Monday, June 14, 2010

Game of Thrones - New HBO Show -

It's been a while since Supernatural ended its 5th season, and the TV section of Vintage Blogs has been as barren as Jennifer Aniston. It was kind of depressing which is why I have finally decided to write about another TV show. That show will be the HBO produced Game of Thrones and it's based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. Here is what I wrote about the series when I recommended to a friend of mine.

The series itself is so great, I doubt I can adequately put into words (It's a form of expression, of course I'm going to) how epic and awesome it really is. The first four books had somewhere upwards of 4,000 pages, and I flew through them in two and a half weeks.

A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of award winning epic fantasy novels (4 to date) and 3 more to come. The last book reached the #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list, and it has sold over 2.2 million copies in the US. HBO has ordered a pilot for the series, though casting and shooting have yet to begin. The series is called Game of Thrones, which is also the title of the first book.

Time magazine called GRRM "the American Tolkien", and that title is well-deserved, since A Song of Ice and Fire is the most darkest, realistic and grittiest fantasy series ever written. It has rape, incest, pedophilia, and several other dark themes. It might be defined as epic fantasy, but don't expect a lot of magic. It's more of a political thriller disguised as epic fantasy. It's based on the Medieval Period, and inspired by the War of the Roses.

The world of Westeros and beyond is built masterfully with its own extensive history and religion or religions. However, the best part of the series are the characters. Make no mistake, A Song of Ice and Fire, is a character driven epic. Oh and what characters they are, some of the most realistic, beloved, witty, cunning, honorable characters ever written. Some of the characters stand out like Tyrion, the Kingslayer (pictured above), Eddard, Tywin, the Hound, Robert, and my personal favorite Littlefinger. However, I would also advise you to be careful, because GRRM is absolutely ruthless with his characters. The world and characters are tied up in a stellar plot. To avoid spoiling any of it, I won't go into details, but here is the gist.

The story of A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in a place called Westeros 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 Daenrys 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.
For those of you who haven't read the books, I will give you some free advice. Drop any or everything you are doing, and acquire a Game of Thrones. Trust me you will not be disappointed. In fact, you will soon be picking up A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows.
I can honestly say that, A Song of Ice and Fire, is the greatest fantasy series out there. People call Martin the American Tolkien, I say he is much better than Tolkien ever was. Tolkien established the genre, Martin has refined into something respectable. Martin has obliterated most fantasy cliches in his series, and created characters that actually feel real. He doesn't rely on the fantasy elements, merely uses them to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. Martin's style has also brought forth a new wave of great fantasy writers such as Scott Lynch who wrote an excellent debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Joe Abercombie and a couple more. The impact that this series and Martin have had of the literary side of Fantasy can't be measured. In an ironic way, it only makes sense that this would be the book series that revolutionizes fantasy for television audiences as well.

The awesomeness of Martin's series aside, the people (David Benioff, Dan Weiss, Nina Gold, handling the TV series have done a terrific job of acquiring talented writers and compiling a wonderful cast.

The writers include

George RR Martin - GRRM has finished writing the 8th episode of the season. Martin's involvement as co executive and writer is another reason as to why I'm so excited about he potential of this series. Usually, authors do not get a lot of input into the show (Just ask Jim Butcher about The Dresden Files) but Martin has gotten an unprecedented amount of control , and I consider that to be a good thing. The series was his brain child, and no one knows it better than him, which is why he should be allowed a say in the creation. Martin has previously wrote for TV shows as Beauty and the Beast along with The Twilight Zone.

David Benioff - A huge fan of the books, Benioff's efforts (also an executive producer) are a huge reason as to why, the series will soon be on a television screen. He has written the screenplays for Troy, 25th Hour, Brothers, Wolverine: Origins, and a couple of others.

Dan Weiss - Co -Executive Producer and Writer, Weiss has put in the same amount of work on Game of Thrones as Benioff. From his body of work, Weiss seems like quite the fellow geek as he rewrote Halo, penned Ender's Game (another Fantasy classic) and is currently working on a I AM Legend prequel.

Jane Espenson - The only female writer of the bunch boasts a heavy geek pedigree as she has written for Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse, and Battlestar Galactica. Espenson will pen the sixth episode of the season.

Bryan Cogman - He will serve as the script coordinator and handled the 4th episode of the season. His previous work includes script assisting for NBC's My Own Worst Enemy.

The cast for the pilot is as follows

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark (The honorable Warden of the North and Lord of Winterfell) Bean's casting as the main character was a coup for HBO. Not only is he a huge name for TV, Bean has his own fan base, and HBO hopes that they will follow him. Bean is a terrific actor who will do a great job of portraying Ned's cold and honorable personality.

The first image of an actor in character

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (A sarcastic and cynical dwarf, younger brother to Jaime and Cersei Lannister) Dinklage signing on to play Tyrion Lannister is pretty much perfect casting. As I was reading the series, Dinklage, was Tyrion. I have been looking forward to this day ever since I read A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Besides, he is the bet dwarf actor around and Tyrion (arguably the most complex character of the series) deserves nothing but the best.

Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon (The King of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, who took the Iron Throne after he crushed the reigning House Targaryen in a bloody civil war) He has mostly worked in comedic roles, but has lately taken some serious roles. His audition impressed Martin enough that he was cast as Robert. I'm a little iffy on this one, since Robert is supposed to be almost as tall as Sandor Clegane, and Addy certainly isn't that tall. Furthermore, I don't really know if he has the charismatic presence that is synonymous with King Robert Baratheon.

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (The Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and twin sister to Jaime Lannister) I thought Lena Headey would be a good choice for Catelyn, but I think she can make for a very good Cersei. She is not Tricia Helfer (my 1st choice), but she is a good enough actress to pull off the icy bitch routine deliciously. She was awesome in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and 300.

Fan made poster, but it seems to be a nice indication of what she is going to look like.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister (A knight of the Kingsguard and twin brother to Queen Cersei Lannister) The man known as The Kingslayer is probably my second favorite character though he might move to first soon enough. I really wanted Kevin McKidd to be cast in this role, but Waldau ultimately got the nod. However, I have shed my tears (metaphorically speaking) for the non McKidd casting, and I'm now behind the Nikolaj Coster-Waldau casting. The video, GRRM posted on his blog, does a good job of showing the guy's acting range and versatility. I think Coster-Waldau can pull off the off the Kingslayer both look and acting wise.

Another fan poster

Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo (A powerful warlord of the Dothraki people, an accomplished warrior who has never been defeated in battle) HBO cast Momoa at the right moment, he is going to play Conan in a major motion picture soon, and I think his popularity is going to sky rocket. HBO managing to snag him is a positive, and hopefully his fanbase comes to the show.

Momoa as Conan thought it's very similar to what Drogo is going to look like

Last but not least, here is the first teaser of the show, which was just released last night.

Vintage Blogs will continue to follow Game of Thrones, whether it's casting news, new footage or images, and we will review it when it finally comes on as well.

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