We all know Game of Thrones is the biggest show on television. It is a pop culture phenomenon and is adored by critics and fans alike. The season 8 premiere set a series rating record with 17.4 million viewers and Hollywood insiders are already predicting that its series finale will be one of the most-watched of all-time.
While ratings have never been an issue for the show, not all critics were initially sold on the concept—or its execution. Here are five surprisingly negative early reviews of Game of Thrones.
1. "Game of Thrones serves up a lot of confusion in the name of no larger or really relevant idea."
"Game of Thrones is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half ... [It] 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."
2. "It is to television what the Spider-Man musical is to Broadway."
"Game of Thrones, one of the supposed biggies this spring, is a big letdown. Why is it so convoluted and punishing? It is to television what the Spider-Man musical is to Broadway."
3. "[It's] quasi-medieval, dragon-ridden fantasy crap."
"[It's] quasi-medieval, dragon-ridden fantasy crap ... There are unscalable slabs of expositionistic dialogue clogging the forward movement of the story. Sonorous and/or schmaltzy talk substitutes for the revelation of character through action. There is the sense of intricacy having been confused with intrigue and of a story transferred all too faithfully from its source and thus not transformed to meet the demands of the screen."
4. "Game of Thrones can be a big stein of groggy slog."
"[E]ven for the most open minds, Game of Thrones can be a big stein of groggy slog ... [It's] deadly serious about its thees and thous—a fantasy trope that pop culture has been mocking since Dungeons & Dragons emerged from the basement rec-room to invent Google."
5. "The rest of us may have a harder time sitting through Game of Thrones."
"Those who love the books will probably geek out on the series. The rest of us may have a harder time sitting through Game of Thrones."