By Melissa DePaolo
So, this review will be broken into two parts: the spoilery one and the non-spoilery one. Here is the non-spoilery one.
Game of Thrones is another excellent series from HBO. Starring Sean Bean, Lena Headly, Mark Addy, and Peter Dinklage (to name a few), this series is about conflict. Sure, there is a bit of gruesome death and nakedness (Women and men. Donâ€™t say I didnâ€™t warn you guys.), but do not be fooled. This is a drama. There is a lot of dialogue. There are also a lot of characters. It can be confusing for those, like me, who have not read the books by George R. R. Martin. (For those who are interested, the first book in the series is called A Game of Thrones. It should be easy to remember.)
The story mostly focuses on the Stark clan, who rule Winterfell. The family includes Ned (Eddard if youâ€™re nasty), Catelyn, and their children Sansa, Arya, Bran, Robb, and Nedâ€™s bastard (I know, harsh, right?) Jon Snow. The Lannister clan is also featured. They consist of Cersei, Jaime, Tyrion, Tywin, and Kevan. The Lannisters are very wealthy, important people. Cersei is even married to the King, who belongs to the Baratheon clan and rules the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. She has three children, a young son, a daughter, and heir to the throne, Joffrey. Another featured clan is that of House Targaryen, which consists of the brother/sister duo, Viserys and Daenerys, who are in league with the Dothraki people. (If you are thoroughly confused, donâ€™t feel bad. I just got a minor nosebleed re-reading that paragraph.)
So, from what I gathered watching the series (and, as promised, no spoilers yet), Ned and the King are friends from a previous war fighting (and winning!) against the Targaryen house. The remaining of the Targaryen clan was relocated across the Narrow Sea, where Viserys hatches plans to take back the Seven Kingdoms.
Now, hereâ€™s where the spoilers start.
***SPOILERS! You have been warned!!!!***
At first I thought this story would center more on Ned. Honestly, I did not care for the freakily blonde people (Targaryens, I know now.) or the vast majority of the kids. I kept track of who was who by using the handy-dandy insert that comes with the DVD. As the story progressed, I found Daeneryâ€™s progression and character development way more interesting than most. When I figured out that Jaime and Cersei were twins, I threw up in my mouth a little. Granted, I did the same thing when I knew they were related, but their being twins made it so much worse. (It may have been mentioned sooner than I caught on. Either way, ewwwwwwww.)
The episodes that really stood out include every episode in the last half of the season. By that time, I knew who they were and their motives were fairly clear. I had to take a break from watching after the ninth episode because I had to recover from the events that occured. (I am giving away some spoilers, but I will NOT ruin that one for anyone.) The last two episodes were phenomenal. Also, Daeneryâ€™s plotline was my favorite of the series, with Nedâ€™s being a close second. Her evoultion from passive sister to impressive leader of the Dothrakis was well written, well-acted, and fascinated.
***Spoilers over. You can come back now.***
Just the facts: The DVD release is 5 discs and the runtime is 600 minutes (10 hours). The special features include a special about the making of the excellently animated title sequence, a 30 minute behind-the-scenes documentary, 7 commentaries, a feature about the Nightâ€™s Watch, the order that monitors vast wasteland north of the Wall, a feature about the creation of the Dothraki language, and character profiles. The most interesting one to me was the one about the title sequence because I am a giant animation nerd.
So, if you were wondering if you should invest in this series, the answer is a resounding yes. Peter Dinklage absolutely deserved the Emmy (as did the title animators). It is beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, and is expertly portrayed. I was hesitant to watch all of it at first because it was really intimidating due to the number of characters (highest number of speaking characters in a series ever.) and numerous locations. My opinion is that if a series frustrates you because itâ€™s smarter than you are, itâ€™s an awesome thing. Check it out!
Just go buy it. Itâ€™s awesome.