Tonight marks the beginning of the Passover holiday for those of the Jewish faith, and so some of us may be at our parents’ houses right now, sitting in our old bedrooms. It’s hard to say who’s doing that, impossible even, and I’m certainly not pointing fingers or naming names. There is simply no way to know who is or who is not at their parents’ house today and who may have even gotten into town last night, and who, upon getting into town, remembered that his or her (?!?) parents did not have HBO because they have never had HBO and when some of us were growing up, again, who knows who this happened to, but that was a constant source of frustration, because having HBO was a status symbol, like Marithe Francois Girbaud jeans, or Mazda Miatas, and some of us may have desperately craved that status not to mention were very curious what this whole Dream On was all about. In any case, yesterday, upon arriving to this theoretical parents’ home, it’s entirely possible that some of us remembered that we were now going to be missing the highly-anticipated premiere of Game of Thrones, and we may have even given our mother a hard time about not having HBO, and our mother might have explained that she doesn’t watch enough TV to warrant spending the extra money on a premium channel, and, although it goes without saying that I’m merely speculating here, I have no idea what people do in the privacy of their own parents’ home, some of us may have found this argument from our mothers uncompelling and even gone so far as to compare our plight with the Jews escaping Egypt (topical). But worse, of course, because there was no time for Moses to lead one’s parents HBO. And so, last night, it’s entirely reasonable to believe that at least one regular reader of this site probably, not sure, ended up on some weird German streaming website that had the first episode of Game of Thrones up in a low-rez player that was passable for getting a sense of the series although nowhere near an ideal viewing set-up, and so some of us may have only caught a small, pixelated, constantly buffering version of the first episode, and missed the second episode entirely, but still feel confident in saying that this show is GREAT and promises to deliver everything that anyone who was looking forward to it had hoped, but with the reservation that he or she would still like some time to watch it properly and at the very least to be caught up narratively (although he or she may have actually read the books a million years ago NO NERDO and kind of has an idea what’s up but also kind of not because it is not like he or she keeps carefully drawn maps of The Narrows and The Winter Keep or whatever the hell). That seems fair. Good luck, whoever you may be!

Comments (107)
  1. Oh no, can anyone else verify that this show is great? Because if it is actually great, then I’m going to need to bump some show from my lineup. I am straight up running out of time for great television shows, and I just don’t know how to cope. These guys* know what I’m talking about.

    *orphans.jpg

  2. This doesn’t seem like my sort of thing, really. Mostly because my sort of thing is not wearing shirts that have dragons and/or wolves on them while discussing whether or not Gandalf could take on the Ghostbusters or whatever.

  3. Happy Passover Gabe and other Jewish monsters, Jewsters ™?

  4. I would like to watch this show and enjoy it, but I’m afraid that my neighbors will see me through our window and I will be labeled a “nerd” by my community. Is there some way for me to enjoy this in secret?

  5. Despite some considerable time playing AD&D in high school (sorry ladies, I’m engaged) I can’t stand fantasy for some reason. I just don’t enjoy it, even though I nerd out on everything else.*

    My point is, I watched this and got bored. Sorry, my nerd friends, you must continue this journey without me. Now to work on my Ood costume in anticipation of Saturday’s Doctor Who premiere!

    *To you fantasy types, I guess a cleric cast an unbreakable ward of fantasy enjoyment on me upon my birth.

    • Confession Time: I have never seen a full episode of Dr. Who, even though my brother has all of them on DVD, as well as many of the comics. Guys, being white and nerdy is hard.

    • No man, don’t quit. You’re one of my faves on here.
      Game of Thrones (or “Googol of Tits”, to those of us who were overwhelmed by all of the boobs… just wait for the breast-feeding 8 year old…) is a really awesome story.

  6. I haven’t ready the books (though I think my sister did, so they’re probably in my parents’ basement somewhere). Is it worth me watching the show, or would it make no sense? Are the books really good, good enough that I should read them even though I already have a stack of probably-good books I want to read?

    • These books are good enough to drop whatever you are reading and start reading them. I was kinda cool in high school*, even winning popularity contests and such**, but I’m telling you, these books are the best.***

      *I enjoy Jane Austen, and also the Sookie Stackhouse books. I have only read one Tolkien book and liked it a lot.
      **My graduating class had less than 150 ppl.
      ***I’m telling you, these books are the BEST.

