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I’m sure there are people out there that might need a bit of persuading to give a rich fantasy story like Game of Thrones a chance, which is why I’ve compiled this brief, spoiler-free list to entice you into watching the HBO series. Admitting that my appreciation for fantasy doesn’t typically extend far beyond the Harry Potter books may discredit me somewhat among hardcore fans of the genre. I’m ok with that as that’s really not who I’m trying to reach here. After all, if you love the fantasy genre, you probably don’t need any other reason to tune in to HBO this Sunday night. But fantasy's not for everyone. It's certainly a matter of preference. Having read the book, I think the story transcends the genre enough that people who don't consider themselves fans of fantasy can still get on board with this one if they're willing to give it a chance.
Maybe you’re planning to watch Game of Thrones begrudgingly because your significant other swears you’ll like it. Perhaps you’re intrigued by a new HBO show but aren’t sure this series is your cup of tea. If you need a little more persuading than what the trailers have offered, here are a few reasons why I loved the book and expect to enjoy HBO’s adaptation. If you’re looking for a review of the show check out Steve’s take on the first few episodes here.
If I’m going to get invested in a story, I need there to be relatable characters with realistic, human qualities. They don’t need to be perfect. In fact, the closer to perfect they get, the less interesting I tend to find them. Game of Thrones works because it’s a story about interesting people with realistic personalities, motives, flaws and reactions to the circumstances they find themselves in. Pave the roads, exchange the castles for skyscrapers, the metal armor for Kevlar, the horses for cars, etc, and I’m willing to bet that all of the characters are still just as interesting as they are in the context we see them in. Eddard Stark is still a good, brave husband and father who wants to do the right thing. Robert is still a leader who’s let himself go. As for the women, that brings me to my next point…
On the subject of direwolves. Each of the Stark children is paired with their own direwolf early on in the story. As this canine breed is the Stark family symbol, it’s fitting, but what I find even more interesting is the strong, loyal bond that forms between the wolves and the Stark kids. I want a direwolf. Unfortunately they’re extinct and it’s just as well as they tend to get cranky when they think their masters’ lives are in danger.
Maybe the Wall is too fantasy-oriented for non-fantasy fans to appreciate but considering how grounded to natural reality most of the rest of the story is, I think the contrast between the two different sides of the Wall is one of the most fascinating parts of the story.
I can appreciate that fantasy and period stories aren’t for everyone, however the above mentioned elements are things I believe can be appreciated by anyone who loves a good story. They’re the things that made the book hard for me to put down at times, and the things I'm really excited to see brought to life in HBO’s series.
Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, April 17 at 9:00 PM ET on HBO.