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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 3, 2012
There's something to like about a show that sets a high standard for itself and refuses to compromise. Game of Thrones is based on the best-selling books by George R.R. Martin about several kingdoms in an ancient fantasy world all vying for power and domination amidst a growing, unseen threat that is readying to destroy them all.

Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) rules the district of Winterfell as Warden of the North along with his wife and five children, one of which is the bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) who cannot claim the Stark surname and has no claim to any of its privileges. Eddard is soon approached by his good friend and current King of the Seven Kingdoms Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), who tasks him as his personal Hand in an effort to strengthen his crumbling rule. His wife, the Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) secretly schemes from behind the scenes to install her son Joffrey onto the throne, a child born of incestuous affair with her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). When one of the Stark children discovers the sexual affair between Cersei and Jaime, he is pushed from a high window and paralyzed from the waist down, setting off a chain of events that puts House Stark and House Lannister at each other's throats. Meanwhile in the south, the prince Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) seeks to gather an army to strike back against King Robert following Robert's victory over Aerys II Targaryen, the so-called "Mad King." He gives his gentle sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to the vicious warlord Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) of the Dothraki people in exchange for their swords in battle. As Daenerys suffers to adapt to Drogo's harsh sex and the Dothraki's militaristic way of life, she eventually begins to understand their culture and become deeply interwoven with it. She keeps 3 petrified dragon's eggs (a wedding gift) close to her at all times, becoming increasingly obsessed with them as time goes on. Meanwhile, to the far north, a strange force has been brewing past the Wall, a great siege of ice that stretches for miles. Jon Snow arrives to take the oath of the Night Watch and protect the realm from threats that many believe are simply the stuff of legend. But, as political turmoil grows within the kingdom and the approaching "long night" of lasting darkness, that threat may be ready to strike out from the shadows and cast darkness over the land.

Game of Thrones is highly complex. It tackles a bucketload of characters and plot twists and makes careful use of screen time to maximize the presentation of story and keep everything relatively understandable. This isn't as easy as it is within the confines of a book, where historic events can be more properly explained. For the most part however, it's somewhat easy to keep track of. What Game of Thrones does so well is utilize pace to its advantage. There isn't much combat in the show, and it's certainly not all about clashing swords and sorcery. Instead, it's somewhat of a mystery/thriller that plays itself out by using ominous and dark forebodings to create a sense of urgency. It also builds its characters beautifully, right down to the secondary characters like Arya Stark. With a 60 minute running time, each episode feels like it ends far too quickly, leaving the viewer with a sense of pained impatience to see what is going to happen next time. The writing team makes clever (and mostly obvious) use of cliffhangers to generate buzz, but really, without the characters, nobody would care. The dynamic range of the cast is such that everyone can find a character they can relate to on a personal level, from the maternal Catelyn Tully to the ridiculed Tyrion Lannister (played with astounding excellence by Peter Dinklage).

As an HBO show, there's bound to be adult content. Game of Thrones is no exception. Graphic violence and disturbing imagery is there in spades, from brutal decapitations to young children nailed to trees before a snow floor of severed limbs and heads. Sex is also quite prevalent in the show, and the majority is used for shameless titillation, but a few key scenes are meant to progress the story. There are also other adult themes including incest (a rather common thing in ancient times). It is absolutely in no way a show meant for children, or even young teenagers. This is strictly adult material with distinctly mature overtones. Unlike Spartacus, which can't see past its own target demographic of horny skateboarding 14 year olds, Game of Thrones never feels like it is out to craft a name for itself by using controversial material. Instead, it feels like the natural byproduct of an ancient time period.

The cliffhanger at the end of Season 1 has certainly made fans salivate for the April 2012 debut of Season 2. If you haven't had the chance to watch Game of Thrones for yourself, I'd suggest you take the time. If you can stomach the brutality, you'll be introduced to a fascinating storyline, memorable characters, and a hint of greater things to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
--If you want to support a show you enjoy and get the entire first season at the same time you should buy this. --

All my life I've been waiting for something like this show. Every time I watched a movie where the good guy had some kind of distress or trouble and the bad guy seemed ahead, I still always knew who would win. As I am sure you all did.

Every time a fairy tale ending occurred with the action hero walking into the sunset with his girl, I got tired. Every. Single. Time.

Good guy wins, bad guy loses/gets away and everyone is happily ever after. Sure there are some exceptions, but not really. Either everyone dies at the end or some other trope occurs. But the bad guy never wins over. Not at the end. Like some horribly boring, predictable formula.

This is the show I've been waiting for. Everything you think will happen doesn't happen. Or it does and then does a complete 180. No predictability at all. I absolutely love it.
You hate the character who paralyzes kids and then you grow to like them and empathize with their flaws as they grow into their character.

Your [favourite] characters die and others live, but you never know which or how they'll do it. Your most hated character become your most loved characters and then they also die. Or maybe not. Maybe they become hated again.

---

This is the story after the happily ever after. The story of the brave warrior who becomes king but is unable to rule, he doesn't know how. Of course he doesn't, he's a boy who knows how to fight, why would he be equipped to rule a kingdom?
This is the story after the king marries a famous beauty.
They're not happy 20 years later, they resent each other and each grows to hate the other more and more. The king drinks and has his way with whore while the queen does the same with her brother.

