Who will win the Game of Thrones?

On the Ball column, by Craig Lindsay, May 27 Grand Forks Gazette.

This is a column about my favourite television show, Game of Thrones. It’s a magical, mystical tale about several prominent families who fight for power and to see who sits on the Iron Throne as the ruler of Westeros. The show, which appears on HBO, is in its fifth season. Each season seems to be bigger and better than the last with more and more characters and even fire breathing dragons.

The show pulls no punches and is definitely not for children. It may also change your thoughts about weddings, which in Game of Thrones usually have far worse goings-on than drunken relatives and people doing the chicken dance.

The former King, Joffrey, was a spoiled, impetuous brat. He was cruel and did not treat his family or really anyone very nicely. His mother Cersei, the queen mother, tried to control him but he wouldn’t listen.

This season, there are two episodes left and several usurpers are circling around the throne eyeing the crown; some have witches behind them, some dragons, some are zombies. Time is running out for many them as winter approaches. Winter in Westeros apparently lasts for years and it’s very cold. Kind of like Prince George.

What makes Game of Thrones so interesting is that whatever you think will happen usually doesn’t. The good guys don’t win and often die horrible deaths.

The quote bad guys usually end up on top. But you keep watching just to see if Ramsay Bolton or King Joffrey will get their comeuppance.

The pieces are moving. However, like in real life, quite often what makes the biggest moves and affects the most change is something you don’t see coming and something you may not be able to control, no matter how big your dragon is or how powerful your sorceress is. In fact, the bigger players are often not the royal families but those who work behind the scenes and create havoc such as the eunuch Varys, also known as the Master of Whisperers or the Spider. Varys has an army of spies “little birds” who always keep him informed of what’s happening. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baeler is one of the other big schemers. He uses his brains and his charm to manipulate the pieces behind the scenes.

Who ends up on the Iron Throne after this season will depend, as always, on who can best play the Game of Thrones.

Flash vs. The Hulk

Another big favourite of mine are comic book shows and movies. Yes, I do get my geek on from time to time. As a kid, I had a zillion comics and now as a “mature” adult it’s nice to see many of those heroes come to life on the small. It wasn’t long ago that shows based on comics were pretty laughable.

The Flash has emerged as a top show on the WB Network. The attempted romance between alter ego Barry Allen and Iris West seemed forced. She was quite annoying as a character who had a fiancé but obviously still loves Barry, who she had grown up with. That aside, the banter between Flash/Barry and his crew at Star Labs is very entertaining and funny. The mystery of who killed his mother and sent his father to jail and whether he could save them was well done. The season one ending episode was also well developed with the tricky subject of The Flash going back in time using the “speed force.” I look forward to future seasons and definitely more of the telepathic giant gorilla Grodd.

On the big screen, I caught Avengers 2: Age of Ultron at the GEM Theatre recently. Another strong, entertaining entry in the series. It wasn’t as good as the first. Definitely lacked the “Oh wow” factor of seeing so many well-developed characters on screen at once. The new heroes, Quick Silver and his sister the Scarlet Witch, were good as well and will hopefully be seen more in future movies.