DVD: Game of Thrones (18)


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The Independent Culture

What in hell's teeth did we watch before HBO came along? Its latest is this saucy medieval fantasy drama, based on George R R Martin's bestselling novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, and while it may not be in quite the same league as The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire, it's still considerably more gripping than your average British drama.

Sean Bean, an actor who improves with age and increased girth, plays the straight-arrow, straight-talking Lord Eddard Stark, patriarch of a noble family from "The North". He is loyal to his bloated, sozzled king, Robert (Mark Addy), and is the father to five wildly different children – the most empathetic being his "bastard son" Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his feisty young daughter, Arya (Maisie Williams). When his youngest son, Bran, is thrown from a castle window by the dastardly Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Lord Stark has a power struggle on his hands with the perfectly appalling Lannister family (which include Lena Headey's deliciously poisonous Queen). Even if you're not particularly au fait (I'm not) with Martin's books and his Seven Kingdoms of Westeros setting, there's still plenty to enjoy here; most notably Peter Dinklage as a smart, droll dwarf and Harry Lloyd's deranged Viserys Targaryen, who is hell-bent on reclaiming the throne. Plus, the production values, as always with HBO, are of the very highest order. The winter is coming...