Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tim's Trailer Talk: Game of Thrones Edition

In lieu of an ordinary Tim's Trailer Talk I thought this week I'd highlight the teaser for Game of Thrones, HBO's upcoming adaptation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. I've been looking forward to this series since they first announced it a couple years back so it's exciting to finally see some footage. I'd also recommend the novels to any fantasy fans who haven't read them, with the important caveat that Martin seems to have some horrific writer's block and hasn't published a book in five years, leaving us stuck on a multitude of cliffhangers. But the books we do have are some of the finest pulp I've ever read, eschewing the evil overlord, heroic quest, and magical MacGuffins of traditional fantasy in favor of a lot of moral ambiguity, political intrigue, plot twists, sudden deaths, sex, and bloodshed.

I actually read the pilot script that was floating around Hollywood a couple years back, which shifts and truncates some dialogue but is an otherwise incredibly accurate scene-for-scene recreation of the first hundred or so pages of the first book. This teaser is equally reassuring, with almost every shot recognizable as a moment from the novel. Sure, nerds will nitpick over hair color and facial hair and exact wording of dialogue and other bullshit that isn't particularly important, but all that would be skirting the fact that this seems poised to become the most accurate book adaptation in the history of television. The city of King's Landing looks sunnier and less traditionally western European than I pictured it, but as long as the political intrigue and deaths that go on there remain intact that's no problem.

Sean Bean's performance looks predictably excellent (even if his politician character being all "I was trained to kill," while technically accurate coming from a former soldier, will gravely disappoint anyone who tunes in hoping for Boromir-brand badassery — there'll be plenty of violence, but Bean the instigator of very little of it), but the real X factor is the litany of unknowns playing the younger characters such as Arya, Robb, Bran, Sansa, Dany, Jon, and Joffrey, who are not window dressing but largely drive the plot. This other miniature promo seems to mostly highlight Sean Bean as Eddard Stark, Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, which seems about right for the first season. Hopefully Harington and Clarke are up to the task.

I'm not gonna start counting chickens before they hatch because lord knows I've been let down by film and TV projects I've been excited about before, but the actors look spot-on and the production values gorgeous and expensive and if they stick to the text and keep the content harsh (which, seeing as this is HBO, should be no problem) then I think this teaser could be the prelude to an awesome series. Hey, last time they adapted a fantasy epic of this magnitude we got The Lord of the Rings, which I thought turned out pretty damn well.

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