Game of Thrones Recap

So what did we think? I loved the scene with Dinklage when he announces he is the King’s hand- “You love your children, it’s your one redeeming quality. That and your cheekbones.”

I snorted.

Time for the Californication finale.

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55 replies
  1. 1
    Benno says:

    I preferred another quip from the same scene (and I approximate here): “It must be hard for you being the disappointing one.”

  2. 2
    Some Guy says:

    Really enjoyed it. Not as much as I thought I would though. I was surprised they gave Joffrey some back talk to his mom.

    I wanted more Davos. But I think any scene with the Imp is a winner every time.

  3. 3
    Tim F. says:

    The show will be Game of Peter Dinklage Acting Circles Around Everyone for the foreseeable future. Robert and Ceresi were at least fun to watch for the sparks and Sean Bean was Sean effing Bean. The rest of his family is lethally serious. I’m going to count the episodes until redacted and redacted enjoy their rather violent riff on Huck Finn. It annoys me to know that the wooden totem who plays littlefinger will (spoiler alert!) take up my valuable TV watching time for years yet. Asha/whatever she’s called here ought to pick things up.

    Stannis’s storyline has some promise. Aside from the cipherific red priestess you have the closest thing that the casting guys could get to a bromance between James Woods and Jean Reno. That can only turn out well.

  4. 4
    Dclaw1 says:

    Was kind of underwhelmed, to be honest. Maybe it’ll grow on me like the first season. Not many of the characters draw me in like Robert and Ned did. At least from episode 1, this season feels more generically “epic” to me, but we’ll see.

  5. 5
    Anya says:

    No spoilers, please, for those of us too hip or too poor to own a teevee.

    Also, too, since this thread is about television — did you know that NBC is considering Sarah Palin to Co-Host ‘The Today Show’?

  6. 6
    Dclaw1 says:

    Also, I’ve started watching Breaking Bad (middle of Season 2 now), so I think I’ve gotten spoiled.

  7. 7
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    This has not been a good year for horses.

  8. 8
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    @Anya: CNN was on the verge of giving Breitbart his own show.

  9. 9
    Michael says:

    It felt very much like a prologue to something larger. Now that they have an audience, it seems as though there was no need to really try to grab the viewer by the throat in episode 1, the way a pilot does.

    I love Peter Dinklage. And am looking forward to more khaleesi

  10. 10
    Clime Acts says:

    For the love of god, Cole, pull yourself away from all this crap tv and do some blog posting…this place is going to shit.

  11. 11
    Anya says:

    @Mouse Tolliver: Well, they employ that red state guy. So I don’t see much difference, besides, CNN is becoming another faux news. They’ve completely ruined their brand. NBC, on the other hand, has got a little bit of a respectability left. The thing is, the word salad queen cannot cary a witty conversation, nor can she interview people. So, what reason would they let her host a show? I don’t get it.

  12. 12
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Yes, Cole, what the hell is all the money I’m paying to read this crap site going toward, if all you do is sit around watching television?

  13. 13
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Anya:

    NBC, on the other hand, has got a little bit of a respectability left.

    Hi! Thanks for your kind words about NBC News! To thank you properly, David Gregory, host of John McCain Meets the Press, Senior Village Idiot Chuck Todd, Superstar Morning Host and Non-Intern Killer Joe Scarborough, and Awesome Cool Correspondent of Like the Kongras or Whatever Luke Russert, would all like to have a word with you if possible.

  14. 14
    Nicole says:

    Oh no, Silver!

    Though I read somewhere that the producers learned from the first season that any scene involving horses would take twice as long as scenes without them, so I kind of understand wanting to reduce the number of equines this season.

  15. 15
    Wee Bey says:

    Direwolf cam.

    Can only mean, soon, Dragon Cam.

  16. 16
    Anya says:

    @fasteddie9318: I said a little bit. But still, Palin is much, much worse than all the horrible characters you’ve listed.

  17. 17
    Kiril says:

    @Anya: Anya, I love ya, but do you really think a GoT recap thread is the best place to avoid spoilers?

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    Seemed like a bit of a slow start, but you can never match the pace of a pilot episode. I thought it was interesting that Sansa seems to be starting to figure out how to manipulate Joffrey. Lots of mysticism that’s not explained but hopefully will be explained soon — I really don’t get the whole “old gods” vs. “new gods” conflict at all, so hopefully they’ll remember to explain it for those of us who haven’t read the books.