    • The books are amazing, although the show seems to be hitting all of the material well… but i’d recommend the books to anyone. They are beautiful, thrilling, badass and tragic.

    • How good are the books in your stack? I mean, are we talking a stack of Dostoevskys, here, or just, like, Terry Brooks?

  7. If I wanted to see a show about a guy who talks creepily about his family, I’d watch the Paul Reiser Show.

  8. Uh, I kinda hated it. The dialogue was really terrible. EXTREMELY misogynistic. It seemed like the screenplay was written by a 14 year old. But I want to read the novels now, to figure out what the fuss i about.

    • I see what you’re saying, but doesn’t it make sense that the characters in a quasi-medieval, patriarchal society would be kind of misogynistic? I don’t think the show’s endorsing misogyny or anything.

      • You’re right about context. But there’s no reason to be so leering during the scene where the brother is about to give his sister away. And that conversation, “Have you bled yet?”. And the ceremonial dances during the wedding? Yuck.

        • Oh, yeah. Tooootally gross ceremony. dancing. My wife and I thought they should have named the show “Game of Doggystyle”.

        • Again, with the context: the brother is a (perhaps sexually) abusive monster, and they come from a family that traditionally married their own siblings (c.f., the Lannisters, who are currently incestuous, but are not traditionally so), so their relationship is…complex. So the leering was pretty much par for the course with him. The terrible, misogynistic grossness of the whole thing is kind of the point (c.f., “I would let 40,000 people fuck you if I get the throne back”)

          Also with the ceremonial dances: the Dothraki are a barbarian hoard whose culture is basically built entirely around sex and death (life is short when you’re basically always at war, after all). It’s probably at least a bit racist to have the only colored people in the show be so wildly primitive and “other”, but again, the misogyny is sort of the point.

          Also also, not to be spoilery, but Daenerys will…uh…grow substantially as a character, shall we say. So to a large extent, the twisted misogyny that she’s currently surrounded by is setting up her character’s development. One of those trials by fire sorts of things. Of course, whether or not it’s inherently misogynistic to use sexual abuse as a character-growth plot point is certainly up to debate, but it’s at least another factor to consider.

          But yeah, I have a bit of an ongoing debate with some friends over the degree of misogyny in the books. There is a lot of it, and deciding how much is necessary to the story, and how much is just gross, is definitely up for debate. I will say, though, that while the treatment of women is absolutely terrible at some points, there are also a number of incredibly strong, complex female characters, which I think makes it harder to lay a blanket claim of misogyny on the entire series.

          TL;DR: last night’s episode was pretty ok!

          • That makes a little more sense. I know next to nothing about the overall narrative so it may be premature judgment. I’m eager to read the series, as it seems like the ick factor might be turned down on the page. I’m also willing to stick with the show for a few more episodes. However, I think that, even if the character’s misogyny is justified, the show creator’s decided, “Huh. It seems like our reams of expository conversations are dragging the show down a bit. Why don’t we throw some tits on the screen every fifteen minutes to make sure everyone is still awake.”

          • no, purplemonk, the book series is VERY tits and rape heavy. i agree that the books are misogynistic, but i also don’t feel like you could reasonably set a book series like this in a world with modern ideas of, say, sanctity of life or equal opportunity for all. the entire point of the time and place is that the strongest survive by chewing up the weak. hence the catchphrase about how in the game of thrones you either win or you die. kick ass or get raped a bunch. while this obviously isn’t supposed to be a historically accurate portrait of any time or place, it’s not hard to imagine that everyday life in feudal periods of any culture were heavy on rape, child-fucking and serious injustice.

            one of my favorite things about the book series is that it’s totally unflinching. yes, it makes you wonder what’s going on with george r. r. martin that he’s thinking of incest and rape so much, and it’s not a world that is enjoyable to spend mental time in sometimes, but it certainly raises the stakes a lot higher than a series that’s all spells and magical escapes.

          • Trial by fire, almost literally!!
            uhhh super lame nerd comment, but dragon blood is way cooler than tiger blood.

