The epic viewing we've come to expect from Game of Thrones.
The fifth season of the widely popular Game of Thrones sees Tyrion adjusting to life on the run, Daenerys and Jon facing the burdens and challenges of leadership and Arya continuing her quest for vengeance. Violence, sex, betrayal and the promise of wars to come characterise the latest season of the epic fantasy drama.
What distinguishes this particular installment of Game of Thrones from its four predecessors, is a much more significant deviation from the source material. This new-found freedom turns out to be (in equal measure) both a blessing and a curse. It means that the showrunners can be more ruthless and efficient in killing off characters and resolving storylines, without also having to balance as many plot-threads as the novels do. Sansa’s, Daenerys’ and Tyrion’s storylines benefit from the changes made. Conversely, Jamie’s narrative and the events at the newly introduced Dorne suffer greatly because of this. Ultimately, this fifth season struggles with the combination of trying to adapt the weakest novel in the series and creating several character arcs from scratch.
Nonetheless, this is still an exceptionally high quality season of TV. It more than meets the criteria of intelligent writing, great acting, exciting action and awe-inspiring scale that was established by the other four seasons. The episode which best embodies this is the truly breathtaking ‘Hardhome’.
Many have singled out the fifth season for being too violent and hard to watch at times, claiming that Game of Thrones finally crossed the thin line it was treading with its graphic sex and violence. This is an unwarranted criticism, as by the fifth season of any show you should know what you’re letting yourself in for and Game of Thrones shouldn’t have to apologise for its uncompromisingly brutal content.
Ultimately, whilst undeniably the weakest season of Game of Thrones, this is still riveting TV which demands to be seen.
Game of Thrones (Season 5) is available on March 15th on Blu-ray and DVD.