Heads up for GAME OF THRONES

game of thronesIt has begun! The much touted HBO miniseries A GAME OF THRONES arrived with Episode 1, and though the entire series cannot be judged on one episode, this initial hour has all the promise of an involving and visually stunning adaptation of the 1996 George R.R. Martin series of books of adult fantasy fiction titled ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. The ‘game’ is played by seven families – Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, Tully, Arryn, and Tyrell – and what we find in the initial episode is a taste of the intrigue to come.

In this first episode Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) is the patriarch of House Stark, one of the major noble houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and ancestral rulers of the North. Near the castle of Winterfell, Eddard’s children discover a dead direwolf and five of its pups still alive. As the direwolf is the symbol of the Starks, Eddard allows each of his five children to keep one of the pups as pet. A sixth pup is discovered a short distance away from the others. It is a mute albino, and this one is given to Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark. King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) , Eddard’s childhood friend, journeys to Winterfell with his family to ask Eddard to become Hand of the King, the top adviser and military commander in the realm, due to the death of the previous Hand, Lord Jon Arryn. Eddard’s wife, Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), receives a letter from her sister Lysa Arryn, stating that Jon Arryn’s death was a murder plotted by Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) and her powerful family, the Lannisters. Though reluctant to leave his duties and family, Eddard is convinced by his wife to accept the position in order to investigate Jon Arryn’s death. Eddard’s middle son Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is engaging in climbing Winterfell castle’s walls and towers accidentally sees Queen Cersei and her twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) having incestuous relations. To protect their secret affair, Jaime throws the boy out of a tower window. Where the story goes form here will follow throughout the remaining episodes.

Though some would criticize an early report on a series merely at its inception, it seems only fitting that offering a word on encouragement to pay attention to this new series is warranted. We can only hope that the series continues to build as it progresses. The cast is filled with excellent actors, both seasoned and refreshingly new.

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