I noted in my review of Mad Men’s season 7 premiere that compared to Mad Men, shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones are less thematically driven and more story oriented. This generalisation does something of a diservice to the way Benioff and Weiss shape the individual chapters of their Game of Thrones saga. Undoubtedly Mad Men doesn’t have the same narrative drive and sprawling scope of Game of Thrones, but neither is Game of Thrones simply a series that moves characters from A to B (very slowly) in order to fulfil the endgame of a complicated narrative structure. In the moments between the beheadings and wedding ceremonies, Game of Thrones episodes are cleverly composed to create, if not thematic unity, then at least a sense of cohesion that stops the show from becoming a series of disparate vignettes that just happen to take place in the same universe.
I’m not a religious man, nor am I especially blasphemous, but the only thing I could say after ‘The Lion and the Rose’ cut to black was:
Say what you will about Game of Thrones’ sometimes ponderous storylines, but the show is a journey, and if you stick with it, it will reward you and punish in unexpected ways as all great works of fiction should.
*Spoilers ahead. Although I’ve seen the first three seasons in their entirety I try to avoid any spoilers from beyond season 2. But if you’re super risk averse, I’d avoid reading this until you’ve completed season 3*
I ploughed through Game of Thrones‘ second season in roughly 5 days. I’ve realised that this is a good way for me to watch the show. The faster I watch, the less time I have to build things up in my head, the less disappointed I feel when certain plotlines don’t go anywhere or progress fast enough for my liking. For all the moaning that the show is all table setting that I did in my review of season 1, I do very much enjoy GoT. Purely from a production standpoint, the series represents the pinnacle in TV craftsmanship and polish, and the storytelling choices are often quite bold and outside of what is expected in TV, as per its source material. My main issue with season 1 was its lack of pay off.