Sunday, March 18, 2012

Musings: Game of Thrones Season One, Episode One - Winter is Coming

Before being asked to cover Game of Thrones, I had only heard that it was going to be an epic masterpiece series on HBO. The previews were incredibly intriguing and after taking a look around the interwebs, I noticed I was very late to the party.

I immediately picked up the book, Game of Thrones and voraciously read it, falling in love with the characters and the determined style of writing put forth by George R R Martin. Through the process of covering that first season, I had the good fortune to participate in conference calls with the producers, Mr. Martin himself and some of the stars of the incredible series. It was a dream series to cover, in all honestly.

As season two approaches, I thought I'd take another look at the first season with fresh eyes and share my thoughts with the two or three people who might tumble past my blog.

"Winter is Coming"

It amazed me that from the first scenes of the show, I was immediately hooked. Outside of the fact that I knew what what happening and what was to come, the production was such that even the smallest of parts could hold great meaning.

Starting with the introduction of the Wildlings and a frightened Night's Watchman witnessing his brethren being torn to bits in front of him might have seemed an odd choice to start, but the way it tied in with Bran's lesson about justly delivering punishment upon your people if it is necessary and doing so with respect was well done.

It was from this mission of death that the Stark boys found their Direwolves. The sigil of the Stark house and very rare, stumbling across six motherless pups was, indeed, providence. Even Jon Snow, Eddard Stark's bastard, found a pure white pup.

It's ironic that when Ned learns of the Hand's death and asks after Catelyn's sister and her son she answers they're well, thank the gods. As we learn later, they are anything but well.

My reaction upon seeing Joffrey's smug mug for the first time again? Still the same. I want to smack him around until that smirk couldn't find it's way back to his face.

I love the friendship between the King and Ned. There is great animosity between King Robert's wife, Cersei, and the entire Stark clan that she doesn't even attempt to hide. Robert was to marry Ned's sister but she was killed. Cersei doesn't like second place, but she also doesn't like the King, when she has a twin brother as hot as Jaime. Disgusting, but who could resist?

We also met Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen and Dani's betrothed, Khal Drogo. From that first scene together you'd never guess it would turn into a huge love story that would drive Dani to places she could never imagine.

Meeting tiny Tyrion as he was matched by five women in bed was another highlight of the first episode. Thinking back to the first season's measly ten hours it's incredible how beloved the characters became in such a short time. And, no, I didn't mean to use so many words alluding to small size while I discussed the imp.

Poor Daenerys must have been scared out of her mind watching the Dothraki "celebrate" during her wedding. Half naked women having sex with a multitude of men, Khal excited as he watched his men being killed. The best gift of all was getting the dragon's eggs, thought turned to stone, but really just waiting for the heart of Daenerys. It appeared she might be frightened or unsure, but as time goes on we learned she just might be the strongest of them all.

I felt like we knew so much more of Bran in the books than we ever got to know in the show. If I could have chosen to have one character more fully defined, it would have been Bran. Instead, he took a fall at the hands of Jaime and we lose him for a good portion of the season after that.

I'm not going to share any great insight as I rewatch these episodes, unless something I missed during the first bazillion watches last year escaped me. I'll just be thinking out loud as I watch.

On April 1st (or more likely April 2nd), I'll start posting actual insightful reviews to coincide with the new season.

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