Essential Guide to HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

Salon has an exhaustive primer on HBO’s Game of Thrones. It should be considered essential reading for anyone that hasn’t read the books yet (wouldn’t hold it against you they are, after all, 800 pages each) but wants to jump right into the new show.

“A Song of Ice And Fire” is to normal fantasy what “The Wire” was to typical cops-and-robbers drama, packed with grit, complexity and flawed human beings making their way through a corrupt and intimidating world. Heroes die, villains triumph, peasants and slaves suffer horribly and knights are as likely to be plate-metal-encased thugs and hoodlums as they are noble icons of chivalry. Loosely modeled on a medieval-era England ravaged by the Wars of the Roses, Martin’s world does not gloss over the starvation, rape and murder that follow in the wake of war. The class stratification and brute injustice of feudal society screams out of nearly every page. The HBO catchphrase for the series is “Game of Thrones: You Win or You Die,” but the truth is that the vast majority lose when the mighty roll the dice.

I also threw in the 25 minute making-of documentary that was released last week, simply because I finally had the time to watch it this weekend, natch.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • TCC April 11, 2011, 11:38 am

    I would actually say someone who has not read the books should NOT read that guide as it has huge spoilers even before the SPOILER warning.

    • jamesfurbush April 11, 2011, 12:10 pm

      True enough! I would just hate for anyone to not watch the show for whatever reason and then have people say that fantasy or sci fi can't work on HBO/television. Which, i guess has nothing to do with spoilers.

      • Ray April 11, 2011, 9:21 pm

        Hopefully that wont be the case! HBO is taking good measure to get the premier out there though. I work in the TV industry for Dish Network and I can tell you that HBO is doing a free preview from April 15th-18th and they have the premier set for the 17th which will give even people without HBO a chance to catch the first episode.

        • jamesfurbush April 11, 2011, 9:48 pm

          Oh nice! That's good to know about the preview.

          It worries me a bit when i tell my non-geek friends about the show and they look at my like I'm nuts. Then I resort to telling them it's like Lord of the Rings and they generally go, oh okay sounds good. Not sure why LoTRs has become accepted mainstream fantasy but everything else just glosses people over. /endrant /sigh

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