Let The Games Begin: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is HBO’s new series, a medieval fantasy based on a series of books by the name of ‘A Song of Fire and Ice’. The story follows the actions and reactions of seven families living amidst seven kingdoms that make up Westeros. We primarily focus on four families in particular; The Starks, whom protect the North of Westeros; The Baratheon, who rule the kingdom through King Robert Baratheon of the Seven Kingdoms; The Lannisters, a family married to King Baratheon silently seeking control of the throne, and finally The Targaryens, previous rulers of the seven kingdoms now living overseas and plotting revenge and a means of retaking the throne for themselves. Having enjoyed HBO’s Rome I thought I’d give this series a go, and I can’t say i’m disappointed. The opening episode sets the tone for the series well, showing us that the world of Westeros is far from stable, housing various families each with their own agenda even if allied with another in some way.

The cast is strong, led by Sean Bean as Ned Stark in what I believe to be his strongest role to date. He’s accompanied by a range of actors including Charles Dance (Alien 3) and Lena Hedey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). The shows characters are as strong as the cast which make for interesting scenes. The outcast characters John Snow (Bastard of Ned Stark) and Tyrion Lannister (Dwarf brother of the Queen) for example work really well together and provide the show an element of satire. Tyrion ends up instructing Snow to carry his title of Bastard as a shield so that he might be invulnerable to its use against him in the future. I look forward to the development of many of the characters found in Game of Thrones but I seem to have grown attached to the bastard and the dwarf.

I can’t help but see a few similarities to characters from others shows/films. The Stark children seem to have a close bond that’s so similar to how I remember the kids in the British series Shameless, this may be HBO’s intention as they’ve recently made their own version of Shameless. The similarities gets weirder, do the Targaryens remind you of the character Luna and Lucious Malfoy from Harry Potter? Or does the Lanister prince remind you of Draco Malfoy…surely I can’t be the only one to see the likeness to them.

I was surprised to find that this series was different to past HBO series in the bedroom department. Being a fan of True Blood, Californication and Rome I’ve been accustomed to quite graphic sex scenes, however Game of Thrones seems to have toned things down a little. I don’t mind this in the slightest it just feels odd that HBO seem to have changed their approach to sex scenes. I wonder if they’re trying to change their image, if this is a one off or if they’ll ramp up the sex in later episodes.

The opening scene of the first episode features three night watchmen being slain by some sort of inhuman being (White Walker). Whilst this scene clearly shows all is not normal in the world of Westeros we hear nothing more than a whisper relating to such things other than that scene. I assume we’ll see more of these things further into the series, perhaps when visiting ‘The Wall’, either that or HBO feels that the paranormal aspect might put viewers off the series.

I’ve really enjoyed the series so far and look forward to seeing further episodes. With a second season already confirmed and an interesting start to the series this is definitely something to watch during the summer.


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