Why did HBO schedule “Game of Thrones” during the spring and summer?
The 10-part series is such a lush blanket of storytelling it deserves audiences’ full attention. And yet? We fear the “Game” will begin and viewers will be left at the starting gate.
Set in some nebulous Middle Ages world, it nimbly weaves swords and sorcerers, kings and commoners. It hints at complexity but unfolds with simplicity. Based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire,” it shows what happens when two families square off for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
That means heads roll, deals transpire, maidens wed. There’s lots of corruption and skullduggery (it’s HBO’s answer to “The Borgias”) and more skin than a Cinemax after-hours special.
Sean Bean (from “Lord of the Rings” fame) stars as Lord Eddard Stark, a fairly good soldier, who’s asked to help King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) hold his kingdom. Some nasty family members, however, are out to undercut the ruler. And then? There’s that mysterious stuff going on at the edge of the Kingdoms where creatures are torn from limb to limb and spirits keep watch.
Peter Dinklage figures in, too, as a member of the corrupt Lannister family. But it’s not a given that he or any of the other recognizable faces will make it through the spring. If there’s a hallmark to “Game” it’s this: No one’s safe. And that makes the series interesting to watch. It moves as swiftly and as assuredly as a knight’s sword. But miss an episode or two and you may really be playing catch-up. “Game of Thrones” waits for no one.
While many of the twentysomething royals either look like Darren Criss or Heath Ledger; the younger ones stand out. They bear watching and hold the keys to the kingdoms’ future. (Keep an eye on Jack Gleeson as Joffrey. He’s a comer.)
“Game of Thrones” is a lavish series – every bit the books’ equal. It just takes commitment to see through. Make a vow and you won’t be sorry. This clanks with the best of them. Yup, even “Lord of the Rings.”
“Game of Thrones” airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on HBO.