Game of Thrones scratches a medieval fantasy itch I wasn’t aware I needed to scratch. I hadn’t actually heard of the show until people started talking about it a few episodes in, so in case you’re also in the dark, here’s a quick rundown: its a brutally dark medieval TV drama with hints of fantasy set in a world of warring factions, backstabbing nobles and corrupt families. It focuses more on drama and its characters instead of mindless fight scenes, but it knows when to apply the violence and isn’t shy when it comes to its very adult themes. Based on the first of the fantasy novels ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones is chock full of tense drama and fantastic writing. Throw in an obscene amount of female nudity and you have one of the most mature TV dramas of recent memory.
From the very first episode, I was sucked into the immersive world. The opening credits sequence, which depicts an animated map of the Seven Kingdoms gives you an immediate idea of the size of the world it takes place in, and the concept of numerous cities and factions living in their own secluded regions was reminiscent of large RPG games such as Oblivion, which naturally appealed to me a lot. Each place has its own visual theme – the rural countryside of Winterfell, the wild plains where the Dothraki roam, or the snowy northern region where The Wall rests – every place is instantly recognisable thanks to the varied filming locations and set design. For a TV show, it has some fantastic production values which help keep you fully immersed. But the environments and locations serve only to compliment the characters who inhabit this world, and its these that keep you hooked.
The tension between the Starks and the Lannisters, the two powerful families who make up the majority of the main cast, provides the backbone to much of the plot. Sean Bean plays Ned Stark, the honourable leader of Winterfell and old friend of the current King. I suppose he’s the main character, but there’s so much else going on in this first season that you’re always keen to follow the exploits of the rest of the characters as they plot and scheme and struggle their way through their lives. Initially, I found it difficult to remember all the names of everyone because there’s so much going on at once, but you’ll soon have a favourite character since every single one is so intriguing and unpredictable, you can’t help wondering where this story is going to go next. It remains admirably focused to its tale with plenty of shocking revelations and plot developments in every episode. Most end on a cliffhanger, which keeps it addictive and highly engrossing – just what you want in a show like this.
It kept me utterly hooked from start to finish, and if you think I’m being a bit vague, it’s because so much happens between the first and final episode, that to discuss it in any kind of detail would be detrimental to your enjoyment – I really don’t want to spoil any of the surprises that await you. I’ll be buying the boxset of this as soon as its out, and can’t wait to go through it all again.