They are human. They do not live happily ever after. The nice honourable man dies, children die, the scheming betrayer lives. In fact he thrives.
This is the story for those who want to know what happens after the "... and they lived happily ever after". Love, loss, anger, hatred, life and death. No linear storyline with predictable outcomes. No more of that.

If any of that sound appealing to you then read the books, watch the show, immerse yourself in this world and watch what happens when people have to go through life with real problems and real consequences.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The mass media tends to ignore fantasy stories, especially high fantasy stories. So it came as a pleasant surprise to me that George R.R. Martin's fantasy epic A Song Of Ice And Fire was being adapted for television -- and HBO crafts it with all the dignity it deserves, with plenty of grime, blood and a tangle of convoluted storylines.

The castle of Winterfell is thrown on its ear when King Robert (Mark Addy) of Westeros arrives to ask Eddard "Ned" Stark (Sean Bean) to be his Hand. But soon after Ned agrees, he receives a message from his mentor's widow, informing him that Queen Cersei's (Lena Headey) family, the Lannisters, are secretly plotting against the king -- and that they are killing off anyone who might be a threat to them.

One of Ned's younger sons is gravely wounded when he sees something shocking, and the acid-tongued dwarf Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is framed for the crime. Ned's bastard son Jon (Kit Harington) joins the Watch near the Wall -- but has little idea of the horrors that are approaching with the White Walkers.

And across the Narrow Sea, exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen is wed to the barbarian lord Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), so that her brother can invade Westeros and take back the throne. But Daenerys quickly grows in strength and wisdom, and the Small Council of Westeros has reason to fear her when it's found that she's pregnant -- but her greatest power is that of the dragon's daughter.

As Ned takes to his new duties, he begins investigating the death of his predecessor, and begins to uncover a shocking secret about the queen and her children. Treachery, death and war will be brought to Westeros, and a war will begin with the blood of the good-hearted.

"A Game of Thrones" is truly an epic story -- it took a whole ten episodes to encapsulate a single book, and the story is far from over. There are countless plot threads woven into one enormous, bloodsoaked tapestry, linked together even if they are technically separate. And since this is only based on the first of Martin's books, it ends on a note both depressing and uplifting. Lots of plot threads are left dangling, but in such a way that you end up wanting to know what happens next.

The entire series is draped in cold stone walls, grimy medieval atmosphere, windswept steppes, splatters of dark blood and the occasional sunny day. They don't skimp on explicit violence (including the death of a beloved character) or sex, but the focus here is always on the clashing families, battles and seedy plots of the queen. And despite that focus, there is still a hint of the magical in this fantasy -- talk of dragons, the White Walkers and their undead wights.

As for the cast, it is BRILLIANT -- Sean Bean is perfection as the world-weary, good-hearted Eddard, and he's got a brilliant backing cast in Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, the amazing Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa, Michelle Fairley, and countless others. Even the child actors like Maisie Williams and Jack Gleeson are absolute perfection.

And best of all, their characters are all so REAL. They have good points and bad points, strengths and failings, and they often change drastically over the course of the season (Daenerys turns from a pallid little wallflower to a powerful and icy queen).

"A Game of Thrones" is a truly spellbinding experience, if not one that you want to see all together. Bloody, complicated and full of richly-developed characters, this is a future classic.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 7, 2011
I'll admit, I'm still a novice when it comes to the fantasy genre, but this one has me hooked. Without giving out any spoilers, the story never takes the turns you think it will. When you think that you see something coming, it usually means that the story will make a 180. I highly recommend and I am staying optimistic about the following seasons. It's nice to see how they stayed true to the first novel. I would suggest reading the first book when watching season 1 of a game of thrones.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2012
This DVD set is the complete first season. Having started to read the books I was interested to watch the series. Since I don't get HBO I had not seen any of the episodes. The HBO adaptation is very well done. As usual with HBO the acting is spot on and the story line follows the book quite closely. Well made and well acted. What more could you ask for. The set includes a map of Westeros as well as family trees for each of the main families. These really help to follow along if you haven't read the books. I am enjoying watching each episode so far. I have not yet watched any of the special features, but am happy with my purchase and would recommend this set to anyone interested in the genre and in this series of books especially.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 30, 2012
I tried to read the first book of this series but felt bogged down by details piled upon details, decorated by swatches of purple prose. OK, I recognize that the books are masterpieces of their genre--it's just not my favorite genre unless somehow I get sucked into the story line, as I did with "Lord of the Rings." Well, the HBO show is so amazing I might just read the books. The scriptwriters have somehow taken all the complex story lines and vast array of characters and made it clear and easy to follow, though so rich and layered that you'll get more from a second or even a third viewing. Everything about the TV show is superb, from the scriptwriting to the casting to the acting, camera work, sets, costumes....Maybe I'm cheap, but I found the price a little much, but other than that I can't think of any criticism.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The mass media tends to ignore fantasy stories, especially high fantasy stories. So it came as a pleasant surprise to me that George R.R. Martin's fantasy epic A Song Of Ice And Fire was being adapted for television -- and HBO crafts it with all the dignity it deserves, with plenty of grime, blood and a tangle of convoluted storylines.

