Game of Thrones: Is this a bad time to make one of those dead baby jokes?

Game of Thrones returned last night, a date that was long awaited by fans of the series. If you read my reviews last season, you’ll already know a few things:

  • I started watching the series late and had to catch up – it took me at least five episodes to get into it last season, and I only reviewed it sporadically.
  • My reviews could easily be nicknamed “Confused Girl Talks Game of Thrones”. I have trouble keeping track of characters sometimes, I haven’t read the books, and sometimes I have NO IDEA what’s going on. So yeah, there are more in-depth analyses of the show out there. If I get a detail wrong (it’s bound to happen) please let me know in the comments so I can fix it!
  • My favorite characters are Arya Stark and Khaleesi/Dany, so I suppose I like strong women. I think Robb Stark and Jon Snow look too much alike.

So, I’m going to try really hard to review GoT every week this season, but it might not always be up on Mondays. Where I live, Game of Thrones comes on at 10:00 p.m. and Mad Men at 11:00 p.m., so it can be tough sometimes to stay up that late. Now, let’s talk about the show!

The North Remembers

I was a little worried that I’d have trouble becoming absorbed in the Game of Thrones world again after such a long hiatus. Luckily, there was such a mix of old and new characters that I was immediately enthralled. I recognized Joffrey (ugh) and Sansa immediately, and I waited with bated breath for a glimpse of Arya.

We began with King’s Landing and Joffrey, who was celebrating his Name Day by watching people fight to the death. I liked seeing how quickly Sansa is adjusting to pleasing her fiancée while trying to prevent him from as much evil as possible. She convinced him not to have a man killed by telling Joffrey it would be bad luck on his Name Day (birthday?), and then spared the man’s life by making Joffrey think it had been his own idea to make the man his official fool. I didn’t care for Sansa last season, but she is no longer a silly, love struck girl.

Tyrion showed up quickly, adding a much needed dose of sensitivity and humor. He offered Sansa some words of comfort for the death of her father, threw a few jabs Cersei’s way, and took his place at the Small Council as the acting Hand of the King.

Cersei also knows that they’ve screwed up, and she didn’t need Tyrion to point that out. They had three Starks to trade, but now they have only one – Joffrey insisted on chopping Ned Stark’s head off, and Aria escaped. The Baratheon/Lannister contingent no longer has the strength they once did. Though, she still has some power and was quick to put it on display when she was threatened by Little Finger.

Things are falling apart for Cersei – word is getting out that Joffrey is not a true Baratheon, but a bastard born of incest. Even the sniveling little twat himself has gotten wind of the rumors, and he’s not happy. Joffrey clearly has the upper hand over his mother, and it terrifies her. After she slapped him, I truly believed he’d have her killed if it happened again. After Joffrey questioned how many bastard sons of the late Kind Robert might be out there, they were all rounded up and killed – including an infant being housed in Littlefinger’s brothel.

Winterfell

Meanwhile Robb is winning battles and using his wolf to intimidate Jaime Lannister, while trying to balance all his duties. His mother just wants her daughters back, but Robb knows the war is more complicated than that – independence for the North is what they’re truly fighting for. Meanwhile, little Bran is running Winterfell and Jon and the Watch are staying with a man who enjoys marrying his own daughters.

Dragonstone

Some of the new characters we met in the premiere were Stannis Baratheon (the elder of the late King Robert’s brothers) and Melisandre, a totally nut-so fire priestess with red hair. The other big players in the war are Stannis’s younger brother Renly Baratheon and Tywin Lannister, the father of Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion but we didn’t see them in this episode.

If Joffrey’s lineage can be proven, Stannis would be the rightful King. Stannis is an interesting, rather cold and calculating character and I’m interesting to learn more about him. Melisandre seems incredibly powerful – so much so that one man was willing to drink poison just to try and off her. We don’t know why yet, but she was immune to the poison that killed him.

The Red Waste

We didn’t see a lot of Dany this week, but she’s struggling to keep her people alive. She has three dragons but is quickly losing people and horses. They’re wandering the desert and looking for refuge, but they cannot go anywhere where they’d be defeated and Dany’s dragons would be taken from her. We didn’t see much of them in this episode.

The ending of the episode was pretty epic – as I mentioned before, all of Robert’s bastard children were found and killed. All but one – Gendry, who was travelling to the wall with Arya. It was definitely a moment that left me eager for episode two. What did you guys think?

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About Jill

Pop culture junkie and TV aficionado. I write sharp and snarky TV recaps at www.couchtimewithjill.com
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6 Responses to Game of Thrones: Is this a bad time to make one of those dead baby jokes?

  1. Dana says:

    Wow! What an episode. It’s all I can say right now. I’m hooked but as always a little bit confused.

  2. Just a quick comment. I’ve read the books, so I know that we never really do find out exactly why Melisandre was not affected by the poison, other than the belief that her “red god” gave her power over it, which is basically what she said as she watched the old maestre die on the floor.

    A lot is introduced in this first episode, and many details were glossed over for brevity sake. I watched season 1 before reading the books, and was very confused most of the time. I then read them and rewatched the season, and things fell in to place for me. For someone who hasn’t read the books, I have to say I’m impressed by everything you picked up from that first episode. I’m guessing some side research accompanied the viewing? Without giving spoilers, I am willing to answer “detail” questions if people have them!

    Overall it was a great episode, and an excellent introduction into season 2. Really looking forward to seeing their interpretation of how future events will take place, its gonna be a good season.

    • Jill says:

      Interesting, thanks for answering that Todd! Yep, there was definitely some Wikipedia reading going on after the first episode to get the characters straight – though I’m trying not to make the mistake I did last season by reading too much. I’ve already spoiled the futures of a couple characters for myself.

  3. Gerard says:

    Melisandre is something of an enigma for me too. On one hand, they play her like a snakeoil salesman – you don’t trust her or her red god. But drinking the poison establishes that she’s protected somehow, but we never really know what.

    Even though I’ve read most of the books (halfway through the current one), Melisandre’s true intentions are never really revealed. I’m still not sure whether she genuinely hopes to raise Stannis as king or if she’s playing him to some other purpose. She’s a bit of a Varys in that regard.

  4. Dana says:

    Todd, thanks. I usually do research the episodes after so that by the next one I am good. I’ve not read the books and this is really not my genre at all, but I am hooked on it.

  5. dantheguy says:

    Game of Thrones is pretty cool, but this is kind of my problem with it as a TV show. There’s a lot of “trying to fill in as many blanks as quickly as possible” to the point where this first episode is spent just establishing each character. The dialogue/acting/writing/everything is brilliant as always, but I don’t think a TV show should have to function without the books. I love the books (I’m beginning the fourth one right now but I don’t think I’ll follow the show other than maybe out of curiosity to see what they change here and there. For a show that’s really building itself up, it doesn’t hit me deep the way The Wire, The Sopranos, or Mad Men have. It’s really good entertainment, but nothing above that. Which is fine, but I just think the producers and writers are still struggling to make it as brilliant as they want it to be.

    But them’s just my personal thoughts. Don’t let me stop yous guys from enjoying it. :)

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