This post is Part 2 of 6. For Part 3 click here.
For Part 2, we have a guest blogger –
All hail His Grace, Garrison of House [Stark], First of His Name, King of the Bloggers and the First Men, Lord of Bibliophilopolis, and Protector of the Realm:
Well, maybe Jay is the true Lord of Bibliophilopolis. And maybe our familial relationship is better than that of some in Westeros, but he would still be wise to heed to advice of Queen Cersei in A Game of Thrones, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die,” before he so readily invites others to sit on the Iron Throne of Bibliophilopolis… In all seriousness though, as a long time reader of Bibliophilopolis (and a longer time nephew of the author), I was thrilled to be asked to help recap HBO’s Game of Thrones in advance of the fourth season, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to be the first guest poster in the history of this blog; I hope I do the author and its readers justice.
In my recap posts, I will try to do a few categories that will cover some noteworthy moments that will remind people of the general awesomeness of the episodes. If you seek a slightly more detailed blow by blow, that will follow. Before I begin, I’d like to direct you to a great website that I often use to refresh myself of what has happened in Westeros: Tower of the Hand. This website allows the reader to set the scope of what they have read or seen in the series. Say you have only read the first two books when you look up an article on Tyrion Lannister and set your scope to Clash of Kings. The article will only show you information up to the point which you have read. This will prevent being accidentally spoiled if you are trying to avoid that! It works the same way for seasons of the television series.
Without further ado…
1. Ned gets the “King’s Justice.” This was when I got truly hooked on the show. The whole season was awesome. But when Ned lost his head… good, honorable, played-by-a-famous-actor, clearly-the-hero-of-our-story Ned, that’s when I knew that no one was safe and that this show would stay compelling throughout. Right until the end I expected Eddard Stark to escape somehow. Even after “Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!” I remained convinced that *something* would happen for Ned to avoid that fate… right up until the end.
(below: Joffrey changes his mind, much to the chagrin of Cersei and Sansa)
2. Ned/Cersei. Great scene between two great actors. The scene that prompts Varys telling Stark later “your mercy killed the king.” Also includes a line to appear later…
3. Ned/Cersei II. I was profoundly sad during the throne room showdown scene on my re-watch. It was all going so well… until it wasn’t.
3. Viserys gets crowned. We were all waiting for this moment. You can admit it, it’s okay.
4. Aemon and Jon. There is more to this maester than meets the eye. Maybe not a hugely important scene (or maybe it was), but I’m a sucker for back story and this delivers.
Lysa Aryn: “You don’t fight with honor!”
Bronn: “No…but he did.”
After Bronn dispatches the “honorable” knight in Tyrion’s trial by combat.
Joffrey: I’ll tell you what. I’m going to give you a present. After I raise my armies, and kill your traitor brother, I’ll give you his head as well.
Sansa: Or maybe he’ll give me yours.
One of the rare moments where Sansa isn’t being totally insufferable! Bravo, Sansa!
Cersei: When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.
Robb Stark: Tell Lord Tywin, winter is coming for him. Twenty thousand northerners marching south to find out if he really does sh*t gold.
To a captured Lannister scout.
Syrio Forel: There is only one god and his name is Death, and there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today”.
Early frontrunner for the best line in the series.
Tyrion confesses his crimes (a mildly NSFW monologue laden with innuendo)
Tyrion: Though I would treasure your friendship, I’m mainly interested in your facility with murder. And if the day ever comes when you’re tempted to sell me out, remember this: whatever their price, I’ll beat it. I like living.
To Bronn the sellsword after the escape from The Eyrie. The way Peter Dinklage delivers “I like living” is tremendous.
Discussing their first kills…
King Robert: Your outlaw, any last words?
Jaime: I cut his head off, so, no…
Eddard Stark: What you suggest is treason.
Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish: Only if we lose.
Tywin Lanniser: A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of a sheep.
