Full disclosure: we like Game of Thrones. It is a good television programme. But we can not abide the show’s gimlet-eyed super-fans aggressively hard-selling it to anyone still on the fence about watching. “I didn’t like all the fantasy stuff either,” they plead. “It’s actually all about the politics of power… there’s barely any dragons in it!”. Listen: dragons are like chap-hop rap music. For some of us even a little is far, far too much. And secondly, let’s not fool ourselves here, the story lines are more Dynasty than Dostoyevsky. We’re talking about garbage. Delicious, meaningless, moreish, titillating, gilded garbage.
Charles Dance, Sean Bean, Michelle Fairley. All fine actors. Ditto the charmingly crestfallen Peter “fun-size Frasier Crane” Dinklage. But for each of those there’s a hapless, talent-light no-hoper stinking up the joint like a Cheeky Girl at the Met Gala. Listen carefully and you can hear the on-set acting coach plunge his head into his hands every time Mellisandre The Seductive Sorceress has to string together an average-length sentence. Likewise Shae The Kindhearted Prostitute who, while earning a solid 10 for effort, delivers dialogue with all the poise of a drowning horse.
Roughly 50 percent of the series’ myriad story-lines will have your eyes glazing over faster than a BBC4 documentary on ruined churches and an armful of black tar heroin. The children in the magical forest? Outrageous poppycock. The stuff north of the wall? Tedious, not to mention Jon Snow is about as engaging a protagonist as a plate of coal. The bits in the desert? No one needs what feels like eight years of Emilia Clarke standing in a CGI pyramid blankly intoning “A queen must be just” over and over again.
Sorry mate, but it is. The only genuinely strong female lead looks (we are told repeatedly) “just like a man”. Then there’s the fact that while the show’s ladyfans have to make do with a fleeting male buttock shot once every 10 episodes, Thrones‘ slobbering audience of blokes is continually serviced by a flesh torrent of heaving cleavages and artfully-waxed pubic mounds. Then there’s the fact that the male characters get to yomp around in “realistic” wolf pelts and iron mantles yet Daenerys Targaryen spends much of her time on screen wearing synthetic fabrics, crop tops and All Saints-style Ultrasuede desert boots like a Solihull-based footballer’s wife from the year 2005.
The saddest admission of all. We, you, the newsagent, Mark Zuckerberg, the quiet Algerian guy at work, Barack Obama, we’ll all be dutifully tuning in when the new series starts on Sunday. Because, like a cold-hearted crack lord with a bunch of shivering addicts clawing at his kitchen window at four in the morning, it has us. It truly has us. And even though we know damn well there are only ever three good episode a series (the first one and the last two) we’ll watch every single one. Valar Morghulis, indeed.
Watch all of Game of Thrones seasons one to five whenever you like on Sky Box Sets
An international festival of light
Dinner in a decommissioned 1967 underground carriage
Half-price brunch and a HUGE fried chicken burger