Recently two loyal Winter Is Coming readers, The Rabbit and ipopic, had the chance to screen the first two episodes of Game of Thrones. This came about thanks to some initiative by The Rabbit and… well, I’ll just let her tell the story.
The Rabbit: Some months ago I found out that our own regional www.hbo.hr had organized a screening for the press of first few episodes of The Pacific before it premiered on the channel.
Immediately, I started to plot how to get among the press if HBO Adria would decide to do the same with the Thrones. So, I sent two nice and polite letters. One to our very own WiC-team and another to HBO Adria. I got the answers from both sides very quickly. Winter and guys promised to give me some support (to..hm..my bottom) if it would be needed, and HBO Adria with the permission to enter to their press room.
Exactly a week ago, I came home from the office, checked my mailbox and found the invitation for the exclusive screenings of Game Of Thrones at a cinema in Zagreb. You can imagine my joy and hilarious smiling which lasted about five minutes. I did it!
Of course, there was a catch…I had to accomplish my part of the agreement with Lords of the House Gatewatch and send them a report of the premiere. As I am still very convinced that my English sucks and I do not consider myself a good writer, I figured out a way to do the job without working much.
HBO Adria gave me the possibility to take one more person with me to the screening and as my own Mr. Rabbit was busy, I decided to invite another super fan of Game of Thrones from Twitter-Land, ipopic, whom I asked nicely to write some words afterwords…
Ivan did it, sent it to me, it was very well written I decided to put it in here as a official report and review from Zagreb screenings. So, here you are, the report from Zagreb screenings held at Cinestar on Thursday, 14th April 2011. Enjoy:
Winter Has Arrived!
With those words a director of HBO Adria ended his speech and the first episode of Game of Thrones rolled on the screen. Like many of you I was impatiently counting the days until the series premiere and was pleasantly surprised when Rabbit sent me a message that said she had an extra ticket for the advance screening. My countdown to the premiere suddenly dropped by 4 days and even while I was sitting in the movie theatre I was afraid I would wake up and still have to wait until Monday to see it. The Movie Theatre was patrolled by men dressed up in medieval armor and ladies in medieval garb were handing out precious leather bracelets which served as a tickets to the screening. Just seeing the Game of Thrones was great but seeing it on a movie screen was mind-blowingly great. Added bonus was that the audience was packed by fans of the books who managed to get their hands on tickets and I was fortunate enough to meet some of them I knew over Twitter who were seated directly behind me and Rabbit.
And now goes as spoiler-free review as it gets – even though it is hard to wait until Monday to comment on every little detail of the episodes we saw.
HBO did a great job. I have read and reread the books and I’m a big fan of Martin’s work but I understood from the start the books would be different to the adaptation and didn’t expect a word-for-word transliteration of Game of Thrones. There are changes, some parts are cut out and there are some new scenes but all in all production team did its best to be as faithful to the novels as possible. Every character was as I imagined them when I was reading the books, even if they still had their ears attached. Acting is really superb and in some examples (Peter Dinklage and Maise Williams) acting is so good I was under the impression casting process included some dark ritual which allowed Nina Gold to summon Tyrion and Arya from the books – they are THAT good. The only actor was a bit of a dissapointment was Roger Allam as Illyrio Mopatis but maybe he just didn’t have time to shine in 2 scenes he had.
Direwolves are great – cute and playful but when there is need for some throat-ripping action they do it realistically. CGI has been seamlessly woven into actual scenes and I love how every region has its own colours pallet. Pacing of the episodes was good, scenes connect fluidly and it doesn’t feel awkward that the action moved from Winterfell to across the Narrow Sea. The ending of the first episode came in a blink of an eye and second one went by fast as well. A lot of scenes were already shown in the trailers and previews but some rather enjoyable ones were great to see in their full length.
After the screening was over I asked an acquaintance who I knew hasn’t read the books of his opinion. He said even though he is everything but a fan of the fantasy genre he gave it a chance and he really liked it. He did say he was struggling to keep up with all the connections between characters a bit but not too much to make it a nuisance.
I think producers did a good job with presenting the character background to those who haven’t read the novels as they didn’t swarm them with too much information all at once. For example, a fact that Jamie is a Kingslayer is mentioned only in a second episode and in first two episodes Nymeria and Lady are the only direwolves which are named.
And now a bit of a warning for parents who are thinking about letting their children watch the series. I am not a parent and my youngest sibling is teenager so the decision is up to you but I wouldn’t let children under the age of 13 to watch this. It isn’t just because of the nudity, sex and violence – it is because of the nature of these scenes. Daenerys sex scenes can easily be categorized as a rape and are a bit hard to swallow. If you watched other HBO series this is much more violent and gruesome then anything you have seen in Rome or True Blood – maybe because it feels so realistic. It isn’t something that would drive me away from watching the series and every violent scene has a reason to be there for character or plot development.
So much from me, I would like to thank Rabbit for inviting me and of course to Mr. Rabbit for being out of town yesterday.
The Rabbit: To add a couple of things – because I have not got indeed much to add, Ivan told it all. Yeah, it was great to finally see the world of GRRM on the screen. And that of indeed the GRRMs world. David and Dan did the JOB. They did everything they could in terms and conditions they had. Yes, one can nitpick because there are changes, but IMO none of these changes really hurts in overall picture.
And of course I am not going to talk about the details because I do not want to spoil, but there are many details which I found absolutely awesome, much more than those which I do not find so great. I want to point out one more thing which strucked me, because I did not notice it in the previews: Emilia Clarke did a great job as Daenerys! Her eyes, her body language, because she has not much to talk in first two episode were fantastic. One can literally feel her pain while she is suffering during the ride across Dothraki sea.
Ladies and Lords of the House Gatewatch you have no reason to be afraid (yes, I know, reading reviews from all over the internet could be nasty thing), Sunday is more close than ever, turn on your TVs, relax and enjoy!
(digger, not writer ;) )
Winter Is Coming: Many thanks to The Rabbit and ipopic for the report! So glad you were able to attend. Consider it a reward for your years of loyal (bottom) support of House Gatewatch!