What is good: casting, production values, complexity and a fairly good balance or mix of action, drama, comedy and romance.
Compared to the recent Arthur, Merlin and Pillars series, Game of Thrones is extremely well cast. There are no major blunders with actors picked to play lead characters. This is an accomplishment.
I also like that it has the Fire&Ice opening credits lending it a timeless TV vibe.
And most of all about GAME, I really love watching the young Shakira actress who plays the queen/mother of the dragons. Her every body movement is consistently slow. There is a sexy slow motion grace with her hip-popping Shakira "Suerte" outfit sometimes worn, sometimes not worn... 100% slow-dreamy pleasure. Beyond good.
But there are problems (going by TV / leaving books aside). We see no build-up or justification for Ned Stark to ever want to actually be a temporary regent. OK, yes, he might be willing to do it out of kindness, friendship or whatever, but nothing is ever shown to ever tell us that he was so blindingly dumb or blindingly power-hungry or blindingly anything to ever want to risk wasting his time to be a temporary regent, let alone push to do it, let alone risk life or limb to do it... let alone risking his defenseless children to do it.
"Our old dead King wanted me to be Regent for a while, but if you all are fine, I will return to Winterfell and stay busy minding the north for you. Any problems, write."
This would be a win-win. This would be easiest. This would carry the least risk. Ned Stark had no motivation to do what was unpleasant, to do what was hard, to do what was risky, once his King friend was dead and gone.
When in prison helpless and powerless, a childless neuter had to remind Ned that he has children in danger. The respected Ned Stark - forgetting he is a father. Forgetting he has children to protect. Not realistic.
Another problem is the most evil players in GAME are invincible. Year after year, the great bad guys cannot be removed from "the game". Real fighting kills the great good guys, but never the great bad guys. Magic kills the great good guys, but never the great bad guys. Invincible bad guys ultimately make a story gloomy and pointless.
Another problem is neutral parties, when given a choice between joining a brutal dishonest ruthless untrustworthy power-mad king, or joining a king with honor seeking justice rather than power -- the neutral parties will always join the dangerous untrustworthy king. This is reckless and unrealistic.
Another problem is the greatest, most complex, most sweeping deception seen in the entire series was carried out by a loony old man with no right hand seen to conduct small things, let alone great secret things. No team running anything. The old man keeps his sons at a distance. He openly treats them with no respect. His sons show no like for him. His daughters are even more worthless.
This weak old man could see his wife easily killed with no bother, all the while, he is surrounded by his adult children who hate him? The feeble old man is at the mercy of his close kin, so how could he not expect them to punish him for not caring to protect one of them? Not realistic. He dares eat a meal after what he did?
Leaving aside the old man's unhappy nest, what about the army of the good King? Why is the army of the good King loyal enough to win mighty battles, yet not loyal enough to seek any revenge when the feeble old man somehow manages to kill the good King?
GAME has too many 80YO men making babies and having hard interactions with young ladies. This is olden times long before the invention of serious ED drugs?
And although the Shakira queen is a pleasure to look at, year after year she says some really dumb things. "If X, I will die. If X, I will kill you. After I am dead? I think."
I don't care much for the magic and supernaturalism. GAME would be better without it. But even more distracting is the use of modern language. Lots of modern slang language is used in GAME, excused as being the common tongue. But as soon as the modern slang erupts, the illusion to olden times completely disappears. Much effort and costly production values have gone into the illusion of being in ancient times, it seems a shame to ruin it all every 13mins for no good reason. The illusion is more powerful, for example, when the young Stark girl speaks with Jaqur. It is weakest when the dwarf and/or the Hound start speaking slang.
The final weakness is with general realism. GAME is far too modern with its social treatment of butch lesbians and dwarfs. It also lacks realism by having far too much happen at night. Visit a primitive location on earth today where electricity is rare, just as modern birth control is rare, and see how life begins at morning light. With no fridge or freezers, see how fresh food comes from the swarms of chickens walking everywhere all of the time. Rich people have many chickens running around. Poor people have not so many. But clearly, chickens and roosters rule the sounds of morning. Along with a sea of chickens, every young women has an infant, a 1+2+3YO and so on. A simple village is brimming with toddlers and infants. If chickens and babies are not seen everywhere, they are heard everywhere.
Having many small animals & toddlers make a production difficult, but these simple realistic sounds are not heard. GAME looks like an old place, but it doesn't sound like an old primitive place. GAME has many problems.
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