The castle of Winterfell is thrown on its ear when King Robert (Mark Addy) of Westeros arrives to ask Eddard "Ned" Stark (Sean Bean) to be his Hand. But soon after Ned agrees, he receives a message from his mentor's widow, informing him that Queen Cersei's (Lena Headey) family, the Lannisters, are secretly plotting against the king -- and that they are killing off anyone who might be a threat to them.

One of Ned's younger sons is gravely wounded when he sees something shocking, and the acid-tongued dwarf Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is framed for the crime. Ned's bastard son Jon (Kit Harington) joins the Watch near the Wall -- but has little idea of the horrors that are approaching with the White Walkers.

And across the Narrow Sea, exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen is wed to the barbarian lord Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), so that her brother can invade Westeros and take back the throne. But Daenerys quickly grows in strength and wisdom, and the Small Council of Westeros has reason to fear her when it's found that she's pregnant -- but her greatest power is that of the dragon's daughter.

As Ned takes to his new duties, he begins investigating the death of his predecessor, and begins to uncover a shocking secret about the queen and her children. Treachery, death and war will be brought to Westeros, and a war will begin with the blood of the good-hearted.

"A Game of Thrones" is truly an epic story -- it took a whole ten episodes to encapsulate a single book, and the story is far from over. There are countless plot threads woven into one enormous, bloodsoaked tapestry, linked together even if they are technically separate. And since this is only based on the first of Martin's books, it ends on a note both depressing and uplifting. Lots of plot threads are left dangling, but in such a way that you end up wanting to know what happens next.

The entire series is draped in cold stone walls, grimy medieval atmosphere, windswept steppes, splatters of dark blood and the occasional sunny day. They don't skimp on explicit violence (including the death of a beloved character) or sex, but the focus here is always on the clashing families, battles and seedy plots of the queen. And despite that focus, there is still a hint of the magical in this fantasy -- talk of dragons, the White Walkers and their undead wights.

As for the cast, it is BRILLIANT -- Sean Bean is perfection as the world-weary, good-hearted Eddard, and he's got a brilliant backing cast in Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, the amazing Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa, Michelle Fairley, and countless others. Even the child actors like Maisie Williams and Jack Gleeson are absolute perfection.

And best of all, their characters are all so REAL. They have good points and bad points, strengths and failings, and they often change drastically over the course of the season (Daenerys turns from a pallid little wallflower to a powerful and icy queen).

"A Game of Thrones" is a truly spellbinding experience, if not one that you want to see all together. Bloody, complicated and full of richly-developed characters, this is a future classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2012
Having read all the books at least twice, and seen the progress of the series on GRRM's website, I was waiting with baited breath. Then, although enthralled by HBO's attention to the characters and storylines, I managed to miss the last three episodes. I still haven't had time watch them, but going from what I have seen, I need to find a totally free day and immerse myself in a beautifully made, beautifully acted and totally absorbing Game of Thrones.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2011
Despite the fact this dvd set is not yet released, the season 1 has ended and already I crave more. Based on a series of novels, the world and experience of The Game of Thrones is truly epic. Romance, adventure, suspence, mystery, full frontal nudity for both male and females, this show has it all. But aside from all this, the series erupts quality over quantity. Yes, its a short season, only a handfull of episodes, but the quality is above reproach. Some places you know are CGI, but its too realistic to be easily recognized, such as the moon door at the eeyrie. I can hardly wait to see the quality, heart and see the opening titles in crisp and clean FULL HD!

I hope they offer more than mere dvds, but perhaps collectors editions as well, perhaps even offering your own "hand" metal pin.

Dont believe me that this series is this good, after the first episode aired, 2 more seasons were promised. The FIRST episode! So look forward to many more seasons, as there are many books left to use for script, and i can hardly wait to see what happens in season 2.

Plus I want to see the boy kings head on a pike!

If you like LOTR, or medeval era storyline as well as dragons, zombies, and a very smart and witty imp "midget/little person" who is part of the wealthiest family in the series, come watch and buy this series. Its worth the money.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 29, 2013
I have read and enjoyed all of Martin's installments in his epic fantasy series. This is a surprisingly well-done translation of his first book to screen. When I heard that Game of Thrones was coming to TV I had to watch, though at the time I thought it would be the equivalent of disaster. I always hate translations of my favourite books to the screen. They are always flat, butchered representations of themselves. In this case, I was wrong.

Game of Thrones season 1 is surprisingly faithful to book one. The actor choices made sense (to my mind's picture of the characters at least), the emotions are raw and beautiful... The director and cast has done a fabulous job with this "re-telling".

One difference (and not a problem for me) between the books and the TV show was the age of characters and the consequent shifting of the timing of the events relative to the rebellion. As I understand it, this is largely due to problems with depicting sexual relations with Daenerys who was 13 or so in the book. All of the children have been aged as a result.

Fans of the books will enjoy this as they wait the 5 or so years in between books.
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