AFTERBUZZ TV — Game of Thrones edition, is a weekly “after show” for fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones. In this episode hosts Kristen Snyder, Sara Stretton, Ryan Malaty, Dave Child, and Kyle Maddock discuss season 6’s episode 10.
Game of Thrones roughly follows the storylines set out in A Song of Ice and Fire, set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The series chronicles the violent dynastic struggles among the realm’s noble families for control of the Iron Throne. As the series opens, additional threats emerge in the icy North and in the eastern continent of Essos. The first season is a faithful adaptation of the novel. Later seasons, however, began to diverge with significant changes. According to David Benioff, the show is “about adapting the series as a whole and following the map George laid out for us and hitting the major milestones, but not necessarily each of the stops along the way.”
The novels and their adaptation derive aspects of their settings, characters, and plot from various events of European history. A principal inspiration for the novels is the English Wars of the Roses (1455–85) between the houses of Lancaster and York, reflected in Martin’s houses of Lannister and Stark. Most of Westeros is reminiscent of High Medieval Western Europe, with its castles and knightly tournaments. The scheming Cersei, for instance, calls to mind Isabella, the “she-wolf of France” (1295–1358). She and her family inspired Martin, as depicted in Maurice Druon‘s historical novel series The Accursed Kings, in particular. Other historical inspirations for elements of the series include Hadrian’s Wall (which became Martin’s great Wall), the legend of Atlantis (ancient Valyria), Byzantine “Greek fire” (“wildfire”), Icelandic sagas of the Viking Age (the Ironborn), the Mongol hordes (the Dothraki), and elements from the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) and the Italian Renaissance (c. 1400–1500). The series’ great popularity has been attributed in part to Martin’s skill at fusing these disparate elements into a seamless whole that appears credible on its own terms as an alternative history.
“The Sopranos in Middle-earth” is the tagline that showrunner David Benioff jokingly suggested for Game of Thrones, referring to its intrigue-filled plot and dark tone combined with a fantasy setting that incorporates some magic and dragons. In a 2012 study of deaths per episode, the series was listed second out of 40 recent U.S. TV drama series, with an average of 14 deaths per episode.