Observations, with necessary spoilers, in no particular order:
1. Some of the actors seemed right for their part immediately (Sean Bean, for instance). Most of the others have grown on me. The little bastard playing Joffrey in particular has gotten the venomous, adolescent creepiness down just right as the series has developed. The actress portraying Catelyn is growing into the part as the plot development has started to remind me of why I don't like the character. And Peter Dinklage has exceeded even the highest expectations and achieved pure awesomeness (of course, he probably has the most fun and complex character in the whole series). Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister is also excellent. I loved his disdainful pronunciation — you may not bring that hoooooor.
2. Despite the violence and the fact that the plot is, to someone who hasn't read it, rather baroque, I think I've gotten Katrina hooked on it. I was considering playing a multi-season joke in which I convinced her that GRRM is a devout Christian and the whole thing is a Christian allegory and Hodor is a Christ figure and that "Hodor" is a bastardization of Aramaic words meaning "He is with us" and Hodor will eventually be crucified by, say, the Freys and then resurrected in the third season as a wight, but then I realized that this runs against my fundamentally lazy nature, and that also she bears a grudge.
3. Exposition uttered over gratuitous lesbian sex is still, ultimately exposition. I know it's HBO, but I thought some of the sex scenes were excessively gratuitous. I'm not saying I was offended, but it kind of took me out of the narrative.
4. The show-runners are making some good choices about cutting down vast amounts of writing, I think. I understand that they are not going to be hewing precisely to the division between the second and third books in framing Season Two — just as well, it would take some characters too far out of the narrative to come back. So far I'm happy with the dramatic changes they've made. For instance, Jon Snow choosing the brotherhood of the Night's Watch over his family was a good ending to that storyline for the season, and was faithful to the book, but the Night's Watch riding out in force was a great ending, and more suitable to this medium.
5. Did I mention that Peter Dinklage is awesome?
6. At the rate GRRM writes, HBO may overtake him before he can get the sixth book out. Maybe that will speed him up. Since the first season seems so successful, I wonder if they'll consider eventually doing the novellas about Ser Duncan the Tall, set a hundred years before. The first one, in particular, would make a great two or three-part miniseries.
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