Despite the delay in the novels proper, Martin and collaborators have released several stories set within the same fictional universe, including short stories like the Dunk and Egg novellas (set roughly a century before the events of Game of Thrones) and the impressively vast The World of Ice and Fire, a massive coffee table book filled with history and lore from the Thrones universe. It’s a must-own for any and all die-hard fans of the series. But you need not be die hard. This show in itself is amazing!
For the uninitiated, the show is set in the fictional world of Westeros, also known as the Seven Kingdoms. It’s a harsh land where summers and winters can last for lifetimes, with little way of knowing how long the season will last. Hence the tag line: “Winter is Coming”.
The words are owned by what we may call the show’s protagonists, House Stark, and they carry both literal and figurative meaning. But in the concrete sense, Game of Thrones takes place over a period of time in which winter slowly creeps into the land. By the end of season 6, the people of Westeros are slowly coming to terms with the truth behind the words.
In the figurative sense, the words signify the return of the White Walkers, a mythical race of deadly ice monsters with their sights set on war with mankind. Over the course of Game of Thrones, these frozen menaces become more and more known to the characters at large, steadily marching toward the mythical Wall, a massive magical structure that separates Westeros from the cold unknown of the continent’s northernmost regions. White Walkers aren’t the only ones who live here: The realm beyond the Wall also hosts thousands of human beings called Free Folk, more crudely referred to as wildlings. The people of Westeros and the wildlings do not exactly get along, but Jon Snow is working on that *wink wink*
Wait, you do not know who Jon Snow is?
There you go. You are welcome.
To be honest, we aren’t sure we know what the White Walkers want but we know no one wants it and it’s nice for the show to have a common enemy for the most part. But of course all the seven kingdoms don’t quite know their common enemy yet.
Still, the political warring, sword and battle ground fighting that pre-occupies them makes for the best TV in recent times. It helps that no character has a permanent place on the show. That’s how realistic the show is.
If you do decide to watch, these are the houses you need to know so you know where your allegiance lies:
• House Stark is the proud family that resides in the north of Westeros, the coldest region in the land and closest to the White Walker threat. Ned Stark, the head of this family fell off in the first or second season – that’s code language for not giving off too much.
• House Lannister is the one with all the privilege. They are scheming, smart, rich and so weird that they need to in-breed. They have a member that is neither here nor there though – the dwarf. You’ll love him.
• House Baratheon was the ruling family when Game of Thrones begins. King Robert, first of his name, and first of his family to sit upon the coveted Iron Throne of Westeros. How he managed to wrestle power from previous rulers is hard to understand because he’s so silly. But that doesnn’t matter much now.
• House Targaryen! Yass! It’s pretty much the extinct royal family who once ruled Westeros through fire and blood. The Targaryens were known for their mystical connection to dragons and magic. As the dragons died off toward the end of the Targaryen regime, so too did the Targaryens, thanks in large part to the Mad King Aerys leading his family to ruin. But there’s the Khaleesi who makes sure every piece of the puzzle you put together never quite fits.
Now that you know what to look out for, you’re set to go binge on the 60 riveting episodes before July 16th.
Don’t say no one told you.