Game of Thrones - the story behind the books
Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for HBO. 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 A Game of Thrones.
The show was both produced and filmed in Belfast and elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Filming locations also included Canada, Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, and Spain. The series 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 several plots and a large ensemble cast and follows several story arcs. One arc is about the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms and follows a web of alliances and conflicts among the noble dynasties either vying to claim the throne or fighting for independence from it.
Another focuses on the last descendant of the realm's deposed ruling dynasty, who has been exiled and is plotting a return to the throne, while another story arc follows the Night's Watch, a brotherhood defending the realm against the fierce peoples and legendary creatures of the North.
Game of Thrones is roughly based on the storylines of A Song of Ice and Fire, set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the continent of Essos. The series chronicles the violent dynastic struggles among the realm's noble families for the Iron Throne, while other families fight for independence from it. It opens with additional threats in the icy North and Essos in the east.
Showrunner David Benioff jokingly suggested "The Sopranos in Middle-earth" as Game of Thrones' tagline, referring to its intrigue-filled plot and dark tone in a fantasy setting of magic and dragons. In a 2012 study, out of 40 recent television drama shows, Game of Thrones ranked second in deaths per episode, averaging 14 deaths.
The series is generally praised for what is perceived as a sort of medieval realism. George R.R. Martin set out to make the story feel more like historical fiction than contemporary fantasy, with less emphasis on magic and sorcery and more on battles, political intrigue, and the characters, believing that magic should be used moderately in the epic fantasy genre. Martin has stated that "the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves."
A common theme in the fantasy genre is the battle between good and evil, which Martin says does not mirror the real world. Just like people's capacity for good and for evil in real life, Martin explores the questions of redemption and character change. The series allows the audience to view different characters from their perspective, unlike in many other fantasies, and thus the supposed villains can provide their side of the story. Benioff said, "George brought a measure of harsh realism to high fantasy. He introduced gray tones into a black-and-white universe."
Inspirations and derivations
Although the first season closely follows the events of the first novel, later seasons have made significant changes. According to David Benioff, the series is "about adapting the series as a whole and following the map George laid out for us and hitting the major milestones, but not necessarily each of the stops along the way".
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