Game of Thrones is an American television series created by and It is an adaptation of’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is It is filmed in and elsewhere in the and the United States. The series premiered on in the United States on April 17, 2011, and its seventh season ended on August 27, 2017. The series will conclude with its premiering in 2019.
Set on the fictional continents of Game of Thrones has several plot lines and a large but centers on three primary. The first story arc centers on the of the and follows a web of alliances and conflicts among the dynastic noble families either vying to claim the throne or fighting for independence from the throne. The second story arc focuses on the last descendant of the realm’s deposed ruling dynasty, exiled and plotting a return to the throne. The third story arc centers on the longstanding brotherhood charged with defending the realm against the ancient threats of the fierce peoples and legendary creatures that lie far north, and an impending winter that threatens the realm.
Game of Thrones has attracted record viewership on HBO and has a broad, active, international It has been acclaimed by critics, particularly for its acting, complex characters, story, scope, and production values, although its frequent use of nudity and violence (including sexual violence) has been criticized. The series has received 38 , including in 2015 and 2016, more than any other primetime scripted television series. Its include three (2012–2014), a 2011 and four nominations for the (2012 and 2015–2017).
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.
” as Game of Thrones‘ referring to its intrigue-filled plot and dark tone in a fantasy setting of magic and dragons. In a 2012 study of deaths per episode, it ranked second out of 40 recent U.S. TV drama series (with an average of 14).
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 and Dark Lords, but from ourselves.”
A common theme in the fantasy genre is the battle between , 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 show 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.”
In early seasons, under the influence of the A Song of Ice and Fire books, main characters were regularly killed off, and this was credited with developing tension among viewersLater seasons, however, critics pointed out that certain characters had developed “plot armor”, attributing this to the show’s deviating from the books and becoming more of a traditional television series. The series also reflects the substantial death rates in war
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 show 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”.
Tom Holland ofbelieves that the novels and their adaptations base aspects of their settings, characters, and plot on events in European history. Most of Westeros is reminiscent of Europe, from lands and cultures, to the palace intrigue, castles, and knightly tournaments. A principal inspiration for the novels is the English of and . The scheming evokes , the “she-wolf of France” (1295–1358);Isabella and her family (particularly as portrayed in ‘s historical-novel series, were also a main inspiration for Martin.
Holland further proposes that other historical antecedents of series elements include (which becomes Martin’s Wall), the legend of Byzantine (“wildfire”), Icelandic of the (c. 1400–1500)The series’ popularity has been attributed, in part, to Martin’s skill at fusing these elements into a seamless, credible version of Martin acknowledges, “I take [history] and I file off the serial numbers and I
Cast and characters
Game of Thrones has an estimated to be the largest on television; during its third season, 257 cast names were recorded. In 2014, several actor contracts were renegotiated to include a seventh-season option, with raises which reportedly made them among the highest-paid performers on In 2016, several actor contracts were again renegotiated, reportedly increasing the salary of five of the main cast members to £2 million per episode for the last two seasons, which would make them the The main cast is listed below.
Lord is the head of House Stark, whose members are involved in plot lines throughout most of the series. He and his wife, ), the youngest. Ned’s son and his friend, , serve in the under Lord Commander . The Wildlings living north of the Wall include young and warriors and
Others associated with House Stark include Ned’s ward and Bolton’s bastard son, . Robb falls in love with the healer and Arya befriends the blacksmith’s apprentice and the assassin The tall warrior ) serves Catelyn and, later, Sansa.
In King’s Landing, the capital, Ned’s friend King ) shares a loveless marriage with , who has taken her twin brother, the “Kingslayer” Ser ), as her lover. She loathes her younger brother, the dwarf , who is attended by his mistress and the Cersei’s father is Lord Cersei also has two young sons: and . Joffrey is guarded by the scar-faced warrior,
The king’s Small Council of advisors includes the crafty Master of Coin Lord s advised by foreign priestess and former smuggler Ser . The wealthy Tyrell family is represented at court by is the capital’s religious leader. In the southern principality of Dorne, seeks vengeance against the Lannisters.
