More season 3 reviews: Mo Ryan, Alan Sepinwall, Tim Goodman and NY Times
By Winter Is Coming on in Reviews.

Three more reviews to add to the pile. First up, is Mo Ryan for The Huffington Post:

The version of “Game of Thrones” that executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have created is a meditation on power and its slippery attractions, and perhaps power itself is the lead character in their take on the story — it’s often the entity receiving the most in-depth characterization. In this tale, power and loyalty are locked in a hypnotic dance of betrayal, compassion and confusion. Martin created — and the HBO show has brought to vivid life — a set of memorable outsiders who are doing their utmost to storm various bastions of power and privilege, and even their losses are fascinating. I can’t look away.

Next is Alan Sepinwall for HitFix:

Both Martin and “Game of Thrones” are playing a longer game than that. There are characters like Daenerys and Jon Snow who are thousands of miles away from the central action in the Westeros capital of King’s Landing, and their stories seem like they’ll take a long while before directly impacting what Tyrion and his nasty relatives are up to. Several characters spent all of last season seemingly just traveling from Point A to Point B on a map. It’s all very clearly leading somewhere, but in many ways “Game of Thrones” requires more patience than its predecessors, and the fractured storytelling makes it harder to invest in what’s happening on the way to the big payoffs. We’re very rarely in any locale, with any group of characters, long enough for each story to have the emotional resonance that the material deserves.

Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter has nothing but praise for the show:

And in keeping with the no-spoiler rule, all that really needs to be said about Season 3 is that the first four hours are immensely enjoyable and leave you, at the end of each, pleading like a junkie for the next six. This, of course, is the curse of Thrones’ finest achievement and it does have one unfortunate side effect for the individual episodes: this sprawling story being told in only 10 episode, doles out in an hour only precious morsels of plot from a variety of characters and clans, then abruptly switches to the next character or clan and so on. The end result is, despite the brilliant quality, a bubbling frustration for more, more, more.

And the New York Times, as usual, seems confounded by the show and its popularity, despite enlisting a self-proclaimed fantasy fan to review it this year.

As this popular adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” novels returns on Sunday night, it falls into an already familiar pattern. Tiny bursts of action are separated by wide expanses of conversation — veritable kingdoms of explication during which medieval spreadsheets of plot, history, geography and family lineage are explained in the mellow tones of stage-trained European actors. Presumably the balance will slowly shift toward action as the plot builds, over the course of 10 episodes, to some climactic mass bloodletting, in this case involving those who were hot on Sam’s heels.

Winter Is Coming: To be honest, I’m less interested or concerned with reviews this season. The show is a hit. I love it. Lots of others do as well. That’s all that matters.


146 Comments

  1. Mr Fixit
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Hodor!

    What else?

  2. GreatJon of Slumber
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    From the NYT:

    In any case, in “Game of Thrones” people always take second place to machinery — the big ticking clockwork of plot and relationships, of family trees and maps and flowcharts symbolized by every episode’s best feature, the beautifully animated opening-credit sequence that gives an aerial survey of the show’s world.

    Bullshit, plain and simple.

    I’m done with reviews now, too, and most at least come from a good-faith kind of way of seeing things (I’ve always liked Maureen Ryan, and of course Alan Sepinwall, not the least of which because of his enjoyment of “Justified,” a show that couldn’t tonally be more different than GoT.) But people are the focus, whether it’s the great, contemplative conversations between Varys and Tyrion, or hearing people screaming while they’re dying from wildfire in a boat in Blackwater Bay.

  3. Nick_Scryer
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Great reviews! Everyone seems to love the show, and they basically have the same outlook that book readers have had for years. So minor criticism is to be expected.

    They love each season for what it is, just like we love each book for what it is.
    But EVERYONE wants Dany to return to Westeros already.

  4. Drew
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I just hope D&D made a greater endeavour to not be chopping between character every scene, it seems jarring… even from someone thats read the book.

  5. GG
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Nick_Scryer,

    Not really sure how that’s a spoiler, seeing as it hasn’t happened in the books yet.

  6. GG
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes cos there was absolutely zero talking in Harry Potter or LotR. Seriously, who is this NYT idiot? GoT is one of the most explicit, violent & 4-sheets-to-the-wind shows out there. I’ve watched Band of Brothers several times and it is in no way similar to GoT

  7. Zack
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the NYT regarding the plot feeling the most important. Game of Thrones is a different beast from A Song of Ice and Fire, and I can definitely understand why some people would rather watch a show that can really get into its characters’ heads rather than be so mad for constant plot advancement (often coming in the form of clunky expository bits).

    I think the show is solid. But there are valid reasons to not like it. These reviews, good and bad, are basically telling me I shouldn’t expect a game-changing shift in its approach to storytelling. More of the same, instead. But as I’ve pretty much enjoyed the first two seasons, that means I’ll be at least equally as entertained.

  8. pntrlqst
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    GG,

    Right, it’s a spoiler that it hasn’t happened. It’s like telling someone that someone lives until the end. Well, shit, now we know not to worry that they’ll die.

  9. Lord Varys
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Finally it has been confirmed that Varys is going to tell Tyrion how he was unmanned. That’s a scene I’ve been looking forward to last season. Great that it is finally in the show. Considering that Varys does not show up all that much in ASoS it’s good to see that this shuffling stuff around pays off…

  10. JoshT
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Lord Varys,

    Where has that been confirmed?

  11. JoeMobes
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more WiC. At this point, “professional” reviews are meaningless. It seems that the only real criticism launched against the third season is essentially something the show has been doing since the start: Focusing on different characters. I don’t know, maybe I’m in the minority in the sense that I never really minded this??

  12. Lord Varys
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    In one of the reviews. Not sure if it’s the one linked above. But one of the new reviews I read today. Not the one from the New York times, though. That much I do remember.

  13. GG
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    pntrlqst,

    It hasn’t happened in the books YET!!! If I were to go back to 2006 and start talking about how Hermione & Fred die the last HP book, would that be a spoiler? No cos the last book hasn’t come out yet and we have no way of knowing if it’s going to happen. Plot speculation & what you want to happen are the not the same as plot spoilers. A spoiler is revealing plot details. How can you reveal something which isn’t part of the plot yet, if at all. Learn to read.

  14. hmm...
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    GG,

    sigh

    because, your saying that Dany not having returned to westeros isnt a spoiler, is wrong. Its what people who have seen the show wouldnt know, therefore, its a bloody spoiler! Also, people tend to die quite frequently in the series, giving away that someone is still alive, is also a spoiler.

  15. pntrlqst
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    GG,

    What’s up with the hostility, mate?

    Plenty of TV watchers may go into this season, and the next, and the next, anticipating that Dany invades Westeros. Maybe they don’t want to know that it aint happening. Therefore = spoiler.

  16. GreatJon of Slumber
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    GG,

    Furthermore, re: Harry Potter, how many of the movies could he be referencing? I thought Azkaban and Goblet of Fire were stellar, and Order of the Phoenix good. The last 3 felt pretty muddled to me, even for someone who had read those books, and the first two movies have a “filmed novel” quality to them that even GoT Season 1 does not have.

  17. dizzy
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I find the bad reviews funny. “T.V. should be like this…” is basically what they all fall back on.

