Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season (DVD)
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(Mar 06, 2012)
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Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plots, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; and all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords, and honest men, all will play the Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones, the first book in author George R.R. Martin's sprawling fantasy saga A Song of Fire and Ice, serves as the basis for this brawny, lusty series about courtly intrigue and civil war in a sprawling fantasy kingdom. TV and fantasy veteran Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings, Sharpe's Rifles) leads the massive cast as the warrior-noble Eddard Stark, who reluctantly assumes the role as the Hand of the King after the mysterious death of his predecessor. The King, Robert Baratheon, has leadership of the lands of Westeros, a mythical country plagued by severe, decade-long shifts in weather. His rule is challenged by the exiled Prince Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd), who trades his own sister (Emilia Clarke) for the allegiance of the Dothraki, a savage nomadic tribe led by Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa of the 2011 Conan the Barbarian). A shocking secret kept hidden by Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey, 300) leads to an upset in the balance of power and, ultimately, a challenge to the House of Stark to bring control to the bloodshed that threatens to overtake Westeros.
Fantasy has been a tricky genre for television--the scope required to bring the sweep and imagination to life is usually better suited for the big screen. But Game of Thrones neatly sidesteps the issue by virtue of the quality of the production at every level. Though the series is steeped in fantastic elements, from direwolves to dragons, series creators David Benioff (who wrote Troy and The Kite Runner, among others) and author D.B. Weiss (Lucky Wander Boy) have rooted the drama in the emotional landscape of its characters, which brings the end result closer to Benioff's humorous description of the show as "The Sopranos in Middle-Earth." Intricate plotting and direction with an eye for realism by a host of HBO veterans, including Tim Van Patten, Alan Taylor, and Daniel Minahan, underscores that notion, as does its stellar cast, which includes Mark Addy as Headey's husband, King Robert, Iain Glen as the faithful knight Ser Jorah Mormont, and Aiden Gillen (The Wire) as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. However, the proceedings are handily won by Peter Dinklage's Emmy-nominated turn as the cunning Tyrion, whose intellect is constantly disregarded due to his size. Of course, viewers can also tune in to simply enjoy the more visceral elements of Game of Thrones, which features quite a bit of medieval-style carnage, as well as an at-times unnecessary level of nudity, which feels like a network decision based on the amount of flesh on display in their other successful shows. Regardless, Game of Thrones is an entirely addictive experience for both fantasy and drama fans alike throughout its debut 10 episodes, all of which are featured on this multi-disc set. --Paul Gaita
15 Character profile clips
Creating the Dothraki language
Inside the Night's Watch
From Book to Screen
Creating the Show Open
7 Audio Commentaries Guide to Westeros
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Top customer reviews
The actual content of the DVD gets a 5 star rating, but I have knocked off a star because of the convoluted menu system used on the DVD. It is designed so that you can't easily select a given chapter. That is completely unacceptable in this day and age when a simple chapter selection menu is the norm. Other than that, the quality of the Blu-Ray DVD is excellent. There are also several other features of this set, such as a complete guide to Westeros, an anatomy of episode six ("A Golden Crown"), a 'making of' feature and so forth.
Despite the crummy menu system, I would still recommend this set. Game of Thrones is, in my opinion, one of the best adult Television series ever devised. However, if you are offended by nudity and/or violence, avoid this series. This is strictly mature adult material and should be treated as such. Please be advised.
Given all the other reviews, it is hard for me to think of anything new to say about this celebrated HBO series which as some strong similarities to the 2 season historical drama "Rome". It seems the writer has "borrowed" a bit from just about everyone, most heavily relying on the real history of the Plantagenets and the War of the Roses, although there is little evidence that the dialogue owes anything to Shakespeare's great plays about that history. Of course, there is also a strong flavoring of Tolkien, as if you needed Sean Bean (Boromir in LOTR) in the lead role of Ned Stark to tell you that.
When I began watching, I had high expectations, which were temporarily deflated through the third to about the seventh episode. I yearned for more back story, which the narrative gave out in drips and drabs. I anticipated that the king would die in some way during the first season, and the fact that Sean Bean does not reappear in season 2 give away some of the plot.
Another element which enlivened my interest is that Peter Dinklage's character, Tyrian Lannister, begins to appear more regularly by episode 7, and starts having an active effect on events. Even in this season, there is no mystery to why Dinklage got several acting awards for his role in this series. Aside from Bean and Dinklage, the acting is sound, if not necessarily inspired. If I were to identify one actor and role I began to anticipate, it was Emilia Clarke, who plays the exiled Daenerys Targaryen.
The season succeeded in what may have been its two primary objectives. I am now anxious to see what happens in Season 2 (especially to see more of Dinklage) and to buy some of the books by George R. R. Martin, on which the series is based. It is this deep history which made Tolkien's books so magical and which works for Martin's story as well.
Double check the prices when ordering and make sure it is still cheaper then the standard release... but if it is, it would seem a no brainer!
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