Saturday, 30 April 2011
Opinion seems divided on the second episode of Game of Thrones, in a way that I find interesting. Based purely on my own observations, rather than anything approaching data, it would seem that there’s a very high correlation between having read the books, and preferring the season opener to “The Kingsroad”.
I suppose this makes sense. “Winter Is Coming” baffled a great many people, and left many more comparatively cold (no pun intended), because the sheer amount of information thrown at the viewer left little time for story, and almost none for characterisation.
“The Kingsroad”, in comparison, is a lot more sedate. The overall feel is of a situation building, and of pieces being moved. A world unfurling, and her inhabitants with her. For those of us who already know that world, and who have spent years in these characters’ heads, we’re left with little more than a summary. When you start playing “Spot the new bit”, as I did, then a show clearly isn’t doing its job (as noted last week) of standing as an entity in itself. Indeed, the aforementioned game is made all the easier because the scenes created for the show (Tyrion in the brothel last time around, Cersei’s fascinating exchange with Cat over Bran’s broken body) are by far the ones that work best.
After the opener, then, this was probably a necessary pause for breath. Certainly, a lot of newcomers to Westeros are taking that line. I guess the rest of us will just have to wait a little while until the show feels comfortable enough in itself to really start letting rip.
P.S. I should also note that in the episode's defense, it did have an interesting theme (as others have pointed out) regarding how one's expectation of one's destination can be changed by the journey itself. As far as that goes, I think the problem comes in once the viewer is already ahead of the characters; that is, some parts of A Game Of Thrones work every time you read them, and others are only ever going to really pique your interest once.