Game of Thrones

Introduction

No doubt anyone that watches TV shows on a weekly basis has heard the buzz surrounding HBO’s new fantasy TV show, Game of Thrones. With millions of viewers tuning in regardless of age, interests and other factors, the show has garnered great success.

This hub will attempt to give you the basic information on what the show is, whether you’re a potential viewer or simply interested in the greatest new show on television.

Background

Game of Thrones is based on a series of highly successful fantasy novels, written by American writer G.R.R. Martin. Martin started writing the first book, “A Game of Thrones” (which the first season of the TV show is based on) in the early 1990’s, and it was published in 1996.

He envisioned the book as the first in a series of 7, titled together as the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Since then, the author has continuously released new books over the years, with the 5th book being released in 2011.

Another important note to make is that Martin himself has had a huge part on the show, not only as an adviser and “overseer” of sorts, but also as a writer of a single episode for every season (out of a total of 10). This of course is a very good thing for both the fans of the books and new viewers, as the involvement of the author of an original work means much better writing.

But I don’t like Fantasy!

Before we delve any deeper into the actual show, it would first be a good thing to dispel a popular myth. The sci-fi and fantasy genres have always been a victim of being labeled as unapproachable and “niche” for the general reader/viewer, but this is not the case for Game of Thrones.

While Game of Thrones does have some fantasy elements, it is based on the same cornerstones of any successful fictional story. There is a large ensemble of interesting and compelling characters that are all different, there are complex and intriguing storylines, there are twists, there is exciting action, and so much more to appeal to almost anyone.

Map of the fictional continent of Westeros, where most of the action takes place.
Map of the fictional continent of Westeros, where most of the action takes place.

The Story

Game of Thrones has a very interesting and complex story. Set in a medieval fantasy world of Westeros, there are 3 main plotlines: the struggle for control of the Iron Throne, which controls the 7 kingdoms; the resurfacing threat of the “White Walkers”, an evil race of frost-based humanoids, in the cold north of the continent; and the attempts of surviving members of the fallen Targaryen dynasty to claim back the 7 kingdoms.

As the show progresses, these 3 main plots entwine together, and create a rich story full of fascinating characters, intriguing conspiracies, twists, mysteries and much more.

It is also important to say that the author aimed at creating a realistic story. This means good guys are not immune to dying, and bad guys can actually win.

The Characters

"Game of Thrones" introduces viewers to a large ensemble of characters, which represent very different kinds of personalities. The characters is what really drives the show, because you are bound to find at least a couple that you really like and want them to succeed. Combine this with the unpredictability of the story and you have a great mix. Let's take a look at some of the major characters below.

House Stark Coat of Arms
House Stark Coat of Arms

House Stark

The Stark family lords over the cold northern region of Westeros. Known for their loyal, brave, and morally-sound nature, the Starks, much like the citizens they rule, have always been content to live in peace, far away from the worries of the warmer parts of the continent.

As the Lords of the North, they are charged with protecting the great Wall at their north border, beyond which various dangers, most notably the White Walkers, threaten the human kingdoms.

Lord Eddard Stark

Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North (played by Sean Bean). Eddard is a just and honorable man, sometimes much to his own downfall. While Eddard does not want to have anything to do with politics and governing, he is unwantedly pulled into the struggle for the Iron Throne by the current king, and his old friend, Robert Baratheon.

Lady Catelyn Stark

The wife of Eddard, Catelyn is a strong-willed woman of the North. She has 5 children with Eddard: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. Catelyn was born in the house of Tully, the main house in the Riverlands, the central region of Westeros. Much like Eddard, Catelyn becomes involved in the struggle for the throne indirectly.

Jon Snow

The bastard son of Eddard, Jon Snow was raised with his legitimate siblings in Winterfell, much to the displeasure of Lady Catelyn. Jon shares many of his father's qualities, and longs for a way to prove himself.

Robb Stark

Eldest son of Eddard, who shares most of his qualities. Robb takes over his father’s position as the Lord of the North, after the latter's departure to act as the Hand of the King.

Arya Stark

Youngest daughter of Catelyn and Eddard. Arya is a tomboy, and despises the traditional, lady-like feminine role her family tries to pigeonhole her in.

Sansa Stark


The older daughter of Catelyn and Eddard. Sansa is the traditional princess character, who is interested in marrying the prince and becoming the future queen of the realm. She often quarrels with Arya due to their polar opposite characters.

House Lannister Coat of Arms
House Lannister Coat of Arms

House Lannister

House Lannister is arguably the most wealthy and powerful house in the kingdom. The Lannisters are known for their scheming, power-hungry, and morally-bankrupt nature, as they struggle to take control of the Throne in any way possible.

Tywin Lannister

Tywin is the head of House Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport and Warden of the West. In this sense he is basically Eddard's Southern counterpart. Tywin is a ruthless and intelligent man bent on bringing as much power to his house as possible.

Jaime Lannister

Eldest son of Lord Tywin Lannister. Jaime acts as the personal guard of King Robert Baratheon, due to his expert skills as a knight. Unknown to the King, Jaime has an incestuous relationship with his sister, Cersei. Jaime is known for his skill with a sword, handsome appearance, and a confident, playful personality.

