However, in the absence of anything particularly interesting to say about cinema this week, I offer instead a list of ten reasons why you should pull your head out of that Stieg Larsson book, switch off Den Som Draeber, and otherwise ignore anything and everything that is going on in the real world until you have hacked, burned and slashed your way through the entirety of HBO's Game of Thrones (based on the books by George R. R. Martin).
1. We ain't in Middle Earth no more Mr Frodo
When you first heard about Game of Thrones, you may have written it off because you thought to yourself: "I can't be doing with any more of this Lord of the Rings style fantasy horse-shit full of pointlessly epic journeys, jigging elves and gurning goblins et cetera". Let's be honest, you were well within your rights to think that. But really, if Game of Thrones has anything even remotely to do with Lord of the Rings, it's that GOT is LOTR's twisted, deformed, drooling, limping, inbred, insane cousin who shows up at family weddings only to piss on the cake before raping the bridesmaids and setting fire to the vicar. There are no orcs, no goblins, no magic rings, no pointy-eared princesses, no forests made of silver and gold, and definitely no fucking singing. What there is is snow, blood, sex, curse words, beheadings, burnings, rapes, and more wolves than you can shake a stick at.
2. Characters you actually care about
In many television programmes it can be hard to get attached to any of the characters, mostly because they are all sickeningly Godawful imitations of human beings. But, despite being set in a fantasy world, Game of Thrones manages to provide us with some of the most deep, realistic, enigmatic characters you will ever see on television. There's Jon Snow, bastard son of Eddard Stark, member of the Night's Watch and in search of his lost mother. There's Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf younger brother of Jaime and Cersei, a wine-swilling, whore-mongering, book-reading, smart-quipping genius - but whose side is he on? Arya Stark, Catelyn Tully, Rob Stark, Littlefinger - the list goes on. Everyone has their agenda, and no-one is absolutely good or bad. Which brings me to...
As I've already said, it's impossible not to have favourites among these characters (see 2), which can be a bit unnerving considering that anyone and everyone is constantly at risk of sudden and probably gory death. Anybody can die in Game of Thrones. Nobody is safe. Everybody is at risk. I can't stress this enough. These bastards are tricky; they could spend five series letting you get to know and love a character before suddenly knocking his block off and chucking his carcass in the river. The axe could come down at any time and on anyone; it makes you wish you had eight eyes in your head.
Wolves. You know, wolves; those big furry fearsome dog looking things that can jump on your enemies and rip their throats out, alert you to danger, help pack your suitcase, chomp on Prince Joffrey's arm, and various other such useful tasks. I'm ostensibly a 'cat person', but even I wouldn't say no to having a massive Direwolf to feast upon my enemies.
Dragons. You know, Dragons; those big lizard looking things that can fly through the sky, breathe fire, and lay waste to the countryside sending the peasants and leppers running and stumping for the hills. They're pretty much the old-school answer to Napalm. But in the world of Westeros, unfortunately they are extinct. Or are they...
6. Daenerys 'Stormborn' Targaryen
She starts off as little sister to Viserys 'I am the Dragon' Targaryen, who thinks he's the rightful heir to the Iron Throne due to his father and older brother being booted out during the revolution headed by Robert Baratheon and aided by Jaime 'Kingslayer' Lannister and Eddard 'Winter is Coming' Stark (keep up). She is sold in marriage to Khal 'I can rip a man's tongue out through his throat' Drogo, a Dothraki horselord. However, she comes up trumps after becoming their queen; getting out on her own (and away from the influence of her slimy older brother) gives her a new sense of purpose, and she gradually turns into one of the most interesting, strong-willed and blood-thirsty characters in the series. And she knows a surprising amount about Dragons as well (see 5).
7. Those Dirty Lannisters
They're the blonde bitches you love to hate. Goddamn, I hate those Lannisters. I am literally grinding my teeth in joyful anticipation of the episode in which Cersei and Jaime Lannister find themselves hung from the nearest Heart Tree, gutted or decapitated (I don't particularly mind which) on the nearest Stark-wielded blade, or ripped to bloody ribbons on the teeth of a handy Direwolf. And let's throw in Joffrey Lannister-Baratheon, the original double-barrelled bastard, just for good measure. We can all bond over despising that pug-faced little troglodyte.
8. The Night's Watch/The Wall
The Wall is an epically impressive ice barrier that stands between the Northlands and the real-proper-shit-a-brick-scary Northlands. The Night's Watch is an elite corps of bastards, rapists and ex-noblemen, most of whom are press-ganged into taking a vow of service and celibacy in order to hang out shivering on top of the Wall, constantly vigilant for whatever beasts and ghoulies might take it into their heads to travel South for the Winter. And Winter Is Coming. Which brings me to...
9. The White Walkers
The White Walkers...what are they? Nobody really knows yet. All we know is that they live North of the Wall, are thought by most right-thinking men to have died out thousands of years ago, and are so blood-curdlingly terrifying that it is rumoured they could scare the webbed toes off of Ashton Kutcher with a single glance. Oh, and the people they kill come back to life with weird icy blue eyes and a hunger for the flesh of their fellow man.
10. Tyrion Lannister. Just Tyrion Lannister.
Warning - a few spoilers in video.