‘Game of Thrones’ to make an epic come­back

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE -

For­mer red­head Sansa re­mains a brunette. Tyrion grows a beard. East and West shall meet. And, once again, more will die grue­some deaths.

Wel­come to sea­son five of the cult TV se­ries “Game of Thrones,” which pre­mieres Sun­day world­wide to a rap­tur­ous global fol­low­ing.

So popular is the me­dievalfla­vored saga of blood, sex and trea­son that HBO is air­ing the new sea­son si­mul­ta­ne­ously in 170 coun­tries.

New York fans who tune in Sun­day at 9:00 p.m. will thus see the same ac­tion as coun­ter­parts in Lon­don who stay up into the wee hours of Mon­day.

The globe- girdling simul­cast is HBO’s re­sponse to “Game of Thrones” be­ing the world’s most pi­rated TV pro­gram.

The sea­son four fi­nale was il­le­gally down­loaded eight mil­lion times, ac­cord­ing to file-shar­ing news site TorrentFreak, a night­mare for HBO’s mar­keters but a trib­ute to the show’s ap­peal.

Adapted from the “A Song of Ice and Fire” fan­tasy saga by Ge­orge R.R. Martin, “Game of Thrones” re­volves around a ruth­less power strug­gle be­tween noble fam­i­lies who covet the Iron Throne in the Seven King­doms of Wes­teros.

Lovers, war­riors, princesses, eu­nuchs, dragons and zom­bies, among many oth­ers, take their turn in a multi-plot nar­ra­tive in which the only com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor is death.

So much so, in fact, that it had the sec­ond-high­est body count of any U.S. tele­vi­sion show in 2012, with an av­er­age of 14 deaths per episode, ac­cord­ing to Funer­al­wise.com. (Glad­i­a­tor schlock-fest “Spar­ta­cus” was first at 25.)

Go­ing into sea­son five, the plot “just keeps get­ting big­ger and big­ger,” said David Be­nioff, who cocre­ated the show with Dan Weiss.

“For four sea­sons, you’ve had all th­ese char­ac­ters who’ve been sep­a­rated by geog­ra­phy — from Daen­erys and her band of war­riors roam­ing around to ev­ery­one in Wes­teros,” he said.

“Now, th­ese sto­ry­lines are start­ing to merge. It’s go­ing to be a big East-meets-West sea­son.”

In the run-up to Sun­day’s pre­miere, spoil­ers have been trick­ling out.

Ac­cord­ing to USA To­day, Jon Snow, a bas­tard son of the noble House Stark, played by Kit Har­ing­ton, will fig­ure promi­nently this sea­son.

“This year, you’re go­ing to see some of the most hor­ri­ble things and dark­est places. Parts of my story are a hor­ror,” Har­ing­ton said.

Set vis­its made by En­ter­tain­ment Weekly mag­a­zine in Croa­tia, Spain and Ire­land re­vealed that half the Al­cazar palace in Seville, a ma­jor at­trac­tion, was closed to the public dur­ing pro­duc­tion.

Miss­ing, at least this sea­son, will be the dis­abled boy char­ac­ter Bran Stark and his mute guardian Hodor.

The dragons of blonde war­rior queen Daen­erys, por­trayed by Emilia Clarke, will grow in strength, while the diminu­tive Tyrion sports fa­cial hair.

For those play­ing catch-up, sev­eral me­dia are run­ning re­caps of sea­sons past, and gos­sipy news site Gawker has sum­ma­rized the en­tire saga so far in a two-minute video.

The Wash­ing­ton Post has mean­while pro­duced an “il­lus­trated guide” to the 456 deaths that oc­curred over the first four sea­sons.

The show’s ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess was un­der­lined in June when Queen El­iz­a­beth II — who oc­cu­pies a real throne — toured the Belfast stu­dios where in­te­rior scenes are shot.

HBO has al­ready com­mis­sioned a sixth sea­son, while re­ports say the ac­tors are un­der con­tract for a sev­enth — af­ter which it is be­lieved the cre­ators will bring their epic to an end.

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