Cersei Lannister


Only daughter of Tywin, Cersei is best known for acting as the Queen of Westeros, as she is married to Robert Baratheon. Scheming and hungry for power, much like the rest of the Lannister house, Cersei is not afraid to go as far as murder to have the Lannisters ascend the throne.

Joffrey Baratheon

Joffrey is actually the son of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, but since nobody knows about their incestuous relationship, he is considered the son of Robert, and as such, the heir to the throne. Joffrey is spoiled, arrogant, cowardly and sadistic.

Tyrion Lannister


Second son of Tywin, Tyrion was born as a dwarf, and caused the death of his mother. Because of this, he is despised by his father, and to a lesser degree by Cersei. Tyrion acts as a rich “partyboy” character, who constantly spends time drinking, and sleeping with whores. Despite this, he is actually a very intelligent man who constantly uses his wits to his advantage.

House Targaryen Coat of Arms
House Targaryen Coat of Arms

House Targaryen

The Targaryen house comes from an ancient and powerful civilization called “Valyria” from the continent of Essos. When much of the Valyrian Empire was destroyed by a supposedly volcanic event called “The Doom”, the Targaryens fled west and decided to invade Westeros to claim a new Empire.

With the use of dragons, they were able to conquer Westeros and proclaim a dynasty which lasted for 300 years, until finally overthrown by Robert Baratheon’s uprising. Daenerys and Viserys (sister and brother) are the only remaining members of the family, and attempt to seize back the throne at the start of the show.

Daenerys Targaryen

Sister of Viserys and daughter of King Aerys II (last Targaryen king of Westeros), Daenerys is one of only two surviving members of the Targaryen family. She is unwantedly married to the barbarian warlord Khal Drogo, so that in return Drogo will grant Viserys control of his hordes in order to invade and conquer back Westeros.

Viserys Targaryen

Son of King Aerys II, brother of Daenerys. Viserys is a vile, arrogant, and foolish man, likely due to his upbringing as a prince, and has no qualms about marrying off his sister to a nomadic chieftain in order to seize power in Westeros.

Robert Baratheon


The head of House Baratheon and the current King of the Seven Kingdoms, Robert is known for his gregarious personality. Although once a renowned warrior who has served alongside Eddard Stark, Robert has grown fat and often drunk since the death of his beloved, Lyanna Stark, the sister of Eddard.

Robert pulls House Stark into the struggle for the Iron Throne by offering - or rather, demanding - Eddard to become the new Hand of the King, the second most powerful position in the 7 kingdoms, after the suspicious death of the previous Hand.

Jeor Mormont


Lord of the Night’s Watch and previous head of the Mormont House, Jeor is an aging bear of a man. Known for his morally sound and battle hardened nature, Jeor begins to groom Jon Snow to replace himself as Commander of the Night’s Watch.

Khal Drogo

The “Khal” (tribal chieftain, similar to Khans of the Mongols) of the nomadic Dothraki tribes of horse-riding warriors. Drogo is a very powerful man as he rules over a 40,000 strong “khalasar” horde. Drogo and his kin live on the Continent of Essos, just across the sea from Westeros. His major role in the series comes when Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen make a pact with him, by which he will marry Daenerys, and in return give them control of his hordes, so that they can invade Westeros and claim back the Iron Throne.

Quick Facts

Genre: Medieval Fantasy

Based on: “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of fantasy novels

Notable actors:

  • Sean Bean
  • Mark Addy
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
  • Lena Headey
  • Emilia Clarke
  • Iain Glen
  • Aidan Gillen
  • Kit Harington
  • Peter Dinklage
  • Jason Momoa

Seasons: 6+

Episodes: 10 per season

Channel: HBO

Premiered: Apirl 17, 2011

Conclusion

So there it is. I would highly recommend Game of Thrones to anyone who enjoys their share of intelligent and interesting TV shows. As a small reminder, the show does have some pretty serious nudity, violence, and language from time to time, but instead of being overblown it adds to the realism.

As usual if you have any comments or suggestions please do post away.


Looking for other great TV shows to watch? Check out my top 5.

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Comments 3 comments

Thief12 profile image

Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

That's a pretty good breakdown. Probably the best show on TV right now, maybe tied with Breaking Bad. Love it.


Jason Oleinik profile image

Jason Oleinik 5 years ago from Richmond, BC, Canada Author

I haven't read the novels (although I probably will because the story is so damn interesting) but I do know the reaction to the show by the book fans is very positive.

While it's not able to capture everything in the books due to obvious time and budget constraints, most fans of the books are very pleased with how the series has been adapted (which I think has a lot to do with the fact that the author is onboard).

The acting and look of the show are very top-notch as well. You should definitely check it out, there are many places on the internet where you can watch it for free.


mskills profile image

mskills 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

Though not a huge fan of television of late, Game of Thrones does look intriguing. Too bad I don't have HBO.

Have you read the novels? And if so, how does the HBO version compare?

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