  18. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Tim Goodman’s review in the Hollywood Reporter sums up my feelings on the fragmented storytelling and the critics who use it as a criticism:

    All that really needs to be said about Season 3 is that the first four hours are immensely enjoyable and leave you, at the end of each, pleading like a junkie for the next six. This, of course, is the curse of Thrones’ finest achievement and it does have one unfortunate side effect for the individual episodes: this sprawling story being told in only 10 episode, doles out in an hour only precious morsels of plot from a variety of characters and clans, then abruptly switches to the next character or clan and so on. The end result is, despite the brilliant quality, a bubbling frustration for more, more, more.

    But if that’s the main drawback of your series – that viewers are so in the rapture that they get frustrated in their desire for additional scenes, episodes or seasons – then you’re doing something truly right. Here’s to a dense, layered, enterprising and fascinating journey through Season 3 – and as many more seasons as need be to complete this incomparable fantasy.

  19. Grone239
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I just love that the NYT reviewer had to qualify that he was a fan of SF & fantasy
    literature and state that it’s not” LOTR or Harry Potter”… well, No Shit Sherlock!
    And yet still leave me scratching my head wondering WTF the reviewer is trying to
    say!

  20. steiner
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The journalistic pedigree of the New York Times is nothing short of exceptional /sarcasm

    In all honesty, I am in agreement with Winter is Coming: the impact of critical reviews has been almost entirely mitigated for this season. That said, I am interested to see if I will be more frustrated watching season 3 than seasons 1 and 2. Reason? When I watched season 1, and later season 2, I decided to wait till all the episodes came out and then I watched them in bulk. They were phenomenal. However, come season 3 I really don’t have the resolve to wait anymore. Instead I will be getting the weekly drip feed of episodes.

    Frustration will be inevitable – but only because the episodes themselves are so good.

  21. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    So I’m guessing the metacritic score will likely wind up around an 85. Too many critics are downgrading their grades because the story is told the exact same way as the first 2 seasons and somehow they thought this would change. I happen to like that the show is different than everything else on TV and love the many storylines that weave in and out of each episode.

  22. fg
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Your probably right. It seems that nowadays critics read other reviews, and latch on to one idea in order to give some criticism. This year, it seems they’ve chosen to criticize the structure.

  23. Friend Of fire
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    A question does the New York Times dislike non American actors or just fantasy period? Nobody at that paper has ever liked this show.

  24. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Anybody check metacritic? Fuck the NYT! Even Sepinwall gave the show an 83. But NYT? 50!

  25. steiner
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,
    I think the metacritic score might surpass 90. Afterall, NYT gave season 3 ten more marks this season. They were practically gushing!

  26. Coltaine777
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    It is amazing to me how many critics are saying that 10eps is not enough and how hard it is to make an emotional investment because the story does not spend enough time with each character …D/D claim they can’t handle more than 10eps per season ? maybe HBO needs too add more resources to the show in the form of writers so that they can have 12 -14 ep seasons ?…

  27. fg
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Coltaine777,

    D&D have already made it clear that they couldnt do it, due to time schedules, budget, and creative strain.

  28. pntrlqst
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I always feel like TV reviewers rate the new season on the strength on the final episodes of the previous season. Metacritic has the first season listed at 79, but that really only reflects the beginning episodes, before the ball got rolling, if you will. I never felt like the first four episodes of season two instilled the confidence that it’d turn out better than season one (and in my mind, it didn’t), yet critics were across the board claiming it better than season one. I think that was really just a carry over from their evolving opinion of season one, which was high and had gone unexpressed in their season one reviews because they were reviewing only the early episodes. That they are ONLY NOW critiquing the structure, despite the fact that it begin in “The North Remembers,” is indicative of the fact that they are always reviewing a season behind. They never got to air this frustration as season two went on, and thus we have to deal with it in their reviews of season three, which may very well be substantially better than season two. Yet, you wouldn’t know it. If season three turns out to be the greatest season of television ever, and season four began as the worst season of television ever, you also wouldn’t know it: they’d rate it on the strength of this season.

  29. Hollyoak
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I think at this point, with Thrones firmly in the mainstream consciousness, the NYT just has to be a naysayer. Someone has to do it, and they are happy to serve the part of dismisser and naysayer.

    It’s funny, actually. They just can’t imagine someone enjoying a fantasy type show, just because it isn’t high art, I guess.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m an intellectual snob and I love Thrones. LOL!

  30. GG
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    pntrlqst,

    Yes but if you read his comment, he has made no reference to book or show. It’s only a spoiler if he specifies the medium he’s referring to. Do we really need to get into the semantics of this?

  31. Oi
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Stopped reading at “succes de fantastique” and contemplated punching the screen.

  32. pntrlqst
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    GG,

    No, we don’t. It’s pretty simple: people who haven’t read the books read this forum.

    Therefore, he blacked out something they probably don’t want to see.

    The real question is this: did you really need to call someone out for using spoiler tags? Did they hurt your eyes and/or offend you. No? Then…?

  33. Skipdutch
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Only one critic so far, Sepinwall at Hitfix, downgraded his score. Comparing last season and this season, 1 review went down 17 points, 7 stayed the same, and 3 increased by 10 points each. So, a net increase in 13 aggregate points so far.

  34. Winter Is Coming
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Anybody check metacritic? Fuck the NYT! Even Sepinwall gave the show an 83. But NYT? 50!

    It should be noted that for most reviews, Metacritic assigns the score based on their interpretation of the text of the review. So the NY Times didn’t “give” the show a 50. Metacritic scored that review a 50 out of 100.

    The only exception to that, so far, is Alan Sepinwall who gave the show a B+, which translates to an 83. Even then, the letter grade is something that HitFix requires from its reviewers and I think Alan himself would rather you read the full review than just look at the score and make judgments of his opinion based on that.

  35. Brian
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Mike Hale has never given anything higher than an 80/100 on Metacritic, and rates things, on average, 11 points lower than the consensus. He gave Once Upon a Time and Terra Nova higher scores than he gave Game of Thrones. It’s baffling.

    Edit: Even if he didn’t “give” each show those scores, his review is the only one which seemed to criticize Game of Thrones for trying to be a high-quality program.

  36. Darquemode
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Coltaine777,

    I find it so amusing that many of the reviewers you refer to say it is hard to make an emotional attachment to a character, but yet seem to be emotionally invested in the series as a whole.

  37. fg
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Darquemode,

    Yes! Absolutely. Most of the reviews, there complaining about how they want to see more of there favorite characters, that there hooked, but then there saying that there isnt enough time to get interested in the characters.

  38. Jen
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Brian,

    OMG, I watch Once Upon a Time, and it’s f-ing terrible compared to Game of Thrones … like … I can’t believe anyone would even fathom that OUAT could be better in ANY way. hahaha

  39. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Darquemode,

    It’s amusing because to me these critics describe how I felt reading the books for the first time. You want more if this and more of that. A Tyrion chapter? Yes! Oh a Sansa chapter…

    (Sidebar: I am a Sansa fan)

    Once you see the book/show as “Westeros: A People’s History” a fictional account of events that cannot be spoiled by a secondary source, your initially individual emotional engagement to the text through certain characters eventually encompasses the world as a whole.

  40. Nezzer
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Anybody check metacritic? Fuck the NYT! Even Sepinwall gave the show an 83. But NYT? 50!

