Game of Thrones: A Bluffer's Guide

If you haven't heard of Game of Thrones, then some questions seriously have to be asked where you've been living for the last few years.

Season 5 ended with the Jon Snow cliff hanger – is he or isn’t he dead?

But if you don’t know what we’re on about but you’re sick of being left out of the conversations then here’s your answer.


What is it then?

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An extremely violent and unusually ‘realistic’ take on the whole swords and sorcery thing.

An immersive character drama based on George R R Martin’s best-selling novels that happens to take place in a medieval style fictional kingdom, but where the dragons, magic and zombies (yes – there’s zombies!) take a back seat to the very human conflicts, trauma and power-struggles.

The title itself refers to ‘the game’ that its arch manipulators practice in a bid to get ahead.

There’s more gore than Spartacus, more nudity than a Paul Verhoeven flick, and more monologuing than an entire box set of James Bond Villains Say The Funniest Things.

Fantasy for grown-ups, essentially.

Who’s it for?

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Anyone who likes complex characters, twisty-turny plot arcs and a higher body-count than you could shake a Valyrian steel blade at. There’s lots of cool dialogue and intelligent intrigue for the more discerning viewer, and bags of action for adrenaline junkies, so its appeal is pretty wide – part of the reason why it’s had such success.

Fans of ‘epic’ will be right at home. There are truly breathtaking sets and scenes, and to give you some idea of the scale of the story, Game Of Thrones has the most extensive TV cast going. Don’t worry about keeping track of who’s who though, pretty much no one who hasn’t read the books can remember who anyone is half the time.

It’s also perfect for those who don’t like getting too attached to anybody.

Who should I like?

The Starks, basically. In a world of nasty, back-stabbing schemers, they’re the noblest House of the seven kingdoms – an honest, kind family who only resort to violence when it’s absolutely necessary. Adventure-seeking tomboy Arya is just awesome.

Plus, they’re headed by Sean Bean.

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You should also have a real soft-spot for the drunken, witty and highly-sexed dwarf Tyrion Lannister, enjoy the rather direct banter of twinkle-eyed sellsword Bronn, and swoon at the mere mention of swashbuckling brooder Jon Snow.

Is it worth my time?

Oh, absolutely. There’s romance, mystery, betrayal, revenge, jaw-dropping blockbuster battles and lavish costumes and sets.

Where else can you see one of Hollywood’s fastest-rising leading ladies eat a raw horse’s heart to please her new husband? Or watch someone explode someone else’s head with their bare hands?

What’s my key bluffer’s phrase?

“I can’t believe they killed off my favourite character!”

“I love the way Jorah says ‘Khaleesi’…”


“You know nothing Jon Snow”

“I had to have a lie down after the Red Wedding…”

Game Of Thrones is available through HBO On Demand, Sky Atlantic and on DVD