          • the Dothraki are a barbarian hoard whose culture is basically built entirely around sex and death (life is short when you’re basically always at war, after all). It’s probably at least a bit racist to have the only colored people in the show be so wildly primitive and “other”

            It is totally racist. I love Song of Fire and Ice, I have been a fan for years, and the racism in the books is barely tolerable (as if any form of racism is tolerable, but ANYWAYS), but HBO managed to make it even MORE racist, which is pretty amazing. When you have a cast on a show that is based on European medieval times and therefore dictates almost everyone is white (fine.), then be so so CAREFUL with the few brown characters you have.

            I’m very disappointed that HBO took out the one redeeming aspect of Drogo and his crazy brown ways, which is that he is incredibly sweet with Daenerys from the start. Not to be grosso, but the very fact that their first round of sex is her on top instead of getting raped from behind is A BIG DEAL.

            This is not a dealbreaker, but I don’t want to feel like, as a woman of color, I have to defend this series to women and people of color. “It’s just the first episode, it gets better” vs. defending your racist/sexist boyfriend, “You just have to get to know him better.” I’m sure it will, but I feel like a hypocrite :(

          • New Sound: actually, while Drogo did eventually manage to coax a “yes” out of dany the first time around in the books, the scene cuts out right after that. She doesn’t do the whole mounting him thing until significantly later. In between there is a period where things aren’t particularly pleasant for her.

      • You are right R2, but it seems like they could have taken artistic license as to not do that, or at least include it in a more tasteful way. Then again the dragon eggs were the most realistic I’ve ever seen.

        • the new sound, i was kind of bummed by how brutal drogo and dany’s sex was, too. i just reread the books and i remembered it being a, yes, not entirely pleasurable, but not her just being terrified and raped. he wasn’t as icky in the books, and was genuinely kind of upset that dany was crying. this way makes it seems even more icky that necessary. also, we kind of have to see their initial sex as more tender than expected in order for the evolution of dany’s feelings to make sense.

          it’s possible that my racism-meter is miscalibrated towards being overly generous but i didn’t feel like the horse lords were especially dark-skinned. there were some black people in the group shots, but a lot of them were light skinned, and drogo looked like dave navarro.

          • I think I’m reacting to the general outdated Tolkienesque model of fantasy, where it’s geographically based on Europe and any non-white characters exist on the fringes, their cultures drastically and overdramatically different. Why do brown people have to be hot-tempered and close to the earth and half-naked and “life is short, so let’s fuck and kill”? Do they exist only to reaffirm the emotionally controlled and cold white cultures?

            Now I’m just griping about the source material of the show, but it would have been cool of HBO to make changes that were for the better, not the worse. THREAD HIJACKING DONE SORRRRRRRRY!

          • It’s very much a case of it being important enough in the story that changing it would be difficult. They could have, hypothetically, cast the various races and groups “blind”, having everyone be essentially a mix regardless of their location, but they can’t really just change how certain groups are without fundamentally changing the story. If it was a totally new story, than yes, they could have made changes, but they can’t just make the Dothraki NOT be a barbarian horde since well, that is the entire reason they are in the story. To be the start of an army which could be used to take back the Throne.

            Similarly, while the world of the books/TV series is mysogonistic, there are a number of strong female characters that thrive either by working inside the system and using it to their advantage, as well as those that succeed in spite of the system.

            In general, the opening of the books gives you a VERY superficial look at many of the characters, so that as it goes on, it can go deeper and show they are much more than just what they first appear. Characters that start out as antagonists eventually become protagonists (the chapters are always from one character’s perspective, which changes from chapter to chapter, so in later books some existing characters start to get their own chapters to show their perspective).

          • i was kind of bummed by how brutal drogo and dany’s sex was

            This, always. I thought their relationship was surprisingly well-handled in the book considering how it’s started. I have the feeling that after this, her dedication to him later is going to become kind of creepy and Stockholm Syndrome-y, which is kind of sad.

    • I think you are supposed to be appalled. That was the point.

  9. How is this knight show different from all other knight shows?

    • On all other knight shows the knights are either sitting or reclining. Why on this knight show are they only reclining?