Robb Stark: If we do it your way, Kingslayer, you’d win. We’re not doing it your way.
Responding to Jaime’s offer to end the war by each championing their cause in single combat.
Mirri Maz Duur: You will not hear me screaming.
Daenerys Targaryen: I will. But it is not your screams I want. Only your life.
Before Daenerys puts the healer on the funeral pyre.
Robb Stark: I’ll kill them all.
Catelyn Stark: My boy… they have your sisters. We have to get the girls back… And *then* we will kill them all.
After Robb and Catelyn find out Ned has been killed.
Best foreshadowing you absolutely didn’t notice the first time
In the scene where we meet Tywin Lannister and he has the discussion with Jaime about the honor of their house and how they have the opportunity to become a dynasty in Westeros, what is he doing? He is skinning and gutting a stag. The stag is the sigil of House Baratheon. Terrific.
(below: anyone up for a fresh venison dinner at the Lannisters?)
– The Targaryens have the best claim to the throne. Their family was in power for hundreds of years before Robert and Ned led the rebellion that overthrew them.
– I can’t shake the similarities between Samwell and Samwise from Lord of the Rings.
– During the aforementioned ‘stag skinning’ scene, Tywin delivers a monologue about how their legacy is really the only thing they will leave behind. This is his main motivation. Cersei’s motivation is her love for her children as well as dealing with being in a loveless marriage that was forced upon her. Jaime has his own backstory which will be discussed in season two. The only unredeemingly evil character is Joffrey. Everyone else has reasons (maybe not excuses) why they are they way that they are. Joffrey is just evil for the sake of being evil.
– By the end of the season both Mormonts put their faith in someone untested. Jeor Mormont, the lord commander of the Night’s Watch, makes Jon his steward and begins grooming him for a leadership position. Jorah Mormont, Jeor’s son who is with Daenerys, has a change of heart and saves Dany from assassination. He becomes convinced that she has the best claim to the throne and would do anything for her. It is interesting that these two characters are connected in this way… even more so when you consider the name of the Series is a “A Song of Ice (Jon: at the Wall, where it is almost perpetually winter) and Fire (Daenerys: the Mother of Dragons).”
– I found/find it really peculiar that Ned would actually father a bastard. Ned is the most honorable character in this entire show, to a fault. He diligently served his king, even though it was not something he wanted to do; he was a good father (notably to Theon and Jon Snow who were not his sons with Catelyn); he was a benevolent, just ruler of the North according to everyone that talks about him; he had the chance to seize the Iron Throne for himself during Robert’s rebellion and didn’t; he is devoted to his wife. It just seemed out of character for him to forsake his marriage. That being said, it is in perfect character for him that he would take the child as his own if that were to happen and raise him in his house.
A full recap follows after the jump.
In Kings Landing, Eddard makes the startling realization that Joffrey Baratheon is actually Joffrey Lannister, the product of Cersei and Jaime’s incest. This, thanks to an offhand remark from Sansa about Joffrey’s blond hair. You see, all of Robert’s bastards (and everyone else in House Baratheon) has jet black hair; but Joffrey is Lannister-blond. “The seed is strong,” indeed.
Ned confronts Cersei with this information, which becomes all the more relevant as Joffrey ascends to the throne after King Robert’s untimely demise. Ned, with the help of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, plans to arrest Joffrey and Cersei and to instill Robert’s younger brother Stannis on the throne, believing he has the only true claim. Baelish betrays Ned, and has the members of the City Watch arrest Lord Stark.
Joffrey, sitting safely on the throne, dismisses the longtime commander of the Kingsguard and name his uncle Jaime in his place. The new king agrees to show mercy to Ned if he will confess treason and dispel any notions that he is not the true heir to the throne. Seeing no other way to preserve the life of himself and his daughters, Ned agrees to this and makes the false confession in front of the King and the citizens of King’s Landing. In what becomes one of a long line of brutal acts, King Joffrey changes course at the last moment and instead of sparing Ned he has him beheaded. In the words of Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, “[N]ed’s dead baby, [N]ed’s dead.”
