Hey El Moochadors… I have to apologize for yesterday’s lack of posts. There’s a lot of cool stuff buzzing around that Trog and I would love to share on here, but we got kind of distracted last night after work. Our neighbor’s were having a little shindig last night, and invited us over for a drink. “Well… okay, but just one…” is what I told myself, because I wanted to do another post, plus finish working on this new shirt idea as well as finish an Atomic Moo business card design I’d been working on.
Three and half Belgium Fat Tires later, and partaking of something that I haven’t tried since I went to Switzerland in 2006, I was feeling like a pretty happy Chudd for the rest of the evening. That means that nothing got done last night, and this morning I woke up feeling way less than fully armed and operational. Honestly, I can barely think right now. Fortunately for us all our friend, and El Moochador, Dave Smith (a.k.a. d20), has stepped in to save the day. He emailed us a review that, after attempting to read last night, and then really reading it this morning, makes me want to check out Game of Thrones. I haven’t seen an episode of it yet, but I think I’ll have to now. Anyhow, here’s his review below, and Dave thank you very much for doing this. I’m off to find some Excedrin…
Anyone for a ‘Game of Thrones’?
If someone were to write, ‘The Complete History of Geekdom’, the chapter titled ‘Fantasy’ could be a tome unto its self. From the first time I let a d20 fly from my hand gathered around the kitchen table with my brothers for a late night gaming session, to the day not long ago, when I unashamedly forced my young Daughter to watch ‘Willow’ knowing full well she would be crawling into my bed later that night haunted by nightmares of the evil Queen Bavmorta, the Fantasy genre has been a Geek mainstay in my life.
Whether you are a rabid Star Wars fan, or a living Marvel Universe compendium, Geeks from every walk of life instinctually grin when they hear the tell-tail “sshhhhhhhhhhING” of steel being drawn from its scabbard. In fact I would go so far as to the say the entirety of the Middle Ages is definitively Geek. That being said….
I submit for your esteemed consideration, HBO’s series ‘Game of Thrones’
Now, I am not a critic, as I am far too forgiving and I lack Eric the Odd’s keen eye for plot holes, contrivances and general Hollywood douche baggery. Nor would I call this a review, as I have only seen five episodes and the show is still in the nest. Rather I am simply presenting this to the ‘Atomic Moo Geek Continuum’ in the hopes that you will all watch the show for good or ill. Watch it because you love it, or watch it because you hate it…but watch it. Fantasy has never had its fair share of screen time and that is due in no small part to the exceedingly high standards we Geeks have set on the industry regarding this genre. I was beyond impressed with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. (yes I had read the books first…as I said, I’m too forgiving) So long I had waited for a serious fantasy film with out the campy ‘G’ rated slant, only to hear many of my fellow Geeks rip it for such heinous crimes as “the end of Fellowship didn’t coincide with the book” or “…the Elves didn’t look anything like Elves are supposed to look..” Seriously, Did any of us honestly think they would? We have to be a little more objective people. I know it is a hallmark of Geek culture to be an exacting, nit-picky hard to impress fan base, but it works against us when it comes to Fantasy in TV and film. Though I have to admit that failing to make Glamdring glow in the presences of Orcs, as they did with Sting, miffed me a little….I mean c’mon! Would that extra bit of CGI break the budget? And the arrival of the elves at Helms Deep during the Battle of the Hornburg, was simply stupid. But I digress.
Based (loosely I presume, as I’ve not read the books) on George R.R. Martin’s best-seller, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, HBO’s new series ‘Game of Thrones’ is set in a low-magic realm and the story revolves broadly around the noble houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, all of which fall under the rule of the seat of power, the ‘Iron Throne’ in the Capital Kingdom of Kings Landing. I will not delve too deeply into the intertwining plots or even the overall storyline, but suffice to say it holds something for everyone. Frightening creatures of myth to the North, a looming Barbarian invasion from the East, political intrigues and nefarious plots in the South, there may even be Dragons, though I haven’t seen any yet. The women are fine and the Men are handsome…there is even some gay romance; I mean it, something for everyone.
The top of the shows talent food chain puts LoTR alum Sean Bean in the role of Eddard “Ned” Stark, patriarch of House Stark, one of the major noble houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and the ancestral rulers of the North in Winterfell. Bean does a good job of making you forget Boromir and see him as this physically identical yet entirely different character. But for me the crown jewel of the cast is Peter Dinklage in the role of Tyrion Lannister, AKA the ‘Imp’. The Lannister’s are the wealthiest noble house in the seven Kingdoms. Tyrion is the Third Son of Tywin Lannister, the patriarch of House Lannister and he is a Dwarf. Not a D&D-ish sort of Dwarf, just the regular kind. He is brilliant, has a rapier wit and a penchant for whoring and within his first few scenes I found myself wishing I was half the man he is (pun intended). His crass nature, keen mind and condescending tone have put him on the fast track to being one of my all time favorite fictional characters.
Under the scrutiny of the shows target demographic, (Geeks) it is possible, maybe even easy, to pick it down to the bones in the first episode and dismiss it as a mediocre meal. I assume this is more likely the case of anyone who has read the books. I know I didn’t make it through the first episode of the ‘Legend of the Seeker’ series, based on Terry Goodkind’s epic ‘Sword of Truth’ novels. Now I know that smacks of hypocrisy in light of my above call to “be a little more objective”, but there was a raw, almost unsettling darkness underlying Goodkind’s work, and distribution and production under Disney-ABC Domestic Television/ABC Studios, allowed for a mere shadow of the series potential greatness. (mayhap I’m not all that forgiving after all…sue me.) Perhaps lighter fair, something akin to ‘The Dragonlance Chronicles’, would have been better on ABC. But much like the ‘Sword of Truth’, ‘Game of Thrones’ is dark, even disturbing at times, but its presentation on HBO allows for a darker, grittier tale. Not to mention a larger budget, better actors, better sets, better writing, better violence and last but certainly not least, foul language and gratuitous T & A. Shwing! Yup I said it.
‘Game of Thrones’ airs Sunday nights on HBO. This Sunday May 29th, airs the seventh episode of the season. I will assume, as you are reading this on a “Geek Blog”, those of you without access to HBO are well aware of how to fish this show out of the rushing “torrents” of the interwebs. Yes? If not…ask around. The episode guide on tv.com lists ten episodes thus far. In the process of writing this I have confirmed that HBO has already renewed it for a second season. I already hope to see a third. That’s one small step for fantasy-fiction; one giant leap for Geek kind.
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