Yes, there you go - strongest rating for an HBO TV episode since the finale of The Sopranos - that's quite an achievement for the opening episode of a fourth season. Game of Thrones is far more popular than I ever expected it to be, and frankly it surprises me because, even after all that's stripped out of the source material, it remains a complex story to tell in the visual medium, what with all the parallel plot lines, numerous characters and the fantasy elements to boot. It's great that it's popular though, and another nice surprise is the renewal not just for one, but for two more seasons. This means we'll definitely get into A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons territory. Maybe George's publisher had a hand in this to get The Winds of Winter faster? A man can dream.
Upon reading this glowing review, which George proudly presents on his Not a Blog today, I noticed that the commentators on the page aren't nearly as enthusiastic as the reviewer, and this too is surprising. Allow me to quote this particular comment:
I watched the first season of GOT and found it mediocre at best; very little action, everybody standing around talking, that ridiculous invented language, and worst of all, no likable characters. I tried Season 2, got past 3 episodes and couldn't stand the gratuitous porn, even less action (everybody standing around talking even more; "turgid" is a very appropriate word), and the characters becoming even less likable. Gave up on it. Has to be the most overrated series ever; the real phenomenon is how so many people can think it's the best.
I'm like...huh?! The first season mediocre - at best? The fact that the main character is beheaded is in itself enough to lift it above mediocre; it's a daring story-telling move in a time when everything (well, almost everything) you see is based on the same tired formula. While I agree that there are lots of talky scenes, those scenes are generally well-acted, the costume and set designs are way beyond what you can reasonably expect from a TV show, and calling those few scenes where you see boobs for porn...While I agree that there are scenes that feel gratuitous because the nudity isn't really necessary, I find that people who think like this are fucking nuts. Boobs and pussies and dicks are in general nothing to fear, people. Most people have stuff like this attached to their bodies (sorry Varys) (oh, and sorry Grey Worm) (oh, and sorry Theon). Note that the person wants more action as in more violence, in a season that shows at least two beheadings, violence against children (including stabbing a disabled child with a knife), animals ripping into people's throats, a dagger thrust through an eye, and that's just from the top of my head. This is the shit you should say no to, if anything. But no, instead you complain that there are boobies, whine whine. Fine, so it is weird to watch two girls practicing the art on each other while Littlefinger holds a semi-monologue to get a point across. But I feel worse seeing Jaime stab Jory through the eye. Or the Hound slamming that Lannister soldier repeatedly on a dagger in this week's episode, that was pretty sickening.
Seems to me this person (and other commentators on that page) haven't really understood what they were watching.