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HBO's bold undertaking to adapt George RR Martin's celebrated 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series for television has probably disturbed all those possessive lit snobs who want to protect it from the noobs, but it certainly set the online public forums abuzz with speculation, gossip, fanfiction and randomness. Since the nature of the series means it will not get much television publicity from this region of conservatives, Youtube is the best place to go geek out. Let's take a look at some video worth a gander.

Teasers and trailers
Long before the show premiered, fans of the book series had to slake their thirst with the high-quality teasers and trailers released by HBO. The channel website had its own promo titled 'Winter is Coming', but perhaps the Youtube teaser titled 'Iron Throne Preview', featuring the starring cast seated on the much-coveted Iron Throne, best encapsulates the major characters and their motivations. If you haven't yet watched the series, and are still making up your mind as to whether you want to invest in it, this is the one to see. If that still doesn't satisfy you, then look up the Critics' Trailer, which is also a great watch.

The World of Westeros
Fans of the books will have to agree that the television show went all-out to create the look and feel of the world created by George RR Martin, and with the author himself sitting in on the production team, one can rest assured that it plays as close to the novels as possible. Youtube's HBO channel has a playlist of some five videos titled 'Inside Game of Thrones' which takes you behind the scenes and on the sets of the show, where the producers, the authors, and many of the actors discuss different aspects, such as setting, costumes, character motivations, and more. This is a great resource for those not familiar with the books. We won't judge you... much.

Fan tributes and reactions
An inescapable feature of Youtube is that fans will make their slideshows and videos to express their love for the series. There are plenty of gems and duds to be found all over the site, and which is which depends on your personal tastes. There's a great one called Promise Me for those speculating about Jon Snow's true parentage being a real song of ice and fire, but this will probably tick off those who resent the inevitable comparisons to the LOTR series. Yours truly personally loved the montage made for Petyr Baelish, titled 'Littlefinger Tribute', which features a beautiful acoustic rendition of David Usher's 'Black, Black Heart”.

Finally, we leave you with an absolute tickler titled 'Game of Thrones Episode 9 Post Show Reaction”, which basically features one flabbergasted fan after watching the controversial penultimate episode of the first season. Here's wishing you happy surfing!

By Jawad

During the three day marathon reading of George RR Martin's epic, A Song of Ice and Fire, this reporter was thinking how awesome this would be as a film, or several. But he soon regained his rationality and wisdom (the existence of which should not be questioned by our sensible readers) and decided that it would be almost foolish to try and accommodate everything in two and a half hour film(s). The setting is too massive. The producers would need several films just to make the first book, A Game of Thrones, understandable: a feat the latter Harry Potter films struggled to achieve. We breathed a sigh of relief when the news of the Game of Thrones TV series by HBO reached us.

Plot Synopsis:
Game of Thrones is just the start of the massive story of politics, betrayals, and hidden schemes; of family, honour and duty; of lust, love and secrets; of struggles, sorrow and war. And of death. Trouble is brewing in the land of Westeros. The summer the lords and the ladies have enjoyed for quite a long time is disturbed by the tidings of winter. The King Robert Baratheon is occupied with his earthly needs. The realm needs someone strong to grab the wheels. So Robert comes to the north, to recruit his friend Eddard 'Ned' Stark, Lord of Winterfell to join him again, as he did 16 years ago to stage the rebellion that got Robert the Iron Throne. But the supposedly joyful meeting of the old friends took a bucketful of tar in the face when Bran, second legitimate son of Ned, gets thrown off from a height after seeing something he shouldn't have. This brings about a series of events that eventually stirs the battle-happy nature of the mortal men seeking power, starting the War of Five Kings. But wait! The last Targaryen, Viserys, driven out from the throne in Robert's coup, is staging a comeback with the help of the wild Dothraki people on the other side of the Narrow Sea, whose favour he is hoping to get by marrying his only sister Daenerys to Khal Drogo. The plot is a thick soup of twists and turns and quite impossible to be summarised in a few hundred words. You will have to watch the series and/or read the books. Oh, there are dragons. And direwolves, which are, by the way, wolves bigger than ponies.

The Crests and Troughs
The thing this writer liked the best about this series is its faithfulness to the book. Most of the times when dealing with huge stories, the producers mess things up trying to fit in as much detail as possible. Some characters or little incidents may be deemed unimportant and thus overlooked. But for an unfinished story, this poses a huge risk. The writer might just link some vital event in the future to a lesser important one in the previous books, creating plot holes for the non-readers. In case of Game of Thrones, the producers had no such problem. They were given plenty of time to dish out the story. And they executed it greatly.

