HBO's Game of Thrones brings Lord of the Rings-level sword and sorcery tale to the small screen (with video!)
Unless you’re a certified sword and sorcery geek, you’ve probably never wondered what an R-rated Lord of the Rings might look like, with massive amounts of political intrigue, in-your-face gore and explicit sex in place of the movie’s flaming monsters and CGI trolls.
But HBO’s massive adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones – a gargantuan effort to make real a series of novels the author wrote to be unfilmable – may still take your breath away. It’s the kind of sweeping spectacle and complex drama only premium cable tackles on TV anymore; a watershed moment in creating a program with the intimacy of television and epic sweep of a grand film.
Sean Bean is the hardheaded hero Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark, a Lord of the Rings alum who instantly sets the swashbuckling tone. He’s the down to earth lord of Winterfell, the northernmost among seven kingdoms in Martin’s fictionalized Medieval world, pressed into serving as the closest aide to friend King Robert Baratheon (a beefier, hairier Full Monty alum Mark Addy).
Stark soon learns that the previous lord who held his job may have met an untimely end, possibly at the behest of Queen Cerci Baratheon (Lena Headey from Fox’s Terminator series), distant wife of the king with a oddly, um, close relationship with her facile, warrior twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau).
Already, the storyline feels like something you need a stout Wikipedia entry to follow. And there are loads more characters – including Peter Dinklage’s masterful, debauched dwarf brother of Queen Cerci, Tyrion Lannister, who may be the best character committed to television yet this year.
And as a barbarian horde masses, led by a descendant from a family which once ruled the seven kingdoms, a nameless horror gathers outside Winterfell’s northernmost gates.
It’s the stuff of fantasy geek heaven; a gritty period drama with letter-perfect clothes, weapons and lingo, yet unencumbered by historical facts or the weight of real events.
Of all the sword-flinging series on TV right now, Game of Thrones is far and away the best – cloaking a clever commentary on modern day political conniving with a gray Medieval-age story which feels like Rings’ older, sexed-up brother. It all starts at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Like I said, heaven.
Look below for a special preview: