The season premiered on April 17, 2011.
Season 1 spans a period of several months on a world where the seasons last for years at a time. The action begins in the unified Seven Kingdoms of Westeros as the long summer ends and winter draws near. Lord Eddard Stark is asked by his old friend, King Robert Baratheon, to serve as the Hand of the King following the death of the previous incumbent, Eddard's mentor Jon Arryn. Eddard is reluctant but receives intelligence suggesting that Jon was murdered. Eddard accepts Robert's offer, planning to use his position and authority to investigate the alleged murder.
Meanwhile, on the eastern continent of Essos, the exiled children of House Targaryen, which Robert destroyed to claim the throne, are plotting to return to Westeros and unseat the 'usurper'. To this end, Viserys Targaryen arranges the marriage of his sister Daenerys to Khal Drogo, the leader of 40,000 Dothraki warriors, in return for the use of his warriors in invading Westeros. For her part, Daenerys just wants to find a safe refuge far away from King Robert's assassins and her brother's scheming ambition.
Finally, on the northern-most border of the Seven Kingdoms the sworn brothers of the Night's Watch guard the Wall, a 300-mile-long colossal fortification of ice which has stood for thousands of years. The Watch defends the Wall against the depredations of the lawless wildlings who live beyond, but rumor speaks of a new threat arising in the lands of perpetual winter.
- Main article: Season 1 cast
- Sean Bean as Eddard Stark (9 episodes)
- Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon (7 episodes)
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister (8 episodes)
- Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark (9 episodes)
- Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (10 episodes)
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (9 episodes)
- Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont (9 episodes)
- Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish (8 episodes)
- Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen (5 episodes)
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow (8 episodes)
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark (9 episodes)
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark (9 episodes)
- Richard Madden as Robb Stark (8 episodes)
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy (9 episodes)
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark (8 episodes)
- Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon (10 episodes)
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (8 episodes)
- and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (9 episodes)
Selected guest starring cast
- Ron Donachie as Rodrik Cassel (9 episodes)
- Amrita Acharia as Irri (8 episodes)
- Julian Glover as Pycelle (8 episodes)
- Conleth Hill as Varys (7 episodes)
- Donald Sumpter as Luwin (7 episodes)
- Josef Altin as Pypar (6 episodes)
- Susan Brown as Mordane (6 episodes)
- Elyes Gabel as Rakharo (6 episodes)
- Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy (6 episodes)
- Roxanne McKee as Doreah (6 episodes)
- Dar Salim as Qotho (6 episodes)
- Mark Stanley as Grenn (6 episodes)
- Gethin Anthony as Renly Baratheon (5 episodes)
- Esme Bianco as Ros (5 episodes)
- John Bradley as Samwell Tarly (5 episodes)
- James Cosmo as Jeor Mormont (5 episodes)
- Jerome Flynn as Bronn (5 episodes)
- Francis Magee as Yoren (5 episodes)
- Luke McEwan as Rast (6 episodes)
- Kristian Nairn as Hodor (5 episodes)
- Eugene Simon as Lancel Lannister (5 episodes)
- Jamie Sives as Jory Cassel (5 episodes)
- Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister (4 episodes)
- Emun Elliott as Marillion (4 episodes)
- Aimee Richardson as Myrcella Baratheon (4 episodes)
- Robert Sterne as Royal Steward (4 episodes)
- Owen Teale as Alliser Thorne (4 episodes)
- Natalia Tena as Osha (4 episodes)
- Callum Wharry as Tommen Baratheon (4 episodes)
- Dominic Carter as Janos Slynt (4 episodes)
- Kate Dickie as Lysa Arryn (3 episodes)
- Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn (3 episodes)
- Ian Gelder as Kevan Lannister (3 episodes)
- Wilko Johnson as Ilyn Payne (3 episodes
- Clive Mantle as Greatjon Umber (3 episodes)
- Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark (3 episodes)
- Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark (3 episodes)
- Mia Soteriou as Mirri Maz Duur (3 episodes)
- Peter Vaughan as Aemon (3 episodes
- Miltos Yerolemou as Syrio Forel (3 episodes)
- Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant (2 episodes)
- Joe Dempsie as Gendry (2 episodes)
- Mark Lewis Jones as Shagga (2 episodes)
- Sibel Kekilli as Shae (2 episodes)
- Conan Stevens as Gregor Clegane (2 episodes)
- Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell ("The Wolf and the Lion")
- Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie ("Fire and Blood")
- Eros Vlahos as Lommy Greenhands ("Fire and Blood")
- David Benioff. executive producer & showrunner
- D.B. Weiss: executive producer & showrunner
- George R.R. Martin: executive producer
- Guymon Casady: executive producer
- Carolyn Strauss: executive producer
- Ralph Vincinaza: executive producer
- Vincent Gerardis: executive producer
- Frank Doelger: producer
- Mark Huffam: producer
- Sean Bobbitt: director of photography
- Sean Guest: 1st assistant director
- Tatiana S. Riegel: editor
- Gemma Jackson: production designer
- Michele Clapton: costume designer
- Marisa Clayton: digital post-production
- Ramin Djawadi: composer
- Buster Reeves: stunt work
- Nina Gold: London casting director
- Amy Berman & Carrie Frazier: Los Angeles casting directors
- Michelle Taylor Spellman: Los Angeles casting associate
- Kerry Barden & Paul Schnee: New York casting directors
- Allison Estrin: New York casting associate
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10
- Bryan Cogman: episode 4
- Jane Espenson: episode 6
- George R.R. Martin: episode 8
- Thomas McCarthy: pilot episode (unscreened)
- Tim Van Patten: episodes 1 and 2
- Brian Kirk: episodes 3, 4, and 5
- Daniel Minahan: episodes 6, 7, and 8
- Alan Taylor: episodes 9 and 10
Due to limitations of filming time, there was very little shot for the season which was not eventually used. However, a notable scene cut was a flashback scene featuring the execution of Brandon Stark at the hands of the Mad King. Actors were cast for this scene and it was filmed, even appearing in some trailers, but ultimately was not used. The scene did not even appear on DVD or Blu-ray releases of the season.
