Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oh What's That About?: Game Of Thrones

As someone who tends to watch more cultish/nerdy things, I'm often asked "Oh what's that about?" whenever a new show captures my attention. And the answer is never ever simple. For example, what would you say if someone asked you what "Lost" was about? You can't just say "People on an island"! 

So, for this week's article, I thought I'd breakdown a show that's been getting lots of buzz lately (as season 2 starts April 1st!), and a show I've delved into head first: Game Of Thrones

The HBO series is based off a book series, and for the first time in eons, it's a series I haven't read first. So, also for the first time, I don't know what's coming--and that makes the series all the more thrilling. 

(Warning: There WILL BE spoilers. So if you were already toying with the idea of watching the show, I suggest you stop reading and just start watching)


It takes place in this made up continent called "Westeros", and when you boil it down to just bare bones--it's really about power struggles between the seven regions that make up the place. But in Season 1, that struggle surrounds a main character, Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark and his family. 

Eddard "Ned" Stark
Ned Stark (played by Lord of the Rings Alum Sean Bean) runs the northern part of the country and when the King's assistant dies unexpectedly, he's asked to come in. The King himself even makes a special visit to the North to ask him. While the royal family is there, Ned's 10 year old son Bran finds the queen having sex with her own twin brother. Ew ew ew ew ew ew gross. To make sure he keeps quiet, the twin brother throws him out of a tower window. 

The Mad King's Children
Meanwhile, two super light blonde people are hanging out across the sea in exile. (Fun Fact: The boy was in two episodes of Doctor Who. Holler!!!) Their father was known as "The Mad King", and they were forced to run away for safety. The older brother is old enough now to want revenge, and sells his younger sister to savage warriors so that he can build an army to storm the current King. 

Despite his son being in a coma post-fall, Ned takes his two daughters (one a priss princess, one a butchy tomboy) to "King's Landing". He leaves his oldest son to maintain the North, and his bastard son goes to "The Wall" to be a soldier. After a tense scuffle on the road (something about his daughters getting into a fight with the crowned prince. It didn't end well and showed how the Queen is really the one running things), Ned arrives to find...his wife is there. She's convinced their son didn't fall, that he was in fact pushed, talking about an attack on Bran that she prevented. Through some royal "friends", they're lead to believe the queen's OTHER brother, a dwarf with a taste for high class hookers, is responsible. 

Dwarf brother with a hooker...as usual
Ned sends his wife (oh yeah, her name's Catelyn, btw) back North while he talks about settling the whole "you tried to kill my son" thing. But he gets distracted by the idea that the Queen's family might also have had a hand in killing the King's first assistant, and delves into researching what happened right before the assistant died. But no worries, Catelyn runs into the dwarf brother on her way north and takes him prisoner. Instead of taking him all the way north, she takes him east to her sister's region. Why? Oh, because her sister was married to the dead assistant. The dwarf gets himself locked up, despite proclaiming he has no idea what either woman is talking about. 

The Queen and her twin brother.
And by "brother" I also mean "Lover" #Awks
When the Queen and her twin brother hear about their brother's plight, they begin seeing red. Ned, who in his search for the truth gives up his position as King's assistant, is attacked in the streets by the twin brother. And when he threatens to tell the King that all of the Queen's children are actually her brother's, things get ugly real fast. The King gets killed by a wild animal while everyone's out hunting, and ultimately, Ned gets his head chopped off. One daughter manages to escape the castle (the tomboy daughter) and finds herself in a caravan of criminals heading North to become soldiers with the same group her half brother joined. The prissy daughter is trapped in an engagement to the crowned prince, or, well, now King. She gets how bad this is, and can't seem to find a way out. 

Priss on the left, Tomboy on the right

Back across the sea, the sister that sold to the warriors ends up being their Queen and everyone loves her. The brother flys into a fit of jealousy and gets himself killed. After a failed attempt on the warrior queen's life, she's able to then convince her husband and his people to sail across the sea and fight. But before anything can really happen, her hubs gets wounded, the wound gets infected, and he ultimately dies. And her unborn son is a stillborn. Womp womp. 

Season one ends with the Starks preparing for war with the Queen's family (and if it wasn't already implied, they're super rich and powerful), with soldiers in the North prepping for war with these crazy ass creatures that use corpses as soldiers, and the ex-warrior queen commanding literal dragons (I'd go into that whole story, but then there'd be nothing for you to watch!). 

It's a great story, and the production value and just overall quality of everything regarding the show is AMAZING. If you have HBO, you'd be silly not to watch. And if you don't, I highly recommend the season 1 DVD which was just released last week. 

Season 2 starts April 1st, and here's just a taste of what's coming. (There's also a TON of character videos on the official YouTube Channel here)







My mouth is watering and I can not wait to see how this will all unfold. That is, if I don't read it in the books first. 

--AvK

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