Game of Thrones

8.9 / 10
56 min
Fantasy
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" gives "Game of Thrones - Season 4" a 9."
Written by on 18 June 2014.
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Game of Thrones - Season 4

'Game of Thrones' is the best show on television. That doesn't meant its fourth season is without flaws. It just means that the show pushes the boundaries of television and offers an experience that's unmatched in our time.

Well into the fourth season Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) sits besides his brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage); one of them is in chains, but both are prisoners of the world they inhabit. Tyrion remembers a cousin who spent his days beating beetles with a stone. Fascinated yet horrified, Tyrion observed the simpleton with great attention to find a reason behind the violence. Due to his cousin's mental shortcomings, he was unable to. The quiet conversation between brothers ends to make way for the season's many terrific scenes. Just like Tyrion, viewers watch the show, in which hundreds of characters meet their ostensibly meaningless death, in shock. Does it happen for our amusement? Is there a lesson to be learned here? Perhaps, like Tyrion, we will never know the reasons behind this series. Meanwhile, we'll continue to observe, with great attention.

'Game of Thrones' is everything a TV show can be. It's a masterfully crafted tale in which the worst of mankind prospers. The number of surviving characters we've met in the first season drops weekly. Those that make it to the end of every hour are scarred by the events. As Tyrion, Arya (an impressive Maisie Williams), Daenarys (Emilia Clarke) and their companions navigate the fantasy world without the inevitable ending in sight, it becomes apparent that this game is played with patience. Season four proves this continuously by extending existing storylines. Just like when Ned Stark (Sean Bean) lost his head, viewers are left wondering what the point is of all these stories. Look no further than the characters left alive at the start of season four. Daenarys, Tyrion, Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya and even poor Theon (Alfie Allen) are products of the world they live in. All polar opposites of what they once started out to be. In the game of thrones you win or you die. If there truly is only one winner, and all men do die, then this show is the depiction of their life lessons.

TV lends itself for a detailed and slow approach. Most shows battle repetition, unnecessary delay and random dramatic events, but 'Game of Thrones' embraces them. Now the cracks of the book adaptation start to show, the series suffers from some of the aforementioned issues. However, the calm approach is the most compelling. Who learns to appreciate this about the show is rewarded ten hours a year. Of course we want Dany to take her dragons and burn Joffrey's (Jack Gleeson) head off, but isn't it more intriguing to see how she actually fares with great power? Isn't it powerful to see Sansa turn from gullible teen to independent woman? Or Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) from lost bastard to commander?

'Game of Throne' pushes the envelope despite a fourth season that's complicated and sometimes crowded. The dialogues contain an unnatural amount of exposition and some stories are treated carelessly. Then again, the show has to plow through a lot of source material in a relative short time. The power lies in the quiet moments. For instance, 'The Watchers on the Wall' takes places entirely in one setting. It's a derailment from the bigger story, but in return it's a spectacle that knows no bounds. The enormous budget for the series is spent on brilliant duels, breathtaking VFX and flawless costume and production design. With unpredictable twists, formidable performances and unique character development, 'Game of Thrones' is a show without equal. The fourth season is a modern masterpiece, with which following seasons and upcoming TV shows will have a hard time measuring up to.
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