Ten tips to win your Thrones
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.