Game of Thrones Trouble is brewing in Westeros. For the inhabitants of this world, control of the Iron Throne holds the lure of great power. But in a land where seasons can last a lifetime, winter is coming…and beyond the Great Wall that protects them, a forgotten evil has returned. HBO presents this Game of Thrones epic series based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.
Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for HBO and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, the first of which is A Game of Thrones. The show was shot in the United Kingdom, Canada, Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, and Spain. It premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011, and concluded on May 19, 2019, with 73 episodes broadcast over eight seasons.
Set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, Game of Thrones has a large ensemble cast and follows several story arcs throughout the course of the show. The first major arc concerns the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros through a web of political conflicts among the noble families either vying to claim the throne or fighting for independence from whoever sits on it. A second focuses on the last descendant of the realm’s deposed ruling dynasty, who has been exiled to Essos and is plotting to return and reclaim the throne. The third follows the Night’s Watch, a military order defending the realm against threats from beyond Westeros’s northern border.
Game of Thrones attracted a record viewership on HBO and has a broad, active, and international fan base. Critics have praised the series for its acting, complex characters, story, scope, and production values, although its frequent use of nudity and violence (including sexual violence) has been subject to criticism. The final season received significant critical backlash for its reduced length and creative decisions, with many considering it a disappointing conclusion. The series received 59 Primetime Emmy Awards, the most by a drama series, including Outstanding Drama Series in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. Its other awards and nominations include three Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation, a Peabody Award, and five nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. Many critics and publications have named the show as one of the best television series of all time.
Game of Thrones is roughly based on the storylines of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R. R. Martin, set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the continent of Essos. The series follows several simultaneous plot lines.The first story arc follows a war of succession among competing claimants for control of the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, with other noble families fighting for independence from the throne. The second concerns the exiled scion’s actions to reclaim the throne; the third chronicles the threat of the impending winter, as well as the legendary creatures and fierce peoples of the North.
Cast and characters
Main article: List of Game of Thrones characters
Game of Thrones has an ensemble cast which has been estimated to be the largest on television. In 2014, several actors’ contracts were renegotiated to include a seventh-season option. By the final season, five of the main cast members made $1 million per episode, making them among the highest paid television performers.
Eddard “Ned” Stark (Sean Bean) is the head of House Stark. He and his wife, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), have five children: Robb (Richard Madden), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), and Rickon (Art Parkinson). Ned also has an illegitimate son, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who, along with his scholarly friend, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), serve in the Night’s Watch under Lord Commander Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo). The Wildlings living north of the Wall include the young Gilly (Hannah Murray), and the warriors Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and Ygritte (Rose Leslie).
Others associated with House Stark include Ned’s ward Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Ned’s vassal Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), and Roose’s illegitimate son, Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). Robb accepts help from the healer Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin), while elsewhere, Arya befriends the blacksmith’s apprentice Gendry Rivers (Joe Dempsie) and the assassin Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha). The tall warrior, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), eventually comes to serve the Starks.
In King’s Landing, the capital, Ned’s old friend, King Robert I Baratheon (Mark Addy), shares a loveless political marriage with Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Her younger twin brother, Ser Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), serves on the Kingsguard. The third and youngest Lannister sibling is the dwarf Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who is attended by his mistress Shae (Sibel Kekilli) and the sellsword Bronn (Jerome Flynn). Cersei’s father is Tywin (Charles Dance), head of House Lannister and richest man in Westeros. Cersei has a daughter, Myrcella, and two sons: Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman). Joffrey is guarded by the scar-faced warrior Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann).
The king’s Small Council of advisors includes, among others, the crafty Master of Coin, Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen), and the eunuch spymaster, Lord Varys (Conleth Hill). In Dragonstone, Robert’s younger brother, Stannis (Stephen Dillane), is advised by the foreign priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and former smuggler Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham). In the Reach, the Tyrell family, led by its matriarch Olenna (Diana Rigg), is represented at court by Margery (Natalie Dormer), the matriarch’s granddaughter. The High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) is eventually given power as a religious leader. In the southern principality of Dorne, the warrior Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) seeks vengeance against the Lannisters.
Across the Narrow Sea, in Pentos, siblings Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) (colloquially referred to as “Dany”) are in exile, with the former plotting to reclaim his father’s throne. Daenerys is forced into marrying Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), a leader of the nomadic Dothraki. Her retinue eventually comes to include the exiled knight Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), her aide Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), the sellsword Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman), and the elite soldier Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson.