Review: Naked Steel, Bare Flesh Sex Up Game of Thrones

King Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell. Photo courtesy HBO.

Game of Thrones opens with violence, nudity, foul language and a soundtrack dominated by cello and kettledrums. A medieval-looking haze of smoke hangs over the computer-generated cities of Westeros. Mud and filth fill the castles. Characters drop their silks and furs to engage in flesh-smacking sex inside ancient stone towers. There are two decapitations in the first 10 minutes.

In other words, the new show is everything a big-budget American TV channel and an imaginative swords-and-sorcery fantasy novelist can offer, baked up into one big, savory lamprey pie.

Game of Thrones is a 10-episode adaption of George R.R. Martin’s novel of the same name. The book is the first in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, a sequence of seven novels (only four of which have been published) that is one of the most ambitious fantasy epics in recent memory.

The fact that the first book is coming to HBO as a series — that it’s not being crammed, Harry Potter-style, into the impossible confines of a two- or three-hour feature film — is cause for celebration.

It’s welcome, too, that the creators of Game of Thrones have stayed true to Martin’s bloody, lusty vision, which is equal parts fantasy and historical fiction.

Well, sort of historical: The continent of Westeros is based loosely on medieval Europe during the Wars of the Roses, but is otherwise a completely made-up world.

There is a bit of sorcery to liven things up, but the emphasis in the show and in the books is far more on castle politics, knightly warfare and basic human brutality. It’s a complex drama of power and violence salted with a little magic and pageantry.

You don’t need to be a Dungeons & Dragons nerd to enjoy this series, but it definitely helps if you like the sight of horses, swords and naked women.

 

Read the full review on Wired.com: Naked Steel, Bare Flesh Sex Up Game of Thrones | Underwire | Wired.com.

Review: Naked Steel, Bare Flesh Sex Up Game of Thrones