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on 8 December 2011
Here it is then. the long awaited television interpretation of the first part of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series. This show will affect you in different ways depending largely upon two possible scenarios, 1. you have read the book(s) beforehand, or 2. you haven't.

If you have read the books then you will have the added advantage of going into this series with some serious background knowledge, which, given the expanse of Martin's literature, can only be a good thing. It is good (as a fan of the books) to see the characters portrayed on screen by, what can only be described as, an excellent cast. My personal favourites are Sean Bean (fellow Yorkshireman like myself) who plays Lord Eddard Stark, the proud, strong and brave (if not a bit stubborn and old-fashioned) Lord of Winterfell, the icy kingdom of the north. And, Peter Dinklage, who gives, as ever, a wonderful performance as Tyrion of House Lannister, a noble-born dwarf cursed by the hatred of his proud father but blessed with an unmatchable wit and intelligence.

The story is relatively straightforward insofar that nothing groundbreakingly orignal happens. Martin's fantasy literature is about believability and realism; it is completely unlike Tolkien in that way (I don't like to compare the two authors, but most people seem to be doing so lately). Whereas Tolkien favoured Orcs, Goblins, castles and wizards, Martin prefers the medieval touch, dealing with knights, lords and priests. The story is very intricate and may leave you slightly unfulfilled at the end of the series, but, bear in mind this is only the first part of seven.

One good thing, as a fan of the books, is that Martin had a very close hand in the production of this series which means very little tinkering has been done. If you compare it to The Pillars of the Earth for example, parts of the tv series didn't even come close to representing what happened in the book leaving hardcore fans a little bewildered, and not a little irritated. Martin's books though are so jam-packed with plot and character building that there really isn't much room for artistic license for the directors. They have a lot of story to get through, and only 10 episodes to do it in!!

If you have never read Martin before then, what can you expect? Well, it is fantasy first and foremost (like I said earlier, with a medieval twang). Without spoiling or giving anything away the main plot is basically this: the continent of Westeros, ruled by king Robert Baratheon, falls into turmoil amidst a hungry power struggle between the realms nobles and knights. Expect a lot of plot twists and cliffhangers at the end of each episode. A quick word of warning to any of those sensitive souls out there as well, this series contains graphic bloody violence, nudity (tactful), swearing and some scenes of a sexual nature. It certainly IS NOT for kids (like Lord of the Rings etc.).

Overall then I will sum up for you in some quick bullet points:

+ George R.R. Martin's literary masterpiece brought to life
+ great cast
+ wonderfully made, no corners have been cut, everything looks imacculate and professional
+ entertaining plot, good twists, beautiful ladies, handsome men, fighting, loving, laughing, crying (really, something for everybody here)
+ hour-episodes mean for a great amount of entertainment for your money

- series 1 deals with book 1 of 7, if you get into this now, don't expect to see the ultimate conclusion for at least another 10-15 years (the last two books haven't even been written yet)
- a little cliched in parts (I really didn't get this impression from the book though)

I would highly recommend people to take the time to see this series and get into the number 1 fantasy series of the modern era. I would also recommend that you buy and read the books. Thank you for reading.

(Thank you to everyone who found my review useful. I hope you are enjoying GOT!)
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on 6 June 2014
Just can't get enough of this remarkable series. Started watching it about two weeks ago - wanted to know what all the fuss was about; not sure if I've received the final disc of Series 1...there was an inconclusive quality to the last disc I watched...will find out when I order Series 2. How different watching TV
Is these days...more or less instant gratification via "box sets"! Not sure if this is an entirely good thing; it makes me forget I "have a life"! In the old days one was required to remember what happened a week ago, and one got on with one's daily duties: Now I can spend a whole Saturday, even if the weather outside is gorgeous, watching an entire series, which. as far as Game of Thrones is concerned, with all it's convolutions and surprises, is almost necessary.

