Monday, July 4, 2011

Game of Thrones: Closure at last

I'm so late posting my thoughts on the season finale of Game of Thrones that I wonder if I should even bother. I went on vacation the day after the show aired, and my plans to post something from the road were predictably thwarted. When I got back, I tried to ignore the giant loose thread dangling from my blog (aka, my last GoT post previewing the finale). But in the end, closure must be had.

To make up for my tardiness, I've come up with something special. The word collage above is based on Entertainment Weekly's lengthy season finale recap (in case you're curious, I put it together using a tool called Wordle). I suppose there could be some subliminal spoilers in there, so those who are still planning to see the show might want to avoid looking at it for too long. Otherwise you might feel a vague sense of disappointment as you uncannily anticipate each of the episode's climactic events. Which would be a shame, because "Fire and Blood" was, in fact, a superb conclusion to a rock-solid first season.

Now come the real, non-subliminal spoilers. 

My only gripe is with the very last sequence culminating in the hatching of the three baby CGI dragons. I mentioned before that I wasn't sold on the actress who was cast as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), and I didn't like how she played that scene. The calm, lucid way Daenerys reassures Mormont before entering Drogo's funeral pyre erases any doubt about whether she's going to survive, killing some of the drama.

Granted, the speech she gives prior to that also makes it seem unlikely that the character is going to (literally) go up in flames. But then, it was unlikely that Ned Stark was going to get beheaded in the previous episode, wasn't it? Doubt about who's going to survive is a selling point of GRR Martin's books. In this case, they sold it short.

But more importantly, I thought the whole sequence unfolded too quickly. Mormont leaves, unwilling to watch Daenerys burn herself up. Then a few shots later he's already back, and with too-little fanfare, we witness the capstone moment of the first season from his perspective. It felt rushed. A hectic pace was appropriate for the previous episode's shocker ending. In this case, I think a slower, more intense buildup was in order.

But that's really a small niggle in the scheme of things. Season One of Game of Thrones satisfied my expectations - something I didn't think was possible. I'm sad to see it end. If only there were a way to get my GRR Martin fix until Season Two begins.

Oh yeah:

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five

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