Couch Pumpkin: Sofa Adventures
News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

Win or Die ~ Game of Thrones

I’ve been meaning to make this post for ages but seeing as I read over half of A Storm of Swords Part I today, and as such am in a Westeros frame of mind, it seemed like the perfect time.

A couple of months ago, HBO greenlit one of the most highly anticipated fantasy television series in recent years – Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s some way off – a 2011 broadcast date – but production is well underway and the series is already generating a lot of buzz.

The main reason for this is that the books are fantastic. I actually picked up the first (A Game of Thrones) after hearing about the series, and I couldn’t put it down once I started. Although they have a fantasy streak (dragons, giants and wizards make appearances), the books largely concentrate on the political machinations of a group of noble families vying for the throne. The twists and turns of the rapidly escalating war are utterly compelling and you may well find yourself ripping through 300 pages at a time (er, well, maybe that’s just me). Add in some graphic violence, torture (Saw: Medieval Version?) and sex (including some of the incestuous kind) and you’ve got HBO gold.

Then there’s the cast of the series….

Lending experience in both fantasy (Lord of the Rings) and   swashbuckling (Sharpe) is movie and television veteran Sean Bean. He plays Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell, honourable to a fault. Ned is the patriarch of the story’s main and most sympathetic family, who are caught up in the ‘game of thrones’ when the King demands Ned leave his home and come to court as his advisor. His wife Catelyn was to be played by Jennifer Ehle, but the part has now gone to Michelle Fairley (Nathan’s mum in Misfits). The kids (Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon and Jon Snow) are all to be played by relatively unknown young actors, although the characters have been aged up slightly for practical purposes (two years or so, so Sansa is 13, Arya 11 etc.).

Another experienced Brit, Lena Headey, takes the role of the cold and calculating Queen Cersei. Headey is well known from her parts in the film 300 and the tv show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Cersei is a fantastic role for her.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Jaime Lannister, Cersei’s handsome and equally cruel twin brother, the Kingslayer. Personally I think this is great casting – I loved NCW’s performance in Ron Moore’s Virtuality.

Peter Dinklage plays the third Lannister sibling, the sardonic dwarf Tyrion. I know that Dinklage was a fan favourite for the role – although I can’t help but wonder if British actor Warwick Davis would have also been a good choice (Willow is still one of my fave movies!). However, Dinklage has shown impressive acting skills in a range of roles so I think he’ll manage the complexities of Tyrion (one of my favourite characters) pretty well.

Finally, Doctor Who and Robin Hood fans will recognise Harry Lloyd as the crazy fugitive King Viserys. Lloyd’s appearance in Doctor Who particularly showcased his talent for creepy, unhinged performances, so he’s a perfect fit for Viserys. His sister Daenerys was to be played by Tamzin Merchant, but the role is now open for recasting. A few more main parts are also still auditioning – I’m still hoping to see Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister and I like the suggestion of James Callis as Littlefinger.

So, in conclusion, in case you couldn’t tell – I’m SUPER EXCITED for this show and I really can’t wait. In the meantime I have two more books to read (I’m rationing them) and the next book should be released at some point in the next couple of years (it’s apparently ‘late’, but I’m an Earth’s Children fan and that series has decades between book releases). I can’t recommend them enough, even if you’re not a fantasy fan. Read them now so you can be ahead of the curve when everyone else gets obsessed! And follow the development of the tv show on westeros.org/GoT.

(For those who are already fans: my favourite characters are Arya, Jon, Tyrion and, surprisingly, Sansa. Who do you like?)

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