In any case, the casting is just about perfect, the characters demand the viewers' involvement, the plot is a "stonking" one...forget Lord of the Rings...so much, so same. Computer generated graphics have never been more effective...well, in my opinion, at least. Perhaps it's because, so far, it's the wonderful scenery which is computer generated. There are no real monsters, just monstrous people...and even they have recognisable and empathy arousing qualities. No one is totally bad or good...except I hope the dreadful Joffrey gets his "just deserts" at some time in the future...little weasel-faced s***! I'm sure the actor enjoys being so evil..."bad guys" are always the most fun to play...probably because it's somewhat liberating to do stuff on screen that one would never dream of doing in real life.

I'm hooked and I'm 68 and a half. It's an amazing and thoroughly engrossing program. And I don't even fast forward through the repeated opening: a map, for God's sake. Congratulations to everyone involved with this significant artistic venture. It's broken new ground.

I hope this review gets to some of the movers and shakers responsible for such superlative entertainment.
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on 23 July 2011
I was somewhat cynical when mentions of Game of Thrones cropped up all over the web with gushing reviews so it took me a while to give it a whirl.

Predictably though, I was hooked from the first of the ten episodes. Compelling, well cast characters - well known faces mixing with new - and engaging dialogue, there are some fantastic performances - not least Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke. This show is a much needed breath of fresh air in schedules crammed with middle of the road dramas and programmes well past their peak, it makes the fantasy genre watchable again and pulls you into it's world completely. Far from being hammy like many other programmes with a medieval/fantasy bent, it is complex, gritty and many layered. Nothing here of the brain dead TV that spoon feeds and recaps viewers every 15 minutes.

I'm now keen to read the books during the wait for season 2!
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I havent read the books so i am going to give an unbiased review of the television show only.

I think its fantastic, an amazing cast, extremely well written and authentic to the likes of which i had never seen.

This series is quite astonishingly violent, its brutal, bloody, graphic and will make you turn away from the screen, i know i have several times so far.

In some of the later episodes i was heaving, some of the scenes in it are quite astonishing disgusting they made me sick to my stomach, and im amazed in the sense that they have the guts to show it on screen, but this is what HBO does best, it pushes the boundaries. There is one scene where one of the characters eats a fresh horse heart and i was almost sick, but it was a vital moment in the storyline.

It comes with warnings about extreme violence and scenes of a sexual nature, so be warned if you are faint of heart because you will see blood, you will see killing, you will see sex, lots of it actually, and yes a few full frontal scenes do make it on screen, so if your a prude i really wouldnt buy it.

This show is going to go on to be know as one of the greatest television shows ever made, the attention to detail is astounding, the opening credits are probably the best i have ever seen on a tv show, and the Dothraki language for example was created especially for the show.

George R R martin who wrote the books is an executive producer of the show and co-writer so you can bet that not only will the show follow his books to the letter but that also 50% of the main cast will be dead before it ends.

The casting is brilliant, Sean bean is amazing as Ned Stark, Mark addy as King Robert is also brilliant and watching the friendship between these 2 on screen is quite marvellous to see.

I really like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister. he is sexy and charming but quite vile, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister is hilarious, he is funny, charming, sarcastic, brave and prob the nicest of the Lannisters and should win Emmmys for his performance.

The stand out actor for me however is Emilia Clarke who plays Daenerys or Dany. She is sublime in this role, she is sweet, naive, submissive and fragile, sexy and strong and really comes into her own over the course of the season. I have been told that She plays a very important and large role throughout the entire book series so i shall look forward to watching her role grow.

The very end shot of the season finale will literally put chills down your spine, incredible.

I will not write a detailed synopsis as i hate spoilers so i will give you a premise into what the show is about

SPOILER FREE...

Set in the fictional realms of Westeros and Essos, A Song of Ice and Fire follows three principal storylines, divided by geography and participants, struggling to claim the Iron Throne and rule all the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Each of the following houses are battling to win the right to rule the kingdoms.