  10. Spoiler!

    The best part was at the end when that kid climbed the tower to watch this dude and this girl doin’ it, and the girl was like, “Dude! Prithee stop! We are bespied upon by a child!” And dude was all, *zips up*. And then, “What seeith thou, Child?” And the kid went, “My eyes rested upon naught! Upon my own Mother’s grave, I swear it to be true!” And the dude was all, “Okay then.” And then he knocked the kid out of the tower window! Whoa! Then the girl yelled, “OMG!” and “@.@”.

    I watched it while doing other things, though. I take it the dude and the girl’s doing of it was scandalous?

  11. So far, it appears that Game of Thrones has not been well received by the Monsters.

    However, this show is right in my Nerd Wheelhouse, so I’m definitely enjoying it so far. I’m not ready to say it’s awesome or anything yet, but that’s mostly because I haven’t seen enough in terms of plot an character development. I expect to be saying it’s awesome by May.

    • I really like fantasy too R2. But this seriously turned me off. I could have used about 60% less female nudity. And about 100% better writing. When Peter Dinklage can’t save the dialogue (His character is supposed to be clever and funny, right? Because he wasn’t.), you’ve got issues. I mean he was able to work with the Tiptoes script.

    • I liked it too. I haven’t read the books (they are now on the top of my “when my thesis is finished” reading list)

      My only thought is why the premium channels all jumped on incest this year. Game of Thrones is incest heavy, if The Borgias follows the (alleged) history it should be happening on that show, and most versions of the King Arthur legend have incest in there too, hence Camelot might get incest crazy soon too.

      Forgive me, but I just like my family. I don’t LIKE like my family.

      • Arrested Development was ahead of the curve on incest chic; the premiums are just catching up. Taboo-breaking or threatening to break a taboo is a great way to get your show some attention.

      • I’m confused. Did I just get downvotes for being AGAINST INCEST? I really didn’t think it was very radical to be AGAINST INCEST.

  12. this show had beheadings, followed by puppies, followed by little people!

    honestly you guys, if you can’t get behind those three things in one hour of television, i want nothing to do with you.

    • and BOOBS. and BUTTS. seriously, so much nudity. I was right to keep track of how many boobs there were by counting each one individually. Me and that crazy-one-boob-exposed-dancing lady must shop at the same Forever TwentyOne-Boob.

  13. Also, Gabe! Have you checked your HBO subscription’s ability to stream content on-line? I guess it probably wasn’t available yet when you watched it last night, if you wanted to watch it last night and that’s when you watched it. But maybe today?

    Or, actually… This isn’t directed at Gabe, but is more of a bit of advice for anyone who is in the hypothetical situation outlined in the introductory post.

  14. this is one of those things about which i know absolutely nothing. i do not have hbo (nor have i ever had hbo) and as a child i played a lot of organized sports. don’t get me wrong, i enjoyed books too. but i preferred books about post-apocalyptic worlds and salinas, california to fantasy. in fact, i thought gabe was distraught for the premiere of a video game…

  15. I read the books and watched the the first episode last night. I am confused was there two new episodes on last night? I just watched the first hour figuring that was it. I am now in a state of panic.

  16. FYI: I have not viewed this program as of yet

  17. “Why do you want HBO?”
    -Theoretical mother

    “It’s for my job, mom!!!”
    -Theoretical person

  18. As (somewhat) of a fantasy nerd I was totally all about this. In all fairness, it does go at a snail’s pace and there are a lot of minor characters to keep track of. (preposition ending sentence! argh!) However, I’ve heard from people who seen further episodes and they said by ep. 4 things really start picking up. I know that’s probably not much consolation for most of you, but all I’m saying is, try to stick with it people. I mean, how much were you into the first few episodes of The Wire? (not that I’m comparing this to The Wire)

    I know, I know tl;dr.

  19. I have yet to watch The Game of Thrones, so I can’t possibly comment on it, though, if I may, I’d like to hijack this part of the thread to celebrate the news that HBO is working with Tom Pranks to bring you Neil Gaiman’s American Gods as a miniseries.

  20. “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

    - Boromir

  21. Random thoughts:

    The books are great. Of the fantasy series for grownups that I have read, it ranks up there with the Belgariad and the Lord of the Rings. Book 1 is good, but Book 3 is where it soars.  