|01||"Winter Is Coming"||April 17, 2011||2.22|
|Lord Stark is troubled by reports from a Night's Watch deserter; King Robert and the Lannisters arrive at Winterfell; Viserys Targaryen forges a new alliance.|
|02||"The Kingsroad"||April 24, 2011||2.20|
|The Lannisters plot to ensure Bran's silence; Jon and Tyrion head to the Wall; Ned faces a family crisis en route to King's Landing.|
|03||"Lord Snow"||May 1, 2011||2.44|
|Jon impresses Tyrion at Castle Black; Ned confronts his past and future at King's Landing; Daenerys finds herself at odds with Viserys.|
|04||"Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things"||May 8, 2011||2.45|
|Ned probes Arryn's death; Jon takes measures to protect Sam; Tyrion is caught in the wrong place.|
|05||"The Wolf and the Lion"||May 15, 2011||2.58|
|Ned refuses an order from the King; Tyrion escapes one perilous encounter, only to find himself in another.|
|06||"A Golden Crown"||May 22, 2011||2.44|
|Ned makes a controversial decree; Tyrion confesses to his "crimes"; Viserys receives final payment for Daenerys.|
|07||"You Win or You Die"||May 29, 2011||2.40|
|Ned confronts Cersei about her secrets; Jon takes his Night's Watch vows; Drogo promises to lead the Dothraki to King's Landing.|
|08||"The Pointy End"||June 5, 2011||2.72|
|The Lannisters press their advantage over the Starks; Robb rallies his father's northern allies and heads south to war.|
|09||"Baelor"||June 12, 2011||2.66|
|Ned makes a fateful decision; Robb takes a prized prisoner; Dany finds her reign imperiled.|
|10||"Fire and Blood"||June 19, 2011||3.04|
|A new king rises in the North; a Khaleesi finds new hope.|
Comparison with the novels
The season generally follows the first novel "A Game of Thrones", and consists a few scenes based on the second novel "A Clash of Kings". For a full list of differences between the season and the novels, see Differences between books and TV series - Season 1.
Season 1 of Game of Thrones was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 5 March 2012, and in the USA a day later. In the United States, Best Buy had exclusive packaging featuring the sigils of House Stark and House Targaryen on the cover, while HMV featured the Stark cover in the UK.
On release, the DVD and Blu-ray became the fastest-selling release in the history of HBO, outselling in its first week box sets of series such as The Sopranos, Band of Brothers and True Blood. It sold over 350,000 copies in its first week on sale, with 57% of those sales on the Blu-ray format. It has also set new HBO records for digital sales on iTunes.
As well as all ten episodes of the first season, the set includes the following extra and special features:
- Blu-ray Complete Guide to Westeros: An interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in Season One, PLUS 24 exclusive histories of the Seven Kingdoms as told by the characters themselves.
- Anatomy of an Episode: An in-episode experience that explores the creative minds and colossal efforts behind episode six, “A Golden Crown”.
- In-Episode Guide: In-episode resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories while each episode plays.
- Hidden Dragon Eggs: Find the hidden dragon eggs to uncover even more never-before-seen content.
Blu-Ray and DVD
- Making Game of Thrones: An exclusive 30-minute feature including never-before-seen footage from the set and interview from the cast and crew.
- Creating the Show Open: An inside look at the creation of the Emmy-winning opening title sequence for Game of Thrones
- From the Book to the Screen: Executive producers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, and author George R.R. Martin talk about the challenge of bringing Martin’s epic fantasy novel to life on HBO.
- Character Profiles: Profiles of 15 major characters as described by the actors portraying them.
- Audition Tapes: 25 minutes of audition reels and tapes showing how the main actors won their roles.
- Inside the Night’s Watch: An in-depth look at the unique order of men who patrol and protect the Wall, a 700-foot ice structure that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the darkness beyond.
- Creating the Dothraki Language: An insightful glance into the comprehensive language created for the Dothraki people in Game of Thrones.
- Audio Commentaries: Seven audio commentaries with cast and crew.
- "Winter is Coming": Commentary by producers/writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
- "The Kingsroad": Commentary by actors Lena Headey, Mark Addy and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
- "Lord Snow": Commentary by actors Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams and Isaac Hempstead-Wright.
- "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things": Commentary by actor Kit Harington and writer Bryan Cogman.
- "A Golden Crown": Commentary by actors Peter Dinklage, Harry Lloyd and Emilia Clarke, and director Daniel Minahan.
- "The Pointy End": Commentary by writer/producer/consultant George R.R. Martin.
- "Fire and Blood": Commentary by producers/writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and director Alan Taylor.
Special Limited Edition
Season 1 was reissued on 20 November 2012 in a special limited edition box set. This set contains the entirety of Season 1 on Blu-ray and DVD (with the accompanying special features), as well as access to digital downloads of the episodes. The set also includings a dragon egg paperweight and a bonus preview disc containing the first episode of Season 2.