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A Game of Thrones (disambiguation)

A Game of Thrones is the first novel in the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.
A Game of Thrones or Game of Thrones may also refer to several works based on the novel or the series:

Game of Thrones (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones title card.jpg
The logo for the series
Genre Medieval fantasy
Format Serial drama
Created by David Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Composer(s) Ramin Djawadi[1]
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 20 (List of episodes)
Editor(s) Oral Norrey Ottey
Frances Parker
Martin Nicholson
Katie Weiland
Location(s) Northern Ireland
Camera setup Arri Alexa
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) HBO, Created By, Management 360
Distributor HBO
Original channel HBO
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
First shown in United States
Original run April 17, 2011 – present
External links
Production website
Game of Thrones is an American medieval fantasy television series created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones. The series is filmed at Paint Hall Studios in Belfast, as well as on location elsewhere in Northern Ireland and in Malta, Croatia, Iceland and Morocco.[4]
The first season debuted in the U.S. on April 17, 2011. Two days later, it was picked up for a second season, which began airing on April 1, 2012. Nine days later, it was picked up for a third season.
Highly anticipated since its early stages of development, Game of Thrones has been very well received by viewers and critics. Season 1 was nominated for or won numerous awards, including Outstanding Drama Series for the Emmy Awards and Best Television Series – Drama at the 69th Golden Globe Awards. As Tyrion Lannister, Peter Dinklage won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.



The cable television series closely follows the multiple storylines of the A Song of Ice and Fire series,[5] and author Martin has stated that the show's pilot script was very faithful to his work.[6] Set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Game of Thrones chronicles the violent dynastic struggles among the kingdom's noble families for control of the Iron Throne; as the series opens, additional threats from the snow and ice covered region north of Westeros and from the eastern continent, Essos, across a narrow sea are simultaneously beginning to rise.[3]

Cast and characters

Sean Bean is Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark, head of the Stark family. He and his wife Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) have five children: the eldest, Robb (Richard Madden), the dainty Sansa (Sophie Turner), the tomboy Arya (Maisie Williams), the adventurous Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and the toddler Rickon (Art Parkinson). The family's outsiders are Ned's bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington), and Ned's hostage and ward Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen).
King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) shares a loveless marriage with Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), who has taken her twin, the "Kingslayer" Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) as her lover and loathes her younger brother, the clever dwarf Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). Cersei's oldest child is Prince Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), guarded by the scarfaced warrior Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann). One of the king's advisors is the crafty Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen), Master of Coin.
Across the Narrow Sea, siblings Viserys (Harry Lloyd) and Daenerys "Dany" Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) – the exiled children of the king overthrown by Robert – are on the run for their lives and trying to win back the throne. Dany is married to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), the leader of the barbaric Dothraki, for the promise of an army for Viserys. Iain Glen plays Ser Jorah Mormont, an exiled knight sworn to protect the siblings.
The second season adds six characters introduced in the first season to the principal cast. Three belong to the court at King's Landing: Varys (Conleth Hill), the eunuch and spymaster; Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Tyrion's sellsword companion; and Shae (Sibel Kekilli), Tyrion's mistress. Two are men of the Night's Watch: Lord Commander Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) and Jon Snow's friend Samwell Tarly (John Bradley). The last is Charles Dance as the Lannister patriarch, Tywin. New main characters in the second season are King Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), the elder of Robert's two younger brothers and a contender for the Iron Throne; Stannis' advisors Melisandre (Carice van Houten), a foreign priestess; Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), a former smuggler who is now a loyal supporter of Stannis; and Lady Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), wife of rebel king Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) and sister of Renly's lover, Loras (Finn Jones).


