Game of Thrones (Season 1) focuses on the family of nobleman Eddard Stark, who is asked to become chief advisor to his king and longtime friend, Robert Baratheon. Ned must find out who killed the previous Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, while trying to protect his family from their rivals the Lannisters. He uncovers the dark secrets about the Lannisters that his predecessor died trying to expose. Meanwhile, in Essos, the exiled Viserys Targaryen, son of the former king, believes he still has the rightful claim to the throne.
Ned Stark (Sean Bean) is asked to become the chief adviser to King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy). He accepts being the Hand of the King and is tasked with protection the King Robert. Ned just walks into all kinds of mess in King’s Landing. Not only does he have to deal with the Lannisters (who are complete dicks) but he also has to deal with corruption and learns how poorly the country of Westeros has been managed. He uncovers the dark secrets about the Lannisters. He learns that Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are involved and that none of her children are Robert’s.
Unfortunately Robert dies after being fatally wounded by a boar which leads him to naming Ned as the new “Protector of the realm” but is betrayed by Councillor Baelish (Aidan Gillen) (another unlikable character) and the City Watch. Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is then named the new king and executes Ned even after agreeing to spare him if he agreed to publicly confess himself a traitor and Joffrey as the rightful heir. This was like one of those moments that just ripples throughout time. The coolest most down to earth character just got killed and he wasn’t just killed he was killed in front of both his daughters Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams), which the latter escapes King’s Landing.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Ned’s bastard son, joins the Night’s Watch, an ancient brotherhood sworn to watch over the massive wall that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the dangerous unknown beyond. He befriends Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) who is a good character although he doesn’t have his own “voice”. Can definitely see him developing into a stronger character. Then we learn that Jon is Targaryen. That was a bit of a shock. Jon shows courage when they discover bodies affected by White Walkers. After Ned’s death he is convinced to stay at the Wall despite his plans to avenge him, he and a group of the Night’s Watch journey beyond the Wall to find their missing comrades.
After traveling to the Wall with Jon Snow, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is arrested by Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) at a chance encounter in a roadside tavern for an assassination attempt on her son, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). This is of course an offshoot of Jaime trying to kill Bran after he discovers Jaime and his twin sister Cersei having sex. And after a failed assassination attempt all fingers point to Tyrion. It sucks because Tyrion is one of the best characters.
There is a pretty sweet moment that shows the depth of character he has when he is being escorted but they are jumped by raiders (I guess that’s what they were) and he saves Catelyn nearly at the cost of his life. However, he is freed by a trial by combat with the help of a mercenary named Bronn (Jerome Flynn), who is just a badass character all around (not to mention a total smartass). Later on, Tyrion is appointed as the King’s Hand.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is married off by her older brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), the leader of the Dothraki warrior tribe, in exchange for an army to return to Westerns and take the Iron Throne. Viserys is just a complete dick. He is definitely one of the worst, most hateful characters in television. His abusiveness towards her does open up a lot of room for development which her growing relationship with Drogo helps to influence. After Viserys starts feeling himself and forgets he is talking a cruel and merciless killer he threatens his unborn child which results in him getting a really painful death after his head is drenched in molten gold.
Daenerys enlist the aid of a slave woman to save Drogo who is dying of a wound he received in battle. Unfortunately, through the use of the slave’s blood magic Daenerys looses both Drogo and their unborn child. Drogo was a pretty cool character for such a ruthless bastard. But after Daenerys burns Drogo’s body, the witch (and she said she wouldn’t scream…She screamed), and her three dragon eggs. The next morning she herself rises from the dying embers the next morning unharmed flanked by three newborn dragons. Pretty badass ending actually.
The Verdict: In the end, Game of Thrones (Season 1) is just epic. There are so many things that happen, so many great characters introduced. Three of the most memorable moments of the season are the reveal of Jaime and Cersei’s sexual relationship despite them being siblings (and possible Jaime nearly killing Bran), Ned’s execution (quite a travesty and a chip on everyone’s shoulder against the characters Joffrey and Baelish), and the ending where we see Daenerys rise from the ashes (literally) with three little dragons. Game of Thrones (Season 1) gets 4 out of 5.
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