We now have a month left to wait until season 3 so I am getting these reviews out sharpish. When this series first came out I didn’t know what to expect. Will it be “Epic” like they claimed or would they just make the fantasy books a laughing stock? My hope was for a Rome style fantasy epic and boy is that what we got. Amazing cast, brilliant script, beautiful music, great visuals and all on a scale that TV shows have never seen before. I haven’t read the books but I did know a little about them before the series started and as you would imagine I was a particularly giddy geek. Hope you enjoy the review and tell me if you are looking forward to season 3.
Syrio Forel: “There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today.”
Warning! From Here On I Will Be Spoiling The First Season For You!
Season 1 (2011) Overview
The series begins with Ned Stark (Sean Bean) being asked to be the chief advisor (known as the Hand of the King) to King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy). Ned and his wife Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) receive a letter from Catelyn’s sister, Lysa (Kate Dickie) that gives them reason to believe that rival House Lannister – who the King’s wife Cersei belongs to – was the cause of the previous Hand’s death. Ned must travel south to help the king and find out who killed the Hand of the King, Jon Arryn (John Standing), while trying to protect his family from the Lannisters. As he tries to uncover the reasons behind Jon Arryn’s death he uncovers the dark secrets about the Lannisters that Arryn himself died trying to expose.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea in the continent of Essos, the exiled, arrogant Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd), son of the former king whose throne was usurped, believes he still has the rightful claim to the throne. He marries off his younger sister, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), whom he has psychologically and physically abused for years, to the leader of the Dothraki warrior tribe, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), in an exchange for an army to return to Westeros and take the throne. However, Daenerys’ growing love for Drogo and newfound mental strength as the Khaleesi of the tribe means Viserys’ plans go unexpectedly and powerfully awry.
And beyond the wall, Ned’s bastard son Jon Snow joins the Night’s Watch, an ancient brotherhood sworn to watch over the massive Wall that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the dangerous unknown beyond. But an ancient force, long believed dead, threatens the land.
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Story: 100% Acting: 95% Characters: 100% Dialogue: 100%
Epic Fantasy! : 95% Style/Sound: 95% Visuals: 100%
The first season stuck to the book like glue. In an interview the writer of the books George R. R. Martin said the pilot episode seemed perfect from page to page of his first book of the series A Game of Thrones. The story is a fantastic one and could work in any setting but in a fantasy world it’s just brilliant. Family ties, power struggles, deceitful characters and violent clashes. It’s all just so wonderful! It’s like the Sopranos meets Camelot. In the game of thrones you either win or you die, when you hear that line you don’t really believe it but you are proven wrong as the story plays out you will lose the honourable and kind whilst the cowardly and deceitful clime the ranks. With only ten episodes each season you get so much it’s like each episode is a film and I loved them all.
Check Out The Trailer:
This series has so many characters it boggles the mind thinking how much they must cost to employ, could be why they kill off 5 characters each week. The character you get from the books are brilliant and layered which is why I like adaptation, they normally have well planned characters and stories for them. First you have Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark as the perfect example of an honourable king with strict morals played by the brilliant Sean Bean who as always plays a short lived character. WHY?! Then we have the Queen Cersei Lannister played by Lena Headey who’s just a little different, she a lying, deceiving, back stabbing, gold digging, incest applauding breeder of twisted blonde monsters. I can’t go through all the characters but these are my highlights from two side, but the series is jam packed with pure gold and really character driven.
The visuals are fantastic in this series and are down to great CGI, practical effects, costumes and global locations used for shoots. The CGI is used very subtly and only when necessary, the most common CGI shots you will see are of the grand cities set in the fantasy world such as Kings Landing and Winterfell. But my personal favourite would have to be the Wall in the north. The practical effects are amazing though, we have a lot of violence but from what I can tell most of the injuries and wounds are all practical and look perfect. The costumes by far are the best I have ever seen in a fantasy anything, the way people dress changes so dramatically from one place to another it really feels like we are being taken to another world. Next we have the armour and weapons which are clearly custom made for the series and made using metals which adds to the realism of characters, actually better looking than most films showing any medieval armour.
The normal problem you get with fantasy shows is that they are shot in one location and it all looks the same, Game of Thrones combats this by having many shooting locations around the world to add effect of many lands to explore. The majority of the locations where shot in the UK mainly in Northern Ireland and Scotland, other locations included Malta for Kings Landing. The sound in this is also great with a fantastic opening credit scene with one of my favourite themes of any TV show, pretty sure it won awards but I am not sure.