Game of Thrones" intro ushers viewer into intrigue"

Judging from the first 14 minutes, HBO will lop heads and kick ass with 'Game of Thrones.'

Fantasy films usually begin with seemingly endless, exposition-heavy prologues that identify the place names, rival players and some of the magical rules of the story, usually in phony, high-falutin' language, like "Lo, a great darkness fell across the Kingdom of Great Curb Appeal when the Shadowbastard unleashed the Two-Eyed Cyclops and other dark magicks upon the land," etc. HBO has released the first 14 minutes of "Game of Thrones" and it thrillingly opens "cold" (no pun intended). At first there isn't even any dialogue as three tough-looking guys venture into a spooky wilderness on an unknown errand, in a highly faithful adaptation of the first chapter of George R.R. Martin's book of the same name. I won't describe the opening sequence any further, save to say that it creates a palpable feeling of mystery, dread and crossing over into an unknown realm.

Game of Thrones Exclusive Preview

The second half of the excerpt does a nice job of introducing Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), some of his children (including the prodigious young archer Arya) and the harsh philosophy of crime and punishment in the kingdom of Westeros. I shouldn't say this, but every time I see a knight on horseback riding over a grassy hill from a distance, I flash back to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. BTW, this clip doesn't include the nifty credits sequence, which features 3-D maps of the show's main locales.