The series boasts the performances of lesser known actors: Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage being the only big names. But don't let this turn you away; everyone, even the child actors were exceptional in their portrayals. Peter Dinklage's performance as the witty Tyrion Lannister was particularly splendid. And we suppose they could have given the role of Catelyn Stark to someone younger. Rest of the cast fit the story quite well.

The little screen-time the direwolves got was frustrating. The nudity in the series makes the series strictly 18+ and PG rated. But it was quite unavoidable for the sake of the story. Maybe the Dothraki people could have been depicted a bit differently. But overall, the first season of Game of Thrones is successful. Yes, the second season has been announced. You have to stay tuned.

Winter is coming

By Kazim Ibn Sadique and Tareq Adnan

When RS writers came across A Song of Ice and Fire a couple of years back, they faced one very serious dilemma: to review it or not to review it. On the one side, there was the question of whether we could possibly do such a series justice in our reviews. On the other hand, was our readership ready to have the aura of greatness that surrounds fantasy such as Lord of the Rings, ruined forever? Those who are true fantasy lovers will have certainly come across them. But is it ready for the general public? Because once you read this series, all other fantasy becomes stale. You will know why critics turn up their nose at books resembling Eragon for instance, because likeable as they may be; they are to ASOIAF what a twig is to a katana, melee weapon wise.

But since the TV series came out and may we say that it isn't half bad either we figured people would find out about them eventually. Illusions are ruined either way. So without further ado, we present to you the best kept secret of Rising Stars.

ASOIAF, which begins with the book A Game of Thrones, is set in an alternate world, where the seasons are exceptionally long. At the beginning of the book, we are told that the summer has lasted for nearly a decade, and there might be an even longer winter to follow. The story takes place in two continents, the primary setting being Westeros, an England shaped South America sized continent. There are seven powerful houses and hence the entire kingdom is called “The Seven Kingdoms”. The book is written through Point-of-View, thus we follow the characters and are introduced to the world and through them, we get to know these houses. Martin's world building is impeccable though, and you will slip right into the story.

To the north of Westeros is Winterfell, the seat of House Stark. It is ruled by Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark, a man tough as the land with unimpeachable loyalty and sense of honour. He is asked to be the Hand of the King, a deputy to King Robert Baratheon, who he had fought alongside in the rebellion where Robert seized the throne from the previous Targaryen dynasty. He goes to the capital King's Landing with his two daughters, leaving his sons and his wife at Winterfell; while his illegitimate son, Jon Snow, travels to The Wall to join the Night's Watch.

The Hadrian-esque Wall, a 900-feet tall mass of ice, is the northern border of the kingdom. While it was initially built to keep out mysterious entities called The Others, who haven't been seen for 8000 years, it now keeps out the Wildling-men. The Night's Watch - a collection of criminals and a few nobles, who say vows of chastity and renounce all titles - stand guard at this behemoth.

Across the Narrow Sea to the East, there is Essos, the other continent. Here there are trading cities and city states, where we meet Viserys and Daenerys - the last surviving Targaryens. Viserys is paranoid about assassinations and obsessed with the notion of raising an army to retake Westeros. In his desperation, he marries off his sister Daenerys to Drogo, a Khal of the Dothraki, a tribe of horsemen as feared as the Mongols once were in our world. He hopes that Khal Drogo will give him an army with which he can return home.

The story focuses primarily on the characters and their perception of the world and the events transpiring. This is the area where Martin truly shines. We see the black and white tableau that is Ned's view of the world and the bitter tinged Wall that Jon sees. Across the sea we see desperation and later hope through the eyes of Daenerys. Martin moulds his writing and his world according to the character he's writing with, adding layers and layers of depth and meaning.

In the end, the story is not about just about politics and kingdoms; it is about the people caught up in it. While the adults appear to call the shots, the real heroes of the series are the youngsters.

Martin, while dealing with seemingly deep and substantial themes, such as politics and war, never saturates the reader with either facts or philosophy. Nor does he devolve into that perennial fantasy writer's crutch, over description of the fantasy world. There is plenty of action and even humour to satisfy even newcomers to this genre. Perhaps the real reason behind A Song of Ice and Fire being named a classic is simply because Martin manages to add a bit of reality in his fantasy.

It is, without doubt, one of the top three fantasy series out there. We have only one piece of advice for you guys: do not get attached to the characters.



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