The thing about Game of Thrones is that if you don’t watch it – like me – you may feel like you have passed the point of no return.
I will confess, I tried to watch it and got put off – my prudish self drew the line at incest and throwing kids off castle walls. And now I regret it.
Mostly because my other half Ciaran was an extra and we still don’t even know if he was on screen or not.
Then I heard that comedian and presenter Sue Perkins is a self-confessed superfan who was trying to encourage people to join her Game Of Thrones Fan Army.
I didn’t even realise that she’s such a mad fan that she’s now got her “dream job” presenting Thronecast with Jamie East.
Broadcast live in front of a studio audience the show will see Sue and Jamie grill some of the series’ best known cast.
So on that note, I’m a fair kinda girl so I’m giving her the chance to convince me. Here’s what she said:
1. Why should we tune in?
Sue said: “Those who dismiss Game Of Thrones do so at their peril, for this show contains the most important themes seen in any grand works of literature. The questing knight, for example, normally a dude in full armour who traverses the landscape is, in this iteration, a statuesque woman named Brienne of Tarth. For that reason alone, I would watch Game Of Thrones, but there are many others.
“Dragons, for example, permanently flying over the charred landscape, beheadings, some involving a horse, boobs aplenty if that’s your bag, whispering in dark corners, politics, bordellos, random emasculations, the massive quest for the iron throne and all of those matters undecided as yet.”
2. What’s the story so far?
She explained: “The king has died, leading to a power vacuum, and several great families are brought into a struggle [the game of thrones], to be the successor. The Lannister family, with their son Joffrey, immediately seize power. Joffrey is made king, he’s the product of an incestuous relationship between his mother and his mother’s brother and is psychotic, so that sets the tone for loads of other families around to want to seize power.
“One of the challengers is a guy called Stannis, who is the brother of the former king. You have Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons, who is an extraordinary force of nature who can walk through fire and is just starting to muster her power.
“Without getting into too many specific characters, because there are so many of them, it’s about the jostling and vying for power among great dynasties, where there’s no such thing as moral black and white, and everything is somewhat tainted.
“The moral heart of the story was a guy called Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean, and now it’s Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage, who’s also known as the imp or the dwarf. He’s an incredible character. Basically, it’s a dynastic game of chess, which is bloodthirsty, bawdy and epic.”
3. Should we watch it from behind a cushion?
“I’ve needed to a couple of times” said Sue.
“t’s really quite violent. There’s the beheading of a horse, multiple throat slittings, the evisceration of a pregnant woman, it can get quite nasty and they don’t skimp on the blood. But it’s part of the world. It’s a brutal world where, if you weren’t to act like that, you were made mincemeat of, so it’s prescient to the universe it’s inhabiting. It’s not gratuitous, it’s not very nice, but it is what it is. It’s credible.”
4. How erotic are the sex scenes?
Sue said: “I don’t think watching other people having sex is erotic – it’s not really my thing – but there are a lot of boobs. I’m sure some people like that, it does nothing for me. I’m an over-empathetic person, so I always think, ‘Ooh, she’s probably cold, or she should put a top on’. There’s not that much sex in GOT. Early on, there was probably more.”
5. Do I have to read the books first?
She said: “I’ve just started, but this is quite an interesting juncture in the series because this is the point where the show diverges from the books, so obviously the show has had a chance to see which characters really fire up people’s imaginations. One of the many great things about it, is it’s no respecter of persons, so it will just kill off a big character.
“I’ve seen the first episode, but I wouldn’t spoil it for anybody – there’s always a cull of some description.”
6. Why has it captured people’s imaginations so much?
Sue explained: “In straightened times, with restrictions and limits and hard edges to everything, this is unapologetically glamorous and large scale and sweeping. And it isn’t apologising for itself, it’s just out there and it is what it is. It’s not bashful, it’s just there, and you either love it or you don’t watch it.
“I don’t know anyone who’s watched it who hasn’t got into it – you either absent yourself or you’re knee-deep in it, there’s nothing in between.”
7. So, is it too late to start watching it now?
Sue said: “Treat yourself to a box set – there are a couple of great weekends you could have watching it, and then you’ll understand what the fans are going through. You become invested in a character, who then meets a terrible end, you have a mourning period, there’s a power vacuum, and then someone unlikely fills it, and it’s just a Rolodex of great actors and extraordinary sequences.
“It’s constantly moving and your emotions are constantly moving with it. You do feel sick-scared; season four was quite dark and it’s quite hard viewing. But it’s amazing and everyone’s having fun doing it.”
Game Of Thrones and Thronecast begin on Sky Atlantic on Monday, April 13