If you haven’t heard of Game of Thrones, I’m just going to presume that you live a life of glorious isolation some the lush, green, detached vista between towering mountains, and that this is your first time on the Internet. Even if you’ve been grazed by a ‘Winter is Coming’ meme, or a photo of a ferocious Peter Dinklage on the cover of Rolling Stone, you’ve been Throne‘d.
Like any good fantasy/sci-fi show, Game of Thrones needs a set of trading cards, and Rittenhouse has provided them. It’s rather uncharacteristic of Rittenhouse or offer such a straightforward set of cards, with their numerous explorations into experimental foil, embossing, variant, limited-edition stuff (all of which is awesome), but for an inaugural set of collectible cards, direct is definitely the way to go.
The Game of Thrones Season One set consists of the old tried and true TV-show-themed standards: some cards for important characters, some cards for important events, and a few really neat bonus cards. There are 72 cards in the core set: three cards per episode, 41 character cards, and the dreaded checklist card.
Each of these basic cards has a “parallel” card done in shiny foil printing, matching the original exactly… just shinier, as seen below. These can be found in one out of every three packs. Yes, even the checklist card has a shiny version, because there’s nothing you want more than a shiny checklist when you already suffered through the regular one instead of getting a card which was actually cool.
But I digress: checklist cards, and the disappointment they bring when you find one instead of a Galactus fighting Wolverine or something, remain at the core of the experience card collecting. Even the papercuts from a hastily-opened back of 1997 Topps baseball cards would be missed if Topps suddenly started making their cards with safety edges.
Subsets are plentiful and interesting. First, there’s a set of ‘Quotable Game of Thrones’ cards, found one in every 12 packs. Each side of these cards has a different quote from a different character (or character interaction), and they have a neat, satin/gloss finish.
You can also discover nine different ‘Houses’ cards, die-cut into the shape of family crests. These are also found one per twelve packs.
As if these were not enough to hunt down, at two per box, there’s also the one-per-box “You Win or You Die” cards, done in matte, dusty black. Collect all five!
And finally, you’ll get two autograph cards per box, or 1:12 packs, from any one of a ton of the show’s actors. Unfortunately, you can’t expect to find a card signed by Sean Bean (above) or Peter Dinklage in these packs, as those are reserved by Rittenhouse as bonus pieces if you order three or six cases, respectively. No, not boxes, but cases. A case contains twelve boxes.
These super-high-end incentives are designed as bonuses for retailers who order a ton of stuff for their shops… or insanely dedicated collectors. Math it out and you’ll realize that Dinklage’s autograph, obtained this way, will cost you about $4300. Fortunately, online auctions currently place them at a much more reasonable $175, and Sean Bean at about $85. Emilia Clarke holds the position for the most valuable autograph card which you can actually pull from a pack, coming in at around $200.
Ultimately, it’s a great little set of cards with some great bonuses thrown in for good measure. It won’t be excruciatingly long before Rittenhouse starts to segment and re-segment this series into quirky sets like “Women of Game of Thrones”, or “Animals of Game of Thrones”, or “Legends of the Quotable Behind the Scenes of Game of Thrones: Series Five”, but this is a pretty great start—and Season Two, like winter, is coming.