PASADENA, Calif. -- "Game of Thrones" may be described by some as "Lord of the Rings: The Television Series," and there's even a ready-made "LOTR" connection: Actor Sean Bean appears in both.
"I do happen to enjoy playing those kind of roles: Riding horses, wearing wigs, growing beards," Bean said. "I do have an affinity to that kind of role and I think the good thing about 'Game of Thrones' is there is such scope for it. With 'Lord of the Rings' there were admittedly three films and they were thoroughly researched and very well replicated on screen but with what [author] George [R.R. Martin] has created, it's a very different world that goes on much longer and has more twists and tales."
A few years ago "Thrones" executive producer/writer David Benioff described the series as "The Sopranos" meets Middle Earth, a comparison he now regrets but can ably defend.
"HBO is really good at exploring genres, whether it's gangsters or westerns or cop dramas and one thing that intrigued us was you could actually lavish time on these characters and do it with the darkness the stories require," Benioff said. "These are not children's fantasy, it's sexy, violent and brutal and none of the characters are safe. Characters you think will go on for six seasons meet an early end. When you think of shows putting characters in jeopardy, it's HBO and 'The Sopranos.' One of the things about 'The Sopranos' or 'The Wire' was you never know who will get whacked. We're not a gangster show but it has elements of that."