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.
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?