Game of Thrones, episode 1

by Diane Duane
Kings' Landing

Well, it’s gorgeous.

Everything’s very handsomely art-directed and designed; the money (as they say) is on the screen where you can see it. Always a good sign. Though there’s no point in overstating the importance of the size of the budget. Our Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, for example, hour for hour, cost more ($24 million for four hours). What matters is what you do with the money.

The point here is that the producers have plainly spent their budget carefully, and gotten good value for it — spending time and care on design, and in taking the cameras to places not so often used for shooting fantasy film. (P. and I immediately started analyzing what we saw to try to work out which scenes might have been shot in Northern Ireland.)

As for the story, my main interest is in experiencing it without having any other background info except what’s been apparent from the months-long hype that’s preceded the first episode over here via Sky. (No, I haven’t read the books, even though George is an old buddy from way-back-when East Coast SF fandom. Much as I might like to have read all the books of all the writers I know, if I tried it I’d never get anything done around here. …But I’ll probably start reading George’s series after the miniseries is finished).

So far it looks like fun. I think I’m seeing signs of things that are going to start happening: we’ll see if I’m right. This is where not having read the books pays off. Now I can just kick back and have fun watching the plot unfold, while amusing myself with the eternally fascinating game of trying to second-guess a fellow writer and the people who adapted his books.

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