Well this past April 1, I was rushing around like a madman, getting our pets settled for the night. I was on a deadline: a television show that my mom and I had watched every Sunday last summer started its new season: Game of Thrones.
Because of college last year, I was late to watching HBO’s newest hit drama. My mom couldn’t stop talking about the television show, so on the evening I returned home (the day of my graduation from college), I sat down with my mom to watch the first nine episodes of Game of Thrones. Boy, was I hooked! Even by the end of the first episode, I was itching to see more about the land of Westeros.
I have always been a fantasy and science fiction nerd. In my college years, I had attended a couple Renaissance festivals, played Dungeons and Dragons, videogames, and trained in archery, fencing and self-defense. They were better outlets for me than what the classic undergraduate rebel would do. In high school, I never really pursued my interest in things that I loved: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, storytelling, and many other “nerdy” things had long been put away. In college, however, it was such a surprisingly natural thing to become my own Arwen Undómiel, Bilbo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.
But what does this have to do with Game of Thrones?
In August 1996, the first book in a now massively popular fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire was published. A Game of Thrones was its name, written by wonderfully creative George R. R. Martin. The television show Game of Thrones is an adaptation of these wonderful novels (that I have yet to read).
In this series, no one is safe. Love, betrayal, greed and murder rise above all.
In the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, there is a constant power struggle between noble families as everyone pursues their own interests. Most of the conflict is between two of the nine noble houses in the land: the House of Stark and the House of Lannister. The prize is the Iron Throne located in King’s Landing, the capital city of Westeros. Whoever sits in this chair controls all of Westeros. Currently teenager Joffrey Baratheon (played by Jack Gleeson) occupies this seat with his mother, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) as the Queen Regent.
In the second season, additional threats that lie beyond the warring noble families are beginning to rise. From the barren snow and ice-covered region north of Westeros, a supernatural entity called “the White Walkers” is emerging. From the eastern continent across the sea comes Daenerys Targaryen, the only surviving heir to “the Mad King” Aerys Targaryen and the rest of her Dothraki clan.
There are many reasons why I love Game of Thrones and I can hardly name them all. The story is dark, gritty, real and incredibly complex. There is murder, slavery, corruption, sex and war… but these only lie at the surface. There is also love, loyalty, courage and strength; all the good that comes in a character’s perseverance through their fear.
For example, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clark) is one of my current favorite characters. In season one, she was an innocent forced into marriage by her brother, Viserys (Harry Lloyd), to the leader of the Dothraki clan, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). Daenerys’s brother only wants one thing: to rule at the Iron Throne in King’s Landing, just like their father before them. He trades his sister to Khal Drogo so that he may have the most brutal army with him when he crosses the sea to attack King’s Landing. What Viserys doesn’t count on though is his own downfall as his sister gains more confidence in herself as Khalessi (the Dothraki equivalent to “Queen”).
I love this character. Daenerys is so wonderfully imagined. She has her own impossible, almost Disney princess, love story when she impresses Khal Drogo with her strength and determination. In turn, they eventually fall in love.
However, an episode usually follows at least three noble houses in its hour timeslot: the Houses of Targaryen, Stark and Lannister. Each one of these houses holds a favorite character of mine: Daenerys is, of course, in Targaryen while there is Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). Ned Stark teaches his children that loyalty, truth and honor stand tall above everything else. Tyrion Lannister, especially in the first season, has been treated poorly his whole life, his nickname being “the Imp,” and is only interested in self-preservation.
This review is only scraping at the surface. I have talked about three lead characters, successfully, without giving away any spoilers in their timelines…which is quite an accomplishment for me! Hah!
I do want to issue a warning for those that may be tuning in to see this show for the first time, without any knowledge about what it contains. Like another HBO popular series, True Blood, there is some strong material that, I would say, isn’t suitable for children. There is a fair amount of uncensored sex. However, it doesn’t last for more than a few minutes.
I hope that all of you, eventually, are immersed in the world of Game of Thrones. I promise you, it is not something to be missed. It has been explained as “Lord of the Rings for grownups.” I would agree with that statement: it is a dark, gritty tale full of so many fantastical things.
Oh. And did I mention it has dragons?
Published: April 30, 2012