Earlier this year I went into a store and asked the clerk if they had the third season of a Game of Thrones in stock. This young man who appeared to be in his late twenties looked at me, and older woman, and said with some concern, “No, but perhaps you should read the book? The book is much more in-depth and quite a different experience.”
I was mildly amused by this young man’s apparent concern to shield me from the harsh realities of graphic sex and nudity, as well as horrific acts of violence. Game of Thrones had me at the Direct T.V free HBO week-end that featured a marathon of Seasons One and Two. I was hooked when I first saw the wild Northern Ygritte bundled in furs and mocking the silently handsome Jon Snow. I had never seen an interaction quite like this on television before. He cannot quite bring himself to kill her when he has the chance, so the audience gets the hint that there is some chemistry between them, but is there or is he using her to get to the king of the wildlings to learn of their plans?
After something like twelve hours of non-stop Game of Thrones HBO marathon my brain was somewhat fried. I had seen naked women gyrating, men stripping, violent sex, heads cut off, blood flowing, murdered boys hanging, a naked woman covered in dragons and the main character whom I had thought was the hero dead at the end of Season One. I had to keep reminding myself that the gory head of Sean Bean was not real and probably made of wax or plastic.
So one of the many interesting points about this show is that it departs from the formula for television which is that there should be one likeable main character who appears in every act and around whom the plot revolves. Does anyone know who the main character is in Game of Thrones? At first I thought that it was Eddard Stark, and then his son Robb Stark, and then I was confused after Robb Stark was murdered. The only person left who seems to have likeable qualities of decency, compassion, honesty, despite his vices of drinking and debauchery is Tiryon Lannister, the imp. This is a bad omen for him. He will probably be killed off soon at a wedding or some other happy family occasion.
I am not sure how many families we are following, but there are the Starks, Lannisters, Greyjoys, Targeryens, Mormonts, Baratheons, and some others. In fact there are so many threads to this epic show, that it is like a vast tapestry of interweaving colors, that becomes addictive. It makes you want to know what is going to happen next to your favorite group of characters, because we cut away from each character at a cliffhanging point to find out what is happening to the next character, and that is what makes the show addictive.
Also, the world of Game of Thrones bears an eerie resemblance to Europe in the Middle Ages, – but not quite. In Britain the Tudors and Stewarts were two great royal families that battled for the crown of England over several centuries. it was called the Wars of the Roses.
Much of what we see on television these days is sanitized from sex and violence, and usually has a dead body or two in it. I am thinking of all of the crime drama shows such as The Mentalist, Elementary, Bones, CSI and NCIS. Much of television is purely stupid situation comedy. Game of Thrones is more close to the horrors of reality which is full of messiness, conniving characters, sex, and violence.
Image “3d Gold And Silver Chessmans As King And Queen” by Boians Cho Joo Young