TV Series Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 1 (2011)
I’ve never been into Fantasy too much. I liked LORD OF THE RINGS as much as the next guy, but it was never my kind of genre. But I have to say, that I’m totally into the new Fantasy series from HBO, GAME OF THRONES. This review is of Season one of the series, and I’ll mention right now that I know NOTHING of the books. Wait, there’s books?!
GAME OF THRONES falls along the same fantasy genre that we’ve seen a lot of times, with the difference being this time… it’s an HBO TV Series. That speaks volumes. Not restricted to a PG rating, the makers behind GAME OF THRONES are able to completely show the explicitly graphic nature of a time when Kings ruled and hurling a heavy ass sword was the only way to defend yourself.
The Series is basically about a group of people (there really is no one or more ‘lead’ in this show) in a land that is very unique compared to the rest of the Fantasy stuff I’ve watched and read. The land of Westeros is divided into seven kingdoms, with one King, who sits on the Iron Throne. In this world there are houses, that determine social status, class, royalty, etc… One such house is the House of Stark, (which can be the closest to a group main leads, as you can get). This House features Sean Bean as Ned Stark, who’s loyal to the current King, his former best friend. The Starks defend Winterfell, a key strategic location of the realm.
GAME OF THRONES begins with the King asking Ned Stark to be his Hand (like a right hand man) since the last one died. However, there’s more to this as a conspiracy against the King’s life is discovered and it sets into motion a chain of events, which is what Season 1 deals with.
With only 10 episodes, Season 1 kicks some serious ass. With a mythology that is deep seated in its own history GAME OF THRONES introduces to us this huge world that is rich and full of such interesting characters that you can’t identify any of them as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The characters and story lines are so layered that its multiple arcs converging to one point, is hard to identify in the first few episodes.
Everything from incest, murder, conspiracy, celibate warriors (oh yea), bastard children (a lot of those) to slashing of swords and hacking of necks with gory results. This is GAME OF THRONES.
But more than that, there’s weird supernatural elements hinted at as well. The connection between the wolves, the dragon’s eggs, white walkers… and the overall strange-ness of a lot of things makes GAME OF THRONES intriguing as hell.
It’s a surprise that the makers didn’t convolute the show with so much, but more subtly hinted at a lot of it. And it paid off, as GAME OF THRONES will return for a Season 2… indefinitely.
As Stark enters the Kingdom in service of his King/Buddy, he notices a whole shit load of things being… off. He tries his best to take care of shit, but gets caught up and entangled in the brewing-ness of the inner circle. Now add to this that the King himself was a Usurper of the Throne. Meaning he never got it through being of Royal Blood, but by staging a successful rebellion back in the day. So the original heirs to the throne, are in some far off land, still awaiting to reclaim their throne. Which is another conspiracy.
These exiled heirs to the throne provide a great arc as well. Children with apparently dragon blood in them, they’ve been trying to reclaim their birthright. To this end, the eldest brother, marries off his sister to the chieftain of a native tribe, (Jason fuckin’ Mamoa in a role where he barely speaks, not counting the native language of gibberish. I assume) This tribe is known for their blood lust and violence so that the brother can use them to stage a rebellion himself to reclaim his throne. This sister’s evolution from soft spoken and traumatized little girl to a princess of a violent tribe is awesome to watch unfold. She also provides the jaw dropping cliffhanger of Season 1.
Then there’s the Bastard son of Ned Stark, who vows an oath to serve ‘The Black’ a bunch of warriors who are celibate and spend the end of their days defending the North Wall of the entire Kingdom. The wall is a freaking huge-ass mountain. Oh and Winter’s in this realm are unpredictable, sometimes lasting decades. Oh and there’s some creatures on the other side of the Wall who might be coming to eat everyone. (more or less).
Like I said, GAME OF THRONES is a multi layered, multi angled, multi character story that completely shoots the shit outta the traditional plot structure for a series. The concepts put forth are mind boggling, as you finally get to see a geek-fest of Dungeons & Dragons calibre that is in full swing (see what I did there) with the gore, guts and all he brutality that comes with it.