Conception and development

The series began development in January 2007.[7] HBO, after acquiring the rights to the novels with the intent of turning them into an international cable television series, hired David Benioff and D. B. Weiss to write and executive produce the series, which would cover one novel's worth of material per season.[7] Initially, it was planned that Benioff and Weiss would write every episode save one per season, which author and co-executive producer George R. R. Martin was attached to write.[7][8] However, Jane Espenson and Bryan Cogman were later added to each write one episode of the first season.[3]
"The Sopranos in Middle-earth" is the tagline Benioff jokingly suggested for the television adaptation, referring to its intrigue-filled content and dark tone combined with a fantasy setting.[9] In a 2012 study, the series was listed second out of 40 recent U.S. TV drama series by deaths per episode, with an average of 14.[10][11] Traditional high fantasy is described as generally incidental to the series, with HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo finding the storytelling appealing rather than the low-key magic or the exotic milieu, in spite of the network's new developmental policy to "[take] shots at shows that we wouldn't have taken a shot at five years ago".[12][13]
The Game of Thrones's budget has been compared to that of the TV series Rome.[13] The pilot reportedly cost HBO between US$5 and 10 million,[12] and the total budget for the first season has been estimated at US$50–60 million.[14] In the second season, the show obtained a 15% increase in budget in order to be able to stage the most important battle in the "clash of kings", the civil war that is the season's focus.[15]
HBO hired expert language creator David J. Peterson from the Language Creation Society to develop the Dothraki language – "possessing its own unique sound, extensive vocabulary of more than 1,800 words and complex grammatical structure" – to be used in the series.[16] The first and second drafts of the pilot script, written by Benioff and Weiss, were submitted in August 2007[17] and June 2008,[18] respectively. While HBO found both drafts to their liking,[18][19] a pilot was not ordered until November 2008,[20][21] with the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike possibly delaying the process.[19]

Adaptation schedule

The series adapts the novels as follows:
Season Ordered Filming Premiere Novel adapted
Season 1 March 2, 2010[22] Second half of 2010 April 17, 2011 A Game of Thrones
Season 2 April 19, 2011 Second half of 2011 April 1, 2012 A Clash of Kings
Season 3 April 10, 2012 Second half of 2012 TBA About the first half of A Storm of Swords[23]
The correspondence between the seasons and the novels they adapt is approximate rather than exact: Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have said that they think of Game of Thrones as an adaptation of the novel series as a whole, rather than of individual books, which gives them the liberty to move scenes back and forth across books according to the requirements of the screen adaptation.[24] For instance, the final episode of Season 1 includes a few moments from the second book, and the latter half of Season 2 introduces elements from the beginning of the third book.


The walled city of Dubrovnik stands in for King's Landing in Season 2

Ballintoy Harbour was redressed as the port of Pyke on the Iron Islands
Principal photography for the first season was scheduled to begin on July 26, 2010.[3] The primary location was the Paint Hall Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[25] Exterior scenes in Northern Ireland were filmed at Sandy Brae in the Mourne Mountains (standing in for Vaes Dothrak), Castle Ward (Winterfell), Saintfield Estates (the Winterfell godswood), Tollymore Forest (outdoor scenes), Cairncastle (the execution site), the Magheramorne quarry (Castle Black) and at Shane's Castle (the tourney grounds).[26] Doune Castle in Stirling, Scotland, was also used for exterior scenes at Winterfell.[27]
The first season's Southern scenes were filmed in Malta, a change in location from the sets in Morocco used for the pilot episode.[3] The city of Mdina was used for scenes in King's Landing, and filming also took place at Fort Manoel (representing the Sept of Baelor), at the Azure Window on the island of Gozo (the Dothraki wedding site), and at San Anton Palace, Fort Ricasoli, Fort St Angelo and St. Dominic monastery (all used for scenes in the Red Keep).[26]
For the second season, shooting of the Southern scenes shifted from Malta to Croatia, where the city of Dubrovnik and its walls allowed exterior shots of a seaside walled medieval city. Dubrovnik and Fort Lovrijenac were used for scenes in King's Landing and the Red Keep, while the island of Lokrum, St. Dominic monastery and Rector's Palace as well as the Dubac quarry for scenes in Qarth. Scenes set north of the Wall, in the Frostfangs and at the Fist of the First Men, were filmed in Iceland in November 2011, on the Svínafellsjökull glacier and near Smyrlabjörg and Vík on Höfðabrekkuheiði.[26]


