Arriving late for the Game of Thrones party was no bad thing
Like many people in China and around the world I've developed quite an obsession for Game of Thrones, and especially now that it has reached its finale.
But unlike most fans of the HBO epic that's been the best part of a decade in the making, I developed a taste for the epic tale quite late on. Well, just a few weeks ago, to be precise.
In the unlikely event you haven't seen it, Game of Thrones is a fantasy romp loosely based on England's War of the Roses but set in a mythical world made up of warring factions featuring dragons, eunuch armies and legions of the undead.
Like many others I suspect, I spent years looking for an excuse to dismiss the series offhand due to the barrage of media hype surrounding it. Also, I've always preferred historical dramas to fantasy works, where accuracy is usually always the key ingredient.
But a few weeks ago after watching a couple of episodes, it turns out that GoT is in fact my cup of tea-or cup of wine, as Tyrion Lannister, a key character in the series, is fond of saying.
What I initially dismissed as a silly mashup of The Princess Bride and Gladiator, turned out to be rather engaging, thanks to its multilayered storylines and sense of visual spectacle.
Coupled with high production values and a great cast of former unknowns-they all seem quite famous now-there was something strangely compelling about GoT from the outset.
The beautiful locations, from the bleak northern wastes shot in Iceland to the sun-drenched Croatian coast, served as dramatic backdrops to the Machiavellian skulduggery that unfolded.
And when there was a lull in the proceedings the GoT producers were happy to add in a dollop of gratuitous sex and violence to pique viewer interest. Credit where credit is due, the formula certainly worked.
If there were a few anomalies along the way, they could be forgiven. Diehard fans will obsess over the details, but for a latecomer like me the holes in the plot added to the charm.
For example, why did it take six series before they could fashion a wheelchair for Bran, is beyond me. Also how come uncle Benjen managed to survive north of the wall with nothing but an incense burner for protection for all that time?
And, as I think Cersei asserted, why couldn't one of the dragons have laid waste to the Whitewalkers earlier in the series when they could be killed by fire?
Anyway, a few weeks down the line and 60 hours into Game of Thrones and I'm about to wrap up series eight this week. I must confess my journey into the realms of fantasy over these past few weeks have been engaging, if not exhausting.
However it ends, I think it is fitting that the series has finally drawn to a close, no matter what the critics say. Let's all take a breather before GoT: The Musical arrives.