Game of Thrones returns with plenty of gore, lust and horror

Game of Thrones returns with plenty of gore, lust and horror

Lovers, warriors, princesses, eunuchs, dragons and zombies, among many others, take their turn in a multi-plot narrative in which the only common denominator is death.

By Afp

Published: Mon 13 Apr 2015, 8:24 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:29 PM

What to look forward to in Season 5 of Game of Thrones

With apologies to a sci-fi classic, the fifth season of Game of Thrones could easily be subtitled ‘When Worlds Collide.’

Always a bit slow starting, the new season of Thrones has a lot of cleaning up to do. After all, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) escaped a death sentence and took flight with the eunuch Varys (Conleth Hill), producing no end of wonderful exchanges between the two of them. Meanwhile, Tyrion’s sister Cersei (Lena Headey) fumes over both being deprived revenge and the prospect of dealing with her daughter-in-law-to-be Margaery (Natalie Dormer), who has the temerity to ask Cersei if she’d like to be called “Dowager.”

As usual, the new season also finds surviving members of the long-suffering Stark clan (Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner) facing some tough choices, among them Arya’s strange adventures in the land of Braavos, and questions surrounding the future of Winterfell, now in the hands of Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), who betrayed their brother Robb.

Elsewhere, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is discovering that maintaining control over the city of Meereen as an occupying force is almost as challenging as wrangling a trio of dragons once they’re all grown-up and independent.

Of course, that’s barely the tip of the iceberg, with several new characters to savour, including the progeny of the since-departed Oberyn - his vengeful daughters, known as the Sand Snakes; and Jonathan Pryce, who is in a bit of a happy rut casting-wise, inasmuch as he plays Cardinal Wolsey on Wolf Hall and now the High Sparrow, a religious leader with a darker bent who Cersei seeks to enlist to her cause. There are so many fine performances here it’s difficult to single out just a few, but in the early going the season offers especially good and illuminating moments for Aidan Gillen as the scheming Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish; Gwendoline Christie as the towering warrior Brienne; and Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon, whose last-minute season-four heroics represent part of a larger plan designed to advance his quest to rule Westeros.

Benioff and Weiss have become adept at juggling an almost dizzying assortment of plots, but the manner in which those narratives intersect this time around has only enriched the show. And despite the grandness of the enterprise - from the production design to the sets - the focus never deviates from the characters, motivated by a hunger for power as well as old staples like vengeance, loyalty and lust. Reuters

Former redhead Sansa remains a brunette. Tyrion grows a beard. East and West shall meet. And, once again, more will die gruesome deaths.

Welcome to season five of the cult TV series Game of Thrones, which premiered this morning in the UAE.

So popular is the medieval-flavored saga of blood, sex and treason that HBO is airing the new season simultaneously in 170 countries.

The globe-girdling simulcast is HBO’s response to Game of Thrones being the world’s most pirated TV programme.

The season four finale was illegally downloaded eight million times, according to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak, a nightmare for HBO’s marketers but a tribute to the show’s appeal.

Adapted from the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy saga by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones revolves around a ruthless power struggle between noble families who covet the Iron Throne in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Lovers, warriors, princesses, eunuchs, dragons and zombies, among many others, take their turn in a multi-plot narrative in which the only common denominator is death.

So much so, in fact, that it had the second-highest body count of any US television show in 2012, with an average of 14 deaths per episode, according to (Gladiator schlock-fest Spartacus was first at 25.)

Going into season five, the plot “just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said David Benioff, who co-created the show with Dan Weiss.

“For four seasons, you’ve had all these characters who’ve been separated by geography - from Daenerys and her band of warriors roaming around to everyone in Westeros,” he said.
“Now, these storylines are starting to merge. It’s going to be a big East-meets-West season.”

In the run-up to the premiere, spoilers have been trickling out.

According to USA Today, Jon Snow, a b*****d son of the noble House Stark, played by Kit Harington, will figure prominently this season.

“This year, you’re going to see some of the most horrible things and darkest places. Parts of my story are a horror,” Harington said.

Missing, at least this season, will be the disabled boy character Bran Stark and his mute guardian Hodor.

The dragons of blonde warrior queen Daenerys, portrayed by Emilia Clarke, will grow in strength, while the diminutive Tyrion sports facial hair.

The Washington Post has meanwhile produced an “illustrated guide” to the 456 deaths that occurred over the first four seasons.

The show’s extraordinary success was underlined in June when Queen Elizabeth II — who occupies a real throne — toured the Belfast studios where interior scenes are shot.

HBO has already commissioned a sixth season, while reports say the actors are under contract for a seventh — after which it is believed the creators will bring their epic to an end.

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