Falling into Fire and Ice

So, Game of Thrones…  Yeah, I’m watching it.  Not with the rest of you, mind.  I can’t afford Sky TV, so I’ve had to shell out some money for the DVD of the first series.

I’m not a frequent TV viewer these days.  Rarely is my interest piqued enough to start watching something.  As I said, I don’t have Sky TV, so anything I do watch has to be bought or borrowed on DVD; therefore I really need to know that it’s going to be worth my while to shell out for it.  But when I fall in love with a TV show, I do so from a very great height and right into the depths of it.

Take the West Wing for example. Oh my goodness – peerless, absolutely peerless!  I cried buckets at the end of it and saying goodbye was verging on grief.  The wonder that is Aaron Sorkin went on to write Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which again was beyond brilliant, but got cancelled – which just beggars belief! Why America, Why?

Battlestar Galactica was another one I took to, but it’s not all American series I watch. One day, along came a slightly chubby Detective Chief Inspector in a camel-hair coat, with a sidekick named Sam and a way with words that had me weeping in ecstasy.  All hail Gene Hunt!  Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes were pure joy to watch. Again, when it all came to an end I was bereft.

But, perhaps sensing my love of it (or more by lucky coincidence),  the Ashes producers gave me my biggest ever television-watching squee moment; by having Gene Hunt come from my neck of the woods! Farringfield Green does not exist in real life, but every other place on this map does.  I’m from Adlington and from my bedroom window I could see the transmitter on top of Winter Hill.

All the best people come from here

Actually, half of Lancashire can see the transmitter on the top of Winter Hill – but that’s by the by.

But winter is the link between that passion and my currently developing one.  Swap Winter Hill for Winterfell and it’s just one smooth jump into the wonder that is turning out to be Game of Thrones.

My interest for watching Game of Thrones wasn’t born out for a overwhelming liking of Sean Bean; which I understand from half of womankind, is the reason why the planet turns on its axis.  With the exception of Lord of the Rings I’ve managed to miss everything else he’s ever been in.  No, my interest in this series started because of an article at BBC News, which was asking why a British accent is almost a must for this genre?  Up until that point, because I don’t have Sky TV I’d ignored it. Yet another programme I can’t watch.

But I was curious now.  As a native of the area I’m a sucker for a good northern accent – although Bean’s is Yorkshire, which is some horrific aberration ;-) ;-)  So I asked a question of my Facebook and Twitter friends; was Game of Thrones really worth shelling out for?  The answer came back from many quarters – Yes!

So here I am, midway through the first season.  I’m now starting to see why there’s only 10 episodes – it must have cost an absolute mint to make!

Amongst my collection of DVDs are only a few rated 18.  I don’t by nature gravitate to things that are graphic which doesn’t immediately explain why I’ve taken to it.  But there’s something… almost an in-built identification with the Starks of Winterfell.  Northerners…  I am of that ilk.

That it’s based on a book is also something that greatly endears it to me.  Not just a single book either, it’s a whole series with a fully-realised fantasy world that I can escape into between episodes (I’m already having to ration myself).  I’ve started reading the first one and there, on page 21, is a quote that had me chuckling to myself with wry humour:

‘Not for the first time, she reflected on what strange people these northerners were.’

Oh we are, a very strange lot and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Twitter friend told me not to get attached to anyone; wise words seeing as the body count’s quite high from the off.  And that’s not the only body count… There’s rather a lot of flesh on display (to put it politely).  I’m naturally at home with a 15 rated programme, so this is… interesting!  It’s a good job it’s on Sky, as seeing that nearly 500 people complained about a single pelvic thrust on Strictly Come Dancing last year, it’s fortunate that it’s not on BBC. The complaint lines would’ve melted, the Daily Mail would’ve been in uproar…

…and the viewing figures would’ve be off the scale.

