‘Game of Thrones’ is complex story worth the journey
Anyone with at least a modicum of access to communication with the outside world has heard of HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones,” which will launch its seventh season later this year.
The television series is based on the fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin and premiered on HBO in 2011.
Since that time it has captured a boatload of awards and nominations: 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, three Hugo Awards, a 2011 Peabody Award and four nominations for the Golden Globe Award.
Its fan base is broad, deep and loyal, and “Game of Thrones” has its own YouTube channel, where so-called experts often wax poetic about their theories on who will die in the upcoming season, who will be saved and who, eventually, will win the “game of thrones.”
But for those who have never seen a single episode, life can feel pretty lonely.
What do you talk about around the water cooler at work on Monday morning following a Sunday night episode?
Who is Jon Snow and why should we care if he is really dead or not?
What is the meaning of that T-shirt your son is wearing in the middle of the summer that reads, “Winter is coming.”
Who the heck is Hodor?
So, this past summer I followed the suggestion of my children, all rabid fans, and entered the world of “Game of Thrones” through my Amazon Prime account, beginning with episode one of season one, and, since I have not read the books, with help from Wikipedia.
By Christmas I had packed seven seasons of conflict, calamity, murder, betrayal, battles, death, nudity and interesting and unique ways to kill people into five intense months of television viewing.
The question is still out as to whether it was a good use of my time, but, I will admit, “Game of Thrones” deserves all the accolades it has earned. For those just beginning the “thrones” journey, I kindly offer the following tips.
When beginning the journey with Martin, one can either take out a notebook to write down all the characters in an attempt to keep up with them, or just give up. Most of them won’t make it past the first few episodes anyway, so don’t sweat it. Just keep your eyes on the realm’s noble families and their quest to claim (or reclaim) the Iron Throne. There is plenty of background on the internet or from your friends, co-workers or children, and they will be more than happy to fill you in on what you missed or don’t understand.
The gross factor
There are some truly disturbing scenes in “Game of Thrones.” If you think it can’t get any worse, it can. If you tell yourself, “I think this may be disturbing and I should cover my eyes,” you are probably right. Go ahead. Don’t be ashamed. Cover your eyes. Or better yet, just fast-forward through that part.
The battle scenes
The battle scenes in “Game of Thrones” are among the best ever seen on television. Rewind and watch them again. Three favorites: “The Watchers on the Wall,” Season 4, Episode 9; “Hardhome,” Season 5, Episode 8; and “The Battle of the Bastards,” Season 6, Episode 9.
Women in command
“Game of Thrones” has probably the best and baddest female character I have seen on television in the form of Daenerys Targaryen, aka Daenerys Stormborn, Khaleesi, Mhysa, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. When her naked body emerged unburned from the ashes with baby dragons on her shoulders I wanted to jump up and down and shout, “Yes, ma’am!”
Who will win?
Much has been made about the true meaning of “Game of Thrones,” and, when the series ends, if anyone will actually sit upon the Iron Throne.
Martin, a conscientious objector, has said the novels are about the battle between good and evil, character redemption and change.
HBO’s adaption of Martin’s novels has done a wonderful job of presenting a deep understanding of what could have been one-dimensional characters in a fantasy show, and it allows villains to tell their side of the story.
It’s a complex story but one worth the journey.
Oh, and one more thing. Never stop watching before the closing credits or you will miss the award-winning musical score, which is the icing on the cake.
Catch up with “Game of Thrones” on Amazon Prime before the new season begins on July 16.
Susan Campbell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.