Spoiler free post - please use spoiler tags for anything in the books, not yet shown on TV
I'm coming a bit late to this subject, but can't see a thread on it. I've been avidly watching Game of Thrones on BBC TV. Anyone else liking it?
It's been described as the Sopranos meets the Lord of the Rings, which sounds about right. With a "low" fantasy medieval setting, it features quite a large and vivid cast of characters, plotting against each other (playing the game of winning the throne). The first TV season apparently covers the first book (A Song of Fire and Ice by George RR Martin) in a series of five with more to come. The second season has already been approved.
I was inspired by the TV series to buy the book and have been impressed by how faithful it is - the dialogue is mainly straight out of the book, which is written in a very contemporary and accessible style. (Although I find the constant alternating of character viewpoint from chapter to chapter very de-motivating for reading.) The plot seems quite intricate and involved - I love story lines that stretch over many seasons. The production values are of cinema standard - as you can see from a fairly jaw dropping opening clip (no spoilers - it's just the opening 15 minutes):
One of the best things about the show is the casting and acting. Sean Bean is just Sean Bean, but reading his lines in the books, it is hard to see anyone playing the straight man role so convincingly. The Lannister twins are delicious - suavely malign. My favorite characters are Tyrion, the erudite sardonic dwarf, and Arya, the twelve year old tomboy. Even Mark Addy, the fat bloke from the Full Monty and the Tesco adds, does well as the king. The only false note may be the exiled young king in waiting, but then I think he's supposed to be rather absurd and ridiculous.
It seems another instance of American TV producing amazingly good stuff - far superior to what British TV or even Hollywood can manage. Quite a reversal of what was true 30 years ago. I wonder what has changed? I guess in part it's down to the rise of HBO (The Wire, True Blood, Rome, Band of Brothers etc.), but it does not seem confined to them (Lost, Battlestar Galactica, 24 etc all had their moments).