HBO’s Game Of Thrones: All Men Must Die

In the fictional continent of Westeros, several powerful houses battle for control over for the Seven Kingdoms. As conflict explodes in the world of men, an old enemy rises once again to threaten all they hold most dear. In the meantime, a thought-extinct house makes a comeback in a play for the Iron Throne to take back their homeland from across the Narrow Sea. Based on the ‘A Song Of Ice & Fire’ book series by George R.R. Martin, Season one of Game Of Thrones is certainly as power-driven as the books it is inspired by.

For a show to touch the hearts of so many like Game Of Thrones has, is a rarity. It’s a show that blends intelligence, violence and grit all into one watchable medium. The brutal awesomeness of HBO’s golden child is a revelation that we can all get behind. This was HBO’s wildcard and a daring deed committed by the well-known television network. Game Of Thrones touched our hearts and then subsequently ripped them in half when they killed off Sean Bean’s Ned Stark in the typical Sean Bean fashion. Season one made us feel heartache and desire but it also made us empathize with certain characters and relate to them as well.

Ned Stark (Sean Bean)and his bastard-born son Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on The Kingsroad (Game Of Thrones, HBO)

Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and his bastard-born son Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on The Kingsroad
(Game Of Thrones, HBO)

Ned Stark was everyone’s favourite but he was an honourable man, an outcast in a dishonourable world. Ned was one of many “Point Of View” characters in the first book yet it was still just as difficult letting go of him in the adaptation. After the events of “Baelor”, viewers knew things would never be the same. Your favourite characters could die at any moment. Their existence was ticking timebomb that could go off at any moment, at the pleasure of creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

This is Hollywood, and not everything from the books will end up in the show. To entertain the thought that it would, is naïve. Yet they added things in that I truly liked, such as spine-chilling conversations between the local schemers, the spider Varys (Conleth Hill) and the snake Petyr Baelish/Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen). Furthermore, we were privy to a  look at the relationship of King Robert (Mark Addy) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) under the microscope. Even more minor characters like the asshole Viserys (Harry Lloyd) has many moments to show his true colours, like when he is tormenting his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke).

Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen in HBO fantasy series (Game Of Thrones, HBO)

Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy drama series
(Game Of Thrones, HBO)

Struggle and pain, are two of the most obvious themes in this show. Many of us root for the heroes. But then we soon see that “heroes and villains” are relative concepts. There is no true good or true evil. There is a wide grey area and it all depends whose side you are on. The realm is so dirty, foul and corrupt. In this regard, you could argue that it’s a mirror image of our world, entwined with the sheer brutal and bitter realism. Even though it’s fantasy with: ice zombies, magic and dragons, it’s more real than not. It’s not about winning for a lot of characters, it about trying not to die or staying alive a little longer. Characters like Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) know this better than most, as he is in constant fear of losing his head.

There’s more to Tyrion, or the Imp as he’s often called, than what meets the eye. He’s highly intelligent with an innate ability for foresight and he’s been granted with the necessary skills of deception and trickery; the two abilities that Ned didn’t have which ultimately killed him. Ned trusted too much in the integrity and morality of others. The majority of Westeros has none and Ned didn’t see this until it was too late. Tyrion is the balance between being smart yet moral. He prepares for the worst but hopes for the best. He looks for a broader social justice that no one else wants to deal with. He is a survivor, having lived through an ambush, imprisonment and a bloody battle in the North which brought him into contact with the sellsword Bronn (Jerome Flynn).

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is funniest man in the Seven Kingdoms (Game Of Thrones, HBO)

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is the funniest man in the Seven Kingdoms
(Game Of Thrones, HBO)

The casting of the Stark children was imperative because these young actors would have to carry the mantel in the aftermath of Ned Stark’s demise. The weight of the series was on these children and we know now that they’ve done a stellar job after six seasons of greatness. As first seasons go, it has to be commended in the highest regard and it’s a certainly worth a watch. Filled with excellent performances from all the cast, an excellent narrative and one of the best musical scores since John Williams’ Star Wars, Game Of Thrones is a keeper for sure.

More realistic than I’d like to admit, especially if you know your history