Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season Blu-ray | DVD
CREATORS: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R. R. Martin (author)
DIRECTORS: Tim Van Patten, Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan, Alan Taylor
WRITERS: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, George R. R. Martin
STARRING: Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Mark Addy, Michelle Fairley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Iain Glen, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jack Gleeson, Sophie Turner, Richard Madden, Harry Lloyd, Alfie Allen, James Cosmo, Rory McCann, Julian Glover, Charles Dance, Donald Sumpter, Ron Donachie
RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2012
I’ve made it no secret how much of a fan of HBO’s original programming and similar shows I am…to the point of it being difficult for me personally to even watch regular network/cable TV shows not named The Walking Dead anymore. Two of my favorite current shows are on HBO, one being Boardwalk Empire and the other being, big surprise and SPOILER ALERT: Game of Thrones.
And while it’s silly of me to give away my feelings on the first season of the series so early in my review, allow me to tell you why I’m so googly-eyed over this wonderful, wonderful world.
Game of Thrones is based on the hit book series from author George R.R. Martin, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The first book in the series, titled A Game of Thrones, is the basis for the first season of the show, just as book two, A Clash of Kings, will be the basis for season two (which starts on April 1st…squeeeel!), and hopefully so on and so forth for all of Martin’s five total books and beyond.
The first season’s story is set mainly in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros where King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) sits upon the Iron Throne in King’s Landing, but things are starting to happen and it’s getting harder and harder for the King to trust anyone…including his wife Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and her devious and powerful Lannister family.
In the only move he can think of, the King reaches out to his oldest and dearest friend, Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, to come back to King’s Landing with him and serve as Hand of the King, his right-hand man sworn to help run the kingdom and protect its ruler.
With little choice, Stark moves from his beloved Winterfell and most of his family to help the king. And while at King’s Landing, the mysteries surrounding the king and the former Hand, John Arryn, begin webbing out farther and farther, leading Ned Stark to try and figure out just what is going on in the kingdom.
First and foremost, I, like so many others, am a sucker for fantasy. I’m also a sucker for period films and other forms of entertainment that take place in another time. Game of Thrones is a mixture of both. There’s nothing historically accurate about it, but it’s not overflowing with fantastical elements at all. It’s a fantasy series that’s very much set in a realistic world where swords and shields and strategy and politics are far more common than mythical beasts and magic (though they too exist).
But even though the show isn’t historically factual, one of the best things about it is just how much history Martin has built. The description above is just the most basic of synopsis of the first season of the show; the fact is that there is a deep and rich history to the few characters mentioned above, the many other characters involved, the characters we only know from stories and reference, and of course the many lands and houses that make up Westeros. It may just be the most realized and complete fictional world and history ever constructed before.
It is beyond awe-inspiring to delve deeper and deeper into this story and learn about just how much is going on. I’m a complete newcomer to the series, this first season being my introduction to the world and its characters. By choice, I’m one who much prefers seeing the show and not knowing what’s going to happen, and I’m so happy I chose that route.
After the first season ended, I immediately jumped into the first book in the series to absorb every story, backstory, and delicious twist Martin crafted with his paper and ink. If you’ve not read the books and are as in love with the series as I am, you too should seek the first book out immediately. Some folks like visualizing everything from their own minds while reading a story—which can absolutely be great as well—but for me that can lead to disappointment when a character or situation isn’t presented as I imagined it would be. There’s something about having faces and voices and locations to utilize when taking in a story of this magnitude, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic in recommending you peek at the pages after the last episode of your shiny new copy of the Blu-ray ends. I personally even had some SMELLS to apply to the story, which was an exciting layer to add.
HBO, the show’s creators, producers, cast, and crew all did an absolutely flawless job in bringing it to life. The casting is impeccable; the settings are detailed and painstakingly created; the performances a perfect reflection of the characters in the book.
As you might have been able to tell, I’m a big fan. And instead of just being thrilled with what I saw in the first season of Game of Thrones, I’m more excited for what’s to come than anything else. This is just the beginning for me and can be for many of you as well. There’s at LEAST one more full season of the show in our immediate futures, likely many more to follow, and thousands of pages of master storytelling to take in.
I stated earlier that this is one of my two favorite current shows, but the truth is it’s already an all-time favorite of mine, and I don’t see how that’s going to change anytime soon.
Consider me smitten.
The show itself is just the beginning, as much more joys are to be had in the special features section.
It begins with an In-Episode Guide for all 10 episodes that will teach you more about the characters, lands, and history as you watch the episode. The options are held in a sidebar, and you can navigate through them as each scene plays out.
There’s also, of course, audio commentaries to enjoy if you wish.
* Complete Guide To Westeros — If you’re 100% against reading the books—and, as mentioned above, I highly suggest that you do read them—this is the feature for you.
In it, you can learn all about this histories and lore, houses, and lands of the A Game of Thrones mythology, helping to fill in much of the things there simply was not enough room for in the first season of the show.
Better yet each is presented as a story by a character from the show, who reads an excerpt from the actual book that covers whichever topic you’re learning about, complete with voiceover work from the actor who portrays the character on the show and some moving concept art that turns it into almost a motion comic book of sorts.
* Character Profiles — A collection of short videos where the actors playing the main characters of the first season introduce themselves and talk about the character that they’re playing.
* Anatomy of an Episode — A fantastic feature looking at the pivotal episode titled “A Golden Crown” with loads of added information about the episode like what things are made of such as the horse heart Daenerys has to eat (it’s basically a 3lb. gummy bear), her dragon eggs, and the Iron Throne, as well as how certain fights were choreographed, why certain decisions were made, what went in to constructing the sets, and how they approached that special golden crown.
* Making Game of Thrones — A 30-minute making of feature about how Game of Thrones came to be and what went into making it with interviews with everyone from George R.R. Martin and the show’s producers to casting directors and prop designers.
* Creating the Show Open — A brief feature that looks at all the work and detail put into making the show’s opening title sequence, and how it evolves and will continue to evolve as the story progresses.
* Creating the Dothraki Language — Just as it sounds, this feature covers the decision to create an entire language for the Dothraki as opposed to just having them speak in an accented English, and the man they reached out to accomplish the task.
* The Night’s Watch — Dedicated solely to who the Night’s Watch are, what they do, and what it truly means to take the Black.