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Winter is Coming
Game of Thrones - Season 1 (DVD)
Member Name: suziedre
Game of Thrones - Season 1 (DVD)
Advantages: Exciting, dramatic, gory, astoundingly good
Disadvantages: Can be hard to understand
Last April when Sky Atlantic first began broadcasting, trailers started appearing for a new series named Game of Thrones. It seemed a bit too Lord of the Rings-esque for my liking, especially when I heard that it was based on A Song of Ice and Fire, which is a series of fantasy novels by G R R Martin.
However, my sister then mentioned it to me one day and said that my electrician brother in law had actually worked on the show. As it was filmed mostly here in Northern Ireland, he was employed on the set throughout the filming of the debut season (and he has also worked on season 2 which was filmed last year). Due to this, I decided to watch the first episode, fully expecting to be bored out of my head.
Boy was I wrong.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Game of Thrones season 1 is based on the first of G R R Martin's novels, A Game of Thrones. It is set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and follows several families quest to claim the Iron Throne ie. become the King, in the capital King's Landing. The main families/groups in this series are -
THE MAIN CHARACTERS
The Starks: This family controls the North. The head of the family is Ned (Sean Bean). He does not want to become King, and would rather stay in the North than get involved with the struggle for the Iron Throne. He lives with his wife Catelyn, and their children Bran, Rickon, Arya, Robb and Sansa; and Ned's bastard son, Jon Snow. Because the Starks are the main focus for the series, you really do find yourselves on their side. Ned's best friend is Robert Baratheon, who is currently King.
The Baratheons: The Baratheons are the ruling family. They include Robert, the King, his wife Cersei, and their eldest son Joffrey, who is just about the most loathsome character you could ever imagine - fantastic. Also related to this family are Cersei's brothers, the handsome Knight Jaime, and the dwarf Tyrion. Tyrion, played by Peter Dinklage, absolutely steals the show, and quite rightly won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Tyrion.
The Targaryens: Viserys and Daenarys Targaryens are the children of the king that Robert Baratheon defeated. They have been exiled to Essos. Viserys believes that the Iron Throne is rightfully his, and their storyline is based around Viserys marrying his sister off to a Dothraki horselord, hoping the Dothraki will become his army.
There are other families involved such as the Arryn family, the Greyjoy family, and the Tully family. I honestly won't even attempt to explain how all the families are linked, as it's not massively important to know this for the first season. If you watch this you may find that like myself, you end up buying the books and become embroiled in this huge world that G R R Martin has created.
The other major plotline in the series is based around -
The Night's Watch: This a group of 'black brothers', ie. men who guard the North from what lies beyond The Wall, a 700 foot high wall of ice that protects The Seven Kingdoms from the Far North and the wild people that live there. Ned Stark's bastard son Jon Snow swears an oath to the Night's Watch, and his journey forms one of the main storylines.
I did find the plot complicated at times, particularly when it came to the history of the characters and the relationships between all the families. After one episode I went and bought the book, and read it almost as an accompaniment to the TV show as it was broadcast. I found the TV show a lot more enjoyable as the book made me understand some plots a lot more, and really enhanced my viewing.
There is a wealth of acting talent in this show, such as Sean Bean, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Richard Madden, Peter Vaughn and Charles Dance. There are also new talents such as Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke. Acting wise, Clarke is perhaps the weak link but I believe this is her first big acting job, so the producers must have placed a lot of faith in her, and I hope to see her do bigger and better in season 2. There is also a surprisingly brilliant turn by Jerome Flynn of Robson and Jerome fame as the sellsword Bronn, and his relationship with Tyrion brings much needed light(er) relief to the show at times. As I have stated previously, Peter Dinklage is the absolute stand out actor in the series.
"BOOBS AND BE-HEADINGS"
...is what I described the show as after watching the first episode. There is a large amount of both female and male nudity; no holds-barred sex scenes (including a lesbian sex scene which is completely unnecessary to be honest); and graphic violence, including a shocking scene involving a horse which really is grim. There is also strong language - well, it is HBO after all. While yes, there's sex and violence, Game of Thrones is so much more than that, and thankfully the 'titillating' parts do not take away from the amazing drama.
There is also a great list of extras on the DVD, including a 30 minute feature on the making of the show, character profiles, and an interactive guide to the lands and houses in the show.
At around £25.99 for the DVD, this isn't exactly the cheapest considering there are 'only' 10 episodes. But in my opinion it is totally worth it. It's an absorbing, compelling show - full of sex, violence, intrigue and drama. If you, like me, think this wouldn't be your 'thing', I'd recommend you put any fears aside and dive straight into this series. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Summary: An amazing show - do not write it off as mere fantasy!
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