DVD REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 1

When it first graced our screens last year, Game of Thrones caught the imagination of viewers around the world, in fact the show was picked up for a second season just two days after it’s premiere.

Game of Thrones is a medieval fantasy series set in the fictional realm of Westeros. The show is based on the novels by George R.R. Martin and Martin has been involved in the writing of the TV adaptation since the beginning.

The show follows Ned Stark – the Lord of the North – as he struggles with the political games being played for control of the land. Several families are squabbling over the right to the throne of Westeros after the rightful King was murdered many years previously. The Stark family is separated as Ned heads to the South to serve the King and his illegitimate son is sent to The Wall to protect the inhabitants of Westeros against the mysterious and dangerous White Walkers. When Ned Stark learns some secret information, he is arrested for treason and put on trial.

Meanwhile, Viscerys and Daenerys Targaryen live in exile after their father – the previous King of Westeros – was assassinated. Viscerys dreams of claiming the throne back, and to this end marries his sister off to Khal Drogo, the head of the Dolthraki warriors.

Once the alliances are formed, all eyes turn towards King’s Landing; who will be the one to claim the throne from the usurper Robert Baratheon?

Game of Thrones has been critically acclaimed, and celebrated by fans around the world. The show is a look at the complex games that people play for power, and the alliances that are formed, and just as quickly broken. Betrayal is currency in Westeros, and everyone has their own agenda.

The DVD special features of Game of Thrones Season 1 are designed for both the avid fan and the casual observer alike. There are audio commentaries for every episode, but as well as this there is something special on each of the boxset’s five DVDs. There is a complete guide to Westeros, encompassing the Lands and the Houses. The legacy of each is explained, as are the main players within the families, and therefore, the show. This is perfect for viewers who come to the show with no knowledge of the novels, as it gives backstory to the on screen action, and deepens the audience understanding of the characters. The same is true of the Character Profiles; the actors from the show explain their character, which allows a more in depth understanding of their hopes, fears and motivations. As well as this, it is always good to hear an actor talk with love about a character that they play. Characters examined in this feature include; Tyrion Lannister, Ned Stark and Daenerys Targaryen.

From Book to Screen is a fascinating look at translating the novels into a TV show; this is always a challenge, and those behind the show explain how they approached the project, and whether they were apprehensive about adapting such a beloved series of books. As well as this, there is a look at how the language of Khal Drogo and the Dolthraki warriors was created and a look Inside the Night’s Watch; an examination of those charged with protecting The Wall.

Game of Thrones is a sprawling political drama, which has the added element of magic and the unknown. It is always a challenge to bring an existing fantasy series to life on screen, but due to the quality of the production – from acting to writing to set design and everything in between – Game of Thrones draws viewers into the political intrigue of this fictional land. Alliances change as quickly as they are formed and the story twists and turns; keeping the audience enthralled. There is plenty for fans and new comers alike in this five-disc DVD edition of Season 1, and enough to keep enthusiasts of drama and fantasy alike going until Season 2 reaches our screens later this year.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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