IMO: Game of Thrones

I was putting this show off for a long time. I really disliked how hyped it is. For some reason I hated how everyone is talking about it.
However, this summer I decided to catch up. I was fed up with spoilers all over the place - it was really hard to avoid them. Honestly, spoiling shows and films on purpose/without warning should be against the law, but unfortunately it isn’t, so it was about time to watch this thing.

Now, I’m not good at reviews, so I might not talk about everything I should. Treat this post (and all other IMO posts) as just opinions and thoughts rather than a comprehensive review.

Potential Spoilers Warning
I try to avoid direct spoilers, but I may talk about stuff that some people would consider a spoiler. If you haven’t watched the show yet, you should do it before reading this post, or any other topic about GoT on the internet for that matter. You have been warned.

The pacing is… strange

This show definitely does have a strange pacing. In general it mostly takes the time to develop story, and then suddenly there’s a twist and stuff happen fast. Such twists happen often, too, so it’s a strange balance. But this is not a negative thing. I feel like this gives a good overall effect: gives time to accommodate with what’s happening, and shocks when needed.

I found it surprising that plot twists and fast actions didn’t usually happen at the season finale, like it usually happens with TV shows. In fact, season finales happened to be slower than one or two episodes before them. Yet again, I consider it to be a positive thing - surprises are good in TV. And things are more surprising when they happen when least expected.

I can’t decide if I like them!

I like the characters, that’s for sure. Even if I dislike them, I like them. The thing about characters - my opinion about them shifted over the course of the show.

Most notable example is Jaime. I think anyone who watched the show will agree that at the beginning he was one of the most hate-able characters in GoT. Then he redeemed himself, just to go back to being an idiot. It happened multiple times. However because of this, by the later parts of the show I was neither hating him or loving him. He was there, an integral part of the story, and sometimes I could applaud his behaviour, while the other times I would just go “this idiot should just die already”.

I have similar feelings about the Hound. However with him it was way more straightforward, as he simply became better over the time.
Varys is an another example of a character I couldn’t decide what I feel about. My opinion of him was changing from episode to episode.
The same can be said about many individuals in this story. Theon, his sister, or even Robb Stark (yes, I had mixed feelings about him, don’t hate me for this).

Some characters were just hard to dislike, though. My favourite characters, Jon Snow and Tyrion, I always liked no matter what happened. I bet they’re ones of favourite characters of everyone, and that’s for a good reason. However I can’t tell what the reason is. They were just great characters, and Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage did a great job on the set. I must also say Jorah and Sam also were among my favourites - honestly, the cast did an incredible job!

Speaking of great cast, I can’t not mention Lena Headey and Jack Gleeson. They had roles of probably the most hated characters in the series. The thing is, Cersei and Joffrey were meant to be hated. And I think everyone universally did hate them, which means the actors did it just right. Applause to them for that!

One more controversial opinion I have is about Deanerys. I disliked her at first, and I bet it was caused by all the hype around her - she was all around the place. Hell, even one of my exes was setting herself to be “khaleesi”. Because she got so much love, I felt I need to distance myself from her. But I gotta admit, she did grow on me over time. I can’t say I ever loved her as much as most GoT fans, but I definitely went from slight disliking to just liking. That said, Emilia Clarke is definetely a good actress - she was able to convey Deanerys’ emotions more than all other cast with their characters.

What I didn’t like though is that the show set a “good” and “bad” sides and made it very visible. Of course, not all parts of the conflict in the Game of Thrones had that, but it clearly occurs that Starks side are the good ones and Lannisters side are the bad ones. Such approach does make sense, but I really wish there was more subtlety in that.

The “wows”

There’s definitely some large amount of shock value in GoT. Nudity and gore were in almost every episode of the show. While I usually am just okay with these, I must admit, while I am pretty resistant to violence on the screen, there were a few moments that I had to look away from my monitor while watching. It didn’t occur often, but I can barely think of any other show that caused me that, and GoT achieved that.

GoT has got plenty of “wow” moments. I’ll try not to get into spoilers too much, but some moments, like the red wedding, left me with “wow” on my face. I didn’t really like the characters involved as much (don’t worry, I didn’t hate them, they simply were just on my “okay” list), but I still felt shocked by the action twist. And since I didn’t feel much connection with these characters, I believe it really shows the weight of plot twists in this show.

That said, not all moments were “wow” just because of something unexpected happening. Especially in the later seasons, I caught myself pressing “go back 10 seconds” button simply because something looked epic. And some of the less visually appealing moments were seriously empowered by the soundtrack (especially the scenes involving dragon queen or Melisandre). And speaking of soundtrack…

The intro

… the intro is amazing. And I am not talking about the animation itself, even though it’s great too. The soundtrack in the intro is a masterpiece. Seriously.

I believe the right intro plays a great role in how we perceive the show. If intros are great, then whenever the show starts, you know you did the right thing by pressing the “play” button. It just makes you want to watch the thing. And I must honestly say, GoT intro joins The 100 and The X Files on my list of the best TV intros.

I no longer wonder why it became iconic. And why Leo made a cover of it…

The last season

Last thing I want to tackle is the controversy of the last season.

You’ll see many people arguing that the last season completely ruined the show. People keep shouting “bad writing” and all that. Now, let me get it straight - I respect other people’s opinions, but a ton of the people crying didn’t say anything constructive at all. Many couldn’t back up their claim, and only stick to “it’s shit” as an argument.

The second last episode left me in “wow” emotion (although I wasn’t really surprised by what happened), and the last one was really slow paced, which IMO fit GoT story very well - soothing after a lot happening in the show. While many people hated it, I believe it was okayish.

However I have to agree that the last season definitely feels rushed. This one is true, and I can’t disagree with it. The story should be expanded, more thought should be put into writing, and all that. The show deserved a more elaborate and thoughtful ending. And some of the evolving plots never came to conclusion. Directors forgot about some things, made some illogical story turns etc too.

Update: 04.02.2021

Originally I said that the final season was actually good. Over time I changed my mind a tad, so I updated this section. I still don’t completely hate it, but I see why people are mad about it.

Yes, I admit it - I now think that the ending flopped.


My opinion?

GoT is a fine show. I liked it. I still think it was bit overhyped. But over the time the show indeed did grow on me, and I must say it’s actually very decent - just not as good as people hyped it to be. The ending was really rushed and a drop in the show’s quality, but overally the show deserves a decent mark.

But yes, this is a purely subjective verdict.