Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Political and sexual intrigue abound. The primary families are the Stark, Lannister, and Baratheon families. Robert Baratheon, King of Westeros, asks his old friend Eddard Stark to serve as his chief advisor. Eddard, suspecting that his predecessor had been murdered, accepts so that he can investigate further. It turns out more than one family is plotting to take the throne. The Queen’s family, the Lannisters, may be hatching a plot to take control. Across the sea, the last surviving members of the previously deposed ruling family, the Targaryens, are also plotting a return to power. The conflict between these families and others, including the Greyjoys, the Tullys, the Arryns, and the Tyrells, leads to war. Meanwhile, in the north, an ancient evil awakens. Amidst war and the political confusion, a brotherhood of misfits, The Night’s Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and the horrors beyond.
Being a great fan of the books, I have been eagerly anticipating this series. Alas Game of Thrones is not being broadcast in Australia, but thanks to the internet where there is a will there is a way. The Australian airing is on the Showtime premium channel beginning Sun 17th July, two days before the final episode is aired in the USA.
(Beware! Spoilers after the jump)
Game of Thrones – 1×01 Winter Is Coming
The Starks of Winterfell receive the visit of the royal family. King Robert Baratheon makes Eddard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell, an offer he can’t refuse. Across the narrow sea, the exiled Prince Viserys Targaryen forges a new alliance to regain the Iron Throne; he will trade his sister Daenerys in marriage to the savage warlord Khal Drogo in exchange for Drogo’s army. Back in Winterfell, Catelyn Stark receives a clue that may implicate members of the royal family in a murder, and young Bran Stark makes a jaw-dropping discovery.
“He won’t be a boy forever. And winter is coming..” – Ned Stark
☞ exposition, exposition, exposition: Episode 1 could be retitled “meet the cast”, but this was always going to be necessary for those who have not read the books. That said the introduction was done very well. I am also pretty happy with all of the casting, no jarring disconnects from the portrayal and the imagined characters while reading the book. I am even happy with how Tyrion appears even if it is not exactly as written.
☞ So begins an epic
☞ “The things I do for love.” /action *push*
Gore, sex, and politics? Thanks I’ll have some more please …
Game of Thrones – 1×02 The Kingsroad
Bran’s fate remains in doubt. Having agreed to become the King’s Hand, Ned leaves Winterfell with daughters Sansa and Arya, while Catelyn stays behind to tend to Bran. Jon Snow heads north to join the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch. Tyrion decides to forego the trip south with his family, instead joining Jon in the entourage heading to the Wall. Viserys bides his time in hopes of winning back the throne, while Daenerys focuses her attention on learning how to please her new husband, Drogo.
“Wait here,” Dany told Ser Jorah. “Tell them all to stay. Tell them I command it.”
The knight smiled. Ser Jorah was not a handsome man. He had a neck and shoulders like a bull, and coarse black hair covered his arms and chest so thickly that there was none left for his head. Yet his smiles gave Dany comfort. “You are learning to talk like a queen, Daenerys.”
“Not a queen,” said Dany. “A khaleesi.” She wheeled her horse about and galloped down the ridge alone.
☞ CSI: Catelyn finds the hair and runs it through the spectral analyzer?
☞ What happened to Bran’s dream sequences that he had while in his coma? How do they get this information into the story in future; flashback?
☞ Joffrey getting slapped by Tyrion, Lady being killed by Ned, Arya chasing away Nymeria – many of the critical scence done well.
Game of Thrones – 1×03 Lord Snow
Ned joins the Small Council at King’s Landing and learns just how poorly the Seven Kingdoms are being managed. Jaime taunts Eddard about the death of his father and brother. Catelyn decides to go covertly to the South to join her husband, but is intercepted by an old friend, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. Does he intend to help or to hinder her search for her son’s would-be killer? Joffrey is given a lesson in what it means to be a King by his mother. Jon struggles to adapt to life on the Wall, as he trains with a number of low-born recruits who are not impressed by his bloodline. Tyrion, also visting the Wall, is beseeched by a desparate Lord Mormont to plead the case for more soldiers to join the Night’s Watch to the King and Queen. A drunken Robert confronts Jaime about his role in the Mad King’s death. Bran, now awake, is unable to recall how he fell. Daenerys, now posessing no small measure of control as Khaleesi, begins to stand up to Viserys, and learns something incredible.
It was the third time he had called her “boy.” “I’m a girl,” Arya objected.
“Boy, girl,” Syrio Forel said. “You are a sword, that is all.” He clicked his teeth together. “Just so, that is the grip. You are not holding a battle-axe, you are holding a—”
“—needle,” Arya finished for him, fiercely.
“Just so. Now we will begin the dance. Remember, child, this is not the iron dance of Westeros we are learning, the knight’s dance, hacking and hammering, no. This is the bravo’s dance, the water dance, swift and sudden. All men are made of water, do you know this? When you pierce them, the water leaks out and they die.” He took a step backward, raised his own wooden blade. “Now you will try to strike me.”
☞ Were was Ghost? He is supposed to be Jon’s shadow.
☞ Where is Hodor?
☞ Syrio and Arya’s training sequence – awesome!
Game of Thrones – 1×04 Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things
Ned looks to a book for clues to the death of his predecessor, and uncovers one of King Robert’s bastards. Robert and his guests witness a tournament honoring Ned. Jon takes measures to protect Samwell from further abuse at Castle Black; a frustrated Viserys clashes with Daenerys in Vaes Dothrak; Sansa imagines her future as a queen, while Arya envisions a far different future. Catelyn rallies her father’s allies to make a point, while Tyrion finds himself caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Robb Stark seemed puzzled. “Is this some trap, Lannister? What’s Bran to you? Why should you want to help him?”
