In 1996, George R.R. Martin published “A Game Of Thrones,” the first installment of “A Song Of Ice And Fire” set in as an epic medieval fantasy inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft & Isaac Asimov. The novel focuses on a variety of characters from families/organizations as they fight to claim the continent of Westeros. (the main setting) As each character’s storyline progresses, they meet their fates whether it’s a tragic or life changing experience.
In 2006, showrunner David Benioff, (25th Hour, Troy, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who’s a fan of the series, talked to George about the idea of adapting A Song Of Fire And Ice into a television series. David encouraged fellow showrunner D.B. Sweiss to read the books, D.B. felt positive on the idea to focus on specific characters who aren’t just typical heroes and villains, but realistic individuals who are morally ambiguous and they’ll do anything to fulfill their goals.
The Duo successfully pitched their concept to HBO by describing it as The Sopranos meets The Lord Of The Rings. HBO producers were eager to develop and they approved the duo to begin development on Season 1 based on the first installment of the book series. Development was delayed to the Writers Guild Of America (WGA for short) going on strike in 2007-2008.
A year later, the pilot episode was filmed and completed. Test audiences disliked it, as a result, HBO demanded a reshoot of the pilot to properly flesh out the script and cast. Season 1’s budget costs $5-10 million per episode with a grand total of $50-100 million, making this one of the most expensive shows in history next to Westworld.
Game Of Thrones: Season 1 aired in 2011. (same year the video game Skyrim came out) The series earned critical acclaim from book readers, critic and journalists alike. The series earned its first nominations at The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, The 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards & The 69th Golden Globe Awards. Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe & Emmy for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Tyrion Lannister.
Season 1 spawned further seasons and sparked a new interest for fans of the series, buying the novels, merchandise consisting of action figures, t-shirts, collectibles, costumes, props, etc.
The following review is a NON-SPOILER article. I’ll do my best not to give anything away that is crucial to the first season.
The Whole Season
Positive: Sean Bean, (one of my favorite actors) Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, (hubba hubba) Mark Addy, Kit Harrington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Jason Momoa all did a marvelous job for their respective performances.
Showrunners, David Benioff & D.B. Weiss did an excellent job for researching the first book’s mythos, pragmatically adapting each protagonist’s character arc, as well as writing and producing individual episodes.
Ramin Djawadi orchestrated the music including the instrumental theme in the iconic Opening Credits.
Visual Effects are a combination of Practical and C.G.I. I’ll give he effects team Bonus Points for taking a big risks to develop an immersive world belonging to an epic blockbuster film.
Costume Designers looked authentic, they didn’t seem to resemble cheap lookin’ costumes you see at a Halloween shop.
Actual Set Pieces were constructed by set decorators.
Cinematography is breathtaking, especially exterior shots of environmental locations without any technical glitches.
Character Development involving a few characters including Daenerys.
Arc Words are: “Winter Is Coming.”
Death Scenes are extremely gory. If you have a weak stomach or can’t handle those kind of scenes, be prepared, because you’re gonna need a barf bag to accompany you.
If you’re a guy, there’s a bunch of nudie shots with a ton of good lookin’ women including Emilia Clarke. If you’re a gal, you’ll probably get easily distracted by Jason Momoa. If I were you, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT watch this with your kids or family members, cause it contains “steamy moments” that’ll make you drool uncontrollably.
Eggs are used as a Plot Device throughout the entire season. What kind of eggs are they? Watch all ten episodes to see for yourself.
Marriage plays in an important part in two storylines throughout Season 1.
Don’t expect a typical lighthearted show, it’s dark, gritty and unpredictable. HBO is known for being unapologetic towards its viewers.
Negative: If you’re a newcomer and never read the books, you might get easily lost, be sure to pay close attention to events, characters & pivotal plot points. If that doesn’t work after viewing episode upon episode, it’s best to look up the mythology surrounding the book series or find an abridged version online to help you understand what’s going on with individual storylines.
Episode 1 – Winter Is Coming
Positive: The Prologue introduces the viewer the world of Westeros, (main setting) filled with mystery, gore & a darker tone indicating that the series is unapologetic and will never forgive the viewer upon watching one episode after another.
We’re introduced to a variety of colorful characters from each House (an organization) ruled by families in The Seven Kingdoms.
An Execution Scene foreshadows what’s yet to come in a future episode.
Ned said his Arc Words: “Winter Is Coming.”
Daenerys has a back story, makes you feel sad for her.
Eggs are introduced as a pivotal Plot Element.
One of the characters suffered a near fatal accident. Can’t tell you who he/she is.
Negative: Near the end of the first episode, one scene made me feel uncomfortable to witness something pretty disgusting. What I just saw, made me want to puke.
