If you know you’ll never watch HBO’s TV hit series Game of Thrones because you’re not into fantasy – or because you get enough of violent kingdoms filled with noble families vying for power in the news – that’s your choice. But you’ll want to have at least a few references like Westeros and Essos (they’re the fictional continents of the series) at the ready. Here are some tidbits even the nonwatcher can toss around when the conversation turns, and it will, to Game of Thrones.
Due to the horrible things characters do in pursuit of political power, the show has been called (no doubt by an HBO executive) “The Sopranos in Middle Earth.” The 2014 season, launching April 6, is expected to break The Sopranos’ 2004 record of viewership (14.4 million viewers per episode). And viewership is less divided by gender that many critics think: 42% of viewers are female. The executive producers of the series include writers Daniel B. Weiss and David Benioff (author of The 25th Hour and husband of actor Amanda Peet) who met while studying at Trinity College, Dublin, and George R. R. Martin who wrote the bestselling five-book series A Song of Ice and Fire on which the TV show is based. A Song of Ice and Fire was inspired by the Wars of the Roses and Ivanhoe. During the six-year gap between the fourth volume (A Feast for Crows) and the fifth (A Dance with Dragons), the band Dinosuar Feathers released a song called “Please, Please George” to express their desire and impatience for the next novel.