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HBO Brings Fantasy to Adults With “Game of Thrones”

HBO Brings Fantasy to Adults With “Game of Thrones”  (photo)

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If you watched the “True Blood” season finale you may have caught the cryptic teaser, prominently featuring a raven, for HBO’s upcoming series “Game of Thrones.” I didn’t find it to be particularly impressive, but the show itself looks like it will be the next completely out of control fan-berserk series taking it’s place next to the likes of “True Blood” and “Deadwood” before it.

The casting so far is almost impeccable. I know this because, aside from being addicted to IMDB, I’ve read two of the books in George R.R. Martin’s colossal fantasy novel series on which the show is based. Sean Bean is everyone’s first choice for Ned Stark. You couldn’t dream of a better Tyrion Lannister than Peter Dinklage. Jason Momoa may suck as “Conan” but he’ll be the perfect Khal Drogo. There are four books already, with seven planned, and “Game of Thrones” covers only the first book. So, if this first effort is a success, we could be in for quite a few seasons.

Best of all, this isn’t your daughter’s fantasy series, this is grimy adult fare with tons of sex, grim family intrigues, terrible violence and more sex. HBO already backed off a little bit from the more risque aspects of the novel, casting some actors and actresses much older than they are in the book. The FCC would probably have taken issue with the deflowering of so many maidens. Indeed, George R.R. Martin is no J. K. Rowling, and as successful as “Harry Potter” is there seems to be a growing hunger for more adult oriented fantasy works. Just take a look at “The Pillars of the Earth” or “True Blood.” Certainly Potter fans have aged, and now years on from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy more people are interested in fantasy then ever thanks in part to these two franchises giving the genre some respectability (to say nothing of contributions by geniuses like Guillermo del Toro). And then there are those, not normally inclined to watch a fantasy show, who may be drawn in simply by the fact that it’s airing on HBO, and have come to expect a high level of quality entertainment from the channel.

I’m encouraged too not just by the content of the original works and casting, but by the series creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. These guys are well schooled in their fiction, and dedicated to bringing it to the screen properly — one reason why this one book is stretched across an entire season (though that still may barely be enough time). These guys didn’t just read “The Lord of the Rings,” they read “The Silmarillion.” They played Dungeons and Dragons for Tolkien’s sake, noting on their production blog, “As Dungeon Masters, we both ran very strict games. (Sorry, buddy. No ‘do overs.’ A saving throw is a saving throw.) Little did we know that someday we would encounter the most merciless Dungeon Master of them all…[George R.R. Martin].”

Benioff and Weiss speak clearly to their purpose and to the real appeal of “Game of Thrones.” “It’s not a bloodless, sexless, PG-13 tale of the eternal conflict between Good and Evil. No, ser. This tale is bloody, it’s sexy, and few of the characters can be neatly labeled…. This stuff isn’t for kids, and the story won’t fit neatly into a two-minute trailer.”

Check out this production featurette showing some behind the scenes action with a bit of commentary by all the major players.

In Production

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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