Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Game of Thrones review

It’s game on for this twisted, dark tale

The epic series Game of Thrones boasts a stellar cast including Sean Bean and Emilia Clarke

If The Chronicles of Narnia are your idea of fantasy drama, then look away now.

Sex, violence, power, corruption, incest — Game of Thrones delivers a more adult take on the genre, delving into a darker side than previously explored.

Set against a fantasy backdrop, it's not so much a battle of good versus evil as an insight into human nature and all the intricacies involved.

Think Lord of the Rings meets Rome meets The Sopranos and you'll get the picture.

Based on the series of books A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin, the story, like the continent it’s set on, is vast and to those unaware of the author's work, could seem complicated.

But stick with it, you'll soon work out who's sleeping with who, who's conspiring against whom and whose life is in danger – well, that could be anyone.

So here's a quick synopsis of the story. Ruling over the kingdom of Westeros is Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), a warrior who likes eating, drinking and whoring.

His Queen, Cersei (Lena Headey), is a Lannister by birth and has, let's say, a ‘special relationship' with her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

King Robert asks friend Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), Lord of Winterfell and Game of Thrones' central character, to help him restore order in the South.

Eddard also has an illegitimate son called Jon (Kit Harrington), who joins the Night Watch to protect the North.

Keeping up?

Across the sea, there's a plot afoot by Viserys (Harry Lloyd) of the House of Targaryen to travel back to Westeros to reclaim the crown that once belonged to his family.

He forces his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to marry Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), a chieftain in a tribe of nomadic horse lords called the Dothraki.

Viserys hopes that Drogo will help him overthrow Baratheon. That's about it, so far.

Attention to detail, an impressive cast and the stunning cinematography aside, it's the multi-dimensional characters that prove to be compelling and addictive.

It may be a fantasy epic, but Game of Thrones is more about the morality of the players, than ‘monsters and magic'.

With a big blockbuster feel to this production and unrivalled hype in the run-up to its launch, it's safe to say HBO, which brought us The Wire, Deadwood and Boardwalk Empire, has another massive hit on its hands.

Just be prepared for the beheading, the blood-shedding, the brutality and the nudity. Can't wait for episode two.

- Maureen Coleman goes behind the scenes

- Northern Ireland fantasy world that will be viewed by millions

For more information visit HBO.com

Watch the preview on HBO.com

Making Game of Thrones

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You will have to defer to others, which makes you anxious. There's never any problem when you're in control. You know how to act quickly and decisively. When others are at the helm, progress grinds to a halt. People deliberate endlessly over simple matters. Instead of putting pressure on the person in charge, make a strategic retreat. If you act like you don't care about the outcome of a situation, they won't be paralysed with uncertainty. You have a tendency to make people nervous.More