I know we have a continually updated review post, and that one will continue to get updates with all of the various and sundry reviews. But these two were noteworthy enough to get their own post, I believe.
First, James Poniewozik of TIME gives Game of Thrones an expertly-written, glowing review.
As did HBO’s western Deadwood and historical drama Rome, Thrones takes a familiar, oft-romanticized genre–epic fantasy–dirties it up and blurs the moral lines. Based on a millions-selling series of novels by George R.R. Martin (whom TIME’s Lev Grossman called “the American Tolkien”), Thrones is unsentimental and often brutal. It’s also shaping up to be the most immersive grownup adventure TV has produced since Lost.
And then, from the other side of the coin, comes this lazy, poorly-written, offensive review from New York Times writer Ginia Bellafante. Not only does she manage to insult fans of fantasy, as several reviews have done already, but she throws in insults to women as well!
The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.
Winter Is Coming: Could there have been two more polar opposite reviews from two generally well-respected publications? One can only hope that Poniewozik’s excellent review (which will appear in the print version of TIME) will have more of an impact than Bellafante’s drivel.
UPDATE: Ginia Bellafante’s piece and another “review” by Troy Patterson at Slate have caused a flurry of indignation first all over Twitter, and then on several blogs: Geek With Curves (Amy Ratcliffe), Violet Blue, News-a-rama (Alan Kistler), io9 (Annalee Newitz). Most recent are two very thoughtful and eloquent rebuttals, written by Matt Zoller Seitz from Salon.com and by science fiction and fantasy author Daniel Abraham. Reading these is a must.