‘Game of Thrones’ delivers first two episodes of promising new season

HBO’s headline locomotive has begun its third journey.

“Game of Thrones” is two episodes into its third 10-episode season, and is crawling at a measured pace as the writers reintroduce each storyline and character. But if the source material for season three is any indication – the first half of “A Storm of Swords,” the tertiary entry in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series – this season will soon build momentum and deliver a climactic cliffhanger.

Disclaimer: I’m a fan of the book series, and I’ve taken mental notes of diversions and edits from the page to the screen. I’ll try to minimize my bookworm bias as best I can.

With that being said, several scenes here or dialogue there added by the writers to make up for those edits is noticeably forced.

Where Martin has liberty to allot one character page time while completely shelving another, the “Game of Thrones” writers are stuck with rationing enough lines to go around. For example, while two major characters are discussing plot points, the camera cuts to the filler conversation of two minor characters nearby, just to remind the audience that they’re still in scene.

Each actor on the cast billing needs their check signed, and while the network wants to see the actors earn their keep, the writers could give them better dialogue to work with.

I’m also concerned about the “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss cutting corners in storyboarding and production as the ratings show no signs of dipping. Although providing a glimpse at the White Walkers in the closing shot of season two, the battle on the Fist of the First Men is completely cut from the opening episodes. Instead, Sam stumbles upon his surviving Night’s Watch brothers with a few blood splatters on their cloaks as the only indication of a massacre.

After their announcement that the third novel would span both the third and fourth seasons, Benioff and Weiss gave the impression that they would allow each story layer and character its moment.

But with the questionable edits and humdrum filler dialogue, I fear “Game of Thrones” is sinking into the mire of indolent production while sacrificing quality source material.



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