Tonight, Unreality Shout was invited along to a preview screening of the first two episodes of Game Of Thrones.
For the uninitiated, Game Of Thrones is HBO’s adaptation of George R R Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series of novels. That includes me. I guess I’m not geek enough, because sometimes novels and TV shows come out of the woodwork that I’ve never heard of, but have massive cult followings. And this is one of them.
Coming at this initially, and given Sean Bean’s involvement with another iconic fantasy adaptation, I expected Game Of Thrones to be a Tolkienesque copy.
But it’s not. It obviously shares many of the qualities of the fantasy genre, but with less grey-haired wizards. Though admittedly it does have one highly entertaining dwarf.
After watching two episodes back to back, all I can say to you is believe the hype. There’s much talk about HBO being the only network who could possibly pull off an authentic adaptation like this. And they’re not wrong. The network doesn’t remotely spare the graphic sex and violence in this series. It’s sometimes shocking – the ending to the first episode may well be one of the defining moments of this first season. It’s cruel, brutal and something you’ve never seen in a TV show before. Mark my words – it’s amazing.
The network say that Game Of Thrones is a fantasy series for people who don’t know they like fantasy series’. Being a fan of the genre, I was instantly captivated. It’s beyond gritty, and the characters and plots are every bit as complex and layered as we’ve been repeatedly told. I’ll save it for my episode reviews to recap the actual storylines, but there’s some right royal incest, Emilia Clarke is about to become a household name and international sex symbol, and Sean Bean’s grim depiction of Eddard Stark adds enormous weight to the lineup.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Sean Bean, Mark Addy and Harry Lloyd were all present for a Q&A session, as was production designer Gemma Jackson. I’ll be writing up the Q&A notes for publication tomorrow – but you should be planning how to cram Game Of Thrones into your jam-packed viewing schedule. It starts on Sunday night in the USA and airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Monday.
Winter is coming, people…