Across the Narrow Sea, siblings – the exiled children of the last king of the original ruling dynasty, who was overthrown by Robert Baratheon – are running for their lives and trying to win back the throne. Daenerys has been married to, the leader of the nomadic Dothraki. Her retinue includes the exiled knight
Conception and development
In January 2006, David Benioff had a phone conversation with George R. R. Martin’s literary agent about the books he represented, and became interested in as he had been a fan of fantasy fiction when young but had not read the books before. The literary agent then sent the first four books of A Song of Ice and Fire to Benioff.Benioff read a few hundred pages of the first novel, A Game of Thrones, shared his enthusiasm with D. B. Weiss and suggested that they adapt Martin’s novels into a television series; Weiss finished the first novel in “maybe 36 hours”.They the series to HBO after a five-hour meeting with Martin (a veteran screenwriter) in a restaurant on According to Benioff, they won Martin over with their answer to his question, “
—George R. R. Martin, author
Before being approached by Benioff and Weiss, Martin had had other meetings with other scriptwriters, most of them wanting to turn it into a feature film. Martin, however, deemed it “unfilmable” and impossible to be done as a feature film, stating that the size of one of his novels is as long as , which had been adapted as three feature films.Similarly, Benioff also said that it would be impossible to turn the novels into a feature film as the scale of the novels is too big for a feature film and dozens of characters would have to be discarded. Benioff added, “a fantasy movie of this scope, financed by a major studio, would almost certainly need a PG-13 rating. That means no sex, no blood, no profanity. Fuck that.” Martin himself was pleased with the suggestion that they adapt it as an HBO series, saying that he “never imagined it anywhere else”.“I knew it couldn’t be done as a network television series. It’s too adult. The level of sex and violence would never have gone through.”The series began development in January 2007. HBO acquired the TV rights to the novels, with Benioff and Weiss as its executive producers, and Martin as a co-executive producer. The intention was for each novel to yield a season’s worth of episodes.Initially, Martin would write one episode per season while Benioff and Weiss would write the rest of the episodes. and Bryan Cogman were later added to write one episode apiece the first season.
The first and second drafts of the script by Benioff and Weiss were submitted in August 2007and June 2008, respectively. Although HBO liked both drafts, a pilot was not ordered until November 2008; the fter a poor reception in a private viewing, HBO demanded an extensive re-shoot (about 90 percent of the episode, with cast and directorial changes)
The pilot reportedly cost HBO $5–10 million to produce,while the first season’s budget was estimated at $50–60 million.In the second season, the show received a 15-percent budget increase for the climactic battle in ” (which had an $8 million budget). Between 2012 and 2015, the average budget per episode increased from $6 million to “at least” $8 million. The sixth-season budget was over $10 million per episode, for a season total of over $100 million and a series record.
and Robert Sterne are the series’ primary casting directors. Through a process of auditions and readings, the main cast was assembled. The only exceptions were and , whom the writers wanted from the start; they were announced as joining the in 2009.Other actors signed for the pilot wereAddy was, according to showrunners Benioff and Weiss, the easiest actor to cast for the show, being that his audition was on point. Some of the characters in the pilot were recast for the first season: was initially played by , but the role was recast with was also recast, with replacing The rest of the first season’s cast was filled in the second half of 2009.
Although many of the cast returned after the first season, the producers had many new characters to cast for each of the following seasons. Due to the large number of new characters, Benioff and Weiss postponed the introduction of several key characters in the and merged several characters into one or assigned plot functions to different characters. Some recurring characters were recast over the years; for example, was played by three different actors, while who played also played a minor Lannister character.