  19. 19
    AnnaN says:

    Why do none of the Elder Lannisters have blond hair this season? This is bugging me irrationally.

  20. 20
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Mnemosyne: I thought the red priestess of the Light God or whatever was a tad Skyrim-ish. It made the series feel like somewhat generic role-playing fantasy for the first time. But I remind myself it’s just the first episode.

    I was also reminded of how perfunctory HBO nudity can be. I don’t need them to porn it up – just gets in the way if it’s not integral to plot.

  21. 21
    Anya says:

    @Kiril: I know. But I can’t stay away from these type of threads. I am glad non of the front pagers likes Dr. Who.

  22. 22
    Kiril says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have not read the books, so I may be off here. The way I get it is that Westeros is like pre-Christian Britain and people like the Starks were earlier inhabitants who worshiped the old gods, similar to the ancient Britons/Celts and Druidism. For instance, I think the Starks worship at some particularly old tree in the north somewhere, which is where Jon Snow took his vows. Then came your GoT analogues to the Angles and Saxons with different religious beliefs. I think the Targaryens (Dani) showed up with dragons and conquered the whole place, bringing along different gods, maybe like Viking invaders? The dragons died off, but the religion lasted. I think that’s the gist of it, anyway.

  23. 23
    slag says:

    After watching two episodes of Chuck, I’m skeptical of your teevee recommendations, Cole. The Twitters recommends Great Expectations: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/master.....s_ep1.html. My expectations aren’t great, but I’m giving it a try.

  24. 24
    Kiril says:

    @Anya: I have the same problem with people who have read the books in threads on another site. They can’t help but show up and jabber amongst themselves about all that is to come. It got some of us so frustrated that eventually some of them just started throwing in all kinds of false spoilers as a courtesy, so that we wouldn’t know what to believe and could still be surprised. (But honestly, I’m just avoiding certain sites altogether for the next few months. And one bartender.)

  25. 25
    Groucho48 says:

    I thought it was a decent start. They had a lot to throw at us and they did.

    I think they have a bit of a needle to thread with how to switch between the story arcs. In the books, you can get away with focusing on one story arc a chapter, because the chapters are a half hour of reading, so, if it’s a story arc you don’t care for, you know you will get to one you do pretty soon.

    With the series, if they do that, a lot of folks are going to be upset when, say, Tyrion, isn’t around for a couple weeks.

    On the other hand, if you do a little bit of each story line each week, it’s going to be an unsatisfying mish-mash.

    I think they handled this well the first season, but, there are going to be more and more story arcs each season. I’m interested in seeing how they handle it.

  26. 26
    Anya says:

    @Kiril: I know. People should be able to discuss shows without delving into essential plot details. But some people have no imagination.

  27. 27
    Wonkie says:

    I think they are goig to have to leave some story arcs out. Espcially once they get into the third book. Unless they are planning to keep going for the next decade.

  28. 28
    CT says:

    @Dclaw1:

    That show is so f’in good. I’m rewatching now, and even knowing what’s going to happen in a particular episode, it is still fantastic. Can’t wait for the next season…

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kiril:

    That would make sense — I hadn’t made the Targarian/fire gods and Starks/ice gods connection, but now I can see it.

    @DCLaw1:

    I was also reminded of how perfunctory HBO nudity can be. I don’t need them to porn it up – just gets in the way if it’s not integral to plot.

    If you’re talking about the whorehouse scene, I thought that worked really well, because it led you to believe that we were going to see more of that part of the subplot, and it turned into something completely different and horrifying. I’m still wondering if the order for that came from Joffrey or Cersei (right now, I’m leaning towards Cersei, but I guess we’ll find out soon).

  30. 30
    Alison says:

    @Groucho48: Agreed on the difficulties with all the story lines. I just emailed a friend saying I almost wish the episodes were two hours each, because inevitably we’re going to want more from this or that character, but it just can’t always be done. Plus, there’s just so much starting to come together, and you also don’t want to leave one particular arc too long, lest people forget who the fuck someone is, especially viewers who haven’t read the books.

    So I do not envy the directors/producers/writers/whoever else their tasks in that regard.

    And I know I’m joining the chorus here, but I really am so thrilled for Dinklage getting this role, the award, the notice – he is definitely someone who deserves more work, and he’s proving it here.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Alison:

    For some reason, I was convinced that he was younger than I am, but I looked it up in IMDb and he’s actually older than me by exactly 4 days.