Already, I know not to trust anything Jaime Lannister even breathes in the direction of and that Tyrion is quite the most wonderfully acted character in it.  Mark Addy looks like he should always have been Robert Baratheon and Sean Bean looks like – yep, Boromir! It’s epic and dangerous and dirty and bloody and brutal and totally marvellous.

The best thing with watching it on DVD and not on TV, is that the boxed set comes with a handy fold-out family tree, so you at least have a clue who is who – which is helpful when everyone on screen has dark hair and is wearing leather and fur.

So yes, I’m a complete Game of Thrones covert.  I’m looking at the nice stack of books in the series and hoping that a) they deliver and b) there’s enough money in America to finance the filming of the whole lot.  What with the doom and gloom of both the weather and the general state of things here; the chance to slope off to Westeros once a week seems like the perfect escape.

Now… does anybody know where I can get a set of kitchen knives in Valyrian steel?

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5 Responses to Falling into Fire and Ice

  1. John FitzjamesHorse says:

    Im really glad you are enjoying it. I have still to watch series 2. Its a programme which requires a lot of concentration. I also had problems with the early episodes as the characters of Jon Snow (I love that name!!!) and Rob Stark and young Greyjoy are so alike. There is a pattern to each episode. Longish scenes maybe three make up a single Part………so really there are only at most four scenes which involve any particular character. And some people will only be at the Wall, Winterfell, Kings Landing or roaming about with the Horsey People.
    Made in Belfast of course and some of the locations are in Country Antrim and County Down.
    Oddly I feel strange about “Fantasy”. As a child I was very guilty about having a very fertile imagination …..all my toy soldiers had names and a back story. Indeed I was the same as an adult so when I got back into Toy Soldiers aged 34, it was like something had happened in the previous 20 years……the whole Dungeons and Dragons thing (I disapprove!!) had happened. Imagination and Role Play was encouraged and celebrated.
    To some extent Game of Thrones is derived from D&D…….without the “magic” but essentially it imposes 21st century manners/fashions/language on themes that are medeival (or timeless). Yet I always found Fantasy to be too………well……..fantastic. Suspending disbelief is ok……but its the small details………Xena the Warrior Princess was always slightly too clean……who did her laundry and her hair? ……so too much disbelief is suspended.
    In fairness Game of Thrones IS dirty, dark and at times grotesque……few heroes. The best hero is Tyrion…..Peter Dinklage is amazing. But theres something odd about seeing Charles Dance, Julian Glover, Peter Vaughan in this.
    Yet it is a good story.
    American interest? Well I can see that USA is a melting pot of various cultures and I think it craves a kinda shared “history” and probably the fantasy genre ticks the boxes. Certainlysince I came online in 1998, Ive lost count of the number of American friends who are into “Ren Fayres”, “D&D”, “role play games”. It seems that Americans like Paddy Murphy, Giovanni Rossi, Kristina Lindstrom and Rachel Cohen and so many others need a “shared history”……”shared literature” and Fantasy provides it. Thus Westeros is everywhere and nowhere…..but of course anglophonic.

    • Rachel says:

      I’ve never really read that much fantasy and I’ve certainly never been interested in RP games or Cosplay. I know fantasy is an entire genre in itself, but I’ll continue to dabble on the margins.

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  3. Alison says:

    Great post
    Feel duty bound to suggest some other box sets for you:
    Curb Your Enthusiasm – lol funny in a buttock clenching manner
    Six Feet Under – Very dark at times, but ultimately a story about love, set in a family undertakers. Michael C Hall [now of Dexter] stars
    24 – more for the gimmick of real-ish time than the plot post the first season [don't google the first season, you'll spoil the plot twist!]
    Firefly – I’m a bit meh but Ron loves it
    The Sopranos – forever winning “best TV series of all time” awards and truly a landmark in TV drama.
    Walking Dead – season 2 is on Terrestrial tonight I think?
    Survivors – the original 70′s series.
    Breaking Bad

    erm, think that’s it for now…

  4. Alison says:

    Oh, forgot to include Mad Men :)

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