In all of the excitement of being out of town, I forgot to comment on the A Game of Thrones series aired Sunday evening on HBO. All-in-all a good first episode that didn't stray far from the story-telling of the book. There were a few trivial things which bothered me a bit, but nothing that so much distracted me from the plot that I couldn't get over them.
The pilot could have benefited from narration.
Without having read the books, the first episode may have been a little complex for viewers. Simple things, had you read the book, were not explained at all. This was probably done under the assumption that you either already knew or would eventually figure it out later.
Like the significance of the Weirwood tree, for example. With no explanation of what that place is, it really down-played the significance of the entire scene. The name and impact of Eddard Stark's greatsword is another example. Or the fact that, "Winter is Coming," isn't just a warning that it'll be cold for a few months until next Spring, but that those are the words of house Stark -- and that Winters in this place last whole lifetimes. The Stark children have grown up knowing nothing but Summer. "Winter is coming," should be a truly foreboding three words.
While I strongly dislike every little thing constantly being explained, in some cases, at least a little clarification would make 'getting into' the realm George R.R. has created a lot easier.
Blonds with black eyebrows.
I know it seems really petty, but it's something of a pet peeve of mine...
I'll be the first to tell people (usually artists as they constantly get this wrong) that people with light colored hair, often have darker colored eyebrows. That's just how it is. Why? I don't know. It just is. Bleach blonds usually have dirty blond brows, or even light brown brows. Brunette brows are usually a little darker or richer in color than the hair on their head. Red heads almost always have brown or auburn brows, etc., etc.
I understand that many of the actresses and actors chosen for the roles in this do not naturally have blond hair. That is fine. I also understand that dying your eyebrows and bleaching them in particular is quite a hassle. The hair there differs quite a bit from that on your head and doesn't take color well, or hold it for long as it grows quick. But! There is little excuse for simply leaving them stark black in contrast. Especially as an actress with a full color and styling team on hand.
The Lannisters are undeniably blond. Every hair on their body, with the exception of Tyrion, should be golden. Yet Cersei for some reason has blond hair and the blackest eyebrows you've ever seen. Like one of those dudes with black hair and a red beard -- it just instantly makes her look odd and unappealing. Which is the opposite of what Cersei Lannister is meant to be. She's supposed to be an enchanting woman, only truly rivaled in attractiveness by Jaime (who is just a remarkably beautiful man). However with her current appearance, the only captivation she instills is the desire to ask her what the hell is going on with her eyebrows.
The Targaryens take having fair hair to even more of an extreme. Thanks to selective breeding (Read: incest) they're all meant to have white-silvery hair and lavender eyes. Viserys and Daenerys have both gotten the hair right but have strange dark eyebrows. I give them credit, particularly on Emilia Clarke, as it appears they have taken methods in attempt to lighten their brows somewhat -- but they're still a little weird and dark for my taste.
Tyrion "The Imp" Lannister is some kind of tiny sex-pot.
The only true misrepresentation thus far has been the portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. Everything else is mostly just me being nit-picky, and ultimately can be forgiven without consequence. This one is kind of a big deal though. Let's get something straight folks: Tyrion is meant to be fugly. He's called "The Imp" for a reason and it has nothing to do with the fact that he is short.
When first encountered he is described as one of the most hideous people you'd ever have the displeasure of meeting. A man who is not only a dwarf, but has eerie mismatched eyes, uneven limbs, bad skin, a pronounced forehead, and facial hair so dark and gritty compared to his trademark Lannister blond hair that his entire person is just off putting. Add to the fact that he's got a sarcastic, jerky attitude and you have a man who is truly repulsive to 99.9% of the population. You should have no desire to get to know him deeper. No part of you should want to hop into bed with him. Even prostitutes give pause, and he's paying them.
I can kind of understand the desire to make him more appealing to the eye. Many people simply cannot relate to a character with little to no redeeming qualities, especially unattractiveness to that extent. But, taking away his ugliness -- to the point of actually making him attractive is so steep a change that it actually damages the story. Sorry Peter Dinklage.
Overall though I'm actually quite pleased with the show and it's direction. I am curious to see more. Ending the first episode where they did was a very smooth move. Any confusion-based doubt which may have had new viewers (people with no knowledge of the books) on the fence about watching next week was probably expunged by the manner in which they chose to end the episode.