    The story is loosely based on the War of the Roses.  As a Shakespeare nerd, I love the fact that Tyrion is basically Richard III. There are a lot of other allusions that make for a richer reading.  

    Haven’t watched the series yet. There is apparently a lot of sex and nudity? It was in the books but in the background– I wonder if they are overdoing it. 

    • You can’t over do sex and nudity, bro, not in my book and/or opinion.

      Speaking of books, I’m almost done with David Simon’s Homicide book from the 80s when he embedded with the baltimore police dept homicide division and there’s a lot of the Wire in that, particularly the Snot Boogie scene that is at the very beginning of the first episode. “You got to let him play. This is America.” Rad scene.

    • I think the show is pretty much the same as the books in terms of graphic sexual nature. There is a lot of sex in the books, just stretched out. When the nudity/sex is condensed down to an hour long episode, I guess it seems overwhelming.

      But I thought the series premiere was excellent.

    • You get a scene of Viserys perving on Dany, Tyrion with 4 whores, and then a bunch of random boobs at Dany’s wedding. It was the random wedding boobs that seemed excessive to me, but it is a weird statement about our society that people seem to have fixated on the wedding boobs rather then the random extra getting graphically disembowled in the same scene.

    • Speaking of literary allusions, I can’t resist:

      “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” — Cersei Lannister in Chapter 48 of A Game of Thrones

      “Il faut vaincre ou périr.” [One must win or die.] —the Marquise de Merteuil in Lettre 81 of Les Liaisons dangereuses

  22. Count me in the group that really enjoyed it. I love me some fucked up medieval fantasy shit, though.

  23. well, as a HUGE game of thrones-head and fantasy nerd and general nerd, this show basically sizzled my brain with happiness, melting my mind into a puddle of goo. like, i died from how much i loved it, and then was revived by the second showing of the premier, immediately after the first, which i absolutely watched because GAME OF THROOOOOONES!!! (gabe, it wasn’t two separate eps, it was just repeated showings of the same ep. so, you can finally relax because you’re totally set. WHEW.)

    for people who haven’t read the series, my expert opinion is that they’re doing a great job so far hitting all the important points and slowly developing the characters and the world in which the story is set. any loathesomeness in the show can be fully laid at george r. r. martin’s (grand-high dragon poobah, author) door, and not on choices made by the writers. except for all the doggy/dragon-style sex, which really actually isn’t specified in the books. that was a weird choice, but so specific that it makes me feel like they did it on purpose. the casting is GREAT. also, the show bumps the ages of all the youngest characters up, it seems. this makes sense and, while not totally faithful to the books, isn’t an upsetting change so far. no one wants to see a 12 year old girl get raped by a dude with a long braid. or maybe they do, but that’s pushing the envelope for a show that’s already pretty envelope pushy, with the incest and boobs and stuff.

    did anyone on here read the books? i’m curious about what super fans thought. i’ve already discussed it some with the super fans on twittergum, but all y’all seem like n00bs. hope some of you n00bs like it. i’m not religious but i’m going to be religious for a bit a pray every night for this show to be a HUGE hit so they’ll make every book into shows.

    also, sorry, fellas, i’m happily married. (or, i was until last night, when i totally spazzed out about the show and possibly disgusted my husband so much that he’s secretly filing for divorce as we speak.)

    • I loved the books (at least the first 3) and I thought they did a great job.

      To be super, extremely nerdy I have to add that I’m pretty certain that doggy style in public is described as basically THE way to get it on for the Dothraki.

      • hahahaha, i almost made a point of specifying that the wedding humping was supposed to be “horse-style” but i didn’t because i felt like i might’ve gone too far with my nerdlery already! i’m glad you took the plunge. i was sort of confused why they set the wedding sex on a craggy beach area. that seemed like a needlessly uncomfortable setting for the sex. isn’t there somewhere flatter and less….craggy?

        i think the doggy style i was surprised by was cersei and jaime. that doesn’t seem like a position she’d enjoy. she seems like a cowgirl-style gal to me.

        i seriously have so much nerding in me, waiting to be let out. I AM FULL OF ENTHUSIASTIC THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS SHOOOOOOOW!!!