    ETA: Meaning that Dinklage and I were born 4 days apart in the same year. Tired, need sleep.

  32. 32
    Nate Dawg says:

    I’ve read the books several times over, so perhaps am a bit biased and knew was what coming (mostly).

    1. The scene with Melisandre (the women in red) and the Old Maester who tried to kill her was a bit underwhelming. They could have a) made it more obvious what he was doing and b) waited until she had drunken the wine before showing him dying of the poison. Easy fix. In the book, it was terribly dramatic. Kind of forgettable here.

    2. Craster (the perverted incestuous Wildling) was WAYYY too groomed to have lived his whole life beyond the wall. I pictured a yellow-toothed mofo with wild hair, beard, and disgusting mannerisms such as spitting out a fine mixture of food and snot upon every syllable. The actor portraying just looked like your run-of-the-mill psychopathic country clubber.

    3. Awesome scene added: where Joffrey dresses down Momma after she dares lay a head upon the royal person. Wasn’t in the books, but added a whole lot to this episode. Thumbs up.

    4. The ending was amazing. Got my heart rate up. The whole hunt for Robert’s basturds was very “Jesus of Nazareth”, and loved how it segued into Arya and Gendry’s escape from King’s Landing. She’s an under-developed character in this point of the narrative who will soon come to more prominence. (Spoiler?).

    Overall, very very pleased.

    And a word on spoilers. If you read the books, spoiling the TV series is rude for threads like this. If you didn’t watch the show, THEN DON’T READ THE THREAD ABOUT IT. If we can’t discuss just *this* episode without fear of spoiling it, well then, we can’t discuss it.

  33. 33
    Nate Dawg says:

    Ugh modderation.

  34. 34
    Nate Dawg says:

    I’ve read the books several times over, so perhaps am a bit biased and knew was what coming (mostly).

    1. The scene with Melisandre (the women in red) and the Old Maester who tried to kill her was a bit underwhelming. They could have a) made it more obvious what he was doing and b) waited until she had drunken the wine before showing him dying of the poison. Easy fix. In the book, it was terribly dramatic. Kind of forgettable here.

    2. Craster (the perverted incesous Wildling) was WAYYY too groomed to have lived his whole life beyond the wall. I pictured a yellow-toothed mo fo with wild hair, beard, and disgusting mannerisms spitting out a fine mixture of food and snot upon every syllable. The actor portraying him just looked like your run-of-the-mill psychopathic country clubber.

    3. Awesome scene added: where Joffrey dresses down Momma after she dares lay a hand upon the royal person. Wasn’t in the books, but added a whole lot to this episode. Thumbs up.

    4. The ending was amazing. Got my heart rate up. The whole hunt for Robert’s basturds was very “Jesus of Nazareth”, and loved how it segued into Arya and Gendry’s escape from King’s Landing. She’s an under-developed character in this point of the narrative who will soon come to more prominence. (Spoiler?).

    Overall, very very pleased.

    And a word on spoilers. If you read the books, spoiling the TV series is rude for threads like this. If you didn’t watch the show, THEN DON’T READ THE THREAD ABOUT IT. If we can’t discuss just this episode without fear of spoiling it, well then, we can’t discuss it.

  35. 35
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Clime Acts: Drop dead, pervert.

  36. 36
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    I’ve read the first book, and some of the second. That episode was intense. The sooner Joffrey gets his head lopped off, the better.

  37. 37
    piratedan says:

    @DCLaw1:

    I thought the red priestess of the Light God or whatever was a tad Skyrim-ish. It made the series feel like somewhat generic role-playing fantasy for the first time. But I remind myself it’s just the first episode.

    that’s like saying why in the hell are all of these old bands covering Glee songs…..

    chicken or the egg….

    completely OT: strongly recommend new book called The Rook for your SF/Fantasy fixation

  38. 38
    Gaffa says:

    Mnemosyne and Kiril:

    Pretty darn apt viewing, for never having read the books. The Old Gods (the tree-worshippers) is the religion of the first inhabitants of Westeros (of whom the Starks are our main representatives in the show).

    After them came the Andals (as in “Jorah of the Andals,” as Khal Drogo called Ser Jorah), who brought their own religion, the Seven. Katelyn Stark worships the Seven — back in Season One, that was a Seven-esque prayer wheel thingee she was hanging over Bran’s bed while he was in a coma.

