Camelot vs. Game of Thrones

Camelot vs. Game of ThronesPresuming you’re not someone who enjoys both equally, the question has come up on our show and on our forum: Which do you prefer… Camelot or Game of Thrones?

I’m squarely in the Camelot camp.  Game of Thrones, while visually stunning and brilliantly acted, just doesn’t click for me.  Of course, that raises the question of why.

I guess it helps to explain what I do and do not like in my fiction.  First and foremost, I really enjoy escapist fiction.  I want my fiction to take me somewhere I’ve never been and portray something I am not familiar with.  I don’t tend to prefer fiction that seems… real to me.  Even if it is set in a fantasy world.

With that in mind, I find Camelot to be a true escapist story.  It is a fantasy (complete with magic), action adventure with a touch of political power playing.  Game of Thrones, however, I find too non-escapist.  Sure, the setting is very fantasy, and it definitely visually takes me somewhere I’ve never been before.  But too much time in Game of Thrones is spent power playing, back stabbing, and otherwise doing things that are too real to history.  I get enough politics when I watch the news in the evening.  And to top it off, I don’t like most of the characters.  (And not the “love to hate” kind of don’t like… the “I don’t give a hoot what happens to them” kind of don’t like.)

Sure, Game of Thrones is a fine story.  It’s just not my kind of story.  I want swordplay, action, magic, sex, and above all somewhere for my mind to wander in a world that is not my own.  Camelot fills that bill for me.  It makes me happy.  Game of Thrones just depresses me too much to make the good bits worth watching.

So what do you think?  Let us know in the forum.



7 thoughts on “Camelot and Game of Thrones”
  1. Well Brent, while I appreciate the distinction you make between two broad types of fantasy sub-genres, I don’t really know that I see how Camelot and GoT fit into them. In other words, I don’t see how one is qualifies as being ‘escapist’, while the other is ‘realistic/political.’

    Now, if this distinction was being drawn between Legend of the Seeker and Game of Thrones, then I’d totally agree, but I’d also agree if it were Legend of the Seeker and Camelot. So far, the quotient for high fantasy in Camelot has been pretty low (no monsters/mythological creatures, very little magic, and not even a great deal of swordplay), and most of the — rather directionless — story has been devoted to matters of politics/statecraft, and sibling rivalry. In this way, it’s not so different from Game of Thrones… it’s just that Game of Thrones does it a whole lot better.

    If anything, I’d say that Game of Thrones seems to have more promise in the escapist fantasy department than Camelot does. So far there’s been White Walkers, Blood Witches, and zombie assassins, with several other fantastical/supernatural creatures and events being hinted at. Camelot could certainly move more into the escapist realm of fantasy if they decide to delve deeper into the Arthurian legends, but that hasn’t even been strongly hinted at yet — all we’ve had are mighty morphin’ Morgan, and some minor feats of sorcery.

    Not seeing a huge difference (so far) in terms of fantasy content between these two shows, the question of which I prefer really comes down to the quality of the production, storytelling, characters, etc. and for me, that’s Game of Thrones, hands down.

    I was really excited about Camelot when it first started airing (being a huge fan of the mythos), but apart from the strong opening episode, I’ve been thoroughly disappointed. Nine (or something) episodes in, and I still can’t even discern what the narrative arc for the season is meant to be, none of the characters have grown on me, and all those elements you mentioned (which I like too): swordplay, action, magic, sex — have been in fairly short supply… well, except the sex, but that’s one element I’m probably not crazy about anyway.

    What Camelot is doing seems to be working for you, and that’s cool. Personally, I actually find its world to be far more depressing than the one in GoT, but the different approaches taken by each show appealing to some viewers, and not others, is to be expected; I just don’t think that distinguishing these approaches in terms of ‘escapist’ vs. ‘realistic’ fantasy is all that helpful. There must be other reasons why one show is hitting the right notes for you, while the other isn’t — and it would be interesting to know that *those* are.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful response,. Purg. However, the reasons I stated *are* my reasons. Game of Thrones feels like an epic soap opera to me. Camelot feels like a good action/adventure movie. You may take issue with my attempt to name those as escapist and realistic, and that’s cool, but that doesn’t change my view of the two shows.

    As I stated, GoT does what it does very well. I can see why fans of such epic political stories would really love it. It’s just not for me.

  3. Too funny when I saw this come through my feed catcher I just had to respond because I am definitely on Team Game of Thrones and I have to agree totally with Purgatori. Each week when I listen to the podcast I can’t believe how much you all like Camelot. It’s okay, but it’s rather boring and slow. I just don’t care about “these” characters. (I think I like the Richard Harris King Arthur too much.) Maybe if they started sing it might get better for me. LOL On the other hand I find GoT exciting or at least I’m very interested in these characters and what happens to them. I am totally jazzed about this show and I have not read the books either. But it’s okay, we can’t all like the same shows all the time, but I do believe GoT has a better chance at succeeding long term than Camelot. I hope GoT eventually comes around for you Brett.

  4. I was ready to fire back at Brent and his opening, but Purg seemed to hit all the right notes. I like Camelot and I watch it, but if it were to be canceled I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Camelot always felt like GoT “light”, people set in a fantansy world, back stabbing, power playing, and playing “gotcha” for the right to be King. The only difference is, Camelot has less characters and you know who is good and bad. GoT is shades of gray and maybe that is what bothers Brent, there is no King Arthur and Morgan in GoT. But besides that they are the same type of show to me, except GoT has better characters, better writing, better acting, better scenery, and all around better story. Sorry Brent, I love you and usually agree with you, but I have to take the other side on this argument.

  5. “Brent”, so sorry about misspelling your name! I’m very embarrassed. My aging eyes play tricks on me and I thought I’d caught all typos. Second thought on GoT, my husband has started reading the books and is into the 2nd one and says the supernatural elements and high fantasy stuff are becoming more prominent, so if they stick to the 2nd book for season 2 like they apparently have for season 1 maybe it will be more enjoyable for you.

  6. Game of Thrones is ridiculously depressing. Whoever wrote that trash must have some serious problems and is a Glutton for punishment.

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