--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.
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.
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.
on 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Obviously, coming to this six years after it first came out there will be plenty of spoilers in this review. Now I'm no swords and sorcery fantasy island guy beyond The Holy Grail at all so this review is maybe for all you "The Wire" or "Breaking Bad" types sitting on the latecomer fence. I was able to watch the first season gratis thanks to our local cable TV provider putting it On Demand free through May 15, 2016. So figured may as well throw out my thoughts to add a dose to all this (and, yeah, spoilers everywhere but now in 2016 the statute of limitations is over). I do think this series is worth watching for the "Melrose Place" relationship intrigue (hey, it was the era of inbred kings, queens, lords and ladies so...you know that's a given) and for the sheer fun of figuring out where it's going.
I guess given it was Season One they blew the entire CGI budget on the Ice Wall that keeps the crazies in Blair Witch Scottish Iceland back because when the "kings" talk about armies of 30,000 on the go we usually see less than 50 bannermen (not sure why they are just not called soldiers but c'est la vie) including the actual guys waving banners off to battle. Quick word on the Wall part of the story. It's like Australia in the early days so if you stole an apple and got caught or you're a bastard son you're shipped up there to be a part of the Night Watch. Now there's no Day Watch and having already seen Night/Day Watch series by Timur Bekmambetov maybe these dudes ought to get some guys on the day shift as well.
Anyway, all the dudes up there get to be celibate (double winner!) after they take some oath to a mute version of the tree from those Money Tree ads. Main point is the bastard son of Ned Stark, Goth rock brooding god with the Liverpool FC Terry McDermott meets Kevin Keegan perm Jon Snow gets to brood up there. Oh, and they have a very cool Mad Max: Fury Road type elevator. That's about it. Most of that plot you can skip and in Season One they don't go past the wall really to take on the obvious Blair Witch zombies (called White Johnny Walkers...hey, it's Scottish Iceland, man) out there other than in the opening scene of the series.
Another odd cinematopogigeographical thing I found annoying is scenes often just end with no fade in or out. Often they end without even a resolution or a reaction from the people there on what the what just happened then the camera jumps somewhere else. Unlike "The Wire" where characters seem to appear and reappear quite seamlessly even with long absences, "Game Of Scones" seems to let important characters just be gonzo for episodes ad infinitum.
Anyway, here's the fun part. There's a midget...oops, dwarf who gets off some classic lines and is the best part of the party. There's Air-Jordan-Yeah Stark who's a little girl who doesn't take crap from anyone, wants to (and learns to thanks to Fake Spanish Robert Downey who I like to call Tony Stark because he's helping little Air-ya Stark but sadly has no Iron Men at his disposal despite some Iron Islands alluded to somewhere out there in Throne World) be a boy and kick serious butt. In fact the smaller in height the characters, the more interesting I find them even that little s***e Boy King Toffee Bannister who has the most punchable face in his mini-Prince Valiant haircut. Then there's bad Beatle meets Moe Three Stooges moptopped Bran Flake Stark who was a good climber of castle walls but got pushed by Can't Spell Jaime Properly Lannister (also known as Fake Denis Leary) and is now a cripple (yeah the series is not PC).
But I get ahead of myself. OK, there are seven kingdoms of which I guess we see at least four--the North, (the Echo & The Bunnymen) Over The Wall Land, the seat of power King's Landing and Darth Raki or Dothraki...basically Visthihun Vangoth (think all the hordes who sacked Rome as one super Mongol type army/clan) Sinbad (they also kind of have an Arabian Nights vibe) Land. All the kingdoms are "united" now under Fat Fake Henry VIII (Robert Baratheon) who's married to The Only Good Looking Woman In The Series (Cersei Lannister). Now Hot Queen is boinking her twin brother, Fake Denis Leary. This produced the little annoyance Joffrey Haircut. The dwarf, Ty-one-on, is a Lannister as well--brother to the incestuous twins.
The Bariumtheorys besides King Robert have Stannis and RenandStimpy (that's just one guy and he's sorta a wimpier version of every shoegazing rock fan Brit you've ever met) who we barely see in Season One. They live in some land where they have ships. I'm sure Season Two is where they come in more.
So the Lameystairs are like the House Of Lancaster in the real War of The Roses upon which a lot of this parallels so think of them as the most hated yet successful and way too rich side in the Thrones Premier League therefore they are Manchester United. Fake Denis Leary Lameystairs killed the former king who was a Targaryen (or Target Yen to make things easier).
We'll get to the Targetyens later.
Now, as with the War of Roses, the Yorkshire Pies are led by Sean "Not Mr." Bean who plays Ned Stark and they live up North, don't ya know, in something called Winterfell. Not sure where winter fell but it sure seems to be going strong way up north of the Wall. Now half the time I expect real Yorkshire Pie Man Ned to down a flagon of Magnet and spark up a Woodbine while eating a chip butty as his own Sheffield United accent is tremendous (Wiki all this and any references you don't get, folks). Problem I have with Ned's Atomic Dustbin is despite his supposed wisdom he seems dumber than a block of wood not to see that money is power and his head was headed to the chopping block. He basically put his entire family at risk because of honor and trusting Fake Gary Oldman who actually said to him not to trust him...plus he runs a bordello so c'mon, man, use that Yorkshire Pudding of a brain, Ned Dinsdale. I thought Mr. Bean was totally miscast as even when Nicolas Cage and him were battling mano a mano for the National Treasure I felt he was a worthy opponent.