    The Targaryans actually worship(ped) the Seven like the Andals did. The new Red Priestess worships a god we haven’t seen on the show yet, and I’ll be interested to see just how much information the show has time to give on this new religion.

  39. 39
    Gaffa says:

    Oh, yeah, as for the episode itself from my standpoint…I thought it did fine. Everyone seemed to be having tons of fun with their roles, the pacing held up very well, and the only scene that seemed to flow flat for me was Craster’s Keep (the one with the Night’s Watch). Stannis was adorably Stannis, Cersei got some brand new lines to flaunt with, Jack Gleeson is just stealing scenes as Joff, and really it was a fine, if not awesome, season opener. Could have used a bit more Davos, but then I’m a hopeless Davos fan.

  40. 40
    TheronWare says:

    I can’t wait till those dragons grow up and start kicking some serious arse!

  41. 41
    Legalize says:

    It’s the first episode of a new season, where they know that the show will be on as long as the producers care to keep delivering material. It was an episode entirely directed at table-setting for the future of the series.

    Recall, this is exactly what the Sopranos did after the first season.

    The scene between Rob Stark and Jamie Lanister was my favorite.

  42. 42
    Eastriver says:

    Peter Dinklage is a good actor, but by no means great. He has a tin ear (whatever the fuck dialect he’s attempting sucks), and his range is limited. You might like the character he’s playing, or his performance, but that doesn’t mean he’s an amazing talent. Simply not true.

  43. 43
    sherparick says:

    @Kiril: Also, if you hate spoilers, don’t read the books. I must admit that I liked Cersei better on the screen then in the books. Lena Headey really gives nuance to a character that Martin basically presents as a cartoon figure on the first three books. And, yes Bloody Lannisters.

    I have had no place left to put this, but someone who majored in medieval history in college, and has loved reading Huizinga’s “Autumn of the Middle Ages,” Norman Cantor’s “The Civilization of the Middle Ages,” and Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror” along with the Shakespeares plays about the fall of the Plantagenet dynasty in England (Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, Henry V, Henry VI Part 1, Henry VI Part II, and Richard III (the first four were written after the last 3, and of course are are better plays, although the Henry VI, Part 1 as the great line “….the first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers….”), it is amazing how much Martin gets right about the spirit of late Medieval England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Burgundy, Lorraine, and the Netherlands and the family and dynastic struggles of Planagenet and Valois, their branches, and the other great feudal lords like Warwick (on whom Tywin Lannister I think is modeled, and Edward IV, who I think served as model for Robb , and Richard III who is perhaps the model for Tyrion).

  44. 44
    sherparick says:

    Another reason I think this is the era that Martin borrowed as his model was it was an age of tremendous religious agitation and dispute, with the first rumbles of the reformation to come, as well as the advancement of a new humanist, rationalist ideology (in Martin’s book that would be the Meisters, the Roman Catholic Church is is the “The Seven,” and Manichean God of Fire seems to represent the emerging “Protestant” movement (the figures of Jan Huss and Wycliffe might have been the models for Melisandre and Stannis).

  45. 45
    kindness says:

    Last nights episode seemed more of a wrap up the threads than furthering a plot line. I mean, there were some exchanges but not a lot of meat on them bones.

    Will just have to wait and see next week.

  46. 46
    BeanTooth says:

    Having read the books, I can say with complete confidence that the slowness of this episode is mirrored in the Clash of Kings book. Martin creates so much stuff that it takes him a while to get things humming. By the mid-point of the season, things should be pretty ridiculous. And the climactic scenes will be absolutely epic. Minds will be blown.

  47. 47
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    “And a word on spoilers. If you read the books, spoiling the TV series is rude for threads like this. If you didn’t watch the show, THEN DON’T READ THE THREAD ABOUT IT.”

    You mean we can’t tell them about the Tyrion-Cersei-Hodor three-way?

  48. 48
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    “Craster (the perverted incestuous Wildling) was WAYYY too groomed to have lived his whole life beyond the wall.”

    Conversely, Osha (in the 1st series) was way too crusty on TV compared to my concept of her from the books.

    You guys are lucky to have HBO (sigh).

  49. 49

    “Hodor!” Hodor exclaimed, as he Hodored Cersei with his Hodorous Hodor.

