I know I’m late to this party, I only recently got HBO.

2 minutes in, “This already looks more real than Merlin.”

Do I like it?  I watched the first season on demand in two days, and made sure that the DVR will pick up new episodes when Season 2 starts April 1st on HBO.

It’s a “hard” show, not for the faint of heart.  Within the first episode, there are orphaned puppies, a 10 year old boy pushed out a tower window, and “are they brother and sister having an affair?”  (Turns out they’re fraternal twins even.)

It’s a fantasy show set in a fantasy land, but illustrates well the self made trouble of medieval politics.

In a “traditional” fantasy setting there are four elements, through which the audience must be dragged, to understand the characters and their motives: geography, lineage, magic, and monsters.  Game of Thrones does a fantastic job of conveying everything you need to know about the geography in the opening credits.  Lineage, they are not as good with.  There are long family histories of blood and betrayal before the start of the first episode.  Even watching the episodes back to back, it was tough figuring out just who all the characters were to each other.  Of course that’s just a matter of perseverance, it is abundantly clear how they feel about each other.

Magic?  There is some, but they take a long time before we actually know it.  And of course, “are there monsters?”  Monsters, in a fashion, are what Game of Thrones is about.  There are monsters in the Seven Realms and across the Narrow Sea.  Most of them are men.

Exquisitely accomplished in this realistic fantasy, is the portrayal of the more fantastical elements.  The show makes you believe the story has some sort of historical accuracy.  When we see magic and supernatural monsters, we, the audience, have the same reaction, I think, as the characters.  Yes, we believed in the myths but knew they probably weren’t true… and holy $#!t did that corpse just stand up and pull the sword out of his own chest?!  Okay, can’t rationalize that, white walkers are real!

There’s also quite a lot of talk about dragons, conveniently extinct just longer than living memory.  When they discuss dragon skulls and dragon eggs which “time has turned to stone,” the paleontological anthropologist in me says “cretaceous fossils.”  Dinosaur skulls could certainly seem to be those of long dead dragons.  Then we see a skull, larger and definitely more dragon like than any dinosaur.  Why are dragons especially important?  The deposed brat “rightful” heir to the throne claims to be descended from them.

It reminded me of this video about dragon lineage:

For those who have seen Game of Thrones, I’ll point out that Khaleesi Daenerys demonstrated early on that she can probably kiss things thousands of degrees hot… while her brother’s crown sort of proved he could not.