When the King’s Hand dies under mysterious circumstances, Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) is picked tapped to become the new King’s Hand by his friend King Robert (Mark Addy). As Eddard finds his life quickly changing, the threat of the King’s wife Cersei (Lena Headley) and her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is increasing while their brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) remains a mystery. While Robert tries to uncover what caused the death of the previous King’s Hand, his illegitimate child Jon Snow (Kit Harington) travels north to the Wall to join the Night’s Watch where things are happening beyond the Wall. Meanwhile, across the sea, the children of the former king Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Viserys (Harry Lloyd) have entered a risky venture with a barbarian leader Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) in an attempt to regain their kingdom…but winter is coming.
Game of Thrones adapts the wildly popular fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (the first book of which is called A Game of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin. It premiered on HBO on April 17, 2011 to positive reviews and has been nominated for multiple awards. Peter Dinklage who plays the shifty Tyrion Lannister (and whose true motives are unclear) has received multiple nominations and awards for his role in the series.
The first season of the series adapts the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire which just happens to be A Game of Thrones…I’m not exactly sure why they chose to call the whole series Game of Thrones (they also dropped the “A”), but it is possible that the original title seemed too “generic fantasy” (it does to me) and fantasy has a way of scaring off people.
Game of Thrones is kind of scary…but in a good way. The series is really imposing. It is like watching a mafia movie with tons of characters, tons of names that sound similar, and tons of backstory that is hard to follow. Having not read the novels, I had no clue what exactly was going on early in the story and what the characters relationships were to each other. I did read the comic adaptation (which was from the novel) and it did help clear up some of those nagging questions I had about what led up to the first episode. With so many characters and plotlines, it is easy to be scared away from this show, but hold on, it is worth it.
The acting and look of the series is also quite strong. The makers did a good job casting and selecting locations that appear to fit the characters. It is a bit odd to see some of the blonde characters (who are obviously not blonde), but you get used to it as the series progresses. Even the kid actors are decently cast and hopefully will grow as the series continues instead of faltering like many kid actors once they hit puberty.
Game of Thrones is a definite must see. I worry since there are still a couple books left in the series that we won’t see the conclusion as Martin planned it, but hopefully they will come out and we will see another great adaptation. If you aren’t a fantasy nut, it is worth checking out for a great story that can be as back-stabbing (literally here) as something like Dallas, The Sopranos, or even Downton Abbey…check it out.
Game of Thrones—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.1 Winter Is Coming Airdate: 04/17/11
Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) learns that the White Walkers might have returned and discovers Fenris wolves they take in for their children. When Eddard is tapped by King Baratheon (Mark Addy) to leave his home and serve as the King’s Hand, he cannot refuse. Eddard’s wife Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) learns there is a conspiracy in the kingdom and Eddard might be the only one to safeguard the king. Across the sea in Essos, Prince Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) auctions off his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to a Dothraki warrior named Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) in order to regain his throne. Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headley) hides an incestuous affair with her twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) as her son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is groomed to be wed to Eddard’s child Sansa (Sophie Turner). Eddard’s bastard child Jon Snow (Kit Harington) gets advice from Queen Cersei and Jaime’s brother Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) on how he should handle himself.
1.2 The Kingsroad Airdate: 04/24/11
As Eddard’s clan waits to find out if Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) will survive his fall, Jaime and Queen Cersei worry he will reveal their affair, and Jaime’s attempt to kill him. Jon Snow heads out to become a member of the Night’s Watch at the Wall and says goodbye to the family that doesn’t fully accept him. When an assassin tries to kill Bran, Catelyn suspects that Bran’s fall wasn’t an accident and sets out to investigate the assassination attempt. Meanwhile, a servant named Doreah (Roxanne McKee) teaches Daenerys how to take control of her new husband through sex. An encounter with Prince Joffrey forces Arya (Maisie Williams) to tell her wolf to flee and risks the alliance between Eddard and King Baratheon.
1.3 Lord Snow Airdate: 05/01/11
Eddard begins his duty as the King’s Hand and learns the kingdom is in debt. Prince Joffrey tends to his wounds and is guided by his mother to view the Starks as their enemies. Bran has awakened but cannot remember the events that led to his fall. Catelyn arrives at King’s Landing and learns from Petyr Baelish (Aiden Gillan) that the dagger used to attack Bran was owned by Tyrion. Jon begins his training as a member of the Night’s Watch and resents that none of his family warned him about the King’s Hand. Prince Viserys Targaryen finds that his plans with Daenerys might have backfired when the new army begins following her orders. Tyrion gets word that winter could be returning.
