By Gemma Lolos
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Game of Thrones, HBO’s massively successful series, which began its fifth season on April 12th. The fantasy drama, which is adapted onto the small screen from George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, is best known for its constant plot twists and tendency to seemingly indiscriminately kill off characters both loathed and loved. Before the television show even came into fruition, Martin’s novels gathered an impressive cult-like fan base that has multiplied since the pilot aired almost exactly four years ago. And there’s a reason that Game of Thrones’ numerous fans are as dedicated as they are: the show is simply that good.
Considering the fact that I’ve happily read all of the books, seen all four seasons of the show, and even purchased a replica of Ned Stark’s sword, Ice, I suppose I qualify as a super fan, and you could say I’m a tad biased when it comes to this particular fandom. However, in my defense, and already a few episodes into season five, I can honestly say that I have trouble containing my excitement for what is sure to be an eventful season. And as my school semester draws to a close, I know that Game of Thrones will be a welcome escape from the trivial stresses of my life.
So to all those out there who have managed to live their lives unaffected by the brilliance that is HBO’s Game of Thrones, here is a reminder that it is not too late to take the oh-so-rewarding plunge and commit to the series.
One of the many cool things about Game of Thrones is its season length: ten hour long episodes. Despite how upsetting it is whenever a season ends, it is always comforting to know that however behind I get in following the show, there will only ever be ten episodes per season and I will always be able to catch up without overwhelming myself. And if you’ve never seen the show at all, ten episodes a season is very manageable.
For the longest time and to my immense frustration, my mother was refusing to associate with Game of Thrones altogether. None of my praising changed her mind in the slightest. But just the other day, she made it through all four seasons in under a month, and is sufficiently hooked. Initially I was surprised at how quickly she was moving through the seasons until I remembered how relatively short each season is. I doubt she ever would have experienced Game of Thrones if it weren’t for its season length.
If you’ve missed Game of Thrones’ live episodes and don’t want to spring for expensive box sets, fear not, for HBO has got your back! HBO Go is a godsend for TV and movie lovers everywhere who subscribe to HBO. With an HBO subscription, HBO Go provides free and unlimited access to streaming of any and all HBO content, both past and present. Don’t have an HBO subscription? Don’t sweat it! HBO’s new service, HBO Now is exactly like HBO Go, except all you need to stream your content is Internet access. HBO Now is $14.99 a month, but your first month is free! Between HBO’s helpful services, you have no excuse not to watch Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones would be nothing without its outstanding performances, and there certainly is no shortage throughout all four seasons. However, there are some actors whose portrayals of their characters are so convincing that their performances alone are enough reason to tune in to the show.
• Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion Lannister, a little person of high birth who uses his wit and intelligence as armor. Dinklage, in addition to being one of the best actors on TV, is an undeniable asset to Game of Thrones, and has taken home a Golden Globe and Emmy Award for his incredible work as Tyrion.
• Jack Gleeson
Jack Gleeson plays Joffrey Lannister, a spoiled young Prince hated almost universally by Game of Thrones fans. And Gleeson makes you hate him with a passion. He comes across as so unlikable, that it’s a shock to see how polite and sweet natured he is in interviews. In 2011, Gleeson took home a People’s Choice Award for “Best TV Villain.”
• Charles Dance
Charles Dance plays Tywin Lannister, the head of House Lannister and fiercely smart, cunning, and manipulative. Dance brings Tywin to light better than any fans could ask for, with amazing stage presence and professionalism.
• Sophie Turner
Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark, in my opinion, one of the most underrated characters in Game of Thrones. Sansa is the obedient and ladylike eldest daughter of Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell. Turner brings to the role Sana’s inner battles and her need to manipulate others for her own safety. Turner was only 13 when she began Game of Thrones, and now 19, she has matured into a fine actress with great promise.
• Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams plays Arya Stark, a mischievous tomboy and the youngest daughter of Ned Stark. Arya is the polar opposite of her sister, Sansa, in many ways, preferring pants to dresses, and fighting to learning needlepoint. Williams effortlessly makes Arya even more likable than she is in the books, making us root for her no matter what the circumstance.
ATTENTION BOOK LOVERS!
For those die-hard book fans that refuse to watch Game of Thrones, I urge you to reconsider. Like many fandoms that began with books (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc.), these lovable stories are enhanced with adaptations to both film and television. It is also important to note that no adaptation can capture a book perfectly. Certain elements are likely to be added while others are removed, angering fans globally. However, if you simply appreciate both the original texts and the television series as separate but equal wholes, watching Game of Thrones can really enrich your understanding of the world. I know it did for me. Plus, George R. R. Martin produces Game of Thrones, and approved everything you see on screen ahead of time.
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