“Your brother Jon asked it of me. And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.” Tyrion Lannister placed a hand over his heart and grinned.
☞ Ok, now we have Bran’s dream of the 3-eyed crow, Hodor, and Ghost appears with Jon at the wall. Getting a bit eager last episode it would seem.
☞ Daenerys realises she is Khaleesi, and more chance for the throne than her brother. “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.” Well played.
☞ Samwell Tarly: “My name is Samwell Tarly, of Horn…” He stopped and licked his lips. “I mean, I was of Horn Hill, until I… left. I’ve come to take the black. [be interesting to see how his development is portrayed]
Game of Thrones – 1×05 The Wolf and the Lion
Robert and Ned discuss how to deal with the Targaryen alliance with the Dothraki. Catelyn and Tyrion arrive at the Eyrie.
“The wolf and the lion will be at each others’ throats soon.” – Lord Varys
“That’s all the realm is now: backstabbing and scheming and ass-licking and money-grubbing.” – King Robert Baratheon
☞ Ned, Ned, Ned get a clue! A simple soldier forced into the murky backwaters of political intrigue well on his way to drowning. Brings forth the The Stupid Ned Stark meme – So I wasn’t the only one thinking *Doh!*
☞ HBO are a lot less subtle than the book with the whole Renly & Loras relationship.
“Now sheathe your bloody sword, or I’ll take it from you and shove it up some place even Renly never found.” – Jamie Lanister
If you are still not convinced the read through Are Loras and Renly Gay?
☞ Theon Greyjoy the redheaded hooker “sexposition”; Was this a necessary plot variation to allow for the animosity between the Greyjoys and the Starks? I guess we see a bit further down the track.
☞ Lysa, now that’s creepy! (btw that was a stunt boob, wasn’t it?)
Game of Thrones – 1×06 A Golden Crown
Viserys demands that Drogo pay him his debts. Ned is left ruling the kingdom while Robert goes to hunt.
“There is only one god, and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: ‘Not today’.” – Syrio Florel, Swordmaster
“He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.” — Daenerys
☞ No wolves in the saving Bran sequence; we’ve been short changed here folks!
☞ Ned finally twigs to the dark hair of the genealogy, and the blond hair of Cersei’s children.
‘Just before he closed his eyes for the last time, he whispered something to the king and his lady wife, a blessing for his son. The seed is strong, he said. At the end, his speech was too slurred to comprehend.’
– Pycelle discussing Lord Arryn’s final words
☞ “…that’s all I wanted, what was promised…” — Viserys
Payback’s a bitch!
Game of Thrones – 1×07 You Win or You Die
Ned confronts Cersei about the truth of Jon Arryn’s death as the wounded Robert makes preparation for his succession. Jon Snow takes the vows of the Night’s Watch. Khal Drogo summons the khalasar to invade Westeros after Robert attempts to poison Daenerys.
The queen stood. “And what of my wrath, Lord Stark?” she asked softly. Her eyes searched his face. “You should have taken the realm for yourself. It was there for the taking. Jaime told me how you found him on the Iron Throne the day King’s Landing fell, and made him yield it up. That was your moment. All you needed to do was climb those steps, and sit. Such a sad mistake.”
☞ Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) steps up ‘I am here to kick some ass’
“The family name is all that lives on. Not your personal glory, not your honor, but family.” – Tywin Lannister
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” – Queen Cersei
Game of Thrones – 1×08 The Pointy End
After Ned’s capture, Arya and Syrio confront Lannister guards, while Sansa is being manipulated by Cersei; Robb goes to war against Tywin; Tyrion and the hill tribes form an alliance; Jon confronts an attacker from the other side
☞ Did you order two zombies?
☞ Sansa, oh you daft child.
☞ Daenerys shows the arrogance of the Mad Kings with the naiveté of Ned Stark.
“The First Sword of Braavos does not retreat.” — Syrio
Game of Thrones – 1×09 Baelor
Ned makes a critical decision when Sansa’s life is in danger Catelyn comes to an unsavory agreement with the Lord of the Crossing Tyrion is forced to fight on the front lines while being rewarded for his gallantry, Jon uncovers a dark secret.
“I learned how to die a long time ago.” – Ned Stark
☞ Pride! Honour! Stupidity?
“I have never been nothing. I am the blood of the dragon.” – Daenerys
Game of Thrones – 1×10 Fire and Blood
The entire Stark clan’s lives are changed by tragedy. Arya goes undercover, Catelyn corners Jaime Lannister, and Sansa learns Joffrey’s real nature. Season One finale.
“We have to get the girls back. And then we will kill them all.” — Catelyn Stark
☞ Nicely finished with Daenerys in the ashes, definitely gave the ‘to be continued ..’ flavour.
“When dead men, and worse, come hunting for us int he night, do you think it matters who sits on the Iron Throne?” — Lord Commander Mormont
SERIES VERDICT: ★★★★★
 Game of Thrones: Seasons: Episodes [HBO]
 Game of Thrones (season 1) [wikipedia]
 GameofThrones [YouTube]
 Game of Thrones Infographic : Illustrated Guide to Houses and Character Relationships (2001-May) [hauteslides]
 George R.R. Martin Threads The Sword and Laser discussion [Goodreads]
 A Podcast of Ice and Fire