TV Pick of the Week: Game of Thrones
By Film Team
Incest? Nudity? More explicit violence than a World War One docudrama? DRAGONS? Game of Thrones has exploded back onto our screens, as we’re plunged straight back into an epic fantasy world still reeling from the events of the previous season.
More delicate viewers might be put off by the excessive amounts of violence, but it’s contextualised against a background of political scheming and power plays that not only make for a compelling plot, but ensure that the blood and gore never becomes gratuitous.
Game of Thrones is visually incredible- clearly no expense has been spared on the settings and costumes, and with the tightly choreographed action shots and the high nudity and decapitation counts (not always at the same time), there was always a risk that the plot would become overwhelmed. But the wide cast of convincingly written and brilliantly portrayed characters, combined with a closely written and fast moving plot, mean that the core narratives still manage to come through.
Special mention here has to go to Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion- it’s a tribute to the witty dialogue and Dinklage’s mixture of forceful acting and brilliant comic timing that Tyrion could be set against fifty naked prostitutes doing the can-can while alternately chopping each other’s arms off and he’d still steal the scene.
The epic and complex narrative is unashamedly ambitious, but is probably the biggest issue for the casual viewer. The first season had already established its own wide cast of characters, each with their own stories, and the second season has only added to this diverse set. And the characters are all over the place- literally. The series has constructed a vivid, detailed fantasy world: Joffrey’s living it up at King’s Landing, Arya’s heading back up towards Winterfell, Jon Snow is in a frozen wasteland and, to top it off, there’s a girl wandering around the desert. This is a world with its own different climates, for goodness sake.
If you haven’t watched the first season or read the books, then you’re inevitably going to spend a significant part of the first couple of episodes going “wait, what now?” A quick, cursory glance at Wikipedia might not go amiss at this stage. It’s not a programme that you watch with one eye on an essay, but trust me- it’s worth it.