Sunday, 12 April 2015

Game of Thrones - A Song of Ice and Fire - Update (This is the SPOILER FREE version!)

Hi everyone! With the latest season almost upon us I thought it was time to not just re-release this blog, but give it a much needed update. So join me as we warp into fantasy with Game of Thrones. A TV show based on the Song of Ice and Fire novels by author George R.R Martin! 

George R.R Martin

This blog will be referring to both the TV show and books but I will be coming from the show perspective as that's how I go into it. I will explain in brief how that happened, what the series is about and why I am such a huge fan!

Like Star Trek, I love the Game of Thrones franchise for it's diverse character development and unique storytelling (which I will go into more detail about later!)

Advertisement post for the Game of Thrones TV show.

A Song of Ice and Fire box set: books 1-5


1. This will be one of my general interest episodes in the future with the possibility of an interview with one of the stars of the show!

2. I first got into the franchise in August 2014 through my university friend Rob! Thanks mate!

3. I watched the TV show first and then read the books!

4. Currently there are 5 seasons (soon to be 6) of the TV show that started in 2011 and continues to the present day.

5. There are currently five books written by the author George R.R Martin in the Song of Ice and Fire series. But there will be seven in total. The books are:

A Game of Thrones (1996)

A Clash of Kings (1998)

A Storm of Swords: In two parts (2000)

(1) Steel and Snow and (2) Blood and Gold.

A Feast for Crows (2005)

A Dance with Dragons: In two parts (2011)

(1) Dreams and Dust and (2) After the Feast.

These are the ones that have currently been written and published. The last two will be:

The Winds of Winter (?)

A Dream of Spring (?)

6. The series/books is set in the fictional world of Westeros (the Seven Kingdoms) and across the Narrow Sea in the East.

Map of Westeros - The Seven Kingdoms.

Map of the East -Essos (Across the Narrow Sea from Westeros)  

What exactly is the Game of Thrones?


To be successful you have to be clever, cunning and ruthless. Always knowing when to manipulate others in order to achieve the ultimate goal and use the power that you have to gain more!

Knowledge here is key! You have to be deceptive to your “friends” and “enemies” and stay several steps ahead of them and constantly watch that you don't lose the game! You need to have a instinct of when to move in the game and what moves you make! When to hover and watch and take advantage of a situation that comes your way!

The power you can feel in your grasp and that struggle and strife is to sit on the one throne, where the King and Queen rules all Seven Kingdoms in Westeros called the Iron Throne!

The TV show's Iron Throne situated in King's Landing.

I know, it's damn ugly right! Not to mention, it looks really uncomfortable to sit on! But it's what the Throne represents that is important. Even if you win the game and sit on it, you need allies to help you win it! An army and protection to keep it and maintain order in the Seven Kingdoms! Just because you sit on the throne, it doesn't mean you stop playing the game! Remember that!

So now that you have been introduced to the game, let's start to play!

Houses/players in the Game of Thrones.
House Baratheon.

Sigil – A stag.

Words – Ours is the Fury

Stag - Sigil of House Baratheon.

By the course of season 1 of the series, the king of the Iron Throne is a man called Robert Baratheon who is married to Cersei Lannister. At this point Robert has ruled the Seven Kingdoms for seventeen years (fourteen in the books) after with the help of House Lannister and Stark they ended the 300 year dynasty of House Targaryen (the creators of the Iron Throne)

As season one goes on and into season 2 more characters are introduced including Robert's two younger brothers Stannis and Renly. 

Robert (Left), Stannis (Middle) and Renly (Right)  

House Lannister.
Sigil – A Lion.
Words – Hear Me Roar!

A Lion - Sigil of House Lannister. 

There are seven main members of the Lannister household.

From Left to Right, Joffery, Tywin, Cersei, Tyrion, Tommen, Myrcella and Jaime.

The man on the far top right is Kevan Lannister, Tywin's brother, but he doesn't play as big a role in the show/books as the other Lannister's.

The Lannisters are the richest family in Westeros who help Robert Baratheon rule the Iron Throne with Cersei married to him and Tywin Lannister funding him. Throughout the shows/books, they face many challenges to their house, which they must overcome.  

House Stark.
Sigil – Dire wolf
Words – Winter is Coming.

Sigil - Direwolf of House Stark.

House Stark came to Robert Baratheon's aid in his rebellion that ended the Targaryen rule. The Starks reside in the North with Ned Stark (he and Robert have been friends for many years) until Robert comes to Winterfell and asks Ned for a great favor. 

Left to right - Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon and Jon.