    And he gave the same score to Spartacus: Vengeance, the worst season of an already weak show. He also gave a 70 to the huge fail that was Camelot. This guy is a complete asshole.

  41. Coltaine777
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Darquemode,

    that is funny…for the most part I think the show has been very good and the acting in particular has been awesome…

  42. Richard Weetabix
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    This NYT piece is an object lesson on the difference between cleverness and intelligence. Dinklage is the “token American”? Huh? He’s almost surely the most recognizable, most highly regarded “little person” actor extant. And to compare this story/series unfavorably with any of the Harry Potter books or films is, well, ridiculous. Those are kids’ stories, and this is not. His insistence that he’s actually a genre fiction fan feels like concern trolling.

    And to say that the credits overwhelm or chew up the characters and ideas is just something that hooks up cleverly with the “chewing” reference in the first paragraph, rather than a worthwhile critical observation.

  43. GeekFurious
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Stop reading reviews. Kick back and wait for the show.

  44. Drunken Fool
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks WiC for posting these reviews! I can honestly say I’m to lazy to search the internet for them but enjoy reading the reviews (both good and not so good), so thank you!

    I think the NYT review is strange not because it is critical of the show, but because of how he is critical: “And then people start to talk. And talk. And walk from here to there so that they can do some more talking.” I mean, is this shocking to the reviewer at this point? 19 of the 20 first episodes of GOT have done this, why would you expect D&D to change this? The whole show is about a fantasy world where characters are moving around, interacting, and playing out a drama. I guess my response would be, sorry this doesn’t take place in one location for 90% of the show like Downton Abbey or basically any other television series, there is a lot going on in this world with a lot to cover!

    The other critique that I found funny was this: “The early episodes of Season 3 contain another sign of premium-cable conformity: plots or situations that address themes of slavery, women’s empowerment and sexual orientation in obvious, heavy-handed ways, particularly for a show set in a medieval fantasy world.” I don’t think it is fair to say that because it is based off of the source material; all of those themes are directly in the book and not some new addition that comes out of nowhere. In the book the only theme that might not be as heavy handed as in the show would be sexual orientation, but even then when you read into it, you realize it is there. Anyways, the great thing is that those issues are TIMELESS, they have been present since the start of human civilization and aren’t going anywhere, why can’t a fantasy show talk about them?

    Sorry for the rant, it just seems like the reviewer is being a douche and just trying to find reasons to complain.

  45. GuyFawkes
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    That NYT review…

    “And then people start to talk. And talk. And walk from here to there so that they can do some more talking.”
    Wow, does he realize how stupid this makes him sound? I would have thought that a professional critic would actual assess the dialog, or try to put pieces together, not just go “oh no, talking! Ill just skip to the part where there’s action”.

    Then there’s this:

    “The early episodes of Season 3 contain another sign of premium-cable conformity: plots or situations that address themes of slavery, women’s empowerment and sexual orientation in obvious, heavy-handed ways, particularly for a show set in a medieval fantasy world.”

    I’m actually speechless. Conformity? Is he actually saying these themes being handled is an issue? This is normally the sort of thing you laud in a show! Heavy-handed, ok fair enough if he thinks that, but he could have given an example.

    It hardly even seems like Mike Hale watched the series at all, more like he just looked on wikipedia to see who the new additions to the cast were.

  46. steiner
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    pntrlqst,
    That’s an interesting thought. Thanks.

    Personally, I think that a number of tv critics have a preconceived notion on what tv shows should be like. But Game of Thrones takes all those rules and regulations and throws them down the drain in service of the plot, the world and depth of character development. To many reviewers the rug has been pulled out from beneath them. It’s only after stopping and staring at the results that many actually realise it is made of silk.

  47. Drunken Fool
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    GuyFawkes,

    HAHAHAHA, wow the similarities in our thoughts is astonishing, sorry it just made me laugh that we basically posted the same thing at the same time.

  48. Mr Fixit
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    fg:
    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Your probably right. It seems that nowadays critics read other reviews, and latch on to one idea in order to give some criticism. This year, it seems they’ve chosen to criticize the structure.

    And you know what’s really interesting? In the long run all this “structure” thing will be completely irrelevant. GoT isn’t some procedural that’s meant to be watched whenever and wherever; it’s ultimately suited for marathon watching, and except for this first showing in AD 2013, that’s how it WILL be watched in the future, on Blu-rays, bought from Amazon or who knows how else.

    I’m not saying GoT’s peculiar approach to episodic structure should be ignored; critics are doing their jobs noting and debating it. But giving it such attention means they are missing the mark completely. The guy watching the show on Blu-ray several years down the line won’t give a damn about all this talk about “proper structure”.

  49. zod
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Mr Fixit,

    Exactly. It has always been their objective.

    From Benioff and Weiss:

    The ideal here, if we get time and the generosity of HBO, would be to have say eight seasons and some masochistic viewer started from the beginning and watched 80 hours straight through it wouldn’t feel like episodic television it would feel like one massive movie, one 80 hour saga with a true beginning, middle and an end.

  50. Maester Blaster
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    All of these reviews are focused on the drawbacks of “round the horn” storytelling. They all want more episodes like “Blackwater” that are focused on a single event in a single location with just a few characters. LOST was able to do this kind of storytelling where it’s sprawling cast was located on a tiny island and entire season would only encompass a few weeks of time in the story so they could have each episode be about one character and the next episode would only have to jump over a few miles and back a few hours. The world of GoT is to big for that in both time and space. Could you imagine having an episode where Rob raises an army, marches it hundreds of miles, fights a battle and the next episode starts with “Let’s see what Arya’s been up to for the last few months”, impossible.

    As for the NYT perpetually bashing the show, remember that paper is the locus of the literary nerd community. Nerds love to crap on any group of nerds they see as lower on the social pecking order than their own group. Ask yourselves who were the only kids more unpopular in high school than the Drama club/scarf and beret / Hemingway quoting types, that right, the science club / D&D / comic book kids (us).

  51. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Darquemode,

    Nezzer,

    As Alan mentioned in another thread, I love how the NYT stemmed the vanguard of the fanboy hordes by hiring a writer who is a self professed fantasy “fan”. Of course this Manhattan Voltaire is merely recalling his read of the Hobbit and his teenage AD& D days before this bespectacled and bepostuled specimen eager to impress the shy girl in his Latin course went to a film class and fell in love with The Bicycle Thief instead.
    Fast forward to the present where his embrassment for enjoying life before he wore a smoking jacket and walked his Chihauha in Central Park came to the fore when this Herculean task came before him. As such the qualities of the show were completely ignored as they stirred this spirit-a daemon if you will-that was so intrinsic to his Self that he felt the need to swoon. Fortunately he remembered his De Sica, his Paiolini, his Bergman and went at the narrative structure like a dog to a bone. Never again would he come so dangerously close to temptation.

  52. Jentario
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Grone239:
    I just love that the NYT reviewer had to qualify that he was a fan of SF & fantasy
    literature and state that it’s not” LOTR or Harry Potter”… well, No Shit Sherlock!
    And yet still leave me scratching my head wondering WTF the reviewer is trying to
    say!

    That is terrible. The sets and CG alone should award the series a 70 even if you don’t like the plot and the characters. This is by far the most biased review ever…

  53. Lex
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Hmm… despite being positive, nearly all the reviews so far have mentioned that the storytelling feels more fractured than ever. That’s a shame, since after the more fractured storytelling in Season 2, I’d hoped the producers might try to fix it. But perhaps it’s an inevitable problem with adapting this story for the screen.

