Surprise of the Year: Game of Thrones

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With 2012 drawing to a close, now seems like an appropriate time to make a special mention of my pick for Surprise Show of the Year That I Didn't Expect to Like and Then Did Like: Game of Thrones.

A few notes regarding this hit:

  1. I had never heard of the George R. R. Martin book series prior to the program landing on HBO.
  2. I did not watch the show live, catching up later On Demand, already aware of Eddard Stark's fate long before the ninth episode aired.
  3. I still can't name all the main characters.

I'm not a fantasy guy (Lord of the Rings? More like Bored by the Rings!), but Game of Thrones roped even the most skeptical viewers in via story storytelling that focused on the characters above all else.

I struggled along with Eddard to understand his place in the royal world; I laughed along with Tyrion and his drunken adventures; I marveled over the transformation of Daenerys from passive, reluctant wife to powerful, head-strong dragon mother. I pretty much want to murder Joffrey Baratheon.

The unusual circumstances surrounding these individuals - the season did end with this image, after all - became secondary to the people themselves, something often lacking in similar fare that tries to blow the audience away with special effects and imagery.

That said... damn, the special effects and imagery are awesome! Game of Thrones is visually stunning. Each episode feels like a movie. With so many new characters on the way, the assurance that the series clearly knows where it's going (based on the books that preceded it) and performances such as the one given each week by Peter Dinklage, I can safely say that Game of Thrones has made me a fan of a genre at which I previously scoffed.

I mean, the cold winds are coming, as teased in the video above?!? What will that mean for battle over the Iron Throne? I legitimately can't wait to find out.

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Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


This show is so freakin' awesome, and complex. I have re-watched season 1 a few times since it ended, and I have to say, every time I watch it I pick up on something more... layers of each scene are amazing and interesting. I agree each episode, is like a movie and damn frackin' awesome! Wow... I can't wait for season 2... this show rocks!


After watching the amazing first season, I read the book and won't read the next book until I watch the second season because I don't want to be spoiled during the second season. It is the best show on TV right now and can't wait for the second season premiere in April! There were three great characters on the show in the first season. Ned Stark, King Robert and Tyrion Lanister. For God's sake, 2 of the 3 have been killed off and I hope the third doesn't die as well. Dinklage is so captivating he doesn't deserve to get killed off.


when will the new season start..of Game of thronea


After watching Game of Thrones on HBO, I have now read 3 of the 4 George R.R. Martin books and,as a TV columnist said,"Don't get attached to any one character." She was right. I never thought I would like this show - it is visually and emotionally stimulating.


All great shows though I suspect in 20 years Game of Thrones may well stand as the most notable. Martin's work is starting to appear well on it's way to becoming a cultural phenomenon, a franchise of the Star Star Wars variety that spawns generations of video games, movies and merchandising.


I know its a summer show but ABC's Rookie Blue is the best summer show ever.


Revenge is hands down the winner for me. The Goodwife, Mentalist and Vampire Diaries are all top 10 material also.


Breaking Bad was almost certainly the best show of 2011. That said, Game of Thrones is certainly in my top 3, battling it out with Homeland for #2 overall and best new show. It is bold, dramatic, enraging, totally spellbinding, and (if you didn't have some major events spoiled...) pretty damn shocking. I had not heard of the book series prior to the show, but due to its slam dunk, I've read and read and read. Excellent stuff, and I can't wait for season 2!


The top 4 to be homeland,sons of anarchy, breaking bad, and boardwalk empire (not in that order). This is not my top4, this is my prediction for matt's top 4. Somewhere in the list I hope i find the good wife and the vampire diaries who have both not enjoyed strong seasons but are still epic at times.

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