“Winter is coming”, warns Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell and warden of the north. However in this world, George R. R. Martin’s fantasy realm of Westeros, the winters last for decades, and they are now nearing the end of a very long summer. In Game of Thrones, HBO’s newest tent pole hopeful from Martin and co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, Westeros is brought to life as a world where the political game is played for keeps using guile, cunning, swords and occasionally poison.
Aside from the Starks of Winterfell there are their foils the Lannisters of Casterly Rock. Rich and devious, their blonde hair makes them appear even more sinister and Nazi-like. But I could go on for pages about the King, the kingslayer, the imp, the bastard, littlefinger, and the hound without even getting into the barbarian horde across the sea or the wildlings beyond the wall. Needless to say, there is much going on in this series. Anyone who has watched HBO dramas in the past understands the slow-moving and intricate plot with more than a few characters that carries a very high reward factor. The Wire, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under all had detailed subplots with detailed characters that eventually fit in to the larger picture. And yes, this may appear to be a fantasy epic, but Game of Thrones is a melodrama first. I mean melodrama of the highest caliber, not some silly soap opera. The emotions run very high, and much of the mischief at work comes from greedy, desperate and deceitful people, not a Tolkienesque boogeyman.
Now I must confess, I am a huge fan of the book series. I have read all four novels and have been waiting patiently for six years for someone like HBO to take it on. Thus far, after six episodes, they have not veered one iota from the original story, and now things are starting to happen, pieces are falling together. HBO asks a lot from its audience, but in the end it is usually worth it. Winter is coming. I can’t wait.