Game of Thrones used seven writers in six seasons. Series creators, the showrunners, write most of the episodes each season.
author wrote one episode in each of the first four seasons. Martin did not write an episode for the later seasons, since he wanted to focus on completing the sixth novel co-wrote one first-season episode as a
initially a script coordinator for the series, was promoted to producer for the fifth season. Cogman, who wrote at least one episode for the first five seasons, is the only other writer in the writers’ room with Benioff and Weiss. Before his promotion, (a writer during the second and third seasons) worked closely with Benioff and Weiss.joined the writing staff for the fifth season after working as an assistant to Benioff and Weiss. Although Martin is not in the writers’ room, he reads the script outlines and makes comments.
Benioff and Weiss sometimes assign characters to particular writers; for example, Cogman was assigned to Arya Stark for the fourth season. The writers spend several weeks writing a character outline, including what material from the novels to use and the overarching themes. After these individual outlines are complete, they spend another two to three weeks discussing each main character’s individual arc and arranging them episode by episode. A detailed outline is created, with each of the writers working on a portion to create a script for each episode. Cogman, who wrote two episodes for the fifth season, took a month and a half to complete both scripts. They are then read by Benioff and Weiss, who make notes, and parts of the script are rewritten. All ten episodes are written before filming begins, since they are filmed out of order with twoin different countries.
Benioff and Weiss write each of their episodes together, with one of them writing the first half of the script and the other the second half. After that they begin with passing the drafts back and forth to make notes and rewrite parts of it.
Benioff and Weiss originally intended to adapt the entire, still-incomplete A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels for television. After Game of Thronesbegan outpacing the published novels in the sixth season, the series was based on a plot outline of the future novels provided by Martin and original content. In April 2016, the showrunners’ plan was to shoot 13 more episodes after the sixth season: seven episodes in the seventh season and six episodes in the eighth.Later that month, the series was renewed for a seventh season with a seven-episode order.As of 2017, seven seasons have been ordered and filmed, adapting the novels at a rate of about 48 seconds per page for the first three seasons.
Principal photography for the first season was scheduled to begin on July 26, 2010,and the primary location was the in , Northern Ireland Exterior scenes in Northern Ireland were filmed at Sandy Brae in th (standing in for Vaes Dothrak), (Winterfell), Saintfield Estates (the Winterfell godswood), (outdoor scenes),(the execution site), the quarry (Castle Black) and (the tourney grounds) Scotland, was also used in the original pilot episode for scenes at WinterfellThe producers initially considered filming the whole series in Scotland, but decided on Northern Ireland because of the availability of studio space.
The first season’s southern scenes were filmed in Malta, a change in location from the pilot episode’s Moroccan sets. The city of was used for King’s Landing. Filming was also done a(representing the Sept of Baelor), at the on the island of (the Dothraki wedding site) and at and St. Dominic monastery (all used for scenes in the Red Keep).
Filming of the second season’s southern scenes shifted from Malta to Croatia, where the city of and nearby locations allowed exterior shots of a walled, coastal medieval city. The and were used for scenes in King’s Landing and the Red Keep. The island of the St. Dominic monastery in the coastal town o, the in Dubrovnik, and the Dubac quarry (a few kilometers east) were used for scenes set in Qarth. Scenes set north of the Wall, in the Frostfangs and at the Fist of the First Men, were filmed in November 2011 in Iceland: on the glacier near Smyrlabjörg, the Svínafellsjökull glacier nea and the glacier near on Höfðabrekkuheiði
Third-season production returned to Dubrovnik, with the Walls of Dubrovnik, Fort Lovrijenac and nearby locations again used for scenes in King’s Landing and the Red Keep. a new location, is the garden of the Tyrells in King’s Landing. The third season also returned to Morocco (including the city of to film Daenerys’ scenes in Essos.and the cave in Iceland were used as welOne scene, with , was filmed inThe production used three units (Dragon, Wolf and Raven) filming in parallel, six directing teams, 257 cast members and 703 crew members.