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Seven Kingdoms Come: HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

By on Oct 15, 2009 in Previews | 3 comments

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Sean Bean, Jennifer Ehle, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of HBO's pilot "Game of Thrones"

Though it might not reach our screen until late 2010 or 2011, I’m very excited for HBO’s Game of Thrones, a prospective series based on George R. R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of the novels, but anything that brings medieval fantasy to television piques my curiosity (excepting Merlin, that is).

Since I am totally ignorant about the plot, here’s what Wikipedia has to offer:

The story of A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in a fictional world, primarily upon a continent called Westeros but also on a large landmass to the east, known as Essos. Most of the characters are human but as the series progresses other races are introduced, such as the cold and menacing Others from the far North and fire-breathing dragons from the East, both races thought to be extinct by the people of the story. There are three principal storylines in the series: the chronicling of a dynastic civil war for control of Westeros between several competing families; the rising threat of the Others who dwell beyond an immense wall of ice that forms Westeros’ northern border; and the journey of Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled daughter of a king who was murdered in another civil war fifteen years previously (War of the Usurper) and now seeks to return to Westeros and claim her rightful throne. As the series progresses, all three storylines become intensely interwoven and dependent on each other.

Another facet of the series of books is that it’s told through the point-of-view of over twenty characters, so I wonder whether the television adaptation will do the same. After all, Martin—who is also a co-producer—did say that the script is very faithful. Reports tout that each season of the show would follow the plot of a novel in the series, and at that rate, there would be enough material for seven seasons of the show. Writer David Benioff jestingly called the showThe Sopranos in Middle Earth,” but it could be just as expansive as that landmark series.

The cast lineup is impressive. Many seem to be no-names (for now) from across the pond, but there are some familiar faces, like those pictured above: Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings), Jennifer Ehle (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice), Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent), Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (New Amsterdam). These actors and the rest of the large cast—and the roles they fill—can be seen in this fansite’s handy chart.

As far as I know, HBO has yet to pick up the series, but production for the pilot episode is slated to begin next week in Ireland (and perhaps Scotland and Morocco). Stay tuned for more news at it comes down from the castle.

Update: The folks behind the Westeros fansite tweeted a link to a blog post with two photos of the Kingdom of Heaven set in Morocco that will be revamped for Game of Thrones.  (Updated update: the blog post seems to be gone.)  They also mentioned that Doune Castle in Scotland (used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail) will be another filming location.

3 Comments

  1. About Yea High

    October 15, 2009

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    The whole “fire-breathing dragons from the east” thing is actually the end-of-season-one stunner / cliffhanger. Other than cryptic references to dragons, and one or two extremely brief (but certainly deadly) appearances by the Others, this story is mostly medieval character drama. Magic is believed to be long gone by most of the world’s inhabitants.

    It’s freaking excellent though.

    • Dan Clarendon

      October 15, 2009

      Post a Reply

      Interesting note. (Perhaps I should have put a spoiler warning above the synopsis!) I’m glad to hear that character drama is the focus, with only shades of magic.

  2. Børre

    October 16, 2009

    Post a Reply

    I strongly believe this could be the next big thing on television! We got HBO, a bunch of great actors and a story with characters, plotlines and twists that puts most other fantasy authors to shame.

    Add to that a huge production, a big loyal fanbase and more buzz than most television shows gets even before the pilot is made, and you’ve got maybe the most promising upcoming tv-show in a long time.

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