    • I read the books. I liked this alot. Aside from the problem I had with the way they did the fraternal twin fucking/ 7 year old attempted murder scene (Supra), I thought it was pretty good and interpreted the books nearly scene for scene. I read somewhere on the internet ( I think it was near the back somewhere) that as the episodes go along it is clear they are reusing castles to film in, since there are so many in the books. This starts to get confusing/ annoying when it becomes obvious.

      • i agree they could’ve made it a little clearer that cersei and jaime are twins. i don’t even want to voice any criticisms because i loved it so much, but i am not 100% on board with the portrayals of the lannister twins yet. both of them LOOK great, but so far i’m feeling like they’re a little flat.

        also, they’re making cersei WAY more sympathetic, right off the bat, than i felt like the books did. they’re driving home the point of how boorish robert is, but not what a big old See-You-Next-Tuesday she is, which i think will make the her character development over time less satisfying. when all you know about her is that she sucks and is gross, finally getting glimpses inside her head means a lot more. this way we’re already feeling slightly sympathetic towards her. look at what a barf bag her husband is! no WONDER she’s banging her sexy twin!

        • I loved the books and I also loved the premiere last night! I 100% agree with what you’re saying about Cersei’s introduction.

          The only thing that kinda ticked me off even a little bit was the way it left it with Dany and Khol Drogo….I mean, forgive my memory b/c I read the first book like 4,000 pages ago, but, isn’t he like super gentle with her and doesn’t she like totally LOVE being with him on their wedding night?? It just seemed like they left off with her basically forcing himself on her and I don’t remember it that way at all. (Side note: that actor is going to play Conan!)

          My husband was also a bit put-off bc Tyrion didn’t immediately appear to be as clever as he is (but I think that will come with time, I mean, it was only an hour, people! Give it a chance! :)

          • Khal Drogo was very gentle and maybe Dany didn’t LOVE being with him, it wasn’t as bad as she was expecting.

            As far as Tyrion goes, his first chapter in the book (I believe), he’s drunk off his ass and is kind of an idiot. So I think they’ve done him justice here.

  24. Why watch this nerd show when you can be like me when I visit my parents? All you need to do is watch countless episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation while scarfing down doughnut holes and Cheetos after your parents go to bed.

  25. i’m a bit of a fantasy nerd, but this just seems silly to me. It takes itself too seriously and seems convoluted. I really don’t like grownup fantasy books (except lord of the rings). I’ll just stick to susan cooper and madeline l’engle, thank you very much.

  26. Man, to think I was finally going to sign up for an account just to defend this series. There’s more nerds here than i thought. It feels like home.

  27. More like Game of BONES, right guys? Because nudity and sex? Bones. Sorry, I have been sitting on this joke for weeks.

  28. It was worse than Walking Dead, there I said it. I know the Oscars would tell us otherwise but British accents do not make shit shine. For that matter neither does moar boobs. Ugh so so so bad.

  29. and the emmy for most characters ever on a tv show ever goes to… this show!

  30. This show is Lord of the Rings with some crazy fucking wigs.

    • Except without the good vs evil and more with the one side vs another side vs another side vs another side vs another side and filled with grey on grey morality and the battles actually make sense (instead of being won by, say, gunpowder or an invincible ghost army) and without wizards and the entire plot is not hinged around a single action of magical artifact destruction that makes everything else completely meaningless

      But it is also medieval! And very large. More characters though. So many more characters.

  31. “I’m very disappointed that HBO took out the one redeeming aspect of Drogo and his crazy brown ways, which is that he is incredibly sweet with Daenerys from the start. Not to be grosso, but the very fact that their first round of sex is her on top instead of getting raped from behind is A BIG DEAL. ”

    Sorry, but this is completely wrong, the books have exactly the same procedure and the first few weeks of the marriage are in fact pretty much nonstop rape. The “on top”-thing comes a lot later.

  32. Fights to the death over sex in front of everyone because mating
    Midgets in whorehouses
    Brothers making sure their sisters are sexy enough to be given to the large tattooed football player

    Classic Middle Earth, you guys!!

  33. I finally got the imaginary balls to tell my husband that I was gonna watch some Renfaire sh*t, even if it interfered with the occasional Colbert Report. He got all huffy about it, then saw all the boobies and it was like when you watch those Appalachian women make chickens fall asleep by petting them.

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