So the Nedster is married to Collie Lynn or Cole Lynn or...I don't know what her name is. She's the Queen Of The North and her son Supergrass lead singer Rob ends up declaring war on the Lameysteers after Joffrey Haircut lops off Ned Donut's head. The Supergrass singer's best friend is the lead singer of Kasabian who goes by Theon (Fleury?) Greyjoy who, I believe, came from those islands we never see. Those two are a bundle of laughs...not.
Which brings us to the Targetyens. They've been outcast and the weird offspring of Halle Barry's Storm character from the X-Men series have jet white blonde hair extensions. Left are the brother (yet another person you just want to pound in the face--Fake Three O'Clock lead singer Visinerys or Viserys...but we'll just refer to him as 3 as it's easier) and his sister Dragon Blondie or Daenerys who 3 uses to gain an army of the Visthihun Vangoths known as the Dos Equus (actually Dothraki). The most interesting leader, Half Centaur Man (seriously the guy looks like the top half of every buff centaur you've ever seen), takes Dragon Blondie as his wife, rapes her (you can tell rapes in this series if they do it doggy style but missionary or cowgirl = consensual sex just so you know) then she learns the art of horizontal aardvarking from a woman of a traveling house of ill repute and Dragon Storm Hairdo and Scary Eyebrows Half Centaur actually do fall in love. He dies after some wound festers from a battle and she miscarries their baby. The rest of Dos Equus crew (including Fake Leader of the "Scorpion" TV series) leaves Queen Kath Leafy, or whatever her name is now, with Fake Jack Wagner from "Melrose Place" who is a sort of translator cum great right hand man to the Queenie. Her hubby gets tossed on a funeral pyre with a witch whose "cures" only turned him into a vegetable that could not be eaten to feed the in-the-desert loyal followers of Queenie. She then walks into the funeral pyre knowing she won't burn up as she has dragon's blood--don't ask, it's a thing apparently. Next time we see her she is naked (she gets naked a ton but, sorry, not into scrawny pale British woman so no comment) with a baby dragon on her shoulder. End Season One.
So, yeah, plenty of boobies (from pros' OK ones to scary flat-as-board others...so the person who said this came from the mind of a 13 y/o boy sure must not know how to type "big" as an adjective into a search engine), loads of ho-hum swordplay (all puns intended), buckets of blood and many heads do Joe Bob Briggs literally roll. Plenty of scenes where you wonder where the knights who say "niii" are or you just want someone to blurt out "it's only a flesh wound," and way way way too much plot. Even so remember, the smaller the person, the more possible fun in that scene as they give both Shrimpken Tyronn Lue and Arya "I'm A Boy, I'm A Girl" Sham 69 the best lines period. This series does takes itself a tad too seriously on the whole, but that's probably due to the books themselves.
Not huge on dragons or Scots Dragoons but maybe we'll get a Sean "Draco" Connery or, even better since there is a sea out there, a Liam Neeson releasing the Kraken to battle the dragons.
And, oh yeah, you must take a drink every time someone says "winter is coming." That is the law of binge watching Season One.
on November 2, 2015
Given HBO's track record, their dramatisation of George RR Martin's novels was more-or-less guaranteed to be a huge success despite it being their first foray in to the potential quagmire of epic Fantasy. They have brought their trademark unrivalled production values, inspired casting and witty, intelligent writing to bear to produce an immediately gripping and engrossing drama to rival The Lord of the Rings. Although I read a lot of Fantasy in my youth, I became disenchanted with modern rambling epic Fantasy so I never encountered the novels and, in some respects, that's a good thing (my first viewing of LotR was spoilt by too much foreknowledge and a positively puritanical devotion to the original text of Tolkein's masterpiece). Anyone well read in the genre will recognise characters and themes but its familiarity does not detract from the engrossing plot, character depth or narrative pace.
However, some foreknowledge would have been useful; we spent the first couple of episodes trying to get a handle on the family & tribal names and, although the opening credits help slightly with the geography it's a lot to take in while also getting sucked into the complex drama. Finding the little booklet in the DVD box with a map and family trees sooner than we did would have been very useful. As with Rome, the British cast is superb and peppered with familiar faces and household names and it is not fair to pick out individuals; they are all brilliant. Again, as with Rome, there is a lot of nudity and gory violence so this is not for the faint hearted and, possibly, some of the nudity and sex scenes are gratuitous distractions adding nothing to the intricately interwoven plot lines. We have gobbled up the whole season in less than a week and are going to re-watch it straight away. Roll on season two.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - hoorah to HBO for taking the risk investing in high quality drama. Long may they reign!