I'm a little late to this party, mainly because I've been doing so much non-blogging lately. But since I anticipated this show for two years and posted many photos of my boyfriend Tyrion Lannister/Peter Dinklage, I think it would be good to let you all know whether or not I even liked the damned thing.
Just a warning - this post WILL ABSOLUTELY contain spoilers.
At the start, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this series. The first episode was pretty slow and I wasn't sure if it was because it was actually moving incredibly slow or if it was because I spent most of the time anticipating the next move from the book. Catelyn was OLD - much older than I'd pictured her in my head. Jon was incredibly moody. And we hardly saw the direwolves at all, even though they are a major part of all the books. I mean, the kids found six direwolf pups, 3 males, 2 females and a little albino runt one for the bastard Jon Snow. That doesn't just happen everyday! It's fate and a connection that the show hardly played up at all.
Of the scenes they cut or changed or added: From the beginning, I was upset with the way they handled Dany and Drogo's first sexual act. In the book, she's terrified and Drogo, a mostly silent and brooding figure up until then, shows her a more gentle side, using the only word he knows in her language - No - as a way to ask her permission and calm her. In the series, it was rape. And it isn't until later that Dany sees the man behind Khal Drogo. I LOVE the Drogo and Dany relationship and was pretty much waiting eagerly for the wedding night scene. I hated it right up until I read this: Emilia Clarke defends the decision to change the scene and I buy the explanation. AND I think I agree - the relationship's progression and end result is much stronger and much more believable for it. The two characters were able to believably shape and change each other.
The only scene that I'm still pissed wasn't there was the scene in the book between Mormont and Jon, when everyone except Sam (who, btw - was wonderfully cast!) is ready to take their vows. Up until this "graduation," Jon and friends have been protecting Sam from much of Thorne's cruel ways. If the boys graduate without Sam - Jon knows Sam won't make it. So he goes to Mormont and explains that every man has his worth and just because Sam can't fight and will never be able to, doesn't mean he isn't valuable to the Night's Watch. This scene is extremely pivotal in the book because it's basically the reason Mormont later appoints Jon as his steward. He sees the leadership quality in Jon.
Everything else matched up pretty well. I cried like a baby when Ned died and I liked the way the show handled it. I love that he and Arya saw each other and that the show changed it so that it was Ned who sends Yoren to take Arya and protect her, just by mouthing her location to him. It was also a little more drawn out than in the book, which was good. I didn't feel Ned's death in the book because - it happened so gd fast! And I was so shocked that I spent the next however many pages are left denying that it ever happened. I mean - who kills off their MAIN CHARACTER in the first book??? Now, as a wizened old fan, I get it. Ned's death is necessary to understanding their world and in triggering other events.
And the final episode. Thank god I watched it alone. I sobbed through the ENTIRE episode and CLAPPED at the end. And I hate clappers! I couldn't help it. I just thought it was so beautifully executed. Robb is named King of the North and he and Catelyn vow to kill all the Lannisters. Jaime Lannister is captured by Robb and Catelyn has that pivotal conversation with him that is SUPPOSED to happen in the dungeons of Riverrun in Clash of Kings, but I'll forgive them that. I thought it was well placed. Arya heads north with a band of thieves destined for the Nights Watch, not as Arya of Winterfell, but Arry, the boy. Sansa gets all not annoying and completely BADASS in a matter of mere seconds as her expression changes from one of grief and terror to strength and stoicism as she realizes that her life has basically turned to shit. Tyrion heads South to Kings Landing to act as Hand of the King in his father's stead. Jon rides North of the wall to fight off whatever strange thing is terrorizing the wildlings. And Dany. Dany! After losing Drogo, she sacrifices herself to her beliefs to either die by them or rise again. And when the burning pyre dies and cools, her men find her alive and surrounded by DRAGONS. Sir Jorah (hottie) bends at the knee - my queen.
Oh god. Shivers. I mean - wouldn't YOU clap??
Oh! I hardly mentioned Tyrion at all! My boyfriend, my love. Peter Dinklage was AMAZING. He stole every scene he was in. He's just such a perfect Tyrion. I couldn't have been happier. While we're on the subject of actors being perfect - while there are a lot of others who fit their roles well (Jaime, Tywin, Robb, Theon, Cersei, Varys, Littlefinger, Dany, Drogo, Jorah, etc), I was REALLY impressed by Jack Gleeson who plays Joffrey Baratheon. He is very, very good. I want to punch his smug little face all over the goddamned place. Well done, Jack, well done!