Airtime: 21:00:00(US/Eastern) on HBO. Status: Returning Series. Country: US. Runtime: 60 min
Game of Thrones roughly follows the three story lines of the A Song of Ice and Fire. Set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Game of Throneschronicles the violent dynastic struggles among the realm's noble families for control of the Iron Throne. As the series opens, additional threats begin to arise in the icy North and in the eastern continent of Essos. Both the novels and the TV series derive settings, characters and plot elements from a broad period of the European history. A principal inspiration for the novels were 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, with its castles and knightly tournaments, is reminiscent of High MedievalWestern Europe. The scheming Cersei, for instance, calls to mind Isabella (1295–1358), the "she-wolf of France". Tom Holland, writing for The Guardian states that the series also combines such varied inspirations as Hadrian's Wall (which became Martin's great Wall), the fall of Rome and the legend of Atlantis (ancient Valyria), Byzantine "Greek fire" ("wildfire"), Icelandic sagas of the Viking Age (theIronborn) and the Mongol hordes (the Dothraki), as well as elements from the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) and the Italian Renaissance (c. 1400–1500). The series' great popularity has in part been attributed 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 showrunner David Benioff jokingly suggested for Game of Thrones, referring to its intrigue-filled plot and dark tone combined with a fantasy setting. In a 2012 study, the series was listed second out of 40 recent US TV drama series by deaths per episode, with an average of 14.