    I do think it lessens the emotional resonance found in the books. My non-reader friend enjoys the show, but feels very little attachment or investment with any of the characters. The show seems to emphasize plot, whereas the books seem to emphasize the living, breathing characters. Oh well, I’m still excited.

  54. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Lex,

    The books have thousands of pages. The show has 10 hours. Unless you want the show to gut half of the characters and storylines, the current style is the only way they can do it.

  55. Turncloak
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m not too concerned about the reviews, their just someone’s opinion. The Walking Dead gets awful reviews but I still enjoy watching the show as do millions of other since its the highest rated cable program. That being said game of thrones is by far the superior program IMO

  56. Listen 2 Ghost!
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Well at least the NYT is consistent in its ignorance towards the show.

  57. Anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I hope D and D, etc., ignore all the complaints about the show being fragmented because there isn’t much you can do about it.

    Even when they tried to leave out characters in episodes to spend more time with particular sets of characters per episode this season, reviewers still complained about it.

  58. JamesL
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    There is really nothing the show can do about the jumping from character to character. If they decide to focus on say 2 story arcs an episode than each character would only appear in about 2 or 3 episodes each season and people wouldn’t like it. People point out how great Blackwater was and say that is the formula that GOT should take but I don’t think so. Of course an entire episode dedicated to Blackwater was awesome but that because it was the Battle of Blackwater. There isn’t always epic battles going on in Kings Landing, if they decided to have any other episode dedicated to the Kings Landing story arc it wouldn’t be nearly as good. I have no idea what D&D have planned when they have to cover books 4 and 5, they already struggle juggling so many story arcs and most casual viewers will not react well to these new plot arcs involving the Martells or Greyjoys that take time away from favorites like Dany and Jon Snow but if they cut too much then books nerds will complain.

  59. Jentario
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    JamesL:
    There is really nothing the show can do about the jumping from character to character. If they decide to focus on say 2 story arcs an episode than each character would only appear in about 2 or 3 episodes each season and people wouldn’t like it. People point out how great Blackwater was and say that is the formula that GOT should take but I don’t think so. Of course an entire episode dedicated to Blackwater was awesome but that because it was the Battle of Blackwater.There isn’t always epic battles going on in Kings Landing, if they decided to have any other episode dedicated to the Kings Landing story arc it wouldn’t be nearly as good. I have no idea what D&D have planned when they have to cover books 4 and 5, they already struggle juggling so many story arcs and most casual viewers will not react well to these new plot arcs involving the Martells or Greyjoys that take time away from favorites like Dany and Jon Snow but if they cut too much then books nerds will complain.

    Honestly, one of the best things about GoT/ASoIaF is how wide and “fractured” it is. Such a vast and fully realized world…

  60. cantuse
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    The NY Times review was obviously written by a middle-aged hipster who is still hurting because he missed his chance to demonstrate his ironic cynicism on “I love the 90s”.

    And yeah, the plot is more important that the characters. How was this untrue of The Wire or Deadwood? Just because the plot is more important doesn’t make the characters any less amazing. If you are hopelessly expecting some small pantheon of Game of Thrones characters to centralize the story for you, you are ‘doing it wrong’. Nobody absorbs all the material from the series or the books their first time through. Caring more about characters than plot is what causes plot armor in the first place.

  61. Mimsy
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    The “talking” in GOT is the highlight of the story to me. The action.. twists.. and turns is icing. I love and enjoy the GOT conversations.

  62. Alan
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Darquemode,

    Nezzer,

    As Alan mentioned in another thread, I love how the NYT stemmed the vanguard of the fanboy hordes by hiring a writer who is a self professed fantasy “fan”. Of course this Manhattan Voltaire is merely recalling his read of the Hobbit and his teenage AD& D days before this bespectacled and bepostuled specimen eager to impress the shy girl in his Latin course went to a film class and fell in love with The Bicycle Thief instead.
    Fast forward to the present where his embrassment for enjoying life before he wore a smoking jacket and walked his Chihauha in Central Park came to the fore when this Herculean task came before him. As such the qualities of the show were completely ignored as they stirred this spirit-a daemon if you will-that was so intrinsic to his Self that he felt the need to swoon. Fortunately he remembered his De Sica, his Paiolini, his Bergman and went at the narrative structure like a dog to a bone. Never again would he come so dangerously close to temptation.

    lol.

  63. dizzy
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    OT but just saw Benioff on CNN. Bunch of new clips of Drogon. Holy crap he looks good! The size of a dog indeed.

  64. Mike Chair
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    GeekFurious: Stop reading reviews. Kick back and wait for the show.

    I briefly considered the formation of the BwR (Brotherhood without Reviews), but, on balance, I believe the BwNYT would be more appropriate.

    Lex: nearly all the reviews so far have mentioned that the storytelling feels more fractured than ever.

    Hey, Lex. The reviewers only saw the first four episodes, though. And most say episode 4 is epic. I believe/hope the final six are more fluid.

  65. ebevan91
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    dizzy:
    OT but just saw Benioff on CNN. Bunch of new clips of Drogon. Holy crap he looks good! The size of a dog indeed.

    Must not have been long. I just turned it on CNN.

  66. superdeluxe
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Tim Goodman’s review in the Hollywood Reporter sums up my feelings on the fragmented storytelling and the critics who use it as a criticism:

    Boom. Thank you Tim Goodman. And it is something that Andy Greenwald finally discovered, too many characters/too many plots, but in the end. He was so invested in all the stories, that he just missed it. Great points.

  67. dizzy
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    ebevan91,

    It was about a 5 minute feature on the new season.

  68. steiner
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Mike Chair,

    Judging by episode titles:

    Episode 5 “Kissed by Fire” will have Beric vs Hound
    Episode 6 “The Climb” will have Wildlings climbing the wall
    Episode 7 “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” will have Jaime and Brienne in the bear pit
    Episode 8, untitled, will have Tyrion-Sansa marriage
    Episode 9 “The Rains of Castamere” will have the Red Wedding
    Episode 10 “Mhysa” will have the taking of Yunkai and perhaps even Uncat

    In terms of sheer quality per episode, this season will be the best. Pay off after pay off after pay off.

  69. Ross
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I really value Alan sepinwall’s opinion. His blog is the first place I go after watching episodes of the wire or breakung bad, I find his insights are superb. So his slight misgivings worry me a bit more than the ramblings of the ny times.

    But hey – I’m going to love it whatever. I just want everyone else to too!

  70. superdeluxe
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Ross:
    I really value Alan sepinwall’s opinion. His blog is the first place I go after watching episodes of the wire or breakung bad, I find his insights are superb. So his slight misgivings worry me a bit more than the ramblings of the ny times.

    But hey – I’m going to love it whatever. I just want everyone else to too!

    His slight misgivings are based on not knowing where the people are coming or going too. If you are a book reader, you do, so I guess it makes it easier for book readers.

  71. Hounded
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know whats up with the New York Times. Seems they have some grudge or something. Maybe David Benioff was the popular kid at their school? Haha I just know a damn give a single damn in seven hells what they say – I can’t freaking wait !!!!!!!!

