Game of Thrones, Season 5 (2015)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Game of Thrones</strong>, Season 5 (2015)

(On Cable TV, June 2015)  For fans of the written series, Season 5 of Game of Thrones is where things turned interesting.  Readers know that books 4-5 of the series were a disappointing mess of new uninteresting subplots, overwritten prose, scattered characters and an absence of interesting plot points.  Would the TV show do better?  At first glance, it’s not clear: While the action gallops forward, it also goes in directions that are startlingly new.  The show-runners have made the wise decision to limit the number of new characters and have existing ones meet in ways unknown in the books.  While some of it seems empty (that visit to Dorne won’t be in anyone’s highlight reel), other plots threads (such as the Tyrion one) seem much tighter and interesting.  The pacing is better, even though some plot developments seem a bit rough.  Less fortunately, there is a sense (via two or three particularly violent sequences) that the show, increasingly freed of its literary inspiration, is eagerly overstepping the bounds of good taste for shock value: Subsequent seasons (and books, since we’re in unknown territory in some subplots) will show whether titillation or foreshadowing was the intent.  Still, it’s a rollicking tale, and some of the visuals in this season 5 are finally realizing the universe of the series to its fullest potential.  (The end battle of episode 8 easily rivals some fantasy movies for sheer excitement.)  While too many questions remain to make this season an unqualified success, it does provide a far more straightforward continuation of events –readers who grew exasperated with tome 4 and 5 may find their interest in the series rekindled.  Of course, the real fun may start in Season 6, which may begin airing before the corresponding volume is published…

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