Not being tied to advertisers, HBO has been producing TV series of exceptional quality over the years. Its latest creation, Game of Thrones, is a grand and spectacular experience. It is based on the book A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, the first of his A Song of Ice and Fire series of medieval fantasy novels.
This Gothic tale takes place in a world divided into seven kingdoms which are bounded in the North by an imposing Wall. King Robert Baratheon rules the seven kingdoms he united by war from his Iron Throne at King's Landing. His bumbling reign is sitting on a powder keg of rivalry, hatred, greed and jealousy amongst the kingdoms's clans and families. A miasma of treachery and murder explodes when Robert appoints Lord Eddard Stark from the Winterfell kingdom as his hand. The season ends with the peace torn apart and the kingdoms aligning themselves with the Starks of the North and the Lannisters of the South and standing at the brink of an all-out war.
The production quality of the series is top notch, you shall be sucked into its dark world! Helped by the novel, the story telling is gripping and the tales are edge-of-the-seat thrilling. Much like The Wire, there are some superb actors here living and breathing their roles. Kudos to the team for some excellent casting. Particularly endearing to me are the characters of Eddard Stark, Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister. The series has lots of gore, a bit too much for my taste. Heads roll in every episode and entrails are plucked out regularly by combatants in all their bloody viscera. This is not a series for the family, there is not a single episode which does not feature full nudity.
Season 1 packs a powerful punch with ten terse episodes, each an hour long. This is far lesser than the number of episodes in most American TV seasons, but I felt this was perfectly concise. The end of the season left me teetering at the edge, salivating for the war, intrigue and dragons that will arrive in the next installment. Game of Thrones is easily the best TV series this year. It brings a whole new level of grandeur to Gothic fantasy on TV. Game of Thrones is a heady trip that should not be missed at any cost! 😊