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June 18, 2014

The Couch Potato: ‘Game of Thrones’ is a medieval marvel

NEW CASTLE — If there is one thing that’s true about the old Couch Potato, it's that I always keep my word.

Except for when I don't.

A while back, I promised you, my loyal readers, that you would one day have the joy to read my take on the HBO hit fantasy drama, "Game of Thrones." If you're really loyal, you'd remember that I promised it to you after the fourth season had ended.

Well, folks, the fourth season has ended. So I bestow upon you, in all its glory, my opinion of a popular television show.

As I've mentioned here before, I am typically not a fan of the nerdy, fantasy stuff that is "Game of Thrones," or its illegitimate cousin, "Lord of the Rings." When the first "Lord of the Rings" movie came out in 2001, my buddy dragged me, literally, to see it. After what seemed like six hours of movie, it mercifully ended and then I was informed that there were two more films yet to be released.

Never mind the time wasted, but I didn't even get to see this thing out to a logical conclusion, even though “logical conclusion” might just be an oxymoron when talking about the "Lord of the Rings."

Example one: Why does everyone, supposedly living in "Middle Earth" or whatever it's called, speak in an English accent? Shouldn't they have some different accent, on account of England not even existing in the story?

Example two: There is a character named Frodo. Enough said.

So after that marathon viewing, I vowed to never again let myself be suckered into such a train wreck of entertainment. And then came "Game of Thrones."

Based on the yet unfinished series of books of the same name, its first two seasons on HBO escaped me unnoticed. I didn't have HBO, and when I saw it mentioned in popular culture, it looked way too similar to "Lord of the Rings" for me to get involved.

Mythical lands, English accents, oddly named characters ... ahhhhhh!

So one day I was reading one of my favorite sports writers, and because of my fading memory I don't remember the exact context, but he related the first two seasons of "Game of Thrones" to his list of NBA royalty. The premise being that each would have a grandiose family motto, similar to the families in the fantasy series.

Since this writer's recommendations had previously led me to such favorites as "The Wire" and "The Sopranos," his opinion was one that I could trust. I begrudgingly ordered the first and second season of "Game of Thrones" on Netflix and fully expected to check out after a few episodes.

Well, as you can guess, my prediction turned out to be false. I immediately became engrossed in this remarkably well-done series. I think it helped that while "Game of Thrones" certainly does have the fantastical elements, its primary story is rooted in and based on actual medieval events. While it is always over-the-top, it has a sense of realism, at least when the dragons and undead white walkers aren't hogging up the screen time.

I was fortunate to catch season three at my friend's house every Sunday last spring, as he had a free preview of HBO. As you might remember, I broke down and ordered HBO this spring to watch season four.

With that just ending, GoT fans will have to wait about 270 days until fulfilling their fix with the new episodes of season five.

I know this “nerd” has already started counting down the days.

(Questions, comments, ideas? Email at: thecouchpotato@outlook.com)

 

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