It’s hard not to notice that HBO’s new fantasy drama starts tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9pm. Every newspaper has endless ads and conversations with the cast. Well, not us! No, but we did get to see the first two episodes so that we could pass on our impartial opinion. And that opinion is… it’s alright. Is that good for a poster?
I won’t even try to get into the plot specifics as it all passed me by a little, Sean Bean’s character leaves his comfortable life to join the king, who seems to be an old pal, and somewhere else a pretty young lady marries the leader(?) of a different tribe, after being groped by her brother, and then has lots of rough sex. There’s also the brilliant Peter Dinklage playing a very privileged man who spends plenty of time whoring around. The rest of the characters it will take me the next 8 episodes to get a grip of.
Though the show is technically in the medieval fantasy realm this consists mostly of silly names, a complicated map and lots of horse riding, the fantasy element has so far been pretty light on the ground. There are no elves or hobbits which is all the better for those not so keen of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Even the bloodshed is pretty isolated, though still contains plenty of arcing crimson to keep you satisfied. What you do get is plenty of talking. Quality talking I’ll admit, that is spoken in a modern dialect, but still for a show of this type I expected more sword waving than witty banter. This can only be a good thing, certainly for the first two episodes, as it allows the unsure viewer not too keen on endless horse-riding and slow motion fighting to get into the series before it goes too medieval.
While the violence may be low-key so far the sex certainly isn’t. From Peter Dinklage being swarmed by prostitutes to the new bride being taught how to please a man by her female servant, there’s plenty of boobs and buttocks to make you wish you hadn’t chosen this as the family’s new Monday show.
In summary I enjoyed the show much more than I expected, any fantasy element is so far on the down low and the show is made all the more accessible for it. It still isn’t for everyone and I’m not sure how far into the run I will make it. But you should probably give it a try, so long as you feel comfortable watching the more rompy moments with whoever is sharing the sofa with you.