There’s three things I like about Game of Thrones (this week, a chance to watch it from the very start) beyond it being my favourite current TV series alongside Boardwalk Empire.
Firstly, it’s not only hard to predict what will happen, but who will actually watch it. Somebody from work, who you thought spent their whole life gardening and watching dwarf porn, will interrupt your discussion about how fit Daenerys Targaryen is to make a point about the racist undertones of her body-surfing among the ‘brown people’.
Secondly, it’s not afraid to lose viewers. Search for the Twitter comments assembled after the airing of episode 29 on June 2. These people wanted storylines and character arcs they could predict every step of the way, along with a healthy number of pin-ups they can fantasise about screwing under a mass of wolfskins.
So when the wolskin was ripped violently away, it felt like a bereavement, and there’s nothing more amusing that reading about Westerners crying outrage about something trivial, and politicians taking such calls for counselling seriously. I hope they need it – as long as people continue to choose what they watch based on who’s in them, I wish them the worst.
And thirdly, I admire the screenwriters’ bravery to tinker around with the original source material and not to overload us with too much magic. It’s like they understand that there’s only so much somebody with an aversion to Dungeons and Dragons can take.
I do have one concern, though. So far only five books have been written, out of a planned seven, and the last one (published in 2011) took the author George RR Martin five years to write. It looks highly unlikely that he will have the seventh finished by the time shooting is scheduled to start on the final series in 2016. With that in mind, I’d like to see them split the fourth book into two, and so on.
One thing’s for sure. Game of Thrones has really increased our interest in the medieval period, and there are three events this week – Skt Hans Aften, the Frederikssund Viking Festival and the Esrum Medieval Fair – that give us a chance to suspend our disbelief.
A few years ago, we might have reflected on life in medieval Europe; now we ponder how we would survive day-to-day in Westeros.