  72. Maxwell James
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I find the reviews quite encouraging. The main thing I look for in tv reviews is “have they blown this yet?” The answer seems to be definitely not.

  73. WildSeed
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m with WiC on this one, the critics and media reviews draw little interest from me,
    especially now. It’s always a pleasant surprise to read a review from someone
    familiar with the books or at least appreciate the HBO production. Whether the
    reviewer is pragmatic or understand the artistic devices needed to create a show, the
    retrospective reflects some intelligence about it. Mo Ryan, of Huffington Post, is starting
    to get it, but Sepinwall appears perplexed. At least these lack the fanboy hype that
    seek out pretty boy discussion, or other irrelevant drivel unrelated to the show. As
    the warranted critique comes from industry peers and accolades continue to roll in,
    long as GoT is on sure footing. Thank goodness for Nerd Blogs and interviewers
    like Sloane.

  74. Astonished
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    cantuse: The NY Times review was obviously written by a middle-aged hipster who is still hurting because he missed his chance to demonstrate his ironic cynicism on “I love the 90s”.

    That’s actually funny. Thanks for the laugh.

    You guys need to get out more. That NYT review isn’t really that negative, it’s kind of neutral.

    Without NYT to throw you a bone, you’d all be reading (or not reading) boring positive saccharine reviews. ;)

  75. Second Son
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Nezzer: And he gave the same score to Spartacus: Vengeance, the worst season of an already weak show. He also gave a 70 to the huge fail that was Camelot. This guy is a complete asshole.

    Whooaahhhh….. let’s not go disparaging Spartacus. It’s a great show for what it is. It’s like super-violent porn, with a historical twist. That sounds pretty [expletive] good to me. But yes, agreed, Mike Hale’s a bloated self-important dickbag.

  76. Monica
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I actually thought the NYT review more positive than was reported…more like 75%.

    The TV series follows the structure of the books, shifting from one character to another. I admit to skipping characters when reading the first time. My initial reaction was, “Now who is this and what do they have to do with the story?” (not uncommon). D&D will have to delete more to keep it moving. My main interest is Starks/Lannisters/ Targs, and there are enough of them!

    Also, in the later books, we spend too much time on the journey, (Tyrion and Brienne, for example) and not actually getting there. Enough build-up, we want conflict/resolution! ASoIaF can use a little tightening up, but the characters are amazing. That’s why we sit through those less interesting bits…

    The play is the thing.

  77. Pau Soriano
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Astonished: That’s actually funny. Thanks for the laugh.

    You guys need to get out more. That NYT review isn’t really that negative, it’s kind of neutral.

    Without NYT to throw you a bone, you’d all be reading (or not reading) boring positive saccharine reviews. ;)

    He gave it 50 points on metacritic so yeah, pretty bad…

  78. Premislaus
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Pau Soriano: He gave it 50 points on metacritic so yeah, pretty bad…

    I think metacritic assigns points on their own.

  79. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Metacritic’s scoring system is strange. How does an A- rating(Entertainment Weekly) grade out as a 91 and a B+ rating(Sepinwall) grade out as an 83? I guess they arbitrarily judge each review on it’s tone, rather than the overall rating.

  80. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Astonished,

    Thank you Astonished for showing us the way. It must be great to be so detached from everything. Where would we be without your epic insight?

  81. Lost Northern
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I have a question and it’s does characters lime daenerys,arya,sansa,etc,grow up? I mean I know that dany gets 14 in the first book but since I haven’t been around to get the other books I was curious to know.

  82. Summer Is Coming
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    NYT review is just weird. it’s like “yeah, it’s beautiful, but not really”… wtf?

    Anyway, this reviews just pave a very beautiful road towards, maybe, an Emmy… the Emmy!

  83. El Chico
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s easy to see why so many people are bothered or upset by the NYT review.
    The truth is that the NYT reviewer is not a real fan of fantasy. When have you ever declared yourself to be a fan of something, by using the words “to a lesser extent”.
    It just doesn’t work that way.
    If someone gives me their opinion of a James Bond movie, the first thing I ask is “are you a fan of James Bond?” If the answer is anything other than “Yes”, then that persons opinion carries little weight in my eyes.
    The fact that this persons review may influence the wide subscription base of the NYT in a negative way towards the show, is what bothers me the most.

  84. cantuse
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Astonished,

    Oooh, more ironic cynicism. There is most certainly a dearth of this on the Internet.

    My criticism isn’t leveled at the NY Times for anything more than their unabashedly pretentious reviews that cloak themselves in all the literary genius of an aspiring writer who can’t simply sit back and recognize good old fashioned entertainment when it punches them in the face. They’re so busy being post-modern and hip to the show- that-nobody’s-ever-heard-of that admitting that something “big” is good is somehow anathema.

    Besides, all these reviews are pointless. The readers who read them have in most cases already decided how they feel about the series and are mostly preaching to the choir; the choir that generates the most backtracks, ad impressions and click-through.

  85. David
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    These reviewers suck. This show is awesome. The real fans don’t need any damn reviews. HBO does it right with nearly every single show they put on the air. Nothing on regular TV comes close except for maybe Breaking Bad, which would have been even better on HBO. HODOR 4-Life.

  86. Astonished
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Astonished,

    Thank you Astonished for showing us the way. It must be great to be so detached from everything. Where would we be without your epic insight?

    Hey, I’m right here with you—in the bottomless mucky muck of reactive nerdglazed opinions. I don’t pretend I’m better than anyone even if I usually am.

    You know guys, all the other reviews are positive. So why beat a dead horse? Like WiC say, does it really matter at this point?

    For me the only thing that stands out in all the better reviews is that the reviewers are all self aware, probably because the judges are being judged more than the show. Even Mo says at one point “Let me be clear: I love this show.” It’s a strange world we live in.

  87. mariamb18
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    cantuse:
    My criticism isn’t leveled at the NY Times for anything more than their unabashedly pretentious reviews that cloak themselves in all the literary genius of an aspiring writer who can’t simply sit back and recognize good old fashioned entertainment when it punches them in the face. They’re so busy being post-modern and hip to the show- that-nobody’s-ever-heard-of that admitting that something “big” is good is somehow anathema.

    Agree. It is pretentious.

    To me, if a show is engaging…if you look forward to the next episode…if the show makes you think about it when you aren’t watching it…that’s a “good” show. Sometimes these reviewers get a little too cerebral. The response to GOT – or any show – should be visceral: does it grab you emotionally and pull you in? GOT does this better than just about any TV show or movie that I have seen.

    Jentario: Honestly, one of the best things about GoT/ASoIaF is how wide and “fractured” it is. Such a vast and fully realized world…

    Agree. Its such a ridiculous critique. The story is immense and a viewer/reader is asked to immerse themselves in this world. Perhaps the expanse of this story is problematic for a TV show but it is what it is.Why continue to critique elements of the story that cannot be changed and instead applaud the attempts to bring something do detailed to TV. No show or movie is perfect.

  88. VILLAIN
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I have a question,

    Are all these reviews based off only the first four episodes of the season, or have reviewers seen all ten?

  89. cantuse
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Astonished,

    :) Apparently ‘nerdglazed’ will catch on.

    And yes, I agree that full on love for AGoT isn’t all that helpful, but NY Times has yet to admit they’ve been wrong on any of their assessments of the show. Ginia Bellafante famously defended her position when an avalanche of fans contested her position. That’s fair, people have a right to an opinion… but it would be nice if the Times could be a little introspective about their bias every now and then.

