It’s mere hours away from season 4 US premiere of Game of Thrones – and a week to our local release – but HBO Asia had a treat for fans of the show and some members of the media: A special screening of the first episode, uncut. Still, after a rather sterling season 3 – can season 4 top it?
It might be the weirdest feeling to walk away from an episode of Game Of Thrones, but my main takeaway is that GOT is now … very funny. I’ve never laughed so hard and so consistently throughout and episode – not forgetting that this show can get very dark and tragic indeed – so I must say it’s very refreshing.
From Tyrion and Bronn’s verbal jousting to Arya’s time with the Hound, there’s a certain levity that one only had glimpses at in the previous three seasons. This alone makes this new season a must-watch – for me, at least.
But this change of pace doesn’t cost the show its gravitas. Pieces throughout Westeros continue to move into place, and the threads continue to weave towards whatever the showrunners have in store for us this season. This means that certain weaknesses of the series still remains – balancing all the stories while giving each episode the ebb and flow of a series isn’t easy – but I must say that each step taken in each tale seemed sure, and I was invested enough to be on the edge of my seat throughout.
It is a first episode, however, and one does spend a bit of time being reintroduced to the characters. But it’s a new one that might catch the eye – Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell is a great presence, and it looks like it’s worth taking note of him. Yes, his introduction harkens back to season one of Game Of Thrones, where censors would have had their scissors ready. There’s also a new actor in the role of Daario, and while Michiel Huisman gives another angle to the character, I must say it’s something I prefer better than the straightforward smugness of the previous rendition.
And yes – you will get the violence you so crave. The violence, nudity and (hints of) political intrigue still remain, and now with an added does of humour (lots of black humour too) means that this was a fun premiere to watch. I’m not sure how far the funnies will carry throughout the season, so we’ll have to wait and see.
The 180-seater cinema in GV Great World City was almost full with excited viewers (well, except for that one guy who snored midway through the screening), and some of them even had amazing costumes – including the HotFM crew of Shan and Cheryl. HBO Asia‘s done a great job with this premiere, so much kudos to them.