Welcome to the inaugural Game of Thrones Round Table, where four fans of the George R. R. Martin novels gather around to discuss HBO's incredibly well done adaptation.
Today's topic? The series premiere, "Winter is Coming."
So as you go along for HBO's weekly journey to Westeros, be sure and return to TV Fanatic every week as our panelists dissects the nuances of each episode!
1. Favorite Game of Thrones quote from the premiere?
Carissa P: Tyrion: "Let me give you some advice bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." Jon: "What the hell do you know about being a bastard?" Tyrion: "All dwarfs are bastards in their father's eye."
James H: Ned: "When I fight a man for real, I don't want him to know what I can do." Jaime: "Well said!"
Jim G: Ned: "He won't be a boy forever. And, winter is coming." It's the first use of "winter is coming" and foreshadows a lot about the show.
Eric H: Ned: "How did he get so fat?" Catelyn: "He only stops eating when it's time to drink."
2. Favorite casting? Least favorite?
Carissa P: I absolutely adore the entire cast. My least favorite would have to be Robb and Theon, because they look too much alike and I have a hard time telling which is which when they are not right next to each other.
James H: They did an amazing job with the cast. I'll start with my least favorite,which, definitely has to be Catelyn. I always imagined her a tad younger and prettier than that. The more and more I think about it, the more I realize they absolutely nailed the casting for Jaime Lannister.
Jim G: My favorite is a tie between Eddard and Aria, both fit the description exactly from the book. My least favorite is Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, she just doesn't fit the image that G.R.R.M. gave from the book. Don't get me wrong, she is a fine actress, I just have trouble seeing her as Cersei.
Eric H: Really Jim? I'm loving Lena Headey as Cersei. But so far, I'd say my favorite casting would be Tyrion. Sure I pictured him as a little more deformed in the book, but that's probably just what the ignorant thought of dwarfs. Agreed with James on Catelyn for least favorite.
3. Any glaring omissions / differences from the book the bothered you? That you liked?
Carissa P: Not yet, but I know of some coming up that I can't share, because they would be spoilers. :-)
James H: So far nothing huge- only a few minor details. The first few chapters of the book after they find the direwolf pups are SO heavy w/ stuff about the children naming them that it's weird that you still have no idea what the names of the pups are.
Jim G: Nope, so far the only thing I have seen was condensing for time and pacing. Taking a book as "thick" as Game of Thrones and keeping the pace and timing is tough, they have done a good job.
Eric H: The only scene that seemed out of place to me was seeing Jaime and Catelyn's meeting prior to King Robert arriving in Winterfell. Maybe it was in there and I'm not remembering it, or maybe they inserted it for plot explanation for series newcomers. Either way, it was the only scene that seemed "off" to me.
4. Despite his stature, we may never be able to drink as much as Tyrion. But let's start our own Game of Thrones drinking game, anyways. Make up some rules!
Eric H: I'll start this one off. A swig of summerwine every time they say "Winter is Coming."
Carissa P: Every time Tyrion uses a foul word, someone in the room has to use it well in a sentence or drink. Forcing everyone to cuss AND drink.
James H: Do a shot every time a Lannister pays their debt!
Jim G: Each person watching should pick a champion, and when their champion swears, they take a drink!
5. Overall thoughts on the series and premiere?
Carissa P: You can read my review of the premiere for more details, but I'm astounded at how closely they followed the book, and how natural the differences felt within the story. The casting is perfect, the cinematography beautiful and the worlds exactly as I imagined. You cannot wish for more than that. I'd love to hear from someone in the comments their thoughts, especially if they have never read the books.
James H: So far? Absolutely amazing- as long as you read the book. There is so much history and detail in the books that doesn't really come across in an hour long episode that I can't imagine anyone that has yet to read the books a.) knowing what is going on and/or b.) missing crucial information that sets up scenes and interactions between people. Take the scene in Ned and Cat's bedroom- "I seem to remember your father and brother riding south because a king once demanded it." If you've read the book, that one sentence should send a chill down your spine! If you haven't, you probably wouldn't even notice she said it.
Jim G: have been waiting for years for this to make it to TV, I first heard they were adapting the book back in 2007 or 2008 and have been waiting to see it come to life! They have done an amazing job with the costuming, sets, and story in the pilot to really bring G.R.R.M. words to life... I hope it continues.
Eric H: Agreed with James that it's unbelievable... provided you read the books. Maybe HBO should include a copy of "A Game of Thrones" for each subscriber of HBO? But who are we kidding, with one of the largest fan bases, why would HBO even worry?