House Arryn
House Baratheon - Robert Baratheon is currently King.
House Greyjoy
House Lannister - Robert is married to Cersei Lannister
House Martell
House Stark - Eddard stark is the current hand to King Robert.
House Targaryen - Daenerys is married to a horse warlord called Khal Drogo

What you need to know is that the entire 1st season of Game of thrones is based on the book written by George R R Martin A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) and HBO have said that each concurrent season will be based on the books in sequence so there will be 5 seasons in total, however George R R Martin has now written a 5th book and plans to write 2 more so potentially there could be 8 seasons as book 3 was written in 2 parts.
If you wish to read the books in sequence here are the links:

Book 2 - A Clash of Kings: Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire

Book 3 part 1 - A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3 Part 1)

Book 3 part 2 - A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3, Part 2)

Book 4 - A Feast for Crows: Book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire

Book 5 - A Dance With Dragons: Book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire (Song of Ice & Fire 5)

Books 6 and 7 will be called The Winds of Winter and A dream of spring and will be published in the next few years.

I dont know about you, but now having seen all 10 episodes i want to know what happens next so i am going to buy the books and start reading.

The score written by Ramin Djawadi is beautiful and dramatic and really adds to the suspensefullness of the show.

One last thing, this show is not for kids, i wouldnt let anyone under the age of 16 watch it personally, it is made completely for adults and its nice to see a show that does not pander to the rules of censorship.

A classic in the making !!!
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on 30 May 2013
I thought my wife would love this as she loves Sean Bean, alas no. However my twins and I are addicted, brilliant series. Can't wait to get series 2. As we don't have Sky, we have to buy it!
Although produced by the US company HBO, filmed in Europe with mostly British actors.
I've never read the books but am told they are also great.
A mixture of sword and a little sorcery with excellent casting, plot lines and lots of intrigue.
Well recommended as sometimes, no frequently, there is so little worth watching nowadays unless you are into reality TV and X Factor style programmes, this is shocking, entertaining and amusing, though not always at the same time! A refreshing change to bland TV.
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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2012
I read the first volume in George R R Martin's epic fantasy saga not long after it came out in 1991 and thought it was terrific. For some reason -it seemed too much of a good thing- I gave up halfway through the second book and never went back to it. Twenty years later when HBO put out their ten episode version of the book, I couldn't remember a damn thing about it except that it was good. I didn't watch the TV series when it was shown on Sky's Empire channel. It wasn't out of lack of interest rather because I have Virgin Media, Empire wasn't one of the channels they paid Sky for.

When the DVD set of this first season came out I still didn't rush to buy it despite all the praise heaped on it. Then I thought, what the hell, if I didn't like it I can always recoup most of my losses by selling it, so I bought it and watched two episodes a night for successive nights, and most of the extras.

And, well, it's as good in its own way as Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. Not in special effects, I should add. While the show clearly had a healthy budget there is little in the fantasy element where sfx are used mainly because there is very little fantasy involved at all. Sometimes it's quite obvious when a matte painting has been used for a castle or background scenery but that's the worst criticism I can make of a genuinely outstanding piece of television drama.

The script is a superb distillation of Martin's novel. I'm sure there'll have been some filleting but it never feels watered down. Martin, who appears frequently in the making of extras, appears delighted as well he may be.

The cast is outstanding featuring many of the best of British and Irish (location shooting was filmed in Northern Ireland and Malta) character actors from both tv and film. The standard of acting is, needless to say, exceptional with the youngest included. It's an ensemble piece, though it's anchored by the key figure of Lord Eddard Stark played by Sean Bean with immense dignity. It's also true what they say about how good (his Emmy was well-earned) Peter Dinklage is as Tyrion Lannister who, lacking stature, has to rely on his wits to survive.

