In what may be the best use of Easter Weekend ever, I sat down and binge-watched the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, consuming five episodes a day for the four-day weekend, and culminating in the third season premiere last night (SoHo, 8.30pm). I wasn't alone: my fiancée and a group of friends, one of whom had never seen Thrones before, joined me.
So, for today's blog, I thought I would go back and comment on every episode in 50 words (or less) - I've also posted a few thoughts about the third season premiere at the bottom, and I'm interested in your thoughts, so please share those in the comments section below. Here is what I was thinking about as I watched Game of Thrones again ...
(Warning: MAJOR spoilers from every episode of Game of Thrones follow.)
Season 1 Episode 1 "Winter Is Coming"
I remember first watching this episode, and thinking "Who is that? Where are we? And why is Jaime Lannister shagging his sister and pushing a kid out a window?" Now, upon re-watching, I think "Oh, it's that guy! And that place! And compared to some, Jaime Lannister is okay."
Season 1 Episode 2 "The Kingsroad"
The best part of this episode: Tyrion slaps Joffrey three times, and I get excited because Joffrey deserves that s**t. Meanwhile, Daenerys gets lessons on how to have sex with a vicious foreign killing machine ... and somehow it becomes one of the show's most romantic scenes. Go figure.
Season 1 Episode 3 "Lord Snow"
"War was easier than daughters," Ned opines, after another argument between Sansa and Arya. We get our first introduction to Littlefinger and Varys, two of the best characters in Westeros. Meanwhile, Jaime and Cersei get hot'n'heavy again. Jaime Lannister could have anyone in Westeros, but he shags his sister? Eww.
Season 1 Episode 4 "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
Tyrion Lannister (the incomparable Peter Dinklage) was a great character from the beginning, but he absolutely owns Thrones by this point. I'm also noticing the sheer number of intense stare-downs, like Ned saying "I was trained to kill my enemies," and Cersei replying "So was I." It's fun!
Season 1 Episode 5 "The Wolf and The Lion"
Okay, medieval tween Robin Arryn (played by Lino Facioli) is still breastfeeding. Y'know, a couple of years ago, Lino went home to his parents after a day on set, and they said "darling son, tell us about what you did today," to which poor Lino had to reply "Well ..."
Season 1 Episode 6 "A Golden Crown"
The moment when Drogo exclaims "a crown for a king!" and pours molten gold on Viserys Targaryen's head ranks as one of the most satisfying in the show's run. Also, has any character in any show been mourned less than Viserys? Even Daenerys doesn't really care that he dies.
Season 1 Episode 7 "You Win or You Die"
Jon Snow finishes his ranger training and becomes ... a steward, what the hell?! Meanwhile, in King's Landing, Robert dies and the city goes into full political-thriller mode, culminating in Ned's failed coup d'etat. "I did warn you not to trust me," says Littlefinger. "I played Mayor Tommy Carcetti, y'know."
Season 1 Episode 8 "The Pointy End"
There's a zombie at the wall, Robb decides to go to war, and Syrio Forel is killed by the Lannisters ... but the whole episode is weighed down by what happens at Baelor. By the way, "jalan atthiri anni" is Dothraki for "moon of my life" - that'll impress my fiancée.
Season 1 Episode 9 "Baelor"
Like the previous episode, if you know what is coming, the whole hour is filled with a sense of dread. Oh, other things happen - primarily around Robb's attempt to cross The Twins, and his victory over the Lannister forces - but the impending death of Ned Stark is distracting.
Season 1 Episode 10 "Fire and Blood"
"DRAGONS! DRAGONSDRAGONSDRAGONSDRAGONSDRAGONS!!!" - my fiancée. (Also, the various factions deal with the death of Ned, the Nights Watch ride north of the wall, Tyrion is sent to be Hand Of The King, Arya leaves the city with Yoren, and Khal Drogo dies of an infected booboo. But who cares - DRAGONS!)
Season 2 Episode 1 "The North Remembers"
Even watching in hindsight, there are so many new characters in the first few episodes - Stannis, Melisandre, Davos, Yara, Balon, Craster, Margaery - that its almost confusing at first. And there's a baby massacre! On the plus side, Joffrey gets slapped again, and I get excited because Joffrey deserves that s**t.
