I came late to Game of Thrones. My now-husband watched it when the first series aired and he then read all of the books. ‘It just seems to be soft porn and dragons,’ I said, probably. ‘I’ll stick to Literary Fiction, thanks.’ (I was doing a degree at the time and didn’t read much out of that field. I’m not really averse to reading fantasy or fantasy).
So I was as surprised as anybody when I decided to give it another chance earlier this year and absolutely loved it. In the first few seasons I was a bit like ‘guys, we get you like boobies, please carry on with the story.’ And they did carry on with it, eventually. I was actually surprised by the richness of the core female characters and the way their vulnerabilities and strengths are played out on screen.
My love for it was cemented in a recent episode. Two major characters are going for each other in a fight and it is difficult to say who you want to lose. Very often, in most stories, we only see one side: there is good and evil. Right and wrong. And Game of Thrones subverts that.
I wonder if this is why I have gone off Hollywood movies. Films seem narrow and binge-watchable TV is not. There are more hours to tell the story. There is more opportunity for nuance and sadness, humour and intelligence. There is more time to be honest and to not resort to cliche.
My husband and I recently listened to the first audiobook together. It was well-written and I liked it. I liked it more than I thought I would. I usually struggle with big casts, like I struggle with big groups of people, because I just don’t know what’s going on in everyone’s heads. But I found myself enjoying the brief glimpses into characters’ minds and found it an effective way of telling a story. A three-hour train ride went past in an instant when we were lost in Westeros.
I don’t know if I can be bothered to read the rest of the series (those books are long and I know most of the story anyway, I think). I’m more into the TV series and I’m kind of amazed by it. It’s actual TV for adults. And not just in a naughty way, but how I used to view old noir movies as being made for an adult audience. I don’t think that Game of Thrones, for a massive TV show, is dumbed down in any way. Plus there are dragons. It’s quite good. But everybody else knew that already.