Friday, 25 January 2019

Game of Thrones Re-Watch: Season 1

It's nearly April. More specifically it's nearly April 14th and that means that the time has come, at long last, to start the Thrones re-watch.
With so many characters, plots, random easter eggs etc. it's the kind of show that really rewards re-watching. Plus it's a good way to dive straight into the new season all caught up and ready to go without the moments where you inevitably have to pause the episode and go 'but who is this guy???'

Season one had an insane amount of weight on its shoulders - arguably more than the ridiculously anticipated final season. It was a hugely popular fantasy book, being made into a hugely expensive HBO show. It was breaking all the rules and doing something no one had done before. It could have gone horribly wrong, flopped, and never had any follow up seasons. But it didn't. Fans of the books loved it for the faithful adaptation it provided. Fans of good TV loved it because it is incredibly good TV. And by the end of the season it had broken all the usual rules of engagement and done what a lot of shows are too afraid to do. Audiences were hooked.

Now I came a little late to the game - I didn't have Sky so I had been mildly spoiled for the end of the season before I launched into the box set. It took a few episodes to really hook me because there's a huge amount of information to bombard the viewer with to get them up to speed; I was intrigued enough to watch, but not yet into full binge territory. And I think that still holds true even now when I'm watching the season in full for the seventh time. Sure it's good, it's filled with insanely impressive set pieces, an amazing cast, and has an engrossing quality that sucks you in. But it's a slow burn. The kind that rewards you for watching, for going back and fitting previously unnoticed pieces together. No matter how much I'm enjoying it (and believe me, I always am) it doesn't fully grab me until the end of episode 6 - my first sit up and take notice 'oh hey you're really not messing around' moment.

If you've not yet experienced Thrones, I cannot recommend it enough. It's the kind of show that rewards re-watching and you'll never experience it exactly the same way twice. Yes it's brutal and bloody, yes it has a rather ridiculous boob quota (although that calms down in later seasons), but it's about so much more than that. Even if you don't consider yourself to be a fantasy fan, I guarantee you'll enjoy this. It's about people and power and relationships. The scheming of powerhouses, the resentments that run decades deep. Ignore the White Walkers and Dragons for a minute (the first season certainly does) and you still have an incredible, compelling, sweeping saga of a story.

No comments:

Post a Comment