As we’ve noted, HBO very kindly sent us the six episode screeners that critics received earlier last week, and we’ve rather devoured them all. Linda and I have spent a good deal of time considering and discussing them, and we’ve written an article sharing—in a non-spoiler way—our first impressions. It’s very long, so for those who haven’t the time, here’s our final paragraph that sums things up:
From the point of view of extremely invested fans such as ourselves, the things that we wish were there that aren’t give us a pang, but there’s so much to be joyful about, the gracenotes, the acting, the visuals, the direction, and the writing [or, to put it more clearly, Linda and I loved it even while feeling that some things had to be sacrificed that we’re sorry to not have on the screen]. But we need to emphasize that we don’t believe that viewers unfamiliar with the books will have the same concern. There’s enough meat in the show, there’s enough depth, that those who are entirely new to it will find something to enjoy. It is really well done fantasy, unlike anything ever produced for television. It is a quality drama, a rewarding one, and we think those who stick through the dizzying number of characters, plotlines, and locations in the first two episodes will be appropriately hooked. If you want the full depth and complexity of the world, all the nuances and subtleties, there’s always the books to turn to.
If you want more, read out first impressions.