Like the Lannisters the Starks face many challenges throughout the show/books, that they have to contend with. 

House Targaryen.
Sigil – Three headed dragon. 
Words – Fire and Blood

Sigil - Three headed dragon of House Targaryen

Before Robert Baratheon's rebellion bought down the Targaryen dynasty. They had ruled for 300 years (Aerys II Targaryen being the last Targaryen to sit the Iron Throne) ever since Ageon the Conqueror (who created it) with his three dragons took six out of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros (Dorne managed to resist them)

Left to right - Viserys and Danerys Targeryen.
By season 1 there are only two Targaryen's still standing Daenerys and her brother Visery's, who are the son and daughter of Aerys II. They fight to claim what they believe is their rightful throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms. 

House Tyrell.
Sigil – Golden Rose. 
Words – Growing Strong

Sigil - Golden Rose of House Tyrell.

The Tyrell's are one of the latest players in the game.

Left to right Margery, Olenna and Ser Loras Tyrell. 
The three members as shown are Margery, her brother and grandmother. They become more focused later on in the series, initially (Margery and Loras) appearing in season 2 and more so in season 3 onwards (introduced to Olenna). 

Other Houses.

There are other houses involved, but there are too many to talk about. I would include links to these houses and their history, but the pages on the websites contain spoilers from the show and books, so I decided to refrain from it. 

The Nights Watch.

Though not a part of the actual game itself of fighting over the Iron Throne. The Night's Watch is a crucial part of Martin's world and as such cannot be left out without a mention. It is a ancient brotherhood of men who are based in the far north of Westeros.

Map of the Wall where the Night's Watch is based and beyond.

The Night's Watch is full of men from all different backgrounds of noble birth and commoners that have committed certain crimes (not in all cases, yet they are sent to the wall anyway). It has murderers, rapers and all sorts among it's ranks. 

The Night's Watch, once these men take their vows can hold no lands or crowns, father no children or have wives. They do not answer to any Kings or Queen, but protect the realm for what lays beyond the wall. Once you become a member of the Night's Watch, it is for life until you die. If you try to desert, the penalty is death.

They are the only thing standing between the rest of Westeros and what lies beyond the wall and if the Night's Watch falls then the Game of Thrones these different players play won't even matter. 

Why I love Game of Thrones.

As mentioned earlier at the start of the blog, the two reasons I love Game of Thrones is because of the diverse character development and the unique storytelling, so let's get into exactly what I mean and why!

The Storytelling

This a massive part of what makes the TV show/books so successful. George RR Martin goes completely against the traditional forms of storytelling  He likes unexpectedness and the need for suspense in the characters he creates and the perilous situations they end up in to be real. 

He likes his books readers and show watchers to be afraid for his characters when they are in danger. Because they might not survive it! 

No one is safe in the Game of Thrones!

The Complexity of Characters

Apart from the storytelling the morally complex characters is another reason why the books/show has become so popular! Martin's belief is that no one in the world is wholly good or evil. We all have the capacity for greatness and doing unspeakable things. This is what he reflects in his characters. 

There are many characters that to be talked about in terms of this. However I am going to focus on just one, Jaime Lannister. 

Jaime Lannister.

Initially when first watching the show, I immediately saw this character as a straight and out villain, with little or no honor. From the beginning he does some shocking things. These acts seeded my hatred for the character. Even then some of his actions are vaguely understandable, even if you don't like what he did. However he has characteristics, which might not be all bad.

Jaime Lannister.

This is what an amazing job, both Martin and the creators of the show have done with just one example. They have made me see there are no such things as heroes and villains. There is an in between, even the most honorable can do unspeakable monstrous things and monsters can commit acts of kindness and compassion. This is what humans are like in a realistic way, complex.

As you may know from our recent EM-Con podcast we recently had the pleasure of attending the convention in the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham. Whilst there I met two Game of Thrones stars Ron Donachie (Ser Rodrik Cassel) and Josef Atlin (Pyp) (They play two of the many secondary characters in the show). I met them in the form of autographs, photo shoots and attending a Game of Thrones Q and A panel along with the other stars.

Advertisement for the event

It was really awesome to meet these guys and at some point in the future we may have Josef Atlin on as a guest on our show for an interview as it relates to Game of Thrones as one of my general interests!  

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to George R.R Martins world of a Game of Thrones (TV show) from his Song of Ice and Fire novels!

So yeah that's it guys, I'll be back soon with another blog, until then this is Jamie from the Engage Podcast warping off into the unknown! Punch it!

P.S Enjoy the show, the books and the latest season coming up!

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