There are so many characters, details and plot points that it’s a show that you have to pay attention to. For many people, such shows are a highly coveted dying breed genre in a medium rife with crap and schlock.
A lot of people I know that like it either have read the books themselves, or have a friend who read the books who encouraged them to watch the show and subsequently is “guiding” them through the show.
Or, they spend a lot of time online reading about the show, sort of like everyone did with Lost. It’s probably easier to do this weekly after each episode instead of when you “binge watch” it after the fact!
It isn’t supposed to be difficult to follow, but it does require the viewer to pay attention to it, and not just turn it on as background noise or as a colorful distraction while doing something else (the way many shows are viewed).
For people who like to use television as a diversion or distraction while performing other tasks, this is a drawback. For people who like a bit more depth and detail to their television, it is a bonus.
Podrick, apparently. “We’re talking about the same Podrick? The quiet boy in Lord Tyrion’s service, seems a bit simple?”
Seriously, the dense plotting, the sometimes unexpected genre-defying plot twists, some great dialogue and charaters (you could make an entire spinoff show of Tyrion and his bodyguard carousing, whoring, and talking and it would be riveting), and spectacular scenery all make it superior to damn near anything else on televisionright now. Plus, spotting all of the actors who look like knockoffs of more famous actors (when I dubbed Theon Greyjoy “Evil Luke Skywalker” there was mich applause from my fellow viewers). The plot(s) themselves are basically cribbed from The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire and various histories of the spread of Islam, the Mongol Empire, et cetera, with some fantasy elements, but while not terribly original they are well done.
The occasional gratuitous nudity and violence is just HBO making sure that you getmyour premium cable fee worth.
I never read the books but started a marathon viewing of the show in late April of this year until I was caught to see the last handful of episodes live.
It’s fantastic IMHO. I did have to supplement the viewing however by reading the Wikipedia episode plot summary after each show. It helped immensely. I often had a location or character misplaced and it brought everthing into line.
This isn’t a jab at it but it really is like a really big soap opera. Lots of characters, lots of seperate plots, gossip and backstabbing, climatic confrontations, etc.
I’m a fan of both the books and the TV series, even though I find both very hard to follow if I’m not paying strict attention. The books have literally thousands of characters. As someone who has trouble remembering names, I find it hell to keep up. But the story is so fascinating that I can’t give it up. I make frequent use of the Wki of Ice and Fire to remind me of who’s who and what’s what.
Pretty much exactly this for me. I am loving both the books and the series. I’m actually reading the series over since it’s been so long since I read them and since I’m not reading to “find out what happens” I find I am paying more attention to details. The Wiki of Ice and Fire is indispensable for keeping track of who is who. The maps there are helpful, too.
I’d be hesitant to go to wikis, myself, but I find Alan Sepinwall’s recaps over at HitFix/What’s Alan Watching to be useful and often thought-provoking if there’s anything I didn’t catch. Same goes for the AV Club. Plus, of course, when you’re watching it “live,” the threads here are great fun and helpful to boot; you miss or don’t follow something, you just ask (thereby unintentionally setting off a spoiler flamewar :p).