  90. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    cantuse,

    NYT won’t admit anything. They see themselves as defending High Culture and GoT or anything or it’s kind does not exist in that dojo.

  91. Winterlarks
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Well, the critiques of the critics has been the best laugh I’ve had in awhile. It’s nice to see how the real fans are protective of GoT, and I think with good reason.

    More than what critics have to say, I’m quite interested in what fans on WiC, for example, will have to say about their impressions of the show as it unfolds. Having a view of the entire season, as a whole, will be worth seeing and discussing. Oh my, so much more will happen in the remaining episodes so it’s hilarious to me that the critics are making judgements about the season based on the first four episodes.

    I think of this fantasy renaissance as being on par with the Sci/Fi cultural phenomenon of Star Wars.

  92. mariamb18
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    VILLAIN:
    I have a question,

    Are all these reviews based off only the first four episodes of the season, or have reviewers seen all ten?

    I think that they have only seen the first 4 episodes. That may be part of the problem…especially for those reviewers that aren’t book-readers.

    Joshua Taylor:
    cantuse,

    NYT won’t admit anything. They see themselves as defending High Culture and GoT or anything or it’s kind does not exist in that dojo.

    Yes. They consider themselves to be the arbiter of good taste and high culture. And they seem to like nothing.

  93. saluk
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you NYT for being consistently amusing.

  94. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Aaaaand here’s Elio and Linda’s take…

    Better than I thought it would be.

    http://www.westeros.org/GoT/News/Entry/An_Early_Take_on_Season_3

  95. Astonished
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    mariamb18: Agree. It is pretentious.

    I have to react to a lot of posts here because I am a fan of SoIaF, and I like the show, but I really want to be part of the vocal majority that overwhelmingly bashes a critic because he has an interesting (though unfortunately not devastating as it would seem around here) opinion of the show. Because I am one of you.

    Therefore I believe the review (and of course, the writer) is pretentious just like you. I haven’t seen those episodes but obviously my opinion is superior to this fake fantasy fan reviewer, just like you.

    Like most newspapers that somehow are still in business, the new york times is a stack of lies. I personally believe that it is the mother of lies, especially when it comes to entertainment, because they (those pretentious new yorkers that don’t read the daily post) only like the type of entertainment that is pretentious. Like opera and plays and books that win pretentious awards. Actually, the Emmys are pretentious, aren’t they? Except when they nominate GoT.

    I had sworn off NYT since Ginia Bellafonte. Now this new review has made me break my vow of not reading NYT. And for what? Fellow fans, it was not effen worth it. Now I’m back at day zero.

    Thank God for the Huffington Post.

  96. Atreyu
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    The NY Times does not feature a comics section or a Sunday comics page. Why in the world would anyone care what they think?

    And, honestly, their crossword ain’t all that hard.

  97. Lex
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Aaaaand here’s Elio and Linda’s take…

    Better than I thought it would be.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/game-of-thrones-season-3_b_2966748.html

    Wow, definitely a good sign. Although like Elio says, he was similarly optimistic about Season 2 until somewhere after the first four episodes. I enjoyed Season 2 a lot, but I did find it a little shaky at times around episodes 7/8.

  98. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Astonished,

    “You sit on a throne of lies!”

  99. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Lex,

    I’ve come to love Episode 8. The scene with Yara and Theon and Varys, Tyrion, Bronn, Cersei. Great stuff.

  100. Johan Sporre
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Concerning fragmentation I didn’t find the first episode less fragmented in its jumping around than the first episode of season 2. It only focuses on 5 locations/characters and has time to get on the way with compelling storylines and a couple of very strong scenes, whereas “The North Remembers” visisted North of the wall, Daenerys, Dragonstone, Robb, Winterfell and King’s Landing, and introduced a new central character.

  101. ASOIAF_FAN
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  102. mariamb18
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Astonished,

    I don’t necessarily stop reading a publication because I don’t like what they think about a show/movie/restaurant that I like. I am confident enough in my own likes/dislikes. And I don’t particularly care what others think.

    However, if I am going to read others’ opinions, I prefer that they are informed and thoughtful. And not those where the reviewer is trying too hard to clever and erudite.

    Ginia Bellafonte annoyed me years ago with a review of Lost. I ignore her now.

  103. Lex
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    Ep. 7 and 8 have both grown on me, too. Quite a bit. But I still think the pacing… or something… feels a little off around that point in the season.

  104. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    ASOIAF_FAN,

    Ha! Very honest review.

  105. Astonished
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    NYT’s main point on GoT for years, summarized:

    GoT is unnecessarily complicated. Nerds love that stuff, but we thinks it’s too much.

    What a GoT fans read:

    GoT is unnecessarily complicated, and geeky nerds gobble it up, but the best people with the best opinions like us think the show is for nerds.

  106. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Astonished:
    NYT’s main point on GoT for years, summarized:

    GoT is unnecessarily complicated. Nerds love that stuff, but we thinks it’s too much.

    What a GoT fans read:

    GoT is unnecessarily complicated, and geeky nerds gobble it up, but the best people with the best opinions like us think the show is for nerds.

    What I read:

    “We could give a formal critique on why we don’t like GoT but we’re lazy and will instead criticize the lofty ambitions of adapting a fantasy book-which we do enjoy from time to time as a kin to a satisfying B.M.”

  107. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Metacritic score has hopped back to 90 thanks to a several 100s from People, San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday, Boston Globe.

  108. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Lex,

    Oddly enough, I just finished up my re-watch of the series with my brother and a few other non-readers, and those two episodes jumped out at me as completely underrated (by myself). The eighth episode, especially. Season two, on the whole, has fared much better from a rewatch, and all of the Unsullied I watched the show with found it to be BETTER than the first season! I feel that they’re right in some ways, and wrong in others. Aesthetically and aurally, the show is much better in the second season. Season two also has some incredible scenes and character arcs (particularly Theon), and all-around fantastic performances from everyone. Season one, however, felt strong narratively. That’s no surprise, give the source material, though. Anyway, yeah; those two episodes were great.

  109. Stark In Winterfell
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/game-of-thrones-review-season-3-debut-an-a-plus-1.4924339

    The Newsday review.

    ‘There are a few scenes this season where producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss even threaten to do what Peter Jackson did so often in “The Lord of the Rings”: Improve on the book.’

    Haha. I’m embarrassed to say I genuinely gasped at that. Improve on SoS!? Sacrilege!

    The reviews are interesting to read simply because I love reading about GoT. At this point though, I’m less fussed about them. It’s not like S1 where I was keen for the critics to love it as protection against cancellation in case the ratings didn’t stack up. We’ve got a S3, I don’t doubt there’ll be a S4 and I love the show. It’s all good :)

  110. Nick Manfredi
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Just saw the premiere a few hours ago. Loved every second of it. Almost everyone’s storyline has some changes to them, with only one I didn’t like, and one somewhat major change.

    Regardless of the alterations, I sat through the entire hour with a shit eating grin on my face. Pure awesome.

  111. Astonished
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor: What I read:

    “We could give a formal critique on why we don’t like GoT but we’re lazy and will instead criticize the lofty ambitions of adapting a fantasy book-which we do enjoy from time to time as a kin to a satisfying B.M.”

