The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

There’s no dis­put­ing the pas­sion of Game of Thrones fans. The first episode of the new sea­son drew HBO’s big­gest US au­di­ence since the fi­nale of leg­endary The So­pra­nos. The broad­caster’s on­line app crashed un­der the strain.

The fourth sea­son de­but drew 6.6 mil­lion view­ers, the most since 11.9 mil­lion fans said good­bye to Mob boss Tony So­prano in 2007.

Since its de­but in 2011, the HBO drama – based on Ge­orge R.R. Martin’s best-sell­ing nov­els about a strug­gle for power be­tween feud­ing clans in seven myth­i­cal king­doms – has won a de­voted global fan base, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama among them, to es­tab­lish it­self as the star of the US ca­ble chan­nel’s sta­ble. And it’s been a mas­sive hit for Fox­tel’s show­case.

The se­ries has won over crit­ics with its densely lay­ered plot, lav­ish pro­duc­tion val­ues and a readi­ness to kill off pro­tag­o­nists who had hitherto seemed in­te­gral to the show.

Four words – “No one is safe’’ – have be­come the un­of­fi­cial catch­phrase for devo­tees of the se­ries.

Guess­ing which char­ac­ter may soon meet his or her maker is all part of the fun.

An in­fa­mously bloody episode last sea­son, in­volv­ing a mas­sacre at a wed­ding party, was one of the most talked about and tweeted tele­vi­sion events of 2013.

And there’s been buck­ets of blood shed in sea­son four — no­tably when Jof­frey fell off his perch af­ter be­ing poi­soned at his wed­ding.

Dan­ish ac­tor Niko­laj CosterWal­dau, who plays Jaime Lan­nis­ter, says he’s lov­ing fans have been see­ing a dif­fer­ent side to the char­ac­ter he plays.

He says: “What people slowly get to re­alise is what he has done, and the hor­ri­ble things he does, is not for his own gain but out of love – try­ing to pro­tect the woman he loves and her chil­dren and his fam­ily.’’ Game of Thrones, Show­case, Mon­day, 3.30pm, 7.40pm.

Niko­laj Coster-Wal­dau.

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