  50. 50
    DFH no.6 says:

    Nice summation of the religions/gods aspect of GOT, Gaffa.

    This isn’t a spoiler, just some additional information in that regard for those watching the series who haven’t read the books (and it will help you make some sense of this new character – the Red Priestess, Melisandre – and how what she represents fits into the overall story):

    Her god is R’hllor, the god of light (and fire) who is not much worshipped in Westeros at this time.

    It wasn’t really made clear at all in this first episode (not enough time for exposition, though we do get the information at this point in the book), but as commenter sherparick put it, R’hllor really is a very Manichean (or even more anciently, Zoroastrian) figure, and his worshippers consider other gods (such as the Andals Seven, or the Stark’s “old gods” of ancient Westeros) to be false, and their woshippers heretics.

    Thus the burning of the wooden statues of the Seven (the gods of most people in Westeros) on the beach in this episode, though I expect that was not completely clear to all non-readers of the series.

    And, since R’hllor the “fire” god is considered by his worshippers to be the good one, who is his Manichean (Zorastrian) evil antithesis? That would be “the god whose name can not be spoken” who is the god of “ice” and death.

    Thus the “ice zombies” north of the Wall and the mysterious ones who create them (called the Others in the books) who have returned after 8,000 years to be the existential threat to the world, while the feudal lords (bloody Lannisters!) fight amongst themselves in their game of thrones. And the point behind Melisandre’s speech on the beach among the burning statues and the whole thing with Stannis’ sword (also probably not very clear to non-readers).

    HBO named the series The Game of Thrones (after the first book). Martin’s name for his series is A Song of Ice and Fire.

  51. 51
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Tim F.:

    I couldn’t disagree more about Aidan Gillen (who plays Littlefinger).

    Mayor Tommy Carcetti from The Wire is perfectly cast as Littlefinger, and plays the role well (even with some of the cringe-inducing porn HBO puts in some of his scenes).

    De gustibus and YMMV, I suppose.

  52. 52
    Yelli says:

    Do any of you think that it is worth it to read the books AND watch the show at the same time? I was hesitating to read the books but have watched the show “religiously” and was thinking that when the show ended, I could relive the glory days by reading it. But reading this thread, it seems like there is a lot of background I am missing and that reading only ADDS to the pleasure that is the watching of “Game of Thrones” (even though the steampunk intro sort of bugs me every time).

  53. 53
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Yelli:

    You’d likely get the opposite opinion from some, but I think you would definitely enjoy reading the (still-unfinished) series while watching the show.

    I started reading the series when the first book was published in ’96, and I finished the latest book (book 5) right after it came out last summer. Martin’s planning on completing it with book 7 (I’d guess that’s about six years out).

    If (big if) HBO doesn’t pull a Carnivale with GOT, it will probably be six or seven years before HBO catches up with book 5 – the third book is too long to do in one season.

    I’m a lifelong (nearly six decades) fan of the genre, though I realize there’s a large pile of junk there compared to the good stuff. I think Martin’s series is solidly on the “good stuff” side. I recommended it long before HBO got into it.

    The HBO series so far has been very faithful to the books, though in a way that allows non-readers to enjoy the sprawling story. They’re doing a very good job, IMHO.

    But I think you’re right – having read the books and knowing a lot of the background that can’t plausibly be included on the screen adds to the pleasure of watching the show. Does for me, anyway.

    And I’m with you on the steampunk intro. It’s been praised for giving a good overview of where the places in Martin’s world (like King’s Landing and the Wall) are in relation to each other, but I find the “19th century” aspect of it doesn’t fit.

  54. 54
    Skipjack says:

    It’s not steampunk, clockwork has existed for hundreds of years. The golden compass thing attached to the light source for the credit sequence is an astrolabe, a very old method of telling time.

    The mechanical aspect of constructing the cities out of the ground like clockwork really appeals to me, because it shows how deterministic the show can be, and how the story has gears and wheels within wheels.

    ETA: in one of the commentaries Dan Weiss calls the opening monkpunk, since the architecture tends to look rather cathedral-like and medieval.

  55. 55
    Yelli says:

    Thanks for the info! I think I will go and see if it is available at the library. (we seriously do not need any more books lying around or I will become a library!)

    As for the opening credits, I do like how the map shows how each kingdom relates to one another as that is important to the storyline. monkpunk? LOVE IT!!!!

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