HBO’s intense fantasy-drama Game of Thrones returns for its fourth season on April 6th. Word has it some people still don’t watch the show and that’s a shame since it’s far and away the greatest thing on TV right now and that includes the aquarium channel. If you’re a fan of other shows, don’t take that as a slight, it’s just that no other television show is even in the ballpark as Game of Thrones and likely never will be. What’s the big deal, you ask? If you’ve never seen it or have been waiting patiently since last season to get into it again, let me run down what makes Game of Thrones the only show you need to watch. At least for that one hour a week.
Zombies became the pop culture phenomenon du jour around the year 2004. That was when Zack Snyder and James Gunn teamed up for their remake of Dawn of the Dead. And sure zombies were big before then, but that movie hit large and started a newer, mainstream zombie love affair that has culminated in AMC’s The Walking Dead, the first and only mainstream, award winning zombie show on TV.
While the zombie movement is now waning in pop culture; movies are growing predictable, zombie walks are in every small town in America, Game of Thrones put the dead back in the undead. The White Walkers. Looming beyond all the machinations, jiggling boobs and jerkass boy-Kings in Westeros is the threat of Winter. And the things that walk in the snow.
What the hell are the White Walkers? No one knows yet. But they’re dead, they can kill like champs and they’re scary as shit. And the build up to them has been 4 years and counting. When Winter hits, it’s going to hit so hard, you don’t even know. And no other show on TV has dared to build up a villain for this long.
Sex and the Single (or Married) Woman
One of the biggest criticisms levied at Game of Thrones is ironically one of its strengths because it plays to its realism in an unreal world. Feminists critics have critiqued the show for the way women are relegated to sexual objects and can only exercise power via their sexuality –but here’s the thing, in a feudal patriarchal society, what power would women possess? In a show rife with dragons, the walking dead and gods of fire, women are just as conniving, just as dangerous and just as cunning as the men, and are willing to use everything including their sexuality to achieve their ends. Is this anti-feminist? Of course, but it doesn’t make it less realistic or relevant. This isn’t a world that allowed for feminism, so what do you expect women to do? The world isn’t fair and never has been. If anything Game of Thrones presents a world in which the unequal can manipulate the game in their favor, even if the means to do so are unsavory.
Now that the scholarly argument is out of the way, this show is chock full of sex. When else are you going to see a dwarf having a threesome? Do they do that on House of Cards? Probably not. And it’s not just dwarves, either. There’s the dragon girl who gets naked at the drop of a hat, there’s a queen who bones her brother, there’s a woman who breastfeeds her way too old to be breastfed son and more depraved sexuality and nudity than you can shake a stick at. It’s like watching Kink, but you don’t need to change the channel when someone walks in on you.
No One is Special
Every show has a star. There’s a Captain Kirk, a Hawkeye Pierce, a Dorothy Zbornak. But Game of Thrones has proven that whoever you think is special is not special. Every head is moments away from being separated from the body underneath it. Though the show is arguably the story of the Stark family, there doesn’t seem to be much hope that they’re all going to have a happy reunion by the end of things given how many of them are making it to season 4.
Arguably the best character on the show right now is Tyrion Lannister, played expertly by Peter Dinklage. A dwarf in a world of cutthroats, madmen and sword-swinging heroes. How does a man of small statue and no physical prowess whatsoever prove himself and stay a cut above? His wits.
In contrast to women who can use their wiles to get ahead, a dwarf must use his mind and his mouth. A child like Arya Stark must use her guile and her thirst for vengeance. And a crippled boy like Bran must rely on the wisdom of friends and nature. The point is, it’s not all swords bashing heads or boobs bouncing pleasantly. It’s a rich tapestry and it’s as enthralling as anything you’ll ever see on the screen.
Also, there’s dragons, man. Seriously. Watch Game of Thrones.