Season 2 Episode 2 "The Night Lands"
I think Theon arriving back at Pyke to a non-welcome might be my favourite minor subplot. Nobody recognises him. Then his dad (played brilliantly by Patrick Malahide) rejects him. Then he finds out the girl he groped on his way to the castle was his own sister, Yara. Poor guy.
Season 2 Episode 3 "What Is Dead May Never Die"
"Power resides where men believe it resides," says Varys. "And a very small man can cast a very large shadow." Tyrion taking out Pycelle with a clever power-play is a season highlight for me. Plus, we meet Renly's new wife, Margaery, whose super-low-cut tops would make J-Lo blush.
Season 2 Episode 4 "Garden of Bones"
This episode is all about gaseous evacuations: it opens with a soldier making a fart joke, and ends with Melisandre giving birth to the Smoke Monster from Lost. Meanwhile, Daenerys arrives at Qarth, the greatest city that ever was or will be. It's fun to say "Qarth, the greatest city that ever was or will be."
Season 2 Episode 5 "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
Holy crap, the Smoke Monster from Lost just stabbed Renly through the heart! Later, Tyrion uncovers Cersei's store of wildfire ... which made me grin, because I immediately thought about how it gets used later in the season. A messy episode overall, though; there's just too much going on.
Season 2 Episode 6 "The Old Gods and the New"
Aww, Jon Snow is in love with a wildling! This is another messy episode - Theon takes Winterfell, Joffrey gets attacked in the streets of Kings Landing, Littlefinger visits Harrenhal, Arya gives Jaqen H'ghar another name ... it all kind of blurs together.
Season 2 Episode 7 "A Man Without Honor"
"Did you pull a knife on me during the night?" says Ygritte, snuggled up to Jon Snow. Elsewhere, "Hodor," chuckles Hodor. "Hodor!" Later, Pyat Pree kills the rest of the Thirteen, the rulers of Qarth. That yawning you hear is me remembering how this storyline ends.
Season 2 Episode 8 "The Prince of Winterfell"
As with episodes preceding Ned's death in Season 1, this busy episode - Arya breaking out of Harrenhal, Jaime and Brienne going on a road trip, Tyrion having a staredown with Cersei - is weighed down by the anticipation of what happens in the next episode.
Season 2 Episode 9 "Blackwater"
Is Blackwater the single best episode of Game of Thrones (so far)? I would argue yes, given the narrower focus and sheer scale of the unfolding battle. Also, the guy who plays the guy who made the wildfire, Roy Dotrice, records the audio versions of the A Song of Ice & Fire series. True.
Season 2 Episode 10 "Valar Morghulis"
As I re-watch, and as excited as I am about dragons burning a guy to death or the arrival of the white walkers, I can't help but feel sorry for Tyrion. Who knew that the most sympathetic character at the end of Season 2 would be a Lannister?!
Season 3 Episode 1 "Valar Dohaeris"
A few thoughts about last night's premiere:
- I think leaving a bunch of characters out this week - Bran, Arya, Theon and Jaime, most notably - was the right call; the episode was busy enough, and it meant that we could spend a bit more time with Tyrion than might have been afforded otherwise.
- Speaking of Tyrion, I still feel sorry for the guy. He did save King's Landing, after all. That scene between him and his father was a showcase for both Peter Dinklage and Charles Dance, who was fantastic sharing scenes with Arya in Season 2, and continues to shine in his few moments here.
- I don't care how tortured I am: if a guy cuts off my nipple, I'm reacting. Also, the scorpion that tried to kill Daenerys is called a manticore in the books. It was an unexpected, but pleasant, surprise to see Ser Barristan Selmy show up to save the day. How that changes Daenerys' thinking in regard to the Unsullied, and in her relationship with Ser Jorah, will be interesting.
- Last, Jon Snow's tale was curious: do we think he really does want to turn his back on the Nights Watch because of what happened at Craster's Keep? Or is he just smart enough to know that a true story that he feels strongly about would be a more convincing way to earn Mance Rayder's trust?
Did you watch the Season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones? What did you think? And did any of you binge-watch Game of Thrones over the past few days, weeks or months?