Binge Watch

Binge Watching Game of Thrones for the Last Time

Season 8 is almost upon us, so it’s naturally time to rewatch the entire series, leading up to the final premiere. I’ll be watching one episode a day and, spoilers for all seasons, breaking them down along the way. Who won the week, who’s in power, and noting the interesting portents of future stories. Watch along!!

Before we begin, I should note that I have seen every episode at least once, and most seasons three and four times, in addition to reading through the books multiple times. This isn’t intended to be an in-depth breakdown of each episode, nor will I be the condescending “book person” who always tells you the books were better. This is just a way for me to rewatch the show and note the interesting finds along the way!

And now, on to season one! There will be much dunking on Ned Stark.

Season 1—Episode 1: Winter is Coming

It’s still fascinating to me to go back and rewatch these episodes. Everyone is so young! But i think the biggest thing I’m noticing is how I can’t just make notes on this episode…there’s just TOO MUCH I want to cover! The family histories, the explanations of all the different religions, the evolution of Jamie’s hair, and Tyrion’s beard.

In this episode we’re introduced to the Starks, the Lannisters, and given an initial glance into the history of the world and its religions and mysteries. And even though this episode is FILLED with exposition, they still do a really good job of cramming a lot of backstory into an hour of television in an engaging way.

Who Won the Week

Ned Stark. Not only did he have to do his duty as the Warden of the North and behead a deserter, he had to do double duty as a father and explain the act to his son. He’s a husband, a father, a ruler, and a friend.

Who’s in Power

King Robert of the House Baratheon

Best Quote

“He won’t be a boy forever. And winter is coming.” – Ned Stark

Character Deaths

Ser Waymar Royce, Gared—Killed by White Walkers

Will—Beheaded

Future Omens

SO. MANY. The Wall. The White Walkers. The way Catelyn looks at Jon. The stag impaling the direwolf. And thank the gods Jon suggested keeping the direwolf pups! But the one I found most interesting is that when King Robert arrives and greets the Starks, the ones he touches all eventually die.

 

Season 1—Episode 2: The Kingsroad

One of my favorite parts about these stories is the character growth, and no one grows more through the first season than Daenerys. Watching her grow from a scared kid into the Mother of Dragons is the best journey of them all. Second being Arya’s growth from ALSO being a scared kid, into a trained assassin.

I also really, REALLY loved the scene with the catspaw. There are definitely deeper plot points at play, but I love that it exposes the bond between Bran and Summer. We know the mental link they have with the Starks and this is where we start to first see it. Without any verbal cues, Summer shreds the assassin and hops up onto the bed like nothing is wrong. The direwolves are one of my favorite parts of the books and it’s a shame we didn’t get more from them in the show.

I’m also very glad they changed Tyrion’s hair from the first to the second episode.

Who Won the Week

Daenerys Targaryen. She learns how to use sex to her advantage, stands up to her brother for the first time, and finally starts taking what she wants.

Who’s in Power

King Robert of the House Baratheon

Best Quote

“First lesson: Stick them with the pointy end.” – Jon Snow

Character Deaths

Lady—Because Joffrey is a punk bitch

Micah—Because Joffrey is a punk bitch

Future Omens

“Seventeen years ago, you rode off with Robert Baratheon. You came back a year later with another woman’s son.” Oh Cat, you sweet summer child.

“The next time we see each other, we’ll talk about your mother.” Dammit.

 

Season 1—Episode 3: Lord Snow

The Starks and their entourage arrive in King’s Landing…and most of them will never leave.

Jamie was SOOO close to being a decent person when confronting Ned about witnessing his father and brother’s death. But Jamie being Jamie made it into a dick-measuring contest and Ned walked out with the last word. Though it won’t be the last last word… Don’t get me wrong, Ned does enough dick swinging around the capital to get himself killed too. He just does it with righteous authority.

They never tell you how they all shit themselves.

Who Won the Week

Littlefinger. This episode is where we’re introduced to Lord Peter Baelish—aka Littlefinger—but more importantly, this is where we start to see the beginnings of his network of spies, his misinformation campaigns, and his trappings on power. The greatest trick Littlefinger ever pulled was convincing Ned Stark to trust him.

Who’s in Power

King Robert of the House Baratheon

Best Quote

“Everyone who isn’t us, is an enemy.” – Cersei Lannister

Character Deaths

No one? That can’t be right…

Future Omens

I never noticed before, but the Gold Cloaks meet Cat at the back entrance to King’s Landing and take her to Littlefinger. Early foreshadowing as to whom they truly serve.

 

Season 1—Episode 4: Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things

Samwell Frickin’ Tarly.

Look, I get it. We don’t need weak boys manning the Wall, but YOU LEAVE SAM ALONE. The Wall needs scribes and maesters too, so let’s not act like assholes. Cowardliness isn’t contagious, ya dinks.

