This past weekend saw the conclusion of the first season of Game of Thrones.
HBO’s adaptation of the popular The Song of Ice and Fire novel series got off to a slightly slow start in this, its first season, but it picked up quickly, and became easily the best fantasy program on television.
Of course, there are no Nielsen numbers to support that, as HBO doesn’t participate in such silly things, but just judging by production value, thespian talent and sheer epicness, the show surpassed all possible expectations. It was like watching a ten-hour fantasy film.
Of course that amounts to saying it was good ‘for television’, since we’ve certainly seen films with a much higher quality and value, but to get a great fantasy story of near-film production value and clear talent in a series is outstanding.
When it is finished, there will be no film series anywhere which will be able to rival Game of Thrones in terms of scale.
True, this past episode was a little slow again, reminiscent of the first couple episodes, but it’s sticking close to the book, so that makes sense.
The plot arc of the ten episodes rose, climaxed, and fell just as neatly as the novel, with the last episode serving as a tying off point to pull the audience toward a return to normalcy, and to show the continuance elements into the next season.
In the future, the ideal way to watch this season will be as a single ten-hour program on your optical storage disc of choice.
As we watch all of the characters respond to the events of the second to last episode, we get a very clear sense this is only the beginning of the story. Each character’s fates are only just now beginning to unwind, and the turmoil of the land has only just begun. Now the audience gets to see who the real protagonists of the story are, and the vast difficulties which lay in wait for them.
This excellent series will return for a second season in Spring 2012, which seems like a long time to wait, but those familiar with The Song of Ice and Fire are used to waiting for great things.