1.4 Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things Airdate: 05/08/11
Tyrion leaves the Wall and visits Bran to learn Catelyn is no longer at the household. Jon’s action to defend a new Night’s Watch named Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) puts him at odds with some of his fellow Night’s Watch. Viserys tells Doreah of the history of the dragons in the realm, but reveals all the dragons have been slain. Eddard begins to investigate the death of the previous King’s Hand and question if he could be poisoned. Eddard learns from Lord Baelish that his investigation is causing problems and that he could be in danger. Eddard uncovers that King Robert’s secretly fathered a son named Gendry (Joe Dempsie) who is working as a blacksmith. Daenerys stands up against her brother and warns him that she’ll kill him if he strikes her again. The former Hand’s squire was suddenly turned into a knight is killed by Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane (Conan Stevens) when the tournament begins and Sansa learns from Baelish that the Mountain was responsible for scarring his brother Sandor “the Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann). Catelyn orders Tyrion captured for the attack on Bran and has him arrested for murder.
1.5 The Wolf and the Lion Airdate: 05/15/11
Eddard questions if the former Hand’s squire’s death was an accident and how the Mountain was picked as his opponent. When the Mountain loses in battle, a fight breaks out and his brother stops him. Lady Stark holds Tyrion prisoner but an attack by the Hill Tribes leads her to question what the truth is. Eddard learns that the King is at risk for assassination and that the squire was responsible. While searching for a cat, Arya learns that her brother’s fall wasn’t an accident and her father is a target. Stark learns that his wife has taken Tyrion prisoner and is taking him to her sister Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) to be judged. King Robert learns Daenerys is pregnant and orders Eddard to slay and her child. Eddard refuses Robert’s orders and realizes he must reach his wife. Catelyn takes Tyrion to her sister but finds her sister has plans for Tyrion for his role in killing her husband. Renly’s lover encourages Renly (Gethin Anthony) to usurp the throne. Eddard learns that the King’s Hand located Robert’s bastard children and questions why. Jaime comes for Eddard for his brother Tyrion and orders him pay for his crimes.
1.6 A Golden Crown Airdate: 05/22/11
Eddard wakes up from Jamie’s attack on him and is faced with by King Robert. Daenerys puts her dragon egg upon the fire but her servant finds her hands do not burn. Bran has dreams of a three eyed raven and is given a special riding saddle. When Bran is captured by people from the woods, Robb (Richard Madden) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) save his life. Arya continues her sword training with Syrio (Miltos Yerolemou) and is told to focus on her fighting instead of her family’s problems. Daenerys is forced to eat a heart as part of a Dothraki ceremony and Viserys sees his sister is gaining popularity among the people. Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) stands up to Viserys when he intends to flee with the dragon eggs. Tyrion demands a trial for his crimes and orders trial-by-combat, and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) stands in has his champion. Eddard orders The Mountain arrested while he is in charge of the kingdom and realizes it will have repercussions. Eddard orders Sansa and Arya to return to Winterfell and makes a discovery about the Lannister family. Viserys returns to Khal Drogo, to demand the crown he was promised, and Drogo grants his wish.
1.7 You Win or You Die Airdate: 05/29/11
Jamie goes to his father Lord Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) for help with Eddard and is reminded that the family name must live on. Eddard confronts Cersei about what she and did to Bran and reveals he knows that Jaime was the father of all of Robert’s children and the King’s Hand was killed for his discovery. Eddard orders Cersei to leave the kingdom with her children but is warned that he’s playing the game of thrones by challenging her. Baelish reveals that he was in love with Catelyn and intends to get Eddard back for taking the woman he loved. Osha (Natalia Tena) is held prisoner by the Stark for her attack on Bran and tells the Stark about the evil that has awakened beyond the Wall. When Benjen’s horse returns from the woods without Eddard’s brother Benjen (Joseph Mawle), Jon realizes something has happened to his uncle. Robert is mortally wounded during a boar hunt and leaves Eddard in charge, but Eddard leaves an out for the rightful heir in the will. Robert orders the assassination of Daenerys stopped too late, but Mormont stops the assassination attempt despite ruining his chance to return home. Jon is inducted into the Night’s Watch but is assigned to the stewards at the orders of Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale). Drogo swears vengeance on Robert’s kingdom for the attempt on Daenerys. When Robert dies, Eddard faces a new challenge from Queen Cersei and Joffrey.