There’s an entire essay to be written on Sansa’s growth over the course of the series—and I’m not smart enough to do it—but gods she’s insufferable in these early episodes. Ned’s out here trying his hardest to run the city, investigate his friend’s murder, AND manage his family…and somehow he manages to suck at all of it. Littlefinger, Jory, Cersei, all out here flat telling Ned to back off, not make such a stink, etc., and Ned’s all DERP DERP DERP LOOK AT ME. I’m not saying he deserved to die, but I get it. And his wife’s out here lookin’ a fool too. Darwin’s natural selections is truly in effect with the Starks, as it seems the dumbest ones die first.

Did you know Lord Varys is a eunuch?

Who Won the Week

Jon Snow. I wanted to give this one to Daenerys again for the way she stands up to her brother, but Jon stands up to Aliser Thorne, AND makes a friend in Sam by defending him. This willingness to stand up for the weak is why we love Jon, and what eventually leads to his downfall. Daenerys has the SAME capacity, but she has to learn to defend herself first, so it’s a slightly longer arc.

Who’s in Power

King Robert of the House Baratheon

Best Quote

“I am a Khaleesi of the Dothraki! I am the wife of the great Khal and I carry his son inside me. The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands!” – Daenerys Targaryen

Character Deaths

Ser Hugh of the Vale—The Hound’s lance wedged in his throat

Future Omens

“Nothing prettier than watching sailors burn alive. Yes, a great victory for your people. Shame how it all turned out.” A little precursor to the Battle of the Blackwater?

 

Season 1—Episode 5: The Wolf and the Lion

I think the Knight of the Flowers is a pretty good metaphor for how Sansa feels about being at court. Beautiful on the outside and appearing to be the epitome of all the stories, but hiding a “shameful” secret. Not at all what he appears. But from a story standpoint, Loras was the driving force behind Renly’s campaign, which led to his eventual death. And let’s be honest, Finn Jones was infinitely better as Loras Tyrell than he was as Danny Rand…

“I’ll fear the Dothraki the day they teach their horses to run on water.” Sure, Ned was being noble in defending an innocent girl half a world away, but it took almost 7 seasons for those Dothraki to GET here, soooo… So much happened between then and now. And Varys? Defending the idea of killing Dany? Not sure that will age well.

Not getting to see the Ned and Jamie showdown unhindered? We were robbed.

Who Won the Week

Tyrion. This was a tough one to call. No one really stepped up this week. Giving it to Tyrion for his defense of Catelyn against the hill tribes. He could have fled, but through his entire trip to the Eyrie, he chooses the lesser of two evils, instead focusing on getting past the challenges one at a time.

Who’s in Power

King Robert of the House Baratheon

Best Quote

“Give me ten good men and some climbing spikes…” – Bronn

Character Deaths

Jory Cassel—Jamie’s dagger in his eye

Future Omens

The meeting in the dungeon certainly holds dangerous portents. I’m not sure we *still* don’t know the true meanings of the meeting between Varys and Illyrio Mopatis. Blackfyre rumblings, perhaps?

 

Season 1—Episode 6: A Golden Crown

Remember when everyone was getting along? THAT DIDN’T LAST.

Robert had so many shortcomings—SO MANY—but one of the biggest is that he honestly thinks that stating something will make it so. Just telling your kids to stop fighting doesn’t make them stop, and there’s no two families more childish than the Lannisters and Starks. Just look at Ned, still swingin’ his dick around, issuing regal orders and gettin’ real ancestry dot com with the history of the Baratheons.

Meanwhile, in the Eyrie, Tyrion is doing what Tyrion does: surviving at all costs. Money certainly gets him quite a ways, but that dude can talk his way out of almost anything. And hiring Bronn is a decision that helps him to survive for YEARS.

Open the Moon Door. Make the bad man fly.

Who Won the Week

Daenerys. Our girl ate an entire HORSE HEART and she carries the Stallion Who Mounts the World inside her. And now she’s out from under her brother’s judgment. He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.

Who’s in Power

King Robert of the House Baratheon

Best Quote

There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: ‘not today.'” – Syrio Forel

Character Deaths

Viserys Targaryen—CROWN FOR KING

Future Omens

I suppose discovering that Joffrey isn’t really Robert’s son is of some importance, but that mystery kinda dies with its holder.

 

Season 1—Episode 7: You Win or You Die

In this episode, we meet the great Tywin Lannister. Brilliant military mind…terrible father. But we’ll get to that later. For now, he’s chastising his son while skinning a stag. SYMBOLISM, WE GET IT. He gives a fantastic speech about the importance of family legacy, which shows us early on exactly what type of person he is and where his priorities lie. AND it adds to what we already know is a heavy weight of expectation to Jamie’s shoulders. “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of a sheep.”

How is Ned such a dumbass. “Derp derp, I have a powerful secret so I’m gonna tell everyone I know!” And Robert’s not much better. Why did he have everyone leave the room for his dying declaration? Not that it would have made much of a difference. Power lies where people think it lies. Renly tried to warn him, Littlefinger tried to give him a second option, even Cersei gave him an out, but Ned and his ridiculous honor. One day it’s gonna get him killed.

More wine, your grace?

Who Won the Week

Littlefinger. His machinations to this point are how we got here. Often from behind the curtain, every move he makes is forward, never lateral. And always in the direction of power, taking obstacles and enemies off the board with every step.

