I was surprised at how slow much of Game Of Thrones is

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

I was sick for a week, so I finally got around to watching Game Of Thrones. I was surprised by several things.

1.) The show is very boring for a long time. Nothing of interest happens during the first 3 episodes. In episode 4, Mrs. Stark arrests Tyrion Lannister, setting off a war between the Starks and the Lannisters.

2.) The first two seasons are fairly boring. If I hadn’t been sick, I would not have stuck with the show. It’s length becomes an advantage if you have a fever and therefore lack the energy to find something else to watch. How did this show survive? I have to assume it was initially supported by folks who had read the books and thought the books were very good.

3.) There is less sex than I thought. Over the years, I’d seen articles about Game Of Thrones. They made the show sound like one long orgy. So I was surprised at how little sex there was. Each season there are one or two sex scenes that seem like soft porn, but the show doesn’t deserve the reputation it has.

4.) The show is a wild mix of strong and weak characters. The only reliably interesting character is Tyrion Lannister. He is a political mastermind, and watching him operate is like watching a good political movie like Lion In Winter. If he was the main character of the show, then I think I would like this show very much. Sadly, he is one of many characters. There is never enough of him and there is always too much of everyone else.

5.) Most of the plots with the children are weak. Games Of Thrones apparently set out to be an omnibus of fantasy tropes, so there is a bit of everything, including political intrigue, dragons, magic, and children who go on quests. All of the children stories are initially boring, but Sansa’s story eventually becomes interesting, and Arya’s story eventually becomes something that actually interests me. But there is a horrible sub-plot about their brother Bran, who goes on quest to find the Three Eyed Raven. This sub-plot was so incredibly boring that I started to hit the fast-forward button whenever he was on screen. Terrible.

6.) The story is epic in a way that I’ve never seen before. I mean especially the length of time it takes for all of the sub-plots to come together. Daenerys I Targaryen, has an independent story line for the first 6 seasons! I’ve never seen anything like this before. Stories have had off-stage characters at least since Troy, but I can’t think of a similar case, where a long epic maintains separate story lines, almost to the end of the story. That’s more like the kind of gimmick I’d expect from a 90 minute mystery movie. Her story might have worked better as an independent movie. There are a lot of interesting ideas in her storyline, such as the importance of freeing the slaves in her conquered territories, but the show rushes through a lot of it, so I ended up being bored. If they don’t have time to go into the nuances of rulership, then what is the point of the show?

7.) Prophesies don’t come true. I like this aspect of the show, as it seems like an original contribution to the genre. Brannis is told he must sacrifice his daughter to win favor from the gods. This trope seems stolen from the Illiad, when Agamemnon must sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. But in the Illiad, the sacrifice works, whereas in Game Of Thrones it leads to nothing.

8.) Why do people like this show? While there are some strong characters and some interesting story lines, it seems to me there is enough boring stuff, that I am a bit surprised that this show caught on the way it did. I wonder what the core thing was that hooked the audience?