The show's costumes are inspired by many cultures and peoples, such as Japanese and Persian. Dothraki outfits resemble that of the Bedouins (one was made out of fish skins to resemble dragon scales), and the Wildlings wear fur side in and skin side out like the Inuit.[28] Wildling bone armor is made of molds taken of real bones and assembled with string and latex resembling catgut.[29] While extras who portray Wildlings and the Night's Watch wear hats as would be normal in a cold climate, main actors usually do not so viewers can identify the characters. Björk's Alexander McQueen high-neckline dresses inspired Dormer's unusual funnel-neck outfit, and prostitute costumes are designed to be quickly removed.[28] All clothing, whether for Wildlings or for women at the royal court, is aged for two weeks to improve realism on high-definition television.[29]
About two dozen wigs are used for actors such as Headey, Dormer, and Clarke. Made of human hair and up to two feet in length, they cost up to $7,000 each and are washed and styled like real hair. Applying the wigs is a lengthy process; Clarke, for example, requires about two hours to style her brunette hair with a platinum-blonde wig and braids. Other actors such as Gleeson and Turner receive frequent haircoloring. For characters such as Clarke and her Dothrakis, hair, wigs, and costumes are processed so they appear as if they have not been washed in weeks.[28]

Impact in Northern Ireland

The series receives funding from Northern Ireland Screen, a government agency financed by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund.[30] The first two seasons received UK£6.5 million from Invest NI and, according to government estimates, caused £43 million to be spent in the regional economy. Invest NI also expects the series to generate additional tourism revenue. According to a government minister, the series has given Northern Ireland the most worldwide publicity in its history outside politics and the Troubles.[31]


The first season of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011,[32] and the second season on April 1, 2012. On the same day or in the subsequent weeks or months, the show also began airing in several other countries. The series is available only through HBO or its affiliates, not through third-party video on demand services, and in many countries not at all. This has contributed to the series being widely pirated.[33]
Broadcasters carrying Game of Thrones include:[34]
  •  Albania – Digitalb – Digiplus channel
  •  Arab League – OSN Series
  •  Argentina – HBO
  •  Australia – showcase
  •  Austria – TNT Serie, RTL II
  •  Bangladesh – HBO
  •  Belgium – beTV (Belgium), Prime
  •  Bolivia – HBO
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina – HBO
  •  Brazil – HBO
  •  Bulgaria – HBO
  •  Canada – HBO Canada, Super Écran
  •  Chile – HBO
  •  China – HBO
  •  Colombia – HBO
  •  Costa Rica – HBO
  •  Croatia – HBO
  •  Cyprus – NovaCinema 1, NovaCinemaHD
  •  Czech Republic – HBO
  •  Denmark – Canal+, TV3
  •  Dominican Republic – HBO
  •  Estonia – Fox Life
  •  Finland – Canal+, YLE TV2 (2012)
  •  France – Orange Cinéma Séries
  •  Germany – TNT Serie (in German), Sky Deutschland (in English),[35] RTL II
  •  Greece – NovaCinema 1, NovaCinemaHD
  •  Guatemala – HBO Latin America
  •  Hungary – HBO
  •  Hong Kong – HBO
  •  Costa Rica – HBO Latin America
  •  Iceland – Stöð 2
  •  India – HBO
  •  Indonesia – HBO
  •  Ireland – Sky Atlantic
  •  Israel – Yes Oh
  •  Italy – Sky Cinema 1
  •  Latvia – Fox Life, LTV(2012), Sony TV Baltic
  •  Lebanon – OSN
  •  Lithuania – Fox Life + BTV (2012)
  •  Macedonia – HBO
  •  Malaysia – HBO Asia
  •  Mexico – HBO
  •  Moldova – HBO
  •  Montenegro – HBO
  •  Netherlands – Ziggo, HBO Netherlands,[36] RTL
  •  New Zealand – SoHo
  •  Nigeria – M-Net
  •  Norway – Canal+, NRK
  •  Pakistan – HBO
  •  Panama – HBO
  •  Peru – HBO
  •  Philippines – HBO
  •  Poland – HBO
  •  Portugal – Syfy at Meo Portugal
  •  Romania – HBO
  •  Russia – Fox Life
  •  Serbia – HBO
  •  Singapore – HBO Asia
  •  Slovakia – HBO
  •  Slovenia – HBO
  •  South Africa – M-Net
  •  Spain – Canal+
  •  Sweden – Canal+, SVT1
  •  Switzerland – TNT Serie
  •  Taiwan – HBO
  •  Thailand – HBO Asia
  •  Trinidad – HBO
  •  Turkey – CNBC-e
  •  Ukraine – TET (ТЕТ)
  •  United Kingdom – Sky Atlantic
  •  Uruguay – HBO
  •  Venezuela – HBO
  •  Vietnam – HBO Asia
  •  Zimbabwe – M-Net

