Welcome to my insane little project. .
After making the effort to watch all the Oscar nominated films over the last month, I seemed to think that re-watching and blogging about Game of Thrones would be a good idea. And it might be, I mean, I haven’t watched any of the series since they first aired, so reliving the show could be fun. I also already review a show weekly for my podcast, so I’m definitely used to picking shows apart, albeit normally with my co-host and in audio form as opposed to the written…However, I may have slightly miscalculated the amount of time that this ‘little’ project will take, so I’m going to go ahead and say up front, that while I intend to blog my entire rewatch, it’s quite possible that I may fall a little short, not an apology, just forewarning you, dear audience (whomever you may be) that it might happen.
And with that, on to the episode!
I remember being intrigued, but also confused the first time I watched this cold open. I didn’t know that was the Wall, nor that they were venturing beyond it. I know idea who or what Wildlings, White Walkers, or the Night’s Watch were. There were just three guys tramping around in the snow, and spooky things happening. The show was also very sparing with their 'fantasy’ elements in this first season. (if I remember correctly, I may prove myself wrong in a couple eps) Maybe partly due to budget constraints (the production value, while good, looks ‘worse’ than subsequent seasons) and maybe to not lose the people who were in for courtly intrigue but not so much into magic and dragons, etc.
After the (impressive) opening credits, we get our first introduction to the heroes of the show, the Starks. People, I cannot stress enough how young everyone is. So young, so carefree, so unaware of all the terrible things that are about to befall their family. Robb and Jon teaching Bran archery, Sansa being proud her needlework, and Arya showing up her brother with her own archery skills, and Ned and Cat looking out proudly at it all. JUST STOP THE SHOW HERE WHILE EVERYONE’S ALIVE AND HAPPY. But alas, this is a drama, and drama requires conflict. So. Much. Conflict. Like seven more seasons worth…
We get our first glimpse of Valyrian steel when Ned uses Ice to behead the sole survivor of the White Walker, you know and brought his 10-year-old along to watch. After giving us the first glimpse of how Ned might be a little too dutiful and honourable for his own good, by following the old ways of dispensing the justice himself, we learn the next most important thing: Theon’s the worst. He smirks when Will loses his head and was completely okay with killing a puppy. Yeah, I hated this guy. Like, a lot. And he gets worse before he gets better, but apparently being tortured by a sociopath is the way to redemption if your name is Theon.
It’s interesting to note that Ned respects Jon enough to listen to him when he suggests that they bring the direwolves back to Winterfell. It’s hard to say why exactly, maybe because he reminds Ned of his sister, or he gives Ned a good reason to NOT MURDER PUPPIES, but either way. Also, I forgot how formal Jon was with Ned. He respects his place as the lowest man on the totem pole, but also deeply respects his ‘father’. Always calling him ‘Lord Stark’ and ‘my lord’. I think this bastard upbringing is a big part of what makes Jon a good leader in the end. He learned from a distance, but was respected when he had good ideas. (like not killing puppies, the best idea) I mean, he obviously has a huge chip on his shoulder about it too, mainly ‘cause Catelyn is absolutely horrible to him.
I have so many thoughts when the Lannisters come to Winterfell, the main one being “don’t smile at Joffrey Sansa!” The other is that I kind of forgot how cocky Jamie was. I know most of the characters who’ve survived to the end of the last season have had some impressive character arcs, but I think Jamie’s might be one of the most dramatic. He gets up in Ned’s face, he’s mean to Jon, he is kind to his brother, you know, and then the whole twincest and pushing a ten-year-old out a window ‘for love’.
The final storyline of the episode takes us across the Narrows sea to Pentos, where I completely forgot that Roger Allam was in this show, I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised, because it seems like if you’re British and available you were probably cast in GoT at some point. And while I remembered about Viserys, I kind of blocked out how gross he is. In his FIRST SCENE he’s undressing and touching his sister as he essentially sells her for an army. I’m already looking forward to episode six. I must admit when I was first watching the show, I would fast forward the episodes to see what was happening with Dany and Khal Drogo. While their relationship starts off HORRIBLY, theirs is the only ‘happy’ storyline of the season (yes, until the end, OBVIOUSLY) while everyone else is lying, cheating, backstabbing, and being being generally awful, they’re falling in love, and Daenerys is learning that she’s more powerful that she expected.
I think that was enough words for this post, it’s already far too long. A few parting thoughts at the end of the first episode, with the retrospective eye, it’s easy to see how much they were setting up the ‘final three’ (Jon, Daenerys, and Cersei) right from the start. At the beginning we thought the show was starring Sean Bean and Mark Addy, not knowing that neither man would make it out of the first season alive. Speaking of Sean Bean, I miss Ned Stark.
Finally, I’m going to do an In Memoriam for each episode, ‘cause why not. I’m also going to feature the lovely art created by HBO by artist Robert Ball for each episode, depicting the ‘most iconic deaths in the realm’. On top of depicting one of the most important deaths in the episode, they’re also full of Easter eggs, like in this one the blood makes the map of Westeros.