Game of Thrones: Season 1 Review

As of Wednesday, February 6 there were 67 days left before the first episode of the last season of Game of Thrones airs.  There are 67 episodes of Game of Thrones for now, with just another six episodes left in the series.  I thought it an auspicious time to start a grand rewatch.  That, and it was the last possible moment to start and have any hope of finishing.

Read on for my thoughts after my rewatch of season 1!

If nothing else, season 1 is an exercise in nostalgia.  I hadn’t read A Song of Ice and Fire before the show was announced, although I had heard of it.[1]  I did read the books before season 1.  It was a heady time.  The first three books are as good as anything out there.  There has never been a major epic fantasy show like Game of Thrones.  I was living in Chicago at the time and there were Iron Throne advertisements at bus stops.  How cool is that?

Game of Thrones would only become a popular culture phenomenon later, but its first season is one of the strongest.  It benefits the most of any season from a faithful adaptation of the book (the impact of A Storm of Swords was split across seasons).  Season one has a very strong main storyline in Kings Landing with that great shocking twist, and a great secondary storyline with Daenerys.

But season one also includes some of Game of Thrones worst impulses.  It furiously scoffs at the subtlety of books (see, e.g., Renly’s sexuality).  It introduces the world to the term “sexposition.”  All the nudity in the world doesn’t make that first example in episode 7 any less cringeworthy.

The lower budget than later seasons shows.  The khalasar looks less like 40,000 than 40.  There are some bizarre design choices (wtf is up with those Lannister helmets?)  There is some iffy choreography.  Do I believe that Syrio killed those guards?  I did until watching the show’s attempt at depicting it.

And, let’s be honest—I’m a fantasy fan.  I’m here for the ice zombies and dragons.  Season one has a decided deficit of ice zombies and dragons.

Still, season one, like the rest of Game of Thrones, is a high quality, high budget epic fantasy TV show with a prominent place in the cultural conversation.  And that is a wonderful thing.


[1] Ironically enough, from Wheel of Time fans who thought A Song of Ice and Fire was better.  This would have been early 2000s, when you could still credibly make that argument.  Whatever its second act problems, The Wheel of Time ended strongly.  A Song of Ice and Fire’s second act problems remain, and an end, strong or otherwise, is nowhere in sight.

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
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5 Responses to Game of Thrones: Season 1 Review

  1. John Boyle says:

    I couldn’t get past the first book, and I’ve never re-watched any episode of the series all the way through, so there is a lot about GoT that I never got. It should be interesting to hear your take on the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just started re-watching the first season! I have read the books and seen Season 1 before, but none of the other seasons! I know I am a bit late in starting my binge (I am only three episodes in) but I am already super excited to keep watching ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • H.P. says:

      I initially skipped season 5 & 6 because they left the books behind, but I decided there was no way I was going to wait for all the books to come out before returning to the show.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: February 2019 Month-in-Review | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

  4. Pingback: Happy Game of Thrones Final Season Premiere Day! | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

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