Across the Narrow Sea Daenerys’ unborn son is proclaimed the “Stallion Who Will Mount the World.” Viserys, her whiney brother, who has a real problem with how well Daenerys has taken to the Dothraki people and vice versa, threatens her and demands that she force the Dothraki to help him retake the Iron Throne. Khal Drogo is most unhappy that Viserys has threatened his wife and unborn child but agrees to give him the golden crown he so desperately desires. Unfortunately for Viserys that golden crown is made from molten gold coins and he has it poured over the top of his head, killing him.
Later, Ser Jorah of Mormont is delivered a royal pardon for his part in arranging the assassination of Daenerys. Jorah, because he loves or is inspired by Dany (and perhaps both), foils this assassination attempt. The attempt on Dany’s life inflames Drogo and he vows to help her cross the Narrow Sea and take the throne. During the sack of a city on the way to Westeros Khal Drogo suffers a wound that eventually becomes infected and leads to his downfall as Khal. Daenerys enlists the help of a “healer” that she rescued from the sack who promises to save Drogo in exchange for another life. Dany tells the healer to save Drogo by any means necessary. In this commotion Daenerys goes into premature labor. When Dany awakens she finds that not only did the healer only save the body of Drogo (he remained catatonic), the blood sacrifice she required was that of Daenerys’ unborn son. Without her husband; his army; and her son, Dany’s only revenge is to burn the healer on Drogo’s funeral pyre. Overcome with grief, Dany takes her dragon eggs and steps into the fire…
In the North, Bran is testing out his new saddle (designed by Tyrion) when he is ambushed by Wildlings who are, curiously, south of The Wall. Bran’s brothers Robb and Theon spare one of the wildlings and put her in the service of Winterfell.
When Robb receives word that his father has been taken into custody by Cersei and Joffrey he makes the decision to muster his father’s bannermen and march south. At the Twins, a strategically important bridge connecting the North and South of Westeros, Catelyn Stark (Ned’s wife, in case you forgot) negotiates with Walder Frey, who is a bannerman of her father. Frey allows the Stark host to cross the Twins in exchange for the promise of Robb and Arya marrying two of his children.
Robb’s army ambushes the Lannister forces and takes Jaime Lannister captive. After learning of his father’s death, Robb vows revenge. Instead of deciding which Baratheon brother to support in the war for the Iron Throne, Robb’s bannermen declare him King in the North.
Everyone’ favorite character, Tyrion, is still a captive in the Eyrie as the second half of the first season begins. However he quickly uses his wit to win escape after a “trial by combat” wherein a sellsword named Bronn champions his cause.
Tyrion hasn’t been free long before he must evade capture yet again, this time by the hill tribes, using his forked tongue and the promise of Lannister riches. The tribesmen safely deliver Tyrion to his father, Tywin. After some skirmishes with the Stark army, it becomes clear that the “rebels” will require Tywin’s full attention. He sends Tyrion to King’s Landing to act as Hand of the King in his stead.
At The Wall, Jon Snow (Eddard Stark’s bastard son) is assigned as a steward instead of a ranger. Jon is most upset about this until his friend Sam posits that Jon is being groomed for command. Jon saves the lord commander from a reanimated corpse, which has been reanimated by being touched by a White Walker. We don’t know anything about White Walkers yet other than the fact that they are bad news. As thanks, and affirmation that Jon is being groomed for something more important than “grunt” ranger work, Commander Mormont gives Jon a blade of Valyrian steel, which was originally meant for his son Jorah (presently in Daenerys’ company).
Across the Narrow Sea, Ser Jorah approaches the remains of the funeral pyre and sees… an unharmed Daenerys Targaryen, and around her three dragons. Dany has become the Mother of Dragons.
What were your favorite scenes and lines in Season 1?