Top critical review
apparently winter is coming
on April 21, 2016
Obviously, coming to this six years after it first came out there will be plenty of spoilers in this review. Now I'm no swords and sorcery fantasy island guy beyond The Holy Grail at all so this review is maybe for all you "The Wire" or "Breaking Bad" types sitting on the latecomer fence. I was able to watch the first season gratis thanks to our local cable TV provider putting it On Demand free through May 15, 2016. So figured may as well throw out my thoughts to add a dose to all this (and, yeah, spoilers everywhere but now in 2016 the statute of limitations is over). I do think this series is worth watching for the "Melrose Place" relationship intrigue (hey, it was the era of inbred kings, queens, lords and ladies so...you know that's a given) and for the sheer fun of figuring out where it's going.
I guess given it was Season One they blew the entire CGI budget on the Ice Wall that keeps the crazies in Blair Witch Scottish Iceland back because when the "kings" talk about armies of 30,000 on the go we usually see less than 50 bannermen (not sure why they are just not called soldiers but c'est la vie) including the actual guys waving banners off to battle. Quick word on the Wall part of the story. It's like Australia in the early days so if you stole an apple and got caught or you're a bastard son you're shipped up there to be a part of the Night Watch. Now there's no Day Watch and having already seen Night/Day Watch series by Timur Bekmambetov maybe these dudes ought to get some guys on the day shift as well.
Anyway, all the dudes up there get to be celibate (double winner!) after they take some oath to a mute version of the tree from those Money Tree ads. Main point is the bastard son of Ned Stark, Goth rock brooding god with the Liverpool FC Terry McDermott meets Kevin Keegan perm Jon Snow gets to brood up there. Oh, and they have a very cool Mad Max: Fury Road type elevator. That's about it. Most of that plot you can skip and in Season One they don't go past the wall really to take on the obvious Blair Witch zombies (called White Johnny Walkers...hey, it's Scottish Iceland, man) out there other than in the opening scene of the series.
Another odd cinematopogigeographical thing I found annoying is scenes often just end with no fade in or out. Often they end without even a resolution or a reaction from the people there on what the what just happened then the camera jumps somewhere else. Unlike "The Wire" where characters seem to appear and reappear quite seamlessly even with long absences, "Game Of Scones" seems to let important characters just be gonzo for episodes ad infinitum.
Anyway, here's the fun part. There's a midget...oops, dwarf who gets off some classic lines and is the best part of the party. There's Air-Jordan-Yeah Stark who's a little girl who doesn't take crap from anyone, wants to (and learns to thanks to Fake Spanish Robert Downey who I like to call Tony Stark because he's helping little Air-ya Stark but sadly has no Iron Men at his disposal despite some Iron Islands alluded to somewhere out there in Throne World) be a boy and kick serious butt. In fact the smaller in height the characters, the more interesting I find them even that little s***e Boy King Toffee Bannister who has the most punchable face in his mini-Prince Valiant haircut. Then there's bad Beatle meets Moe Three Stooges moptopped Bran Flake Stark who was a good climber of castle walls but got pushed by Can't Spell Jaime Properly Lannister (also known as Fake Denis Leary) and is now a cripple (yeah the series is not PC).
But I get ahead of myself. OK, there are seven kingdoms of which I guess we see at least four--the North, (the Echo & The Bunnymen) Over The Wall Land, the seat of power King's Landing and Darth Raki or Dothraki...basically Visthihun Vangoth (think all the hordes who sacked Rome as one super Mongol type army/clan) Sinbad (they also kind of have an Arabian Nights vibe) Land. All the kingdoms are "united" now under Fat Fake Henry VIII (Robert Baratheon) who's married to The Only Good Looking Woman In The Series (Cersei Lannister). Now Hot Queen is boinking her twin brother, Fake Denis Leary. This produced the little annoyance Joffrey Haircut. The dwarf, Ty-one-on, is a Lannister as well--brother to the incestuous twins.
The Bariumtheorys besides King Robert have Stannis and RenandStimpy (that's just one guy and he's sorta a wimpier version of every shoegazing rock fan Brit you've ever met) who we barely see in Season One. They live in some land where they have ships. I'm sure Season Two is where they come in more.
