Viewers after another family fantasy drama in the vein of BBC1’s Merlin may be in for a horrifying shock if they tune into Sky Atlantic’s Game of Thrones. It’s more like a bloodthirsty Western played out in a wintry Bronze Age world populated by traitors, power-brokers and slayers. Game of Thrones is one of Sky Atlantic’s jewels in their new schedule,10 episodes of fantasy drama based on the George RR Martin novels A Song of Fire and Ice. Produced by US network HBO it stars Sean Bean as Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, a warden of the north in the fictional land of Westeros and its expansive Seven Kingdoms. The warring begins when his king Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) asks him to head south and become his right-hand man, a request he honours despite his mistrust of the king’s wife Cersei (Lena headey) and untrustworthy brothers Jaime and Tyrion. Meanwhile, the son of a deposed king, Vierys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) forces his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to marry a barbarian warlord as he plots to take back his father’s kingdom from Baratheon. Sean Bean says:"Game of Thrones is new and it's courageous to adapt a book and go to an area for television that's not been really explored before, on that scale. The series is especially graphic and violent, but for good reason…"Game of Thrones was shot in Malta and Belfast and its creators promise a violent, ruthless drama which‘delves into far darker territory than fantasy has previously explored’. Game of Thrones stars an international cast which also include Brits Charles Dance, Alfie Allen, Joseph Mawle and Iain Glen.