'Game of Thrones' a carefully crafted, epic drama worth catching up on

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMay 9, 2013 

Most of the television shows I watch and enjoy are set against modern or somewhat modern backdrops (i.e., AMC's increasingly dull period drama "Mad Men"), as are most of the films I consider some of my favorites.

Suffice it to say, very few of them involve made-up dialects, fantasy worlds, kingdoms, knights, giants, dragons, lords and noble houses.

So as not to inflame the elf-ear-wearing among us, it is worth mentioning that I find similarly little enjoyment in most post-apocalyptic or futuristic films or television shows. They just aren't for me.

But as the buzz around HBO's "Game of Thrones," a series based on the work of author George R. R. Martin, grew since the show premiered in April 2011, I found myself increasingly intrigued by its seemingly universal appeal, even among my like-minded friends who praise it.

A few months ago, my curiosity got the better of me, so I watched the first episode ... then the second ... then the third.

There was no use in fighting it. I was quickly hooked, taken in by the language of the show, the drama and the scale of the world in which it so masterfully unfolded.

Though I've yet to -- and probably won't -- read Martin's books, there is little doubt he has created the most fully realized fictional universe since George Lucas created the "Star Wars" universe all those years ago.

Yes, the show can sometimes be confusing, but from the pilot, I resigned myself to the fact that there are characters and plot points I'm not meant to know or understand fully until later in the series. There are a number of guides, some of which are packed into genius interactive features developed by HBO, that helps you keep track of the characters.

Word of caution, though, most of these guides are fraught with spoilers, so if you decide to start watching the show, it's best to avoid them.

I'm also floored by how much action and plot development the show's writers are able to cram into each episode without it feeling scattershot or rushed, something due, in large part, to the sheer number of characters the viewer is tasked with keeping up with and caring about.

But doing so feels largely effortless, and therein lies the show's true genius.

Not to mention, the Iron Throne is the coolest-looking chair in the history of television, including those weird-looking vinyl chairs they had at The Max.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.

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