Thursday, 2 March 2017

Minifigures: Game of Thrones


Around a year ago my mother lent me her copy of A Game of Thrones which I read largely to annoy my wife, a follower of HBO's Game of Thrones TV series. I read all five books in the place of a couple of months, have re-read them three times since and regularly mail George R. R. Martin mispelt threats to cajole him into releasing The Wolves of Winter before he dies of being gigantically obese. I've still not watched the TV series because there's been enough dumbing down of good, detailed material I love in recent years, though I occasionally read summaries of the episodes to mock how badly wrong they got some stuff. The first season where they're using their own ideas especially sounds like a hoot.

Even with the series' habit of adding endless needless comic relief and misplaced dialogue Thrones was never going to be fodder for Lego's growing stream of licences, though. Thankfully the wide range of Castle figures meant plenty of scope for customs, which have then been cloned by the Chinese. A dozen figures are currently out, none of which sadly include Beric Dondarrion, the Blackfish or Bronn. BOOOOO.


Daenerys can lay a fair claim to being the lead of the franchise despite not having yet set foot on Westeros. This version is modelled on her early outfit and perhaps looks a little more ragged than its' meant to; the blue dress might have worked better. It's also got one of those annoying fabric dresses that have to be hooked on exactly the right way and still never look particularly good, which seems a real effort when she's got flat brown legs anyway.


Jon comes as close to being the male lead of the series as anyone, being one of the few conventional male heroes not to have been either killed or at least maimed across the show, though he did have to come back to life. The face actually does a really good job of making it look like he knows nothing while there's a good rendition of the Night's Watch uniform for the rest.


The only pukka Stark to get a figure thus far, Arya is one of the main protagonists and probably the only child who isn't hugely irritating even if she can be a brat at times. This figure nicely captures her tomboyish look with a bowlcut hairstyle and a well-detailed jerkin. Add in a short sword and she rounds out quite nicely.


Just about everyone's favourite character, apart from perhaps George's considering the endless piles of shit he shovels onto the little fella at any given opportunity. Naturally the medium of Lego means some of his physical quirks don't come across (not that the TV series maintained many of them anyway) but the figure does convey that he's a dwarf rather than a child. Another nicely decorated chest and the thoughtful addition of a goblet adds nicely, though I'm not sold on the boyband hair. 


Poor rubbish Brienne, even if the TV series seems to have given her some actual success she's still very much the wooby of Westeros. The medium of Lego actually fits her nicely, with her boys' hair. The use of a well-painted breastplate and fabric tunic adds as well and this is another excellent likeness.

Villain turned antihero on a road trip to redemption, Jaime's one of the most fascinating of Thrones characters. For the figure whoever designed the thing has gone with Kingsgaurd regalia and it's one of the more extravagantly decorated of the range even if he didn't actually dress like this a lot. There's some gorgeous airbrushing on the complex breastplate plus mail pattern on the arms and legs; it's one of the few to have genuine custom potential as you could round up other heads and hairpieces to model the Kingsguard if you wanted your own Arys Oakheart or Meryn Trant. 


Briefly everyone's hate figure during a brief rampage as King on the Iron Throne before he was poisoned. Everyone cheered for about five minutes before realising he was just being moved out of the way for bigger shits. The figure captures the character quite well with its' hair and face as I've never wanted to punch a Minifigure quite so badly. There's a nicely decadent chest that continues on nicely to a fabric skirt, though the latter does have issues with staying flat.


Teleporting exposition thumb Varys is a fascinating cog in the intrigue of Westeros, though he's perhaps an odd choice for a figure - you wouldn't think he was this popular but I'm glad he is. The use of a wedge-like swkirt piece that's exquisitely well-painted blends with a bald head to actually capture the look of the guy nicely, you can imagine him just gliding in and out of scenes scattering plot left, right and centre.


Known as the Red Woman often on the TV series because she's a woman who wears red and that's the sort of thing you have to spell out to viewers, Melisandre is another odd choice, certainly as the closest thing to a representative of Stannis' influence. Also given a dress-shaped piece rather than legs and decked out with a cloak and hood the costume is spot-on, though she's been given a more tasteful cleavage. Only thing is the hood/head combo makes her look very old. Which is prescient but not fitting.


Daenerys' husband for the first series or book until he got an ouchie and died of being pathetic, foreshadowing what would basically happen to every other male character. Drogo's tribal markings are nicely presented, though like his missus he's inexplicably got a loincloth and then solid coloured trousers - possibly another instance of there being no extant flesh legs for anyone to print on. His hair's also not as girly as on the show - the modern Princess Leia slave piece might actually make a better fit.


Like Drogo, Ygritte a short-lived virginity-snaffling character, a Wildling who kipped with Jon Snow and coined the meme about him knowing nothing. She's an odd if inoffensive part of the set; I'm guessing the plan was not to whizz through all the really major characters in one go. The figure captures her nicely with a detailed fur torso and a well-chosen hairpiece. Could perhaps have done with something on the legs, though.


The closest thing to an army building figure in the set, the White Walker is based on one of the real bad guys swarming down from the North, known as Others in the book but changed for the show to keep things nice and super-simple. The figure is dripping with painted detail, including oddly a painted skirt/tunic/loincloth/whatever which I don't really mind compared to a fabric piece. A squad of the guys would have possibilities.

Overall it's a decent opening gambit, though ultimately it will depend on whether any more are forthcoming - with such a broad spread there's actually surprisingly little you could model with this lot despite the concerted effort to give each character at least one person they've had a serious interaction with. Ultimately it's a good start, but let's see Cersei and Jorah and Oberyn and Sansa and Sandor and Ned and Tywin and Oberyn and Robb and Beric and so on. And a few generic troopers from the great Houses wouldn't hurt either. Get to it, customisers and Chinese people who exploit customisers.

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