Game of Thrones, the HBO series
I just finished binge-watching all six available seasons. There will be two more seasons before the series comes to an end.
They had great source material in George R.R. Martin’s unfinished series of books, and as far as I can tell (it has been a while since I read them), they stayed true to the books, which was very wise. The most notable feature of these novels is that major characters don’t always win. In fact, they lose a lot and die a lot.
On top of that, there’s movie-quality special effects and cinematography. Even though I presume that a lot of the scenery is CGI, they used a lot of camera tricks to make it the most believable CGI I’ve ever seen. The goal was to make every scene look like how you’d imagine it would look if there was an actual movie camera filming it.
This series could never have happened on broadcast television because of the R-rated violence, language, and sexual situations.
The acting: some of it is great and some of it seems just OK. I think that the actress who plays Cersei Lannister is really great at acting evil. Perhaps she’s the most evil character ever seen in movies or television. The girl who plays Arya Stark was great initially, but as she aged though the seasons she became significantly less cute. I think the problem is that Maisie Williams was chosen initially because she looked a lot younger than her age and could play a much younger girl, but consequently she grew into a short unattractive adult.
The worst acting comes from Emilia Clarke who plays Daenerys Targaryen. I just can’t see her as a believable human being. I’m not sure if that’s the fault of Clarke, the writers who converted Martin’s books into screenplays, or Martin himself for making Daenerys Targaryen into a fantasy archetype out of sync with the more human and believable characters filling up his novels.
The decision to have everyone talk with thick accents from the British Isles can make the dialogue hard to understand at times. I assume the theory behind that decision is that Westeros is based on medieval England.
It’s hard to keep track of all the minor characters. I certainly lost track of them, and can’t figure out why this castle or that castle has this guy or that guy in charge of it and how they are related to the each other.
Nevertheless, anything negative above is merely quibbling. This is the greatest series ever, and it has the Lion’s 100% recommendation.
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And the worst ever adaptation of a fantasy/sci-fi book is Dune, the 1984 movie starring Sting: truly a movie with not a single redeeming quality.