Sean Bean as Eddard Stark in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
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Game of Thrones's huge cast, reflecting the sprawling array of competing characters in Martin's novels, includes a number of sci-fi/fantasy veterans, including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sean Bean, Emilia Clark, Roy Dotrice, Julian Glover, Jason Momoa, Mark Addy, and Peter Dinklage.
Like the upcoming Starz incarnation of Camelot, which premieres April 1, the creators behind Game of Thrones seem to be making a special effort to eschew the glittery, fairy-tale aspect of fantasy fiction, aiming rather for dark and lavish spectacle and emotional and physical violence. In the case of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss seek as their models shows like Deadwood and The Sopranos, shows where characters push the boundaries of what is acceptable even within their own exceptional social milieux.
"We really hope we get a lot of fans who are not just fantasy fans," Benioff said in an interview with Winter Is Coming. "People in my family who, by and large, could care less about fantasy, everyone has started reading these books ... they've become completely immersed in the series because even if you're not typically a fantasy fan the books are so rich and detailed and the characters are so engrossing that I think there's something in there.
"And another thing that makes the series palatable for those who are not obsessive fantasy fans is that it's not as if there are people throwing fireballs every other scene, and there's not a great deal of monsters, it's not really an effects driven show. It's really about the characters."
This angle was suggested in part by George Martin's books, which revolve around individual and collective machinations and the way both practitioners and innocents are caught up in them. "George is very steeped in history in general and European or Medieval history in particular," Weiss added. "So there is that real politic aspect to it."
The official description is below the jump:
"Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Political and sexual intrigue abound. The primary families are the Stark, Lannister, and Baratheon families. Robert Baratheon, King of Westeros, asks his old friend Eddard Stark to serve as his chief advisor. Eddard, suspecting that his predecessor had been murdered, accepts so that he can investigate further. It turns out more than one family is plotting to take the throne. The Queen's family, the Lannisters, may be hatching an incestuous plot to take control. Across the sea, the last surviving members of the previously deposed ruling family, the Targaryens, are also plotting a return to power. The conflict between these families and others, including the Greyjoys, the Tullys, the Arryns, and the Tyrells, leads to war. Meanwhile, in the north, an ancient evil awakens. Amidst war and the political confusion, a brotherhood of misfits, The Night's Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and the horrors beyond."
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