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An epic for our times: How Game of Thrones reached highbrow status

Game of Thrones transformed the TV landscape—and brought fantasy to a new, literary audience

By Lucinda Smyth  

Daenerys Targaryen: the interest in Game of Thrones goes beyond fondness for the characters. Photo: HBO

On paper, HBO’s Game of Thrones should be automatically classed as naff, low-brow television. With lurchy shock twists, gratuitous nudity, wooden acting, gimmicky celebrity cameos, and hammy Olde Englyshe dialogue, there’s more than enough here to offend anyone’s tastes. (Despite a budget of $10 million per episode, the special effects are also laughably camp.) Yet last week’s season premier drew 16 million viewers in the US, many of whom then went to the internet to…

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