Before you start watching Game of Thrones, everything about the show says you will hate it. It’s got dragons, funny names, exploitative nudity and violence, and is based on a series of doorstop-sized fantasy novels. It all looks like Lord of the Rings, but more so.
As a GoT virgin, you think you know what it is, but you don’t.The HBO saga is a triumph of bold storytelling that breaks every stereotype. The first series is somewhat slow going, setting out the noble families of the mythical land of Westeros: the honourable Starks, rich Lannisters and various other clans vying for the Iron Throne to rule over the kingdom.
So far, so Dungeons and Dragons, but there will come a moment, a specific second, when you realise Game of Thrones is like nothing you have seen before. And then you’re hooked. This isn’t elves and pixies, it’s realpolitik in leather jerkins. And it just keeps on getting more and more shocking.
The brutality can’t be overstated, but it’s what makes Thrones so compulsive. Never before have spoilers been more important: you keep watching simply to see if your favourite characters survive.
(SPOILER WARNING: they don’t.)
The enormous cast makes following the plot akin to revising for a fake history exam (the key is coming up with nicknames: Kilty McKilt, Klingon guy, Sean Bean…) but none are mere dragon fodder.
Every death is keenly felt and, in the show’s neatest trick, there are no straightforward baddies or goodies. You find yourself cheering on characters that previously you wished hanged, drawn and quartered. Then they die.
As the show’s fifth series lurches to a bloody, fiery close, it’s the perfect time to give in and prove yourself wrong.