Simon Hoggart

Laid-back fantasy

This is how heavily Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, Monday) is being promoted: the preview discs came with a big, wider than A4, stiff-backed glossy book containing pictures of the actors and the settings, plus a glossary and a guide to the programme’s fantasy land — more than any lonely schoolboy in his bedroom could wish for.

This is how heavily Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, Monday) is being promoted: the preview discs came with a big, wider than A4, stiff-backed glossy book containing pictures of the actors and the settings, plus a glossary and a guide to the programme’s fantasy land — more than any lonely schoolboy in his bedroom could wish for.

This is how heavily Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, Monday) is being promoted: the preview discs came with a big, wider than A4, stiff-backed glossy book containing pictures of the actors and the settings, plus a glossary and a guide to the programme’s fantasy land — more than any lonely schoolboy in his bedroom could wish for.

But this is not just aimed at lonely schoolboys, though I’m sure plenty will watch it. The notion is that GoT reinvents the genre for everyone. There are no hobbits, no men in boarskin tabards saying, ‘My Lord, the Tharg-men of the Ultimate Kingdom are even now assailing our lands beyond the Great Mire.’ Nothing — well, almost nothing — is supernatural. It could even, conceivably, be an approximate account of how people lived in Britain in medieval times, though people speak in modern, demotic English, if perhaps a little too laid back at times. In an early scene, someone stumbles across a mini-massacre in a wood. ‘One lot steals a goat from another lot, and before you know it…’

The series, ten one-hour episodes, is made by HBO in America, the company best known for The Wire and The Sopranos, and for adding the sex that regular network television cannot provide. Whereas CBS was fined nearly a quarter of a million pounds (later overturned) for accidentally showing part of Janet Jackson’s breast, HBO can get away with explicit stuff which, if not hard-core porn, would cost you a fiver or so to watch in your hotel bedroom.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

Or

Unlock more articles

REGISTER

Comments

Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in