In this episode of “A Cast of Kings,” Joanna and David discuss first episode of the first season of Game of Thrones, “Winter is Coming.” Use this chart to follow along with your own book-reading.
Publish Date: Jan 12, 2021
for this episode, we watched Season one Episode one We also read through, uh, Denarius a second chapter in the book Game of Thrones on. So if you wanna follow along, watch Episode one, read through about 100 pages of a game of Thrones. Denarius, Chapter two. This episode was directed by Tim Van Patten, who did a bunch of Sopranos episodes. Bunch of Boardwalk Empire episodes hasn't really come back to the Siris in later seasons of Game of Thrones, right? Uh, they've really kind of done their own thing. They're there and, you know, ah, lot of directors like Neil Marshall. He's not doing the show anymore, either. Eso they're really kind of. I feel like developing their own talent, you know? They're doing their own thing. They're doing kind of new things each season. Well, they rotate in and out. You know, they've got a couple people they usually have, like a couple directors that overlap. And then they'll bring in, like, two new directors or anything like that s O. But they obviously have it down to a science at this point at this, uh, this early point during Episode one, uh, they were you know, according to Brian Coughlin, when he was on our show, they were still kind of figuring out how to do this show how to shoot this show. Um, what the show would actually be Game of Thrones is currently one of the most successful cable television shows of all time, but it's easy to forget that when this episode was first released, uh, there was no assurance that it would last past the first season, right? I mean, it's very easy, like looking back on it. It's hard to even imagine ah, world where Game of Thrones not a cultural phenomenon, but back at the time. I mean, I remember Amelia Clark was saying in interviews how she she never thought that the show would be a success or she wouldn't have guessed that it would have been. I mean, the TV, you know, it's It's harder to imagine now because the TV, like the TV landscape, is so full of game of Thrones knockoffs that it doesn't seem so weird. But it was. It was a bit of an outlier when it first started, and it got it got pasted, Um, in the New York Times review, there was a like, really, really negative slate dot com review. There were just a bunch of really negative reviews that a bunch of the book readers I remember. I remember very, very distinctly when those reviews came out. Because the book readers who loved the Siri's were just so outraged at this, they felt like the show is being dismissed. Is stupid ren fair? You know D D fantasy stuff. So, yeah, so genre shows can work, man. Apparently so apparently so. But yeah, it is. It is just remarkable to think of how far the show has come in the meantime. So anyway, for the first time ever on a guest Kings, I am reading the books along, and but we're primarily going to discuss this as a show and kind of talk about some of the some of the book elements here and there. So let's get into it then, eh? So let's start with the very first scene. So this is one of the few episodes in the entire Siri's that has a cold open, actually did have a cold open. Yeah, it was a Cold Open, which is basically something that happens before the main title sequence, which, um, generally never happens. Generally, it's previously on game of Thrones and then main title sequence. But this had a cold open. And what an effective cold open it was right. Uh, so basically, we see three Rangers. They're looking for a wildling village, right? And, uh, and then they're attacked by white walkers, right? I promise. I'm probably not gonna go too much into the history of HBO's game of Thrones when it came out, but this is the scene that they released before, you know, they tease this online before this shows premiered a couple weeks before. And, you know, book readers just lost their minds because it looked so great. And, uh and it still looks great. I mean, the white walkers now are obviously quite different in design than they were in that first scene. But e mean, it's just the tensions there. It's beautifully shot. The wall looks amazing. E mean, it just it looks really incredible. The dead bodies oration design. It's all very atmospheric right off the bat. So I'm gonna point out some very basic things about you know, the implications of adaptation on my observations on this front will probably get less and less as time goes on. But it is a vory eso I'll just say I just confess that I generally don't read fiction books like it just there's a in general, I just don't read fiction books on therefore deprive myself of a lot of culture. I generally just prefer non fiction, So that's why I never read fiction. Eso this is I haven't read fiction fiction book and probably years. So this is my first kind of fiction book in a very long time. And in reading it, I'm I'm struck by a lot of different things that I'm impressed with and also that I just just never even occurred to me, right? And one of the things is very basic is, uh, in a book. Generally, any minor character needs a name of some kind. Uh, you know, in a show there's, like, extras, background artists, and they might you might never know what their names are, but it's just weird in a book, if anyone has a speaking part to just say this guy or the horsemen like that actually draws more attention to it than if you actually just give them a name that never shows up again, right? Right. Eso I did find that was interesting. All these people get names in the book, and I don't They might have names in the show, but they're not certainly not prominent names or names that we remember, right? Right. And I mean, yeah, and and not only names, but, you know, they all get a back story. And the thing you know, the thing that George R. Martin does I want to say in each of his books, Yeah, in each of his books is there's a prologue with a narrator that you don't, um that isn't a main character. That's that's like a trick he uses in every single book on bond. Oftentimes that character doesn't make it out of the prologue alive. Um, and but yeah. So you're dropped in this world. You meet all these characters in the prologue, you're like, Okay, Got it. Ray. Mar, Mar. Royce. Okay. He's this guy. Okay, I got it. And then he's dead. And it doesn't matter if you're like Oh, okay. But those were like the joys and then also the drag of George R. R. Martin because he will give back stories Thio every character he's obsessive. There was this American life this week where you heard George R. R. Martin talking about J. R. Tolkien, and what made his universe is so compelling was the obsessive detail. And obviously Martin has picked that up from Tolkien and just given obsessive detail to his books, and that can make them rich, and it can make them drag at the same time, So