1.8 The Pointy End Airdate: 06/05/11
The Queen and Joffrey’s men raid Eddard’s home and Arya is saved by her instructor as she flees. Sansa is held prisoner and ordered to send word to Winterfell to keep her brother Robb and Catelyn from war. Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) checks on Eddard in his cell, and Eddard learns that his life is in danger since Tyrion has escaped. Lord Commander Mormont (James Cosmo) gets word from King’s Landing of Robert’s death, and Jon learns his father is being held for treason. Robb finds he’s been ordered to King’s Landing and decides to call in the Banner for help. Catelyn tries to get her sister to send the Knights of the Vale but Lysa refuses her. Bronn and are captured by the Hill Tribes and find themselves negotiating for their lives. When bodies found at the Wall mysteriously come to life, Jon fights to save Mormont. Daenerys sees the evil side of the Khal Drogo’s people when they raid a village. When Daenerys objects the women’s treatment, Khal Drogo finds himself at odds with his warriors and is injured in battle. Robb leaves Winterfell to save Eddard, and Bran finds himself in charge of Winterfell. Osha warns Bran that the war shouldn’t be south but to the north beyond the Wall. Robb’s army prepares to battle Tywin’s forces, and Tyrion learns from his father that he’s expected to lead a troop into battle. Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) is let go from the Kingsguard, and Tywin is made the King’s Hand. Sansa gets to beg for her father’s life from King Joffrey who levees an offer.
1.9 Baelor Airdate: 06/12/11
Eddard learns that the king has agreed to forgive him if he swears he is the true king but refuses to bow to Joffrey. Catelyn goes to Lord Walder Frey (David Bradley) to beg for permission for Robb’s army to cross the river, and Robb gets access at a price. Jon is honored by for saving Mormont’s life, and Jon learns that Robb is headed to war against the Lannisters. Jon is warned by the ravens-master Aemon (Peter Vaughan) that he should abandon his family, and Jon discovers a secret about his past. Drogo’s injury is worse than it originally appeared, and continues to look to Mirri Maz Duur (Mia Soteriou) for aid. Tyrion gets a new woman in a prostitute named Shae (Sibel Kekilli) and takes her as his lover. Daenerys learns that Drogo will die and is forced to turn to blood magic in an attempt to save him. Daenerys is forced into early labor, and the ceremony for Drogo is interrupted. Tyrion tells the story of his first wife and what his father did. When Robb’s men get a jump on Tyrion’s army the battle begins. Robb gets a surprise first win when he makes a big capture. Eddard makes a decision about what he is to do and faces his captors and the people.
1.10 Fire and Blood Airdate: 06/19/11
Eddard is dead at the King’s orders, and Yoren (Francis Magee) works to get Arya out of the city. Bran tells Osha of a dream of his father and learns that he shared the dream with his brother Rickon (Art Parkinson). News of Eddard’s death spreads, and Robb and Catelyn realize Sansa and Arya must be saved. Sansa finds herself a prisoner of King Joffery and learns he will keep her as his wife. The warring army of Robb make him the King of the North and vow to fight for him. Jamie is held prisoner by Robb and Tywin vows to reclaim his son. Tywin orders Tyrion to go to King’s Landing to serve as the King’s Hand but tells him that he cannot take Shae. Daenerys learns that her child is dead, and Drogo is comatose. Snow abandons his post to find his brother’s army and avenge his father. Tyrion decides to take Shae to King’s Landing against his father’s orders. Sam goes after Jon and tries to remind him of his duty to the Night’s Watch. Yoren makes Arya pose as a boy and uses a cover to get her out of King’s Landing. Jon learns that there are things happening beyond the Wall and that he is needed in an expedition beyond the Wall. Daenerys prepares to burn Drogo, Mirri, and the dragon eggs after killing him, but Daenerys has her own plans.