After watching the first, it struck me that this was the first motion picture with English dialogue I've seen in what feels like ages. That aside, it was a wholly enjoyable adaptation of the novel series. My complaints regarding it are simply two in number. As a forewarning, I'm not well-versed with the movie making industry, so what might be a praise from me may indeed be complimenting something exceedingly basic all movies and such use, and, thus, not much of a compliment at all.
Complaints coming first, I felt the way they introduced characters was somewhat lacking. Even I, who had read the books, albeit quite some time ago, had a hard time placing the actors to their characters. Some, like dear Tyrion or Sansa, were very easy, but it took me too long to realize who Snow was. It would have been better if the actors addressed by name the person they were speaking too. For me, I didn't even realize the actors in the beginning with the wolf were, in fact, Ned and his sons. Ned, I got, but my understanding that his sons were with him there too didn't come until the handing of the pups.
For a viewer who had not read the books to know, at least, what characters there were to watch for, or, for example, that the king's queen had a twin brother, or that their family numbered the queen Cersei, Jamie, and the dwarf Tyrion, it would have been very difficult, I feel, for them to keep up.
The second complaint was exactly the same as I said I heard another complaining of >>5496 here. While, hearing that complaint the first time, I felt it was said solely out of lust, after watching the first episode, I understood what the original poster meant exactly. The actors were too old. Granted, this being the Western world, I can understand why the directors and such were averse to using actual 13 year olds for Dany and Sansa, particularly Dany, who is shown nude multiple times, and I understand they likely wanted to avoid using off-camera scenes regarding Dany, but I still couldn't help but feel the images of the actors and the images of their parts were too off. Well, to be frank, the actor playing Dany was, in my opinion, too chubby (Pardon me, "healthy" for a 13 year old, and had much too plain a face for the great Daenerys Targaryen, and it was exceedingly jarring to see the actor playing Sansa say she was only 13 and hadn't had her first period yet. Also, so as to not solely complain about ugly women, Jon's actor was too old as well. Though he did have nice hair, seeing, what I believe was, a mid-twenty year old actor play Jon's immaturity regarding his willingness to give up his home and family for a lonely life on the frozen wall felt too with this adult saying the lines. The discrepancy between their projected roles and how the viewer perceived their roles was too great, in my opinion. Oh, on a somewhat related note, I thought it really odd that Drogo had really white teeth. You know, for a Dothraki...
But enough of my complaining about the actors' looks. The first episode managed to nail the personalities and characters of the various characters extremely well, I felt. My favorite, Tyrion, was portrayed really appropriately as the raunchy halfman he was, though they haven't had the opportunity to show the other side of his personality, and they haven't betrayed Cersei's true character yet as I feared they might. I do think that they haven't given Ned the amount of endearment to the viewer as a reader would have gotten from the books, but perhaps more of that will come in the following episode. They did, I feel, do properly with Catelyn's personality, fleshing it out as the caring wife really fittingly. Also, though I don't believe he has had any lines as of yet, the actor to play Joffrey was perfect for portraying his character. Handsome, but a bit stuck up, just by looking at him. I feel that Sansa's gushing over him could have had a bit more weight to them, but was still, overall, greatly done to depict her character.
The opening bit with the map of the land was really well animated and it had me smiling all the while seeing the game board open up like that. The music was notably suitable as well, and I have to applaud the lack of censorship for a family-friendly show. To put it simply, this show is gratuitous in its presentation of, as one other viewer put it, "tits, ass, and sex." Or he could have said gore, rather than sex. I can't remember.
Nonetheless, it was extremely atmospheric to see sex held in such little regard, as opposed, perhaps, to the good Christian movies out today. I felt it really helped portray the king when they had him gripping, slapping, and groping the ass of the fat lady serving drinks, all while his wife watched. That, and, naturally, Tyrion's scene with the whores. Though, concerning that, maybe my memory of the books is foggy, but I thought it odd to see Jamie and Tyrion act so brotherly in that scene. Like I said, I could be remembering the books wrong, it has been some time since I've read them, but I was certain that Tyrion, least of all, hated Jamie almost as much as he hated Cersei.
Characters aside, I was really impressed with the detail put into the setting and props. As I said way before, this may be wholly natural to shows now, but I, at least, was impressed at how they showed the barren winterlands without being too overbearing with it. How they dealt with the dead also impressed me. The bloated, severed parts of the wildlings, and that I could even see maggots crawling on the face of the mauled deer, I felt, really helped with the impact of the scenes of death when they occurred.
Personally, I can't wait until Lysa and Littlefinger show, but that will probably be quite some weeks from now. Indeed, with this next episode, I hope they deal with it properly so I can feel my heart bleed once more as the axe bleeds.