Game of Thrones – A Song of Ice and Fire

gameofthronesposterBack in 2007, HBO made the potentially risky decision to fund a TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s insanely epic set of novels A Song of Ice and Fire. Named after the first book, Game of Thrones is a fantasy-action-drama packed full of twist, turns, chills, thrills and an array of fascinating characters.

The tricky aspect is that, in order to do it justice, you would need to launch millions of dollars into each episode, get an absolutely stellar cast from kids to kings, film in genuine settings, structure the story faithfully and brace the audience for something which doesn’t exactly pander to the usual TV conventions. Luckily HBO has embraced the challenge, and now this studio has the best thing on TV either side of the Atlantic.

Prepare for dragons, incest, violence, gore, prostitutes, swords, sorcery, zombies, wolves and a dizzying amount of sneaky deception within the dynastic struggle which serves as the show’s foundation. There is also a eunuch and a dwarf, who are both utterly compelling, genius characters.

King Robert Baratheon sits on the Iron Throne, ruling the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. He is married to Cersei Lannister, uniting his royal family with riches. Their marriage is loveless, and as he drinks and eats his way to an early grave, she conducts a grim affair with her brother Jaime. Her other brother, Tyrion, is a dwarf, but neutralises any potential ridicule through his sparkling wit and intelligence.

King Robert’s closest friend is Ned Stark, and when the King’s Hand dies suspiciously, the King calls on his friend to serve in the role. This pretty much means Ned will run business whilst Robert gets drunk, sleeps with prostitutes and eats as much food as possible.

At the same time, the son and daughter of the last King find themselves stuck across the Narrow Sea with no army and no friends, but the son Viserys plans to marry off his beautiful sister Daenerys to the head of a brutal army called the Dothraki, and march back to reclaim the Iron Throne.

Finally, a group of dedicated soldiers, called the Night’s Watch, acts as the front line of defence at an 800ft fortification known only as The Wall. Beyond this barrier lie lost men and women called Wildings, as well as an undead group of creatures called White Walkers, and other general weirdness.  And snowy woods.  A lot of snowy woods.

The scope of the show impresses to the extent that each individual episode feels like a big budget movie, but with the kind of class not usually associated with such cinematic popcorn-fare. The calibre of acting is unbelievable, with every child actor putting heart and soul into each line, and the adult cast delivering a pure masterclass every episode without fail. Sean Bean, Mark Addy and Lena Headey will be recognised, but many others seem to be a stream of miraculous finds.

The violence can be brutal, and the sex may seem indulgent, but it all makes for something utterly compelling. Direction, cinematography and costume design are all spot on, and the fact we get a genuinely enticing, exciting cliffhanger every episode is both devastating and brilliant.

Expect surprises. The second season is now on Sky Atlantic, and as one character aptly states, “the night is dark, and full of terrors”. Indeed.

Watch Game of Thrones. It is better than everything else.

DVD Rental Rating: 10/10

4 Responses to “Game of Thrones – A Song of Ice and Fire”

  1. Owen Gerrard says:

    Wow – I was not at all interested in watching this (in fact, I had no idea what it was about, but I didn’t really find the name interesting), but having read this, I shall be tuning in to this starting from tonight!

  2. Chloe from house of horse says:

    G.O.T. is P.I.M.P.

    Love it and I’m not your stereotypical fantasy fan, try it you might like it 😉

  3. Jim says:

    Cracking programme, every second is breathtaking. Love it!

  4. craig gifford says:

    wow, judging by the review and the comments this really looks to be a must see series! i am trusting all you and going with it!

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