Game Of Groans


On Saturday mornings I like to rise early, pedal to the newsagent and pick up a copy of the Telegraph (I know, I know, The Times knocks it into a cocked hat these days, but I like an hour of relaxation with a broadsheet and the only other option would be the Guardian – hardly conducive to relaxing). Today was no different; coffee in hand, I sank back into my chair, opened the paper… and there they were. Three little words forming part of the title of an article at the top of page three. Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones. Game of bleeding Thrones. There is a new series (and yes, if you’re British it’s series, not season) on the way, and don’t we just all have to know about it?

Here’s the thing – deep breaths – okay, here we go. My name is Matthew and I have never seen Game of Thrones. There, I said it.

I have no idea what the article was about; those three words were enough to completely put me off reading it. I am not remotely interested in anything to do with Game of bloody Thrones. Soldiering on, I turned to the editorial column, where there was yet another mention of Game of Thrones.

Enough, already? Actually, no. One of the back pages columnists had more to say on the subject. Snorting in disgust I put the paper down and turned on the TV, my little Saturday ritual ruined.

Allow me to explain. Even though I have never seen so much as a part of an episode of this series, it has become one of those things that absolutely can not be avoided. Until recently, for example, I happily laboured under the misconception that Jon Snow was just an amnesiac news presenter with poor taste in socks and an inability to understand his programme is becoming a bit of a shambles. Oh no, there is another Jon Snow. A character on HBO’s runaway success story. I can only have become aware of this through osmosis. Game of Thrones, like so many other television programmes I don’t wish to know about, is somehow absorbed by my body. Similarly, I know the  programme has dragons in it. And magic. I categorically despise anything with dragons and/or magic, anything of the fantasy genre.

I can happily suspend disbelief for some (though by no means all) science fiction. Blade Runner for example gave us a bleak, dystopian future filled with incessant rain, flying cars and genetically engineered human replacements. Instead, with November 2019 a mere stone’s throw away, it is becoming clear that the bleak, dystopian future that will actually arrive will be filled with incessant rain, the Lineker Twitter feed and worries over whether to refer to gender confused toddlers as xe, xi, xo or bleeding xum. This matters not. I still love Blade Runner. There were no dragons in it.

I mean, dragons have their place. Who can fail to be moved by the sight and soul-stirring sound of twenty thousand flag waving rugby fans, Dragons rampant, filling the Principality Stadium with a loud and lusty rendition of Cwm Rhondda? But not in my television programmes, thank you very much.

Of course, if dragons and magic are your thing that’s great. Knock yourself out. Just don’t keep pushing it on me. I have several wonderful friends who are fans of the show and I know they all mean well, they all want me to share in this life-enhancing tale they have discovered when they say to me, with all the evangelical zeal of the newly-quit smoker, things like:

“But you’re missing out.”

 I don’t care.

“You’ll really love it.”

 I won’t.

Seriously, all of you, please, please take heed:



The fantasy genre (yes, I know that’s only a small element) leaves me absolutely stone cold. Dungeons, dragons, wizards and broadswords can all, as far as I’m concerned, take a running jump. I’m genuinely pleased for those who are delighted and enthralled as they sit, captivated by this show, but I have precisely no desire or intention to join them. For the record, I feel exactly the same way about films with superheroes in. If you want to watch them, fine. They’re just not for me. I used to quite like Star Wars though. When I was eight years old.