The story is basically all about scheming and fighting for the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. But the reasons why it's so good are many. The world (in terms of environment and societies) in which it is set is well worked out. Despite the existence of magic and monsters, they play very little (albeit highly significant) part which makes them all the more effective. The characters are very well rounded human beings. Good people do bad things and bad people do good things. Clearly some characters you'll identify as good or bad but (with one repulsive psychotic exception) none are what you call evil. All do things because they believe what they are doing in right. There are constant surprising developments. You can never tell when a character might die and it could well be your favourite. Also characters grow and change with Daenerys Targaryen being a prime example from quiet vulnerable girl to...well, I won't spoil it but it's quite special. I don't know the full chronological span of the series of novels but I suspect it will be a decade at least if not decades. One pre-teenager is clearly (well I think so) being set up to be a warrior woman when she gets older (though she could just as easily get killed in the next season). No character is safe.

The soundtrack is good with an interesting piece about included in the extras of which there are several with the making of being the most interesting.

Amazingly I've forgotten to mention that the language can be very crude, the violence is really violent with blood and body parts and heads all over the place, and the sex sometimes verges on soft-core porn. This is not a criticism, the reverse if anything. Violence particularly, I believe, should be realistic to show the horror and brutality of it.

So basically this is just a brilliant piece of television which I hope will continue until the very end of Martin's story.
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on 23 March 2012
When I saw the cast list, I must admit I thought "Oh no, not Sean Bean again", an actor who always seems to be cast in the role of the tough, yet gentle, gritty northener when the part demands it, and, sure enough, in this series, he's cast as Eddard Stark, the honourable lord of the northern holding Winterfell. And there's no other actor who could have played the part as magnificently as he does. Either Bean was born to play this part or George RR Martin had him in mind when he was writing his sprawling epic.

The rest of the cast is equally strong, my favourite being Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, the epitome of the anti-hero. Those of you familiar with the story will know exactly what I mean.

I cannot praise this series highly enough. Miss it and you'll miss one of the truly great television masterpieces of the modern age. I'd have given it ten stars if it had been possible.
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What can I say that would be helpful in making a decision to buy or not?Nothing I think because this production has become CULT viewing over the last few years,and rightly so.I can only echo its status.

This 1st season has an abundance of nudity,sex,incest,gratuitous violence and graphic gore.

I absolutely loved it,so if that's not your cup of tea avoid it.

The plot ducks and dives all over the place amongst the various different families that feature in the saga,but this is the setting up of a long and enthralling series so I can forgive the amazing number of characters that we are introduced to over these 10 episodes.

I certainly think that all the hype about G of T is well justified,and I'll certainly be looking out for the future seasons to buy on Amazon.
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on 11 May 2016
I never watched this at all - just didn't have time. Finding myself unable to sleep one night (yet again...sigh) and having reached the Season 1 Finale of the brilliant show Lucifer I was at a loss, so I thought... I know. I'll watch the start of Game of Thrones and see if it lives up to the hype as I know there are many of you out there who are die hard fans.

So I watched it with no expectations and determined not to let reviews (good, bad or ugly) colour my impressions or cloud my thoughts.

Oh my.

What an utter mistake of epic proportions that turned out to be.

The first episode had me absolutely hooked. Now I absolutely don't have any spare time at all because if I'm not working or riding then I'm watching this! My husband joking stated he was filing for a divorce if I didn't stop watching it..... my response.... ok...but you don't understand...Sean BEAN is in it!! And what's more...John Snow... he's so gorgeo ..erm... a good actor. And then on top of that the Dothraki... see..they are horse warlords... I mean it's like...you know. it's so...

Fortunately he's a star and just laughed, sat down with me to watch an episode and now he's hooked too! Please...no spoilers for me... but I SOOO hope those dragon eggs hatch! :D
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on 10 January 2012
I rarely find myself captivated by anything on TV these days, but Game of Thrones certainly changed all that. Not only is it a brilliant adaptation of the book it's based on, but it manages to incorporate new scenes and confrontations between characters, which improve upon the book even more. The casting is also inspired, Sean Bean shines as Ned Stark, as he did as Boromir in the LOTR while lesser known young performers such as Jack Gleeson (Joffrey) and Maisie Williams (Arya) do a fantastic job, recreating the characters perfectly. If you're a fan of the fantasy genre, or hell, even if you're not, this series deserves a watch, it's the best TV I've watched for years.
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