    Thank you Josh. I should add that, as you have described, at least one GoT fan imagines the NYT review reads like:

    GoT isn’t Shakespeare. It’s more like a fantasy novel adapted to cable tv that is, in our estimation, unnecessarily complicated. We New York snobs aren’t going to take more time than needed to review this show no matter how many merkins are featured. In fact we’d rather write about any old poop (BM).

    I mean, if the above was talking about my baby, Id be punching them in the face- glasses or not. I guess I am a little detached, JT.

  112. Arthur
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Kind of of topic… But not really.

    You know it is so strange but GoT has really become an iconic series that has penetrated deep into media, culture and entertainment. It is kind of fantasy all grown up. No more good vs. evil and monsters vs. heroes. It is proof that there still can be a profitable series made for adults. The AD&D nerds are all grown up now, they still have a thirst for fantasy, adult fantasy. Fantasy that involves epic battles, awesome one on one fights, graphic sex and a dragon and/or dire wolf to pop up someplace.

    However, there is only one HBO… No other cable channel has the resources or skill to pull off such a series. You have some other good channels out there like Showtime and Starz. They have some good shows. They aren’t basic cable so they can show us graphic sex scenes and some gore filled violent battles (Spartacus). They have good show writers and good actors and can keep you in suspense (Homeland). There are many shows on TV right now that are great entertainment. There is only ONE epic show out right now and its called ‘Game of Thrones’.

    What other show can fulfill your every need? You want complex storyline? A diverse cast of interesting characters? You want some action? Some violent battles? Hey, you want some sex scenes? Wait, you want some dragons or dire wolves? Just think about what you look for in a show… GoT got it covered.

    Hmmm, what if your a basic cable channel that wants to jump in the newly discovered market of viewers GoT has proven exist? What do you do? You can’t afford dragons and dire wolves, you cant afford a huge cast and huge epic battle scenes… But you want to interest the viewing crowd that attracts GoT…

    Wait I got an idea, likes make a series about about Vikings, lets create a market campaign to attract Game of Throners…

    This Promo starts of with “A Strom is Coming”. Sound familiar? Very Game of Thrones, yet maintains that “Viking” feel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=LE58c3lseac&NR=1

    Okay, we dont have a huge HBO Budget so lets follow a small group of Viking friends as they raid small towns and show how those battles would look.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64qDtI5JDqo

    I just want to personally thank D&D and HBO for having the guts to give GoT a try. Because of its success and influence there are all kinds of shows being made that I really really enjoy watching.

  113. vic sage
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Ah,The NYT is still at a loss when it comes to GOT.Not that it matters the show is a hit.

  114. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Astonished,

    Umm…touche?

  115. Jason
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    It’s funny all this mention of fractured story telling. Kind of like jumping between POV chapters. I am not concerned at all. I seem to remember George in interviews mentioning when Hollywood came calling everyone wanted to make a movie focusing on one major character like John Snow or daneryes for example. If these books were squeezed into normal tv/Hollywood conventions they would be completely stripped down and barely recognizable. the fact that they are comparing the show in this format to blockbuster films (which i also enjoy) says to me they are missing the point. Hence why George saw this as the only way it would work in this type of format. It isn’t perfect… So what! It’s different, the books are different and more and more people are getting into this world. I know I am not going stop watching and a ton of people I know who never read the books are hooked and many have now read or started reading them. Must be doing something right. Bring on season 3 and many more!

  116. kanjisheik
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 1:26 am | Permalink
  117. JoshT
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    So one of the review’s I’ve read says this about Jon

    He is brought by Ygritte to her father, the tall-talker, Tormund Giantsbane

    Anyone else surprised by this?

  118. cantuse
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    JoshT,

    Say WHAT?!?

  119. JoshT
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    cantuse,

    http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/welcome_back_to_westeros_JT6DSKnFmvHxDhmHwy7tOL

    All in here. I wouldn’t take it too seriously though. She calls casterly rock “castlelee rock”

  120. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    JoshT,

    She may just be assuming he is her father, though it’s not like that change would be that bad. In fact, it could add another reason for Tormund to be close with Jon.

  121. Anguissette1979
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Arthur,

    “Wait I got an idea, likes make a series about about Vikings, lets create a market campaign to attract Game of Throners…”

    Or worse… Legend of the Seeker. They managed to destroy another favorite book series that I started reading around the same time as ASOIAF. *sigh*

  122. Alex Dubrovsky
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Arthur,

    The small scale of Vikings, an awesome show which I highly recommend to everyone here, is because historical vikings started on a small scale, mostly raiding defenseless monasteries and villages. Why? Because it’s much easier than going against an army, it’s a lot of loot with almost no effort. Also, they were not very skilled at sieges, their preferred tactic was to strike fast and be back at sea before the local army comes. Later, when they grew in power, they raided places like Paris (Frankish kingdoms at that time were very weak, so again – it was pretty easy), but it was about half a century after the events that the show describes.

    GoT is indeed massive in scale and is probably the most epic thing on TV right now, but you were trying to compare apples and oranges. Vikings show tells a smaller story, on smaller scale, appropriate for the time period it describes.

  123. Ramah
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Arthur:
    Kind of of topic… But not really.

    You know it is so strange but GoT has really become an iconic series that has penetrated deep into media, culture and entertainment.It is kind of fantasy all grown up.No more good vs. evil and monsters vs. heroes.It is proof that there still can be a profitable series made for adults.The AD&D nerds are all grown up now, they still have a thirst for fantasy, adult fantasy.Fantasy that involves epic battles, awesome one on one fights, graphic sex and a dragon and/or dire wolf to pop up someplace.

    However, there is only one HBO…No other cable channel has the resources or skill to pull off such a series.You have some other good channels out there like Showtime and Starz.They have some good shows.They aren’t basic cable so they can show us graphic sex scenes and some gore filled violent battles (Spartacus).They have good show writers and good actors and can keep you in suspense (Homeland).There are many shows on TV right now that are great entertainment.There is only ONE epic show out right now and its called ‘Game of Thrones’.

    What other show can fulfill your every need?You want complex storyline? A diverse cast of interesting characters? You want some action? Some violent battles? Hey, you want some sex scenes?Wait, you want some dragons or dire wolves?Just think about what you look for in a show… GoT got it covered.

    Hmmm, what if your a basic cable channel that wants to jump in the newly discovered market of viewers GoT has proven exist?What do you do?You can’t afford dragons and dire wolves, you cant afford a huge cast and huge epic battle scenes…But you want to interest the viewing crowd that attracts GoT…

    Wait I got an idea, likes make a series about about Vikings, lets create a market campaign to attract Game of Throners…

    This Promo starts of with “A Strom is Coming”. Sound familiar?Very Game of Thrones, yet maintains that “Viking” feel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=LE58c3lseac&NR=1

    Okay, we dont have a huge HBO Budget so lets follow a small group of Viking friends as they raid small towns and show how those battles would look.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64qDtI5JDqo

    I just want to personally thank D&D and HBO for having the guts to give GoT a try.Because of its success and influence there are all kinds of shows being made that I really really enjoy watching.

    If you aren’t some way affiliated with the company that makes/shows that Vikings program I would be very surprised. I’m pretty sure that you bring it up in nearly every thread I’ve read on here recently.