So the Lameystairs are like the House Of Lancaster in the real War of The Roses upon which a lot of this parallels so think of them as the most hated yet successful and way too rich side in the Thrones Premier League therefore they are Manchester United. Fake Denis Leary Lameystairs killed the former king who was a Targaryen (or Target Yen to make things easier).
We'll get to the Targetyens later.
Now, as with the War of Roses, the Yorkshire Pies are led by Sean "Not Mr." Bean who plays Ned Stark and they live up North, don't ya know, in something called Winterfell. Not sure where winter fell but it sure seems to be going strong way up north of the Wall. Now half the time I expect real Yorkshire Pie Man Ned to down a flagon of Magnet and spark up a Woodbine while eating a chip butty as his own Sheffield United accent is tremendous (Wiki all this and any references you don't get, folks). Problem I have with Ned's Atomic Dustbin is despite his supposed wisdom he seems dumber than a block of wood not to see that money is power and his head was headed to the chopping block. He basically put his entire family at risk because of honor and trusting Fake Gary Oldman who actually said to him not to trust him...plus he runs a bordello so c'mon, man, use that Yorkshire Pudding of a brain, Ned Dinsdale. I thought Mr. Bean was totally miscast as even when Nicolas Cage and him were battling mano a mano for the National Treasure I felt he was a worthy opponent.
So the Nedster is married to Collie Lynn or Cole Lynn or...I don't know what her name is. She's the Queen Of The North and her son Supergrass lead singer Rob ends up declaring war on the Lameysteers after Joffrey Haircut lops off Ned Donut's head. The Supergrass singer's best friend is the lead singer of Kasabian who goes by Theon (Fleury?) Greyjoy who, I believe, came from those islands we never see. Those two are a bundle of laughs...not.
Which brings us to the Targetyens. They've been outcast and the weird offspring of Halle Barry's Storm character from the X-Men series have jet white blonde hair extensions. Left are the brother (yet another person you just want to pound in the face--Fake Three O'Clock lead singer Visinerys or Viserys...but we'll just refer to him as 3 as it's easier) and his sister Dragon Blondie or Daenerys who 3 uses to gain an army of the Visthihun Vangoths known as the Dos Equus (actually Dothraki). The most interesting leader, Half Centaur Man (seriously the guy looks like the top half of every buff centaur you've ever seen), takes Dragon Blondie as his wife, rapes her (you can tell rapes in this series if they do it doggy style but missionary or cowgirl = consensual sex just so you know) then she learns the art of horizontal aardvarking from a woman of a traveling house of ill repute and Dragon Storm Hairdo and Scary Eyebrows Half Centaur actually do fall in love. He dies after some wound festers from a battle and she miscarries their baby. The rest of Dos Equus crew (including Fake Leader of the "Scorpion" TV series) leaves Queen Kath Leafy, or whatever her name is now, with Fake Jack Wagner from "Melrose Place" who is a sort of translator cum great right hand man to the Queenie. Her hubby gets tossed on a funeral pyre with a witch whose "cures" only turned him into a vegetable that could not be eaten to feed the in-the-desert loyal followers of Queenie. She then walks into the funeral pyre knowing she won't burn up as she has dragon's blood--don't ask, it's a thing apparently. Next time we see her she is naked (she gets naked a ton but, sorry, not into scrawny pale British woman so no comment) with a baby dragon on her shoulder. End Season One.
So, yeah, plenty of boobies (from pros' OK ones to scary flat-as-board others...so the person who said this came from the mind of a 13 y/o boy sure must not know how to type "big" as an adjective into a search engine), loads of ho-hum swordplay (all puns intended), buckets of blood and many heads do Joe Bob Briggs literally roll. Plenty of scenes where you wonder where the knights who say "niii" are or you just want someone to blurt out "it's only a flesh wound," and way way way too much plot. Even so remember, the smaller the person, the more possible fun in that scene as they give both Shrimpken Tyronn Lue and Arya "I'm A Boy, I'm A Girl" Sham 69 the best lines period. This series does takes itself a tad too seriously on the whole, but that's probably due to the books themselves.
Not huge on dragons or Scots Dragoons but maybe we'll get a Sean "Draco" Connery or, even better since there is a sea out there, a Liam Neeson releasing the Kraken to battle the dragons.
And, oh yeah, you must take a drink every time someone says "winter is coming." That is the law of binge watching Season One.