April 1, 2013

"Valar Dohaeris" Episode Review




Last night Game of the Thrones returned on HBO with the premiere of its third season. Here is my (spoiler-free) review....





Finally! Game of thrones is back! Even though practically every TV show starts / finished about the same time every year. I am a fan of both the books (actually called A Song of Ice and Fire, as seen in the opening credits....) first and foremost, though I am enjoying the series while waiting for future installments. The author, George R.R. Martin, is currently at work on Book Six (out of Seven likely), The Winds of Winter. So far, despite the changes made to the series, it's been about one book per season. Books Three and Five are the largest thus far, and Four happens during (most of) Book Five. So future seasons will be interesting to see how and what they will be based on. After all, the series is based on the book series. Some events etc may get shuffled. After all, Boromir dies in The Two Towers book, and that's also where Sam and Frodo encounter Shelob.  



In the meantime, season three is based on approximately the first half of Book Three, A Storm of Swords.

Now that we have the 'background' stuff taken care of, we can dive into the episode itself.
The premiere was a return to 'form' for Game of Thrones. Season Two had a different feel to it than Season One did, also there were more noticable differences overall from Book Two, A Clash of Kings. Season Three, so far, feels more like Season One. Basically, a great example of why you like Game of Thrones to begin with is presented quite well in the opening episode.



Like I mentioned, this will be spoiler-free. The opening episode picks up pretty where the Season Two finale ended, as well as its aftermath. Because I read the books, I know what's going to happen in the overall story, despite any changes made to the show. They hint and tease quite well, and for non-readers, well, remember the episode well. The best scene is between Tyrion and Tywin Lannister. Here we finally get to see 'book Tywin'.  We also get some great scenery, our characters continue their journeys, and new faces will be met. I won't say who due to spoilers etc, but consult IMDB or other internet sites to see who is palying who. Plus, keep an eye on Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer.... Any characters absent from the premiere will turn up in the next episode or two. The creators and producers have said that each episode is a bit longer, so if you add up all the extra time you get a whole new episode's worth of material. 


In summary, a very good episode. There was a 'jump' in readership and fanbase for Season One. I'm not sure what the 'numbers' were for Season Two, but Season Three so far looks to have an increase in Game of Thrones and Ice and Fire fans in the future. I'd say, better than season 2, about as good, or better in quality than Season One.

Season Three Episode One gets a very solid

9.5/10

I will also review the season finale, and the season as a whole come the first week of June.

Game of Thrones is one of, if not the most popular shows on TV at the moment. Nevertheless, let us hope that the show ends on the terms of the story, and not going the route of Deadwood or Rome. My efforts may be in vain, but I encourage you to watch the show through HBO, or the DVD / blu-ray sets. Or give HBO some money in the Game of Thrones merchandise department be it coasters, soundtrack CDs, beer mugs....just because there's no promise that the show will end on a story note where the books are supposed to. 

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