Other media and products

DVD and Blu-ray box set

The ten episodes of the first season of Game of Thrones were published as a DVD and Blu-ray box set on March 6, 2012. The set includes extra background and behind-the-scenes material, but no deleted scenes, because almost all footage shot for the first season was used in the show.[37]
The box set sold 350,000 units in the first seven days of its release, the largest first-week DVD sales ever for an HBO series. The series also set a HBO series record for digital download sales.[38]


The music for the series is composed by Ramin Djawadi. The first season's soundtrack, written in about ten weeks before the show's premiere,[39] was published by Varèse Sarabande in June 2011.[40] The second season's soundtrack is scheduled for release on June 19, 2012.[41]

Accompanying material

An extension series, Thronecast: The Official Guide to Game of Thrones, presented by Geoff Lloyd and produced by Koink was available on the Sky Atlantic website and the UK iTunes store.[42] It featured episode analysis and cast interviews.[42]
A companion book, Inside HBO's Game of Thrones by series writer Bryan Cogman (ISBN 978-1452110103) is to be published on September 19, 2012.


HBO has licensed Dark Horse Deluxe to produce a range of Game of Thrones-themed merchandise, such as statues and action figures. The goods are set to be brought to the market by March 2012.[43]

Other works based on the series

The series has also inspired other works.


Anticipation for Game of Thrones was described by media as very high, with a dedicated fan base closely following the show's development.[47][48] It was estimated to be the most pirated TV series of 2012, a reflection of its popularity as well as its limited availability.[49]

Cultural impact

Game of Thrones has been credited with an increased popularity of fantasy themes and mainstream acceptance of the fantasy fandom. "After this weekend", wrote on the eve of the second season's premiere, "you may be hard pressed to find someone who isn't a fan of some form of epic fantasy". According to Ian Bogost, Game of Thrones continues a trend of successful screen adaptations, beginning with Peter Jackson's 2001 The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and continuing with the Harry Potter films, that have established fantasy as a lucrative mass market genre and serve as "gateway drugs to fantasy fan culture".[50]
The series' popularity greatly boosted sales of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, soon republished as tie-in editions, which remained at the top of bestseller lists for months on end. The first season's frequent scenes in which characters explain their motives or background while having sex with prostitutes also gave rise to the term "sexposition" to describe the practice of providing exposition against a backdrop of sex and nudity.[51]