  124. Juego de tronos
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    How lucky they are!

  125. Anvil
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  126. Summer Is Coming
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Anvil,

    WTF? I’ve entered hbo schedule for the last couple of days, the last time,about 2 hours ago, and nothing. And you get to see it and post it first!! (joking of course)

    hmmm…wierd name! “Second Sons” the sellswords? Or is it implying something else? This is after all the Tyrion\Sansa wedding episode.

  127. zod
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Summer Is Coming,

    Tyrion is Tywin’s second son.

  128. Carne
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Summer Is Coming,

    Mero is in episode 8, so probably something to do with him.

  129. Maxwell James
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Anvil,

    I like it. In addition to Tyrion, you’ve got Jon, Bran, and the Hound – all second sons, for whom the term resonates in different ways.

  130. Yago
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Yep, Mero and probably also Tyrion reference. (and Maybe Bran? Bit unlikely, but…)

  131. JamesL
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  132. Carne
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  133. JamesL
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Maxwell James,

    Whoops, didn’t realize you already posted a link to that review.

  134. Arthur
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Ramah,

    If you aren’t some way affiliated with the company that makes/shows that Vikings program I would be very surprised. I’m pretty sure that you bring it up in nearly every thread I’ve read on here recently.

    I’ve been posting here for 3 years and am a huge GoT fan, read all the books and love GoT. Without a doubt it is the best show on TV. I am just really excited a show like Vikings is also running.

    Sunday nights are going to be amazing, 9pm GoT, 10pm Vikings… I just think a lot of people who come to this thread would love the series Vikings, so I am putting it out there to inform you all so you give it a try and enjoy it like I do. Catch up on it Saturday, if you watch up to the fourth episode youll be hooked! That way after GoT u can watch the new Vikings episodes…

    Also, Vikings has GoT all over it, watch episode one, the main character is basically Ned Stark in every way how he talks to his son, makes him watch a beheading…

    GoT influence is so strong and its allowing producers and other TV companys to take a chance and produce things like it. I am just very thankful for that.

  135. WildSeed
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor: What I read:

    “We could give a formal critique on why we don’t like GoT but we’re lazy and will instead criticize the lofty ambitions of adapting a fantasy book-which we do enjoy from time to time as a kin to a satisfying B.M.”

    This is possibly truer than you’re aware of……. but disparaging posts will not win
    all to your POV. ” Astonished ” made some good points. Why the hostility ?

    I’ve occasionally read the NYT and San Francisco Chronicle reviews ( via
    subscriptions ) with benign interest . I’m interested if there is an insightful
    review of one appreciative of what it takes to produce a good show or film,
    and how shows like GoT measures up or surpasses that standard. More
    often readers get what you described or worse, liking the show for all the
    wrong reasons, joining the bandwagon of nonsense and irrelevance to
    the production. These people change their minds on a dime. I rarely
    base my perceptions of any show in their hands. Thoughtful reviews are
    out there, contingent with the current reviewer and press guidelines. So
    not what the NYT used to be of intelligent, candid review. Give them a half
    smile or frown, then go back to what you were doing with your day.
    Follow your own passionate critique and discuss with other Nerds,
    you’ll be at least on the same plane ( well, sometimes anyway ) :D

    Today’s SF Chronicle writes a fluff piece about GoT, about naming one’s
    favorite character ( poll ) and why he ( David Wiegand ) loves the show…..
    I’m happy he favors the show, but I don’t believe he understands any better
    than anyone here what the story is about. Longtime movie reviewer, Mick
    Lasalle used to give respectful reviews, based on true merits, now he like
    many others, follow some rote guideline.

  136. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    My hostility towards Astonished has nothing to do with the article.

  137. WildSeed
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    I’m not a fan of the History Channel of late, and ” Vikings ” kinda bored me after
    the 3 rd episode. However I’m not surprised , as you’d mentioned, of the popularity
    of shows like this. While ” Spartacus ” and “Rome” have had a following all along,
    GoT’s inclusion has really piqued further interest from viewers newly christened .

    For myself, sundays are for Game of Thrones, now that The Walking Dead is
    going into season hiatus. BBC saturdays with Doctor Who and the Nerdist
    are my strong contenders.

  138. WildSeed
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    I guess this is where I quote Ygritte ” you know nothing”, WildSeed . Sorry
    for the presumptive tone.

  139. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    Sundays in the Spring are ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Mad Men’ for me. This is the best time of the year for TV, IMO. I haven’t watched ‘Vikings’, and I’m unlikely to. No offense to Arthur, but outside of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Homeland'(though I really didn’t like season 2), our tastes in TV seem to be different.

  140. Arthur
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I’m not a fan of the History Channel of late, and ” Vikings ” kinda bored me after
    the 3 rd episode.

    Like any good series the 1st 1-4 episodes will not be that great because its just the writers laying down the foundation. I also just watched the 1st 3 episodes of Vikings because, its about VIkings and I am a huge fan of warriors and stuff like that.

    However, episode 4 sealed the deal and it is very climatic that also sets the framework for even bigger payoffs to come.

    Just watch this episode, if you are a GoT fan I do not see any way you can not be impressed by this. It is intense, entertaining and full of great drama and action.

    http://www.history.com/shows/vikings/videos/vikings-ep-4-trial?m=512aa8006f3f1&s=All&f=1&free=false

    I understand this is a GoT fansite, I consider GoT the trailblazer for Vikings, you can see GoT influence all over it. That is the only reason why I talk about it on this site.

    I want to share my discovery with all you people that I feel would enjoy it. It is like I discovered a low budget fantasy free GoT that I want to see continue as a series because I enjoy it. I think it deserves all of our support.

  141. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Yeah with Justified finished I now have Game of Thrones, Mad Men and Breaking Bad to look forward to.

  142. Sareeta
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I try to stay away from the reviews, especially Sepinwall’s because I already knew after his reaction to season 2 that he was not on board for this series. Honestly, I wish Dan Feinberg was doing to reviews, because he’s funnier and actually seems to get the series. Maybe I’m just bitter because it seems like Alan has made up his mind not to enjoy this show and it’s just not for him. At least I haven’t had to read Ryan Magee’s review…

    Knowing how the series goes, at least through book 5, I’m fairly confident I’ll enjoy this season.

  143. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    No worries. I don’t like trolls and I refuse to be civil to them.

  144. Zack
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    Justified still has an episode to go, you know.

    And I had an epiphany about GoT that it is incredible that 70% or so of my critiques, if prefaced with “Considering the large cast and the limited number of episodes per season…” seem like nothing to concern oneself about.

    For all its flaws, much of it simply cannot be expected to be done better given the constraints they have to work around.

  145. Silverstormm
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Zack:
    Agree with the NYT regarding the plot feeling the most important. Game of Thrones is a different beast from A Song of Ice and Fire, and I can definitely understand why some people would rather watch a show that can really get into its characters’ heads rather than be so mad for constant plot advancement (often coming in the form of clunky expository bits).

    I think the show is solid. But there are valid reasons to not like it. These reviews, good and bad, are basically telling me I shouldn’t expect a game-changing shift in its approach to storytelling. More of the same, instead. But as I’ve pretty much enjoyed the first two seasons, that means I’ll be at least equally as entertained.

    It’s a hit show so common sense dictates that more of the same format is to be expected – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!


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