Apparently the best way to become king is to just say you're the king.
For those of you who have been travelling in time and managed to miss the past few months (it's April 2012 now), the hugely popular television series Game of Thrones has returned. For those of you who have been travelling longer than a few months, the show is based off George R.R. Martin's hit fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice. The show is fairly faithful to the novels, and since it's shown on HBO we get to see a lot of gratuitous sex and violence to go with it, which perhaps is why the show has taken off despite the intricate plot, high fantasy premise, and the large number of similar characters. But I'll keep you waiting no longer- here's the recap of our first episode, The North Remembers.
*Brace yourselves, spoilers are coming*
There is a brief recap of the happenings of the first series. For those who haven't seen it, stop what you're doing right now, get a hold of the first season somehow, and watch all the episodes. You'll probably maintain an erection longer than four hours, but don't worry, I asked a doctor about it and he said that's normal. Alternatively you can read the books- the first season is based off the instalment of the same name as the show, while this season to come is based on the second book, A Clash of Kings. I'll be writing this recap under the premise that the general readership knows the main players after the first season, so try to keep up.
We open in King's Landing, where the newly crowned King Joffrey is being his usual little prick self and making people fight because that's what he enjoys doing. He also enjoys berating Sansa Stark, his hostage/sort of technically fiancée. Joffrey has decided he'd like to see old Ser Dontos, a drunkard and ex-knight, die. To this end, he forces him to do a wine keg stand (been there, that's a rough night) before fighting. Sansa intervenes, because she is not a giant asshole, and Joffrey's "dog" Sandor Clegane sides with her. Thus Joffrey does not kill the old knight but instead turns him into his fool. Sansa saved Dontos's life and this will be relevant later (spoiler: I've read all the books). Meanwhile, Tyrion comes in and makes Joffrey feel like an idiot, because that's his special talent and we love him for it.
Tyrion then saunters over to a council meeting, where the various heads of King's Landing are discussing the general poverty of the city and the impending winter. Oh, I'm sorry, were you tired of "Winter is Coming" memes? Get over it. Anyway, he spends some time gloating over his position as Tywin's (his father) substitute Hand, which pisses off his lovely incestuous sister, Cercei. Cercei admits to losing Arya Stark and comments on Robb Stark's victories in the North, and Tyrion makes her feel even more inferior with his sharp wit. Tyrion is the only decent member of the Lannister family, but he's so awesome he makes up for all of them. Also Peter Dinklage deserves to win all the awards for forever.
Meanwhile, in the Stark stronghold of Winterfell, the local lords and bannermen are coming to beg help from Bran Stark and Maester Luwin. We establish that Bran (who, by the way, is like seven) is technically Lord of Winterfell right now. Later, Hordor takes him on a walk (reminder: Bran is paralysed) with Osha and they comment on the burning red comet overhead. Bran tosses out some theories on what it means, but Osha maintains it is a portent of dragons. DRAGONS!
Meanwhile across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen is wandering the desert with her pet dragons. She tries to feed them raw meat while talking to her slave girls about how stupid her brother was. Yeah, we know Viserys was stupid: that's why I felt pure joy when Khal Drago poured molten gold over his head. Her horse dies. She is upset about it. Anyhoo, she sends the various kos (bloodriders) out to find cities, since her people are idly wandering the desert.
Up in the chilly north, the knights of the Watch have set forth to figure out what exactly is going on north of the Wall. They arrive at the house of one Mr. Craster, who has a penchant for marrying his daughters (so much incest). No one's quite clear on what happens to his sons. Jon Snow, bastard son of Eddard Stark (or is he... dun dun dun), has been recruited as steward to Commander Mormont. Craster takes a dislike to him immediately, which isn't helped by the fact that Jon is obviously not a fan of his either. Mormont yells at him to keep his mouth shut in public. We establish that the wildlings north of the Wall have taken to following Mance Rayder, but don't quite figure out yet what it is they're running from.
