‘It’s okay. Someone will like this show.’
Game of Thrones has certainly polarized fans over its six (soon-to-be-seven) seasons, a tradition dating back to the comparatively simple days of Season 1.
This week Winter is Coming compiled some of the show’s early negative reviews (from a larger sampling at Wetpaint); Whether or not you agree, they’re hilarious to read now that we’ve seen the show’s wild popularity.
Ginia Bellafante, The New York Times:
How did this come to pass? We are in the universe of dwarfs, armor, wenches, braids, loincloth. The strange temperatures clearly are not the fault of a reliance on inefficient HVAC systems. Given the bizarre climate of the landmass at the center of the bloody disputes — and the series rejects no opportunity to showcase a beheading or to offer a slashed throat close-up — you have to wonder what all the fuss is about.
…Things start to feel cheap, and we feel as though we have been placed in the hands of cheaters. “Game of Thrones” serves up a lot of confusion in the name of no larger or really relevant idea beyond sketchily fleshed-out notions that war is ugly, families are insidious and power is hot. If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.
Nancy de Wolf Smith, The Wall Street Journal:
We’re back to the familiar favorites of the infantile:, e.g., spurting blood and gore, bastard sons, evil vixens, blond nymphets, quasilesbian action, crude talk among men about their private parts, incest, rough couplings and more random bare breasts than any other contender in the adolescent-boy-action-show contest this month.
When you’re three episodes into a series and still unsure which member of which family holds which nominal role in which ruling household, you may start asking whether the effort is worth the payback.
It’s also probably worth mentioning that sometimes "Game of Thrones" moves as slowly as a large army on foot and horseback inching its way across a bleak, endless, overcast Northern plain.
Oh wait, that’s exactly what it is and what they’re doing.
But the fact remains that franchises such as Game of Thrones…tend to repel those whose tastes in TV and movies are broad and omnivorous; we find ourselves intimidated by the required emotional investment. We don’t want to be hard-core fans of anything. We don’t go to conventions or write e-mails to our favorite authors. We want diversion for an hour or so, then we’ve got other stuff to do. Yon laundry and such.
…All of which is to say that even for the most open minds, “Game of Thrones” can be a big stein of groggy slog.
Spoiler alert, 2011 reviewers: We powered through.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres on July 16…not that we’re counting down or anything.