sanity that grounds the insane and somewhat malevolent word of Westeros with logic. I expect that will come through more in the HBO series on his journey north to the Wall and later during his travels and adventures in the Eyrie. I also expect no less than perfection for this character and Jon Snow. You can screw up the rest of the characters all you want but HBO YOU REALLY BETTER NOT MESS WITH THESE TWO. They are the heart and soul of the books. One wrong move and I shall never forgive
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Joffrey Lannister-Baratheon – HBO Joffrey<Book Joffrey – I am only saying that I prefer Book Joffrey because he had a larger part in the book than he has received so far in the series. Kudos to the actor that is playing him though – I already want to slap that smirk off his face and he hasn’t even said a word yet. 

Across the Narrow Sea
Daenerys Targaryen – HBO Dany=Book Dany – Now I know this will piss off the purists but I really didn’t care that much about book Dany in the first novel. She was kind of an interruption for me…whenever they went back to Pentos for a chapter from Dany’s POV I would be so annoyed because it was taking me away from the “main” storyline back in Westeros. Of course that is only my opinion. At least I didn’t hate when they broke away from Westeros  in the series – the layered stories work better in the series than in the book. Dany is a huge character. I would argue that her character, along with Ty and Jon, are the most critical and NEED to be portrayed properly. HBO Dany doesn’t seem to do much yet except take off her clothes and look wistfully across the narrow sea towards a country she has no memories of. She does all of that very prettily which I guess is all that could be expected or required of her at this point. She seems innocent and sweet enough which is apropos for the early Dany. Much like Ty and Jon, I expect (or, rather, hope) that HBO is making us really become invested in her character by slowly building her up.
 
Viserys Targaryen – HBO Viserys>Book Viserys – I may be a little creepy but I actually enjoyed Book Viserys. Like Joffrey, he reminded me of a typical spoiled, wicked and petulant young Roman Emperor…always thinking he is right, always thinking he is entitled to everything and cruel beyond words. Let’s just call this one – HBO Viserys pretty much steals the scenes he is in. Arguably the best cast actor in the series. You want to see more of him. Yes he is way over the top in his portrayal but geez, its Viserys….anything less would be criminal. Not only is his delivery of lines captivating but his simple gestures, and the way he carries himself, they are all just a delicious mix to watch unfold. Sorry for this spoiler but when Viserys does get his in the book I’m happy because he deserves it. When HBO Viserys gets his I think I’ll be sad to see him go. What a scene that will be though. Best Viserys HBO moment: after Khal Drogo gives Dany the once over and just up and leaves, Viserys runs all aghast to question Illyrio as to what the hell just happened …absolutely fall of the chair LOL moment. His best line (and there were several to choose from):When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say that it began tonight”.  It’s a shame, makes me wish HBO Viserys did get that chance to reign

Khal Drogo – HBO Drogo>Book Drogo – Not really much going on there. Like the commercial, Khal Drogo is very much a “show, don’t tell” character. He looked the part and niviene  seemed to enjoy so that pretty much sums up all the requirements for Khal Drogo. Why I prefer HBO Drogo to Book Drogo though is almost contradictory. I completely loved the scene in the book when they ‘consummate their wedding’…it’s sweet and romantic. But for all the good of that scene, it makes zero sense and I never bought it. Khal Drogo is a fierce warrior. As much as the fictional world seems to think every woman’s fantasy is having some hot, barbarian guy fall in love with you and proceed to gently make love to you better than any other lover you have ever had, IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN. Khal Drogo is supposed to be a warrior not a lover. If he has sex, he HAS SEX…plain and simple...he doesn’t ‘make love’. So the interpretation of the marriage consummation makes a lot more sense in the HBO version than in the book. For those of you who hated that scene, or somehow thought it degrading…try reading the book version, it’s much sweeter…. it is, after all, fantasy. 

Ser Jorah Mormont – HBO Jorah>Book Jorah – Book Jorah was a blip to me. Only in the later books in the series did I actually care about him. For the fact that I actually recognized and acknowledged HBO Jorah and was interested in what he had to say, I have to note that HBO Jorah at least impressed me more than Book Jorah. 


All in all, I’d say that was one of the better adaptations of a book to screen I have seen. In comparison to the book, HBO’s Game of Thrones is not without its flaws but the majority of the changes seem to have worked and translated well to film. I can only hope that I am correct and that the three key characters (IMO) will be developing slowly as the series progresses. Now that a second season has been confirmed they’ll have even more time to grow on you. All I can say is if you though that first episode ended with a bang, wait till you see the season finale…
Wow...what a great analysis of the characters. I seriously want to read the books now...in fact, they are first on my list of what to look for next time I go into Chapters.

I loved the HBO Game of Thrones first episode. Absolutely loved it. I think they did a great job of introducing so many characters and in a way that made each one of them memorable. I know that's quite a feat, but the casting seems really impeccable. I am looking forward to the rest of the series with great anticipation.

Btw, the last scene...shocking, yes, but I love how both the beginning and end were soooo dramatic. (I believe that Bran will be saved...someone will catch him, right? Isn't the direwolf supposed to protect him?) I can't wait for Sunday to find out what happens. :)

Thanks for the great synopsis. :)
I'm glad to hear you liked it. I honestly thought the second episode was better. I believe the show will get even better from here on as well as the story progresses. There is way too much character introductions at first - that could detract people. But as the story progresses it does become even more intriguing. As good as the series is, the books are better....a lot more insight into the characters.

The last scene was shocking - all the episodes will likely end on some very dramatic moment like that. There is good and bad news when it comes to Bran...you'll see....