On imps and clockwork cities in Game of Thrones

Last night was the series premier of Game of Thrones, the new HBO series based on the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin, and it is just as great as any of us could have hoped.

The characterizations are perfect. I had expressed some concern in the past for Moraz as Drago and Clarke as Daenerys, but they seem to have pulled it off, at least to the extent necessary for this first episode, which really isn’t very much, all told, so I guess we’ve still to see if these two can make that part of the story work well.

I had also earlier expressed concerns that while he is an excellent actor, Dinklage was perhaps too handsome to play Tyrion, but he manages to pull off the ugliness of the character through his superb portrayal, negating the need for him to be a physically ugly person.

He manages to act ugly when he’s truly not, which adds an interesting dimension to the character which doesn’t exist in the novels, but which is not unwelcome.

I’m a bit concerned for the pace of the story, however. No one expects the television adaptation to cover all the same details as the novels, but this first hour of the epic tale covers nearly a fifth of the timeline of the first book.

If this pace is maintained, they’ll be through that book, and thusly the first season, in only five to seven episodes. 

We already know, however that at least ten episodes are planned, so either the further episodes of this season will slow down the events a bit, or they will fall back to include some of the detail that is missing from this episode. either way, the timing just seems a little bit off, like the writers were pushing to end the episode on a particular dramatic revelation.

They probably chose the right note to end on, considering that this was the pilot, meant to draw viewers in for the second episode, and get them invested, but for those who already know the story, it just feels a little bit rushed.

One of my favorite parts was actually the title sequence. It gives the audience a reminder of where each of the cities is located in Westeros with a really cool clock-work map, which shows each of the cities growing out of antiqued gears and sprockets.

This imagery combined with images from an engraved sword, and some kind of armillary, or other astronomical device – one doesn’t get a real clear look at it – make the perfect weekly introduction for the epic story.

I almost wish I had never read the books, and did not know what was going to happen next in this tale. I’d like to know what someone who has never read the books thought of this episode; if it was enough to catch them, if they can see the epic lines laying out before them.