Diana Castle’s Guide to Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones – HBO

The DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital/ version of Season 3 of HBO’s popular Game of Thrones will be released tomorrow. I’ve got my copy all ordered from Amazon and it will join my Blu-Rays of Seasons 1 and 2.

What? You’ve never seen Game of Thrones? You have no idea what all the fuss is about?

Well, don’t you worry. I’m here to give you a quick, spoiler-free rundown of what Game of Thrones is all about.


Okay, here goes.

Based on the widely successful books by George R.R. Martin, HBO’s Game of Thrones premiered in April of 2011. Season 4 starts April 6, 2014.

Set in the mythical land of Westeros, Game of Thrones revolves around the struggle for power and dominance among, in particular, four noble houses.

  • The Starks
  • The Lannisters
  • The Baretheons
  • The Targaryens

There are a large number of characters in both the books and the series. It actually took me a season or two before I began to get them all straight. Some of the other more notable houses/families are

  • The Greyjoy’s
  • The Tullys
  • The Arryns
  • The Tyrells

Each of the houses has a motto and a sigil. For example, the Starks motto is “Winter is Coming” and their sigil is a direwolf, a kind of wolf on steroids. The Lannisters, one of the richest noble families in Westeros, has as its sigil a lion and their motto is “Hear Me Roar.”The Baratheon’s sigil is a stag and their motto is “Ours is the Fury.” The Targaryen’s motto is “Fire and Blood” and their sigil is a three-headed dragon.

Actually, I just realized I really can’t talk that much about Game of Thrones without giving away spoilers. So, I apologize if this isn’t much of a real guide. It’s more like a brief introduction.

Oh, there is something important I forgot to mention. In Westeros, winters don’t last a season like in our world. In Westeros, winters last for decades. So when the Starks say “Winter is Coming”, they’re not talking about some three-four month stretch of winter. They’re talking about winters that last so long people are born and die without ever seeing summer. So the winter we’re having this year in the States? That would be nothing to the Starks. Their winters are like the mother/grandmother/great-grandmother of all winters.

But, suffice to say, along with the unnaturally long seasons, there’s a lot of plotting and scheming, backstabbing (and front-stabbing), betrayals, deaths (lots of deaths), bloodshed, sex, exotic sceneries, gorgeous costumes, plotting and scheming (I said that already didn’t I, but there’s a LOT of that), magic, white walkers (which are pretty much Westeros’ version of zombies), and dragons.

I think the reason Game of Thrones has been so successful is that the movie version of Lord of the Rings showed the powers that be in the entertainment industry that there was a market for fantasy, especially if the fantasy wasn’t presented with a nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Meaning if you take the fantasy seriously, so will the audience.

Game of Thrones also deals with families. And that’s where its real strength lies I believe. The Starks and the Baratheons and the Lannisters aren’t just nobles fighting for power; they are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, all bound together by love and blood and jealousy and hate. There’s just as much infighting within the families as there are between them.

We may not be able to relate as much to dragons, or kings sitting on thrones made out of the melted swords of their conquests, or a sister sleeping with her brother (yes, there is some of that so be warned), but we are all members of  some family and we can all relate to that if nothing else.

Game of Thrones – The Iron Throne – HBO

If you want to learn more about Game of Thrones, you can always check out the Game of Thrones Wiki, but I should warn you. It’s not spoiler free. The DVD’s have some nice information on their special features disc. Especially about the long, complicated history of Westeros.

Or you can do like I do and find someone who’s read all of George R.R. Martin’s books and grill them for information.

Of course, let us not forget, HBO’s version of Game of Thrones is an adaptation, not a word by word replication of the books. HBO has added characters, not featured some characters that are in the books and there’s even a rumor that if Mr. Martin doesn’t finish up his saga fairly soon, HBO might just pass him by and finish it themselves. At least their televised version of it. I’m not sure how true that is, but there you go.

So that’s my brief and I hope spoiler-free introduction to Game of Thrones. And remember, when it comes to the games of thrones, you win or you die. There’s no in-between, as many of the characters on the series have discovered to their detriment.


2 thoughts on “Diana Castle’s Guide to Game of Thrones

Comments are closed.