Winter is Coming

by Steve MacDonald

winter is coming Game of ThronesAnyone who is a fan of  Game of Thrones will see the myriad meanings in that title, to both the story and to real life.

As for the thing itself, if you have not yet seen the HBO version of Game of  Thrones I highly recommend it.  The entire first season is available on DVD, which is how I came to view it.  Thanks to Barnes and Nobel, and a few gift cards and discounts, I managed to snag it for less than the cost of a month of HBO.  (My monthly food and gas bill have practically doubled while my income has stagnated so I’m doing the best I can with the circumstances I’ve been stuck with–I must choose my entertainments wisely and this came highly recommended.)

I cannot yet remark on how well the HBO version hews to the book–I’m reading the books now and 100 pages in (it’s 790 pages long) so far so good.

Don’t worry, no spoilers…

The Television version does seem to wallow in gratuitous nudity and sex, with with which I take no particular issue, but you should be prepared for it.

I did not try to keep track but a large portion of the cast (who is of age) manages to expose themselves or engage in some kind of on screen sex.  There is full frontal nudity (both genders), incest, extramarital, lesbian, implied oral, and implied homosexual sex.  And whores abound.  Did I mention the whores.  There are a lot of whores doing that which whores do.   So be sure to sequester the kiddies away or secure the door so they cannot sneak in.

The sex does not typically distract from the plot, and in many cases is quite relevant, but they could have left most of it out, even when used to explain the depths of relationships between characters, without losing the story.   I did not, for example, need to see two characters naked or having sex to know that the other was smitten with a particualr lady of the morning, afternoon and evening.

As I said before, I am indifferent on the point, but if it concerns you or makes you uncomfortable, stick to the book.

The violence and gore is top rate with be-headings, entrails…it’s all very well done, and does attempt to exceed the plots need for it.

I have to say that Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark were my favorite characters from the HBO spin, probably because of the actors who portrayed them.  Tyrion is a dwarf, the human kind, high-born, well read, very sarcastic.  He’s also got most of the best lines.  Arya is the youngest daughter of Lord Stark, a Tom-Boy who wants nothing to do with being a lady and would rather train to be a knight.   These two are very well played, though the entire cast is excellent and populated with plenty of faces you will recognize from other works in this genre.

The Game of Thrones, is of course, the story.   No king rises to power without alliances and enemies, those worthy and otherwise forever plotting to grow or secure their power for whatever reasons suit their fancy.  We see the very real appetites, intrigues, and impulsiveness of an aristocracy on full display.  Everyone wants something and they’ll do most anything to get it.  In the midst of all that is Eddard Stark, an honorable man who just wants to rule the north for his king and be with his family in peace, but who is dragged–along with his family–into swirling court intrigues, secret assassinations, illegitimate heirs, and manipulative advisers.

I intend to watch it again as I read.

Season one is ten episodes comprising about 11 hours of viewing.   The books are all massive tomes.   But if you are into the politics and intrigue and would like to escape to some that is less close to home, this is your ticket.  And we all could use a little escape, after all, Winter is Coming.


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