Episode 2 – The Kingsroad
Positive: One character slaps the crap out of my least favorite character, if you know who I’m referring to. I’m giving this scene Bonus Points for making me put a grin on my face.
Tyrion brings up a few details of his back story and family.
You think a direwolf is adorable as a pet? It comes in handy in special situations.
Dany learns to adapt Drogo’s culture.
Without giving too much away, Jon sees a location in awe.
A member of The Stark Family earns a present based on his/her personality trait.
Arya develops a grudge towards a member of another family.
Episode 3 – Lord Snow
Positive: An old lady tells a scary story about “Walkers.”
Jon shows off his sword fighting skills while training at The Wall.
Dany & Drogo have a heartwarming miracle.
A king talks about his glory days about his first kill.
A member of The Stark Family begins training lessons with a sword.
Episode 4 – Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things
Positive: Tyrion said the titular episode in a scene which made sense in context.
Fourth episode involving The Night’s Watch reflects something off of Degrassi with an episode focusing on bullying.
A character understands the meaning of Jon’s surname.
Ser Alliser talks about his experience at The Wall.
One character brings up a tale about “The Mountain & The Hound.”
An unpredictable scene occurred.
Another character begins to show signs of hallucinations.
An important figure gets arrested.
Episode 5 – The Wolf and The Lion
Positive: Tyrion said, “ A Lannister always pays his debts.”
Tyrion earns himself a B.A. (look up the initials on The Urban Dictionary) Scene.
A surprising moment unexpectedly commenced.
A family member stumbles upon a proposed conspiracy.
The person arrested from the fourth episode is either innocent or guilty. Can’t tell you the truth.
Two people from one respective family engage in combat.
Catelyn’s sister accuses a suspect connected to a relative who’s slain years ago.
A leader of the family refuses to kill a person I refuse to mentioned to you due to his own personal code of conduct.
Episode 6 – A Golden Crown
Positive: A fight scene with Robb is briefly shown.
Due to a battle from the fifth episode, a lead character got abruptly stabbed in the thigh.
A prisoner confessed his crimes, as he lists a ridiculous amount of crimes he committed, kinds belongs as a stand-up comedy routine.
The Prisoner makes a bet to see if he’ll get outta jail. Don’t wanna tell you the results.
One of the characters I despise, finally meets his end of the bargain. Laser-Guided Karma at its finest!
A Dothraki said a pre-kill liner, “A crown for a king!”
Someone learns the disgusting truth about Jamie & Cersei.
Episode 7 – You Win Or Die
Cersei said the title of the show.
A prominent figure dies from his wounds. Can’t tell you who he is, you’re gonna have to find out for yourself.
As assassin is hired to kill a member of a rival family.
Someone takes over as King. It’s pretty shocking.
One of the protagonists is betrayed and captured.
Episode 8 – The Pointy End
A Training Scene intercuts between soldiers getting slaughtered, indicates that it is time to face impending danger.
George R.R. Martin himself, wrote a teleplay for the episode.
Drogo instantly earns a B.A. moment of awesome. You think Aquaman is lame? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
A direwolf chews off a body part, which is played for laughs.
Negative: I don’t care if it is a SPOILER, Hosoe is literally butt naked, seeing him without attire is gonna haunt me for the rest of my life! Really George?! If I wrote the episode, Hodor should wear a speedo!
Episode 9 – Baelor
Positive: Jon acquires a sword reflecting his family’s crest.
An old man reveals he’s a member of a family.
Tyrion mentioned his mother.
Tyrion partakes in a drinking game involving a personal back story.
A Dothraki is severely sick. I don’t wanna say his name.
A Wilhelm Scream is used in the aftermath of a battle.
A protagonist is fatally executed. I cannot say his identity, you’re gonna be mortified. I was shocked to see this in front of my eyes.
Negative: If you’re an animal lover, a horse is used for a ritual. Don’t worry no animals were harmed in the making of episode nine.
Episode 10 – Fire and Blood
Family members mourn the loss of their loved one.
The Eggs have finally been resolved.
An important character dies.
Someone is promoted as King Of The North as a rite of passage to honor his predecessor to keep his legacy alive.
A new creature is introduced to the series, it factors in for the rest of the seasons.
Protagonists set their own journey for the next season.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Game Of Thrones: Season 1 is an epic beginning that’ll immerse you to the mythology of George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire. It’s filled with memorable characters, a fully complex world with interesting locations, unexpected moments that’ll make you gasp & special effects combined with practical & C.G.I. This is one of HBO’s crowning achievements for taking a lot of big risks to create a complicated world filled with complicated characters who will do anything to rule the entire continent of Westeros.
If you’ve never seen the show or read the books, I strongly recommend this the first season or read the first book to properly introduce you to the mythology. It’s your call.