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Game of Thrones

Try as I might, I just can’t get the hang of Game of Thrones.

M, I’m relieved to say, is in the same boat.  We’ve been watching the damned thing for weeks – it seems like years – waiting in vain for that Eureka moment when one of us will say, “I’ve got it!”. 

But, no, we continue to sit in our armchairs bemused, exchanging childish questions.

“Who’s this bloke?  Has he been in the series before?”

“Why is she back?  I thought she’d died.”

“Where are we now, and who are these odd-looking people?”

“Now, tell me, is he a good guy or bad guy?”

“Whatever happened to Diana Rigg?  She seems to have disappeared.”

Such questions beg another, more fundamental one: does it matter? 

In other words, is it possible to enjoy the spectacle, the graphic violence, the explicit sex, or even the occasionally clever and witty script without being able to follow the plot?  If it isn’t, then obviously we’re wasting our time.

Apparently, everything would be crystal clear if we’d only watched the first series (GoT is now in its fourth phase, or is it the fifth?). 

Well, we did go back to Series 1 – though not to Episode 1 – and we’re still none the wiser.  I read somewhere that there are sixteen different sub-plots going on.  I think I’m following two of them.  The other fourteen may have been whittled down to ten by now, for all I know.  Some, like corporations, have probably merged.

So what do I make of GoT other than not being able to make head nor tail of it?

I’d say it’s beautifully crafted trash, sophisticated pornography.  It’s also thoroughly engrossing.  The script is clever, the acting persuasive, the settings authentic looking, some magnificently so.  GoT revels joyfully in its violence, which is usually depicted in gory close-up.  Axes cleave heads, hands and legs are severed, and the victims of impalement spew blood in industrial quantities.  I’ve never seen so much blood flowing across a television screen.  Count Dracula might be nauseated.  Nor is the mayhem always an organic outgrowth of the battle scenes; there are regular scenes of sadistic torture, all of them, as far as I can see, gleefully gratuitous.

The sex is ungentle, often positively medieval.  People screw each other from behind like rutting beasts.  Incest is quite in order, which I imagine breaks a television taboo.  In one episode, a man shags his sister.  They’re both still in the series, unashamed and, in defiance of the convention that usually govern such matters, unpunished.  At least I think they’re still in it, I can’t be certain.

Most of the men are hairy and macho.  The clean-shaven ones are ruthless and macho.  The babes – and there are many – are luminous and cast in all shapes, sizes and colours.  I fancy all of them, especially the blonde princess who keeps pet dragons.  Lucky dragons.

I’m not sitting here wondering why the programme has broken viewing records here and in the United States.  You don’t have to ask why.

Any parents who let their kids watch this stuff are irresponsible.  The age cut-off ought to be 30.

In short, GoT is good dirty adult fun.  Do I disapprove of it?  Well, perhaps a little, but not really.

I just feel a little dirty enjoying it.

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