Meanwhile, east of King's Landing at Dragonstone, we are introduced to Stannis Baratheon, King Robert's younger but not youngest brother. His new pet witch, Mellisandre, is burning The Seven (the traditional gods of his people) in favour of the Lord of Light, who is totally not an allusion to Jesus Christ, we swear. She pulls a sword out of the flame and calls it "Lightbringer" before bequeathing it to Stannis. Meanwhile, there's an old priest named Maester Cresson who dislikes the burning of the old gods. He informs Stannis's loyal servant Davos (who, as an aside, was once a thief and had his fingers cut off- he keeps them in a pouch around his neck now) that he intends to kill Mellisandre. To that end, Cresson poisons a cup and drinks from it with her, sacrificing himself for what he believes is the greater good. Unfortunately for him, she doesn't die. I try to decide if she or Daenerys has the worse wig. Stannis writes a letter announcing that the throne is rightfully his and accusing Cercei of incest. He ravens it out to everyone he knows, since Ned Stark's big mistake was keeping that a secret.
In the north, but not quite as north as Winterfell or The Wall, Robb is kicking ass and taking names as the newly crowned King of the North. By the way, if you go to a bar and the patrons are drunk and you start chanting "King of the North! King of the North!" people will join in. Robb speaks to Jaime and they insult each other a bit, and Robb accuses him of banging his sister (totes true) and pushing Bran off the tower when he caught them (also true). He sets his wolf Grey Wind on Jaime. By the way, can anyone hook me up with a pet direwolf?
Back once again in King's Landing, Tyrion and his whore Shae are overlooking the city and commenting on its rotten stench. The city looks remarkably like Venice, which does have a pretty bad odour during high summer, I can attest to that. They coo sweet insults at each other, and I hate her because she's a raging bitch. But I'm getting ahead of myself by a couple seasons there.
At the same time Cercei is twatting about (that is the only verb Cercei seems to do). She threatens Petyr Baelish a bit. He has made himself his own sigil, a mockingbird. This isn't to capitalise on the popularity of The Hunger Games, but because he has his little birdies singing him songs, and he's acquired his power through knowledge. Cercei torments him a bit just to prove that her power is more secure than his. God I hate that bitch.
Robb sends some cousin of the Lannisters' to King's Landing with demands, which are basically that he'll trade Jaime for his sisters but only if they also leave the North to him. Furthermore, his father's old ward Theon Greyjoy asks if he can go to his father, a king on the coast, and ask for ships to fight the Lannisters/Baratheons. Catelyn Stark, mother of the various Stark children, dislikes both these plans, as 1) she's rather attached to her daughters and 2) she doesn't trust the Greyjoys. She also asks to return to Winterfell to be with Bran and the youngest Stark, Rickon. Robb, however, has now got a taste for power (he's like sixteen by the way), and not only dismisses her concerns, but also sends her south to the Riverlands to ask Renly, Robert's youngest brother, to stand down from fighting Robb's army.
Again we visit King's landing. Joffrey is trying his hand at interior decorating, pimping out his sweet pad or whatever shithead thirteen-year-olds do. He asks Cercei if his father- Robert, not Jaime- really did have bastards. She slaps him, which he deserves. He acts like a little prick about it, though. Seriously, Tyrion is the only person in that family who isn't a giant twat. I suppose Tywin isn't either, though he hasn't really come to play yet.
In case anyone was worried that we weren't going to be treated to breasts this episode, we got a shot of two people mid-coitus, along with some boobs freely jiggling in all their naked glory. Thanks, HBO. That gratuitous scene leads into a shot of soldiers all over the Landing searching for and slaying Robert's bastards. They are torturing a blacksmith over the whereabouts of one named Gendry, but we learned he's escaped- and he's on the King's Road, heading to the Wall with Arya Stark and Yoren.
Well there you have it. After many months of anticipation, Game of Thrones is back. This episode may feel a bit tedious because it's catching us up on everything and reminding us who all the players are, but it definitely sates those of us who have been humming the intro to ourselves for weeks, much to the annoyance of our roommates. There's a lot of action and adventure in this book, so I'm looking forward to some pretty rad fight scenes, gratuitous sex, and witty Tyrion banter. Stay tuned next week for further adventures in Westeros.
Written or Contributed by: DrImprobable