So, as you know, I recently attended an Invasion convention (which I blogged about HERE) and clearly it has reignited my love for binge watching TV sessions.
Last week, himself and I immersed ourselves in a Game of Thrones marathon – every episode from the beginning.
Actually, I think it’s better watched this way. Every season feels like an oldie style film* and it’s impressive how well the various story lines overlap, while remaining autonomous. The exception that proves the rule being the ham-fisted stand-alone shambles that was the Sand Snakes (heck, I’d throw in Dorne as a whole) in the most recent series.
Himself and I thankfully share a number of favourites – from characters (DRAGONS!!!, Arya, Tyrion, Jaime, Cerci, Brienne, Varys) to pairings (platonic and otherwise – Tyrion and ANYONE, Jaime and Brienne, The Hound and Arya) and a number of loathings (Joffrey, Littlefinger, Ramsey, The Boltons and – recent addition – Stannis). And as an ardent resident Know-It-All; I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to fill in additional bits and pieces from the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books (and thank the skies for online wiki sites!).
Of course the highlights were probably exactly what you’d expect.
Most of season one was just superb. The amount of subtle scene setting and world building was phenomenal and of a far greater scale than I’ve seen in a long time. While violent and explicit; every scene felt as though it was building to a greater whole – not something that we’ve felt across all the series. Adding to the ‘real’ feel of the show are the intergenerational stories. While not all of the cast match the ages as depicted in the books (which I don’t have an issue with. The books are the books; the show is a different reflection of them.), a real effort has been made to show characters of all ages. It’s been such a novelty especially if one is a regular viewer of US network shows which seem to strickly hire hotties from the 18-35 age range. Or CW which seems to near exclusively cast hotties of roughly 20-25 years!
We were less enamoured with season 2, though still glued to the screen. Sadly, Daenerys growth and development was squandered a touch as it all degenerated into her screeching ‘where are my dragons’ for episodes at a time. Though to be fair, these scenes seemed less grating and fewer in number than when we originally watched them – residual resentment might be playing a part here – I’ll let you know in 5 years if I get over it. The pace certainly picked up though and where we were given a lot of time to get to know characters in season 1; this time round, the viewer was expected to hit the ground running and keep up. The Tyrion and Arya arcs were pretty awesome. Watching a disguised Arya serve under Tywin Lannister for example was a particular highpoint. While poor old Jon Snow learning all the things he doesn’t know from the wildling Ygritte was just such a crowd pleaser in our house at least.
I love season 3 – take a bow Jamie and Brienne and the brilliantly realised Kingslayer redemptive arc and of course the much lauded Red Wedding – but I can’t deny that it drags for me. The Theon story took far too long to sort itself out while Tyrion took to his books rather than…you know…the cool stuff from last season. Even Daenerys doesn’t excite as much as I’d hoped though she was all fabulous and victorious. Yes, yes, I know the Red Wedding was just spectacularly gruesome and fabulous and Does Not Disappoint but overall this season just fell flat for me.
Season 4 pulled it all back together again and introduced some brilliant characters. However, it’s becoming difficult to care too much about the new crop since few of them seem to have much staying power. One bitten…then raped, burned, dismembered and/or dragged bloody and broken across a stable yard floor; twice shy.
Season 5 has been the most uneven so far but with some epic high’s! Himself must have watched the final scenes of episode 9 at least 4 or 5 times now – he finds it that compelling! I’ll say more no doubt once the finale has aired and I’m less worried about spoiling anyone!
So far, Game of Thrones is one of the few shows that seems to be going from strength to strength and is just as enjoyable during a rewatch (and possibly a little bit more). Well worth the withdrawal pangs that we’ve experienced since.
Next up is Dollhouse.
*FUN FACTS – Gone with the Wind (1939) runs for just under 4 hours including intermission. The Satin Slipper (1985) is 6 hours and 50 minutes long. Meanwhile the three Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003) films run for a mere 11 hours and 20 minutes, which almost looks as though it wasn’t even trying.