Critical response

The majority of reviews for the first season were very positive, with critics noting the high production values, the well-realized world, compelling characters, and giving particular note to the strength of the child actors.[52][53] As of March 7, 2012, the first season of Game of Thrones has a Metacritic average of 79 out of 100 based on 28 critic reviews, categorized as "generally favorable".[54] The series was listed on many "best of 2011" lists published by U.S. media, including that of the Washington Post and TIME.[55][56][57] Variety wrote that "there may be no show more profitable to its network than 'Game of Thrones' is to HBO. Fully produced by the pay cabler and already a global phenomenon after only one season, the fantasy skein was a gamble that has paid off handsomely."[58]
The first episodes of the second season were also well received by critics who reviewed them before they started airing. As of May 31, 2012 the second season of the show garnered an average Metacritic score of 88 out of 100 based on 26 critics reviews, thus being categorized as achieving "universal acclaim".[59] Entertainment Weekly praised the "vivid, vital, and just plain fun" storytelling,[60] and The Hollywood Reporter considered that the show made a "strong case for being one of TV's best series", its gravitas making it the only genre show dramatically comparable to shows such as Mad Men or Breaking Bad.[61] The New York Times gave the only mixed review out of 21 reviews, disapproving of the characters' lack of complexity and their confusing multitude, as well as the meandering plot.[62]
The amount of sex and nudity shown on Game of Thrones, especially in scenes that are incidental to the plot, has been the focus of much of the criticism aimed at the series. Charlie Anders wrote in io9 that while the first season was replete with light-hearted "sexposition", the second season appeared to focus on distasteful, exploitative and dehumanizing sex with little informational content.[63] According to the Washington Post's Anna Holmes, the nude scenes appeared to be aimed mainly at titillating heterosexual men, right down to the Brazilian waxes sported by the women in the series's faux-medieval setting, which made these scenes alienating to other viewers.[64] And in the Huffington Post, Maureen Ryan likewise noted that Game of Thrones mostly presented women naked, rather than men, and added that the excess of "random boobage" undercut any aspirations the series might have to address the oppression of women in a feudal society.[65] Saturday Night Live parodied this aspect of the adaptation in a sketch that portrayed the series as having a horny thirteen-year-old boy as a consultant whose main concern was showing as many breasts per scene as possible.[63][66]


By the end of May 2012, after the penultimate episode of the second season, Game of Thrones had accumulated an average of 10.3 million viewers per episode, including all repeats and on-demand viewings. This made it the third most-watched series in the history of HBO.[67] Live TV viewers were estimated at 4.2m per episode, whilst copyright-infringing downloads through public BitTorrent trackers numbered 3.9m per episode.[68] Amid revelations of widespread piracy, Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, was among those who criticized HBO for not making its shows available via online services such as Netflix and iTunes and requiring a cable television subscription to access its own HBO Go service.[69][70]
The following graphic shows viewer numbers for the first airings:

Game of Thrones: Viewers per episode (in thousands)

  • Season 1 (2011): Viewers of the first airing on HBO in the U.S. on Sundays 9:00pm.
  • Season 2 (2012): Viewers of the first airing on HBO in the U.S. on Sundays 9:00pm.

Ep. 1 Ep. 2 Ep. 3 Ep. 4 Ep. 5 Ep. 6 Ep. 7 Ep. 8 Ep. 9 Ep. 10
Season 1 2,220 2,200 2,440 2,450 2,580 2,440 2,400 2,720 2,660 3,040
Season 2 3,858 3,759 3,766 3,654 3,903 3,879 3,694 3,864 3,384 4,200


The first season of Game of Thrones was nominated for thirteen of the 2011 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. It won two, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Main Title Design. Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, was named best supporting actor by the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the Scream Awards and the Satellite Awards.
Year Award Category Recipient Ref.
2011 Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage (as Tyrion Lannister) for the episode "Baelor"
Outstanding Main Title Design Angus Wall, Hameed Shaukat, Kirk Shintani and Robert Feng
Scream Awards Best TV Show Game of Thrones [71]
Best Supporting Actor Peter Dinklage
Breakout Performance – Female Emilia Clarke
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding New Program Game of Thrones
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Peter Dinklage
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series Game of Thrones
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Peter Dinklage
George Foster Peabody Award
Game of Thrones [7


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