Film and TV

Game of Thrones: 7 Observations from a Newbie (and Pop Rocks Pinch-Hitter)

Pete Vonder Haar couldn't file a Pop Rocks today, so it falls to me to do so. Since he is also our chronicler of all things Game of Thrones, I will pick up that mantle too.

I'm not much of a fantasy person at all, but I find myself getting into this HBO miniseries. There's a great cast and a terrific feel for the Middle Ages, or whatever time period it's supposed to be evoking. Nothing turns me off more than some movie set in the Elizabethan Age or the English Civil War where every room is as brightly lit as an IKEA store, thanks to the occasional guttering torches we see attached to the wall.

I haven't read the books that the series is based on, and I'm awful at keeping up with characters' names. But let me offer these thoughts -- and no spoilers in the comments, please.

7. What happened to all the shtupping? First couple of episodes, you couldn't sneeze without someone getting it doggie-style -- including a sister getting it from her brother. Which, you know, I love my sister and all, but no.

Now the most you get is some bathtub dialogue between an annoyed princeling and a whore. Step up your game, HBO.

6. Drinking game: Take a shot every time that one bearded dude tells someone about what "the Dothraki believe." You won't make it through a show without a good buzz. Again, I'm not good on character names, so to me it's Bearded Pedantic Dude, but really, he's just the Basil Exposition of foreshadowing or explaining why the plot is allowed to progress as it is. Common-sense question about why the Dothraki just don't do something that seems obvious to do? Simple -- they've got some obscure "belief" that prevents it.

5. Maybe it's just us, but we think there's something about people with blond hair. You're blond in this show, you're one of two things: An evil, conniving bitch or a snivelling brat. It's very, very subtle.

4. Should they just give Peter Dinklage the Emmy now? Yes. Especially since the Emmys these days probably have a category entitled "Best Supporting Actor, Mini-Series on a Cable Network Involving Swords." Even without that, you can't deny that when Dinklage is on screen you're not looking anywhere else.

3. Swishy, Ultra-Smooth Goatee Guy: We don't trust him. Sure, he's told Ned (Hey, we remembered a name!) not to trust him about a million times as he offers help. But this guy is playing (gossipy) 3-D chess. He's the Severus Snape of the enterprise, although we're not sure where he's going to end up. Except that he will appear to be on one side, then the other, then back again, until finally they run out of time and he has to pick a side.

2. Please tell us the big finale won't be some cheap-CGI spectacle of a final battle with the Nightwalkers. They've been offscreen for now (at least from what we've seen), and that's how we like it. We don't want some drawn-out Lord of the Rings battle finale, unless it involves extensive cutaways to doggie-style sex.

1. The come-uppance squad. Among those we expect to see die painful deaths, probably pitiably pleading for mercy: The bratty prince who's trying to nail Ned's daughter, the idiot blond guy who was the only person alive who didn't realize the Dothraki were going to screw him (Check! as of the most recent episode), the dude who was boffing his sister and crippled Ned's kid, and the twerp who's still getting breast-fed at five years old and keeps calling for the death of Peter Dinklage. That's a lot of come-uppance, but we feel confident we'll see our share.