Ten tips to win your Thrones

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

WITH Aussie fans faith­fully tun­ing in ev­ery Mon­day to Fox­tel’s Show­case chan­nel, Game of Thrones re­mains one of the most-watched se­ries on sub­scrip­tion TV in its third sea­son. May 6’s episode six was sec­ond only to a live NRL match. Why has this some­times­mys­ti­fy­ing, some­times-con­found­ing drama be­come one of TV’s big­gest hits? Here are 10 rea­sons:

1. Game of Thrones ( GoT) hates ex­po­si­tion and in­stead dumps you right in the mid­dle of the ac­tion. This sink-or-swim nar­ra­tive style keeps view­ers off bal­ance, forces them to stick around for res­o­lu­tion or an ex­pla­na­tion, which sel­dom comes.

2. Scene set­ting is ev­ery­thing. Those haunted, hulk­ing pines that shel­ter Bran Stark (Isaac Hemp­stead­Wright) in his quest for the three-eyed crow? You’re right there with him. GoT does this bet­ter than any­thing on TV (ex­cept maybe Mad Men).

3. Big de­par­tures from the Ge­orge R.R. Martin book that the third sea­son is based on. This speeds up the ac­tion and forces fans to see what lib­er­ties were taken and why, en­rich­ing the TV show.

4. The games­man­ship of Games is gamier this sea­son. There is a greater sense of those mov­ing pieces and the in­vis­i­ble, or vis­i­ble, hands mov­ing them.

5. Magic, but not too much. Martin has al­ways given read­ers plenty in their epic fan­tasy diet, but not too much. Sure, the dragons are great this sea­son, but partly be­cause they are used so spar­ingly.

6. Strong fe­male pro­tag­o­nists. They are truly the rich­est char­ac­ters of the se­ries and are bet­ter than ever in the third – from Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) to Bri­enne (Gwen­do­line Christie).

7. Bru­tal­ity, but not too much. And sex, but not too much. As with magic, GoT has its Goldilocks for­mula down right – not too hot, not too cold. Th­ese are piv­otal ele­ments of any fan­tasy fic­tion, but are only over­played here to es­tab­lish scene and char­ac­ter.

8. In­trigu­ing the­ol­ogy. The na­ture of God, or gods, is more deeply rooted this sea­son, and how it plays to the big themes – the bat­tle of good and evil, light and dark, fire and ice.

9. Sweep­ing cin­e­matic vis­tas. Never un­der­es­ti­mate the beauty shot – that view from the wall of ice or the slave city of Astapor. Th­ese kind of scenes abound this sea­son.

10. It’s com­pli­cated, and it’s sup­posed to be. Re­mem­ber, GoT is an en­tire uni­verse, where hu­man mo­tives, de­sires and im­pulses are al­ways twisted up in knots of se­crets, lies and de­cep­tions. That’s the whole point of this ‘‘game’’ – to slowly un­ravel them. And the stakes seem to grow with each pass­ing episode. Word of ad­vice – al­ways fol­low the trail of Ai­dan Gillen’s Pe­tyr ‘‘Lit­tlefin­ger’’ Bael­ish. He seems to be the only one who knows where this will all end up.

– VERNE GAY Game of Thrones: Fox­tel Show­case, Mon­days

Peter Din­klage as Tyrion Lan­nis­ter.

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