Binge Guide: Game of Thrones

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By Nicole Fiorica

At a glance:
Genre: High Fantasy
Seasons/Episodes: 4/40
Avg .Episode Length: 55 mins
Available on: HBO GO, Amazon

What it’s about:
Taking place in the fictional realm of Westeros, the acclaimed show begins when Ned Stark (Sean Bean, Lord of the Ring) is asked to be the new advisor to King Robert Baratheon, an old friend. Not eager to take the position but worried about the influence of Robert’s scheming wife Cersei (Lena Headey, 300) and her family, the Lannisters, he leaves his family in Winterfell in an attempt to protect the king. Meanwhile, across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) makes new alliances in an attempt to reclaim the throne that was taken from her family years ago, and in the North, an older, more ominous threat looms over everyone as winter approaches.

Why it’s so good:
Over the course of the pilot episode, “Winter is Coming,” it is an undeniable fact that every viewer will fall in love with the Stark family, from oldest brother Robb (Richard Madden, Cinderella), to mischievous younger sister Arya (Maisie Williams), to bastard brother Jon Snow (Kit Harington). The show’s switching perspectives not only follow the individual threads of the Stark family but also a number of other compelling characters whose stories weave together seamlessly over the course of episodes and seasons. This show has amazing storytelling, and is as appealing as a political drama as it is a fantasy story.

Why you should binge it:
As you might be able to tell just from this very basic brief of the show, “Game of Thrones” is a show where a lot of things are happening at once, and binging it makes it much easier to keep track of going on. Additionally, if you haven’t jumped on to the bandwagon by now, you’re already way behind. “Game of Thrones” is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon, and you know you’ve already heard spoilers about a certain Red Wedding, among other references. If you want to catch up before the new season starts on April 12 to avoid yet more spoilers, you should get going.

Among the most important characters to watch include Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who is dubbed the Imp on the show because of his height, but whose character has incredible depth. The show is also structured so that the climax of each season happens in the penultimate episode of each season, episode nine. This means that “Baelor,” “Blackwater,” “The Rains of Castamere,” and “The Watchers on the Wall,” — all of which are among the highest rated of the series — are all best suited for keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Potential Pitfalls:
The large cast of characters, one of the principle reasons I suggest binging the show, are going to keep you on your toes. It’s helpful to keep in mind that “Game of Thrones” is not the kind of show that you can watch while multitasking if you truly want to understand everything that’s going on. This also would not be an adequate “Game of Thrones” guide if I didn’t warn you not to get too cozy to any one character. No one is too important to be killed at any point in time. Tears will be shed.