Who’s in Power

King Robert…NOPE. Lord Stark? King Joffrey?

Best Quote

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” – Cersei Lannister

Character Deaths

King Robert Baratheon—Gored by a boar…more to come.

Future Omens

Benjen’s empty horse, and Ghost’s…present, both speak to the larger issues beyond the Wall.

 

Season 1—Episode 8: The Pointy End

Oh look, Ned’s in jail and the city’s in chaos. “What madness led you to tell the queen you’d learned of Joffrey’s birth?” You’re such a moron.

We’re also treated to the reason that none of this matters. You see, Othor has come back…from the dead. And now we know where wights come from, and what we have to fear beyond the Wall.

Well well well, look who’s growing up right before our eyes. The letter from Sansa sparks everything into motion and Robb is gathering his forces to travel south. And loopy ass Lysa Tully refuses to send the Knights of the Vale. Imagine how quickly they would have ended the war with the entirety of the north AND the Vale of Arryn.

Call the banners.

Who Won the Week

Robb Stark. Being forced to grow up as a way to save his father and his family. He calls the banners, stands up to the Greatjohn—with Grey Wind’s help removing fingers—and sets the table for his eventual defeat of the Lannister forces at the Battle of the Whispering Wood.

Who’s in Power

King Joffrey of Houses Baratheon and Lannister

Best Quote

Though I would treasure your friendship, I’m mainly interested in your facility with murder. And if the day ever comes where you’re tempted to sell me out, remember this: Whatever the price, I’ll beat it. I like living.” – Tyrion Lannister

Character Deaths

Septa Mordane—Killed by Lannister soldiers

Syrio Forel—Look, there’s NO WAY Syrio Forel was killed by Meryn f***ing Trant. I will always and forever believe in the Reddit theories on this one. NOT TODAY.

Future Omens

I feel like Sansa’s early decisions to fight to stay in King’s Landing and remain aligned to the now King Joffrey, set the stage for a lot of not only her story, but the story of the North as a whole. Robb fought for vengeance, but also to get his sisters back…and he and his mother died for it.

Bran talking to the heart tree.

Saving Mirri Maz Duur wasn’t the best choice either.

 

Season 1—Episode 9: Baelor

Oh, Ned. You handsome moron.

Varys comes around AGAIN offering Ned a way out, but the pretty idiot tells him that he’s prepared to die. Much talk about honor and family in this episode. “What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms… or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.” Ned eventually comes around and chooses family over honor, but when Jon learns about Robb heading south, he eventually chooses honor over family.

Meanwhile, in Essos, things aren’t looking great for our Khaleesi. Drogo has taken ill and his “scratch” has festered. But just like Ned, Daenerys ignores the advice of everyone around her and instead does something stupid. Ned is a moron for honor, Dany is a moron for love.

A khal who cannot ride is no khal.

Who Won the Week

Shae. Minor character, to be sure, but did anyone else advance their cause more this episode than Shae? She went from being virtually unknown to being protected and paid by the richest family in Westeros.

Who’s in Power

King Joffrey of Houses Baratheon and Lannister

Best Quote

If we do it your way Kingslayer, you’d win. We’re not doing it your way.” – Robb Stark

Character Deaths

Ned Stark—Beheaded. Rest in peace, you big dummy

Future Omens

Gross ass Walder Frey. How many deaths can be traced back to this meeting at the Crossing?

Jon gets Longclaw. Amazing weapon, to be sure, but its importance moving forward is huge. The mention Valyrian steel again and again, but we don’t learn its significance until later. And oh so significant it is…

Guys, I don’t think Khal Drogo is gonna make it.

 

Season 1—Episode 10: Fire and Blood

Well I guess Ned’s not going to be around for me to mock anymore. So sad. He was an idiot and he was given every opportunity to survive, but he didn’t deserve to die. There’s no end to Joffrey’s cruelty.

I think one of the more overlooked themes of this show is belief—or rather, disbelief. How long before Osha begins to believe in Bran’s wolf dreams? How long before Tyrion believes in grumpkins and snarks? How long before the realm believes that the greatest threat is beyond the Wall? Lack of belief is going to get a lot of people killed.

Does Dany have to learn everything the hard way? I suppose that’s how she becomes steel, through temperament. She learns that power is greater than love. And she learns where that power comes from.

The thing you need to understand about kings is…

Who Won the Week

Daenerys. She’s come so far in just the first season. From a scared little girl whose brother literally sold her to a horse lord, to the mother of dragons. She walked into a fire, and came out with three babies who will help her to regain the power of her ancestors. Fire cannot kill a dragon.

Who’s in Power

King Joffrey of Houses Baratheon and Lannister

Renly Baratheon

The King in the North

Best Quote

“I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. I am the dragon’s daughter, and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming.”  – Daenerys Targaryen

Character Deaths

Rhaego—Blood magic

Khal Drogo—Infection? Blood magic? Dany’s stupidity?

Mirri Maz Duur—Died screaming, as promised

Future Omens

Gendry and Arya on the road! Those three guys in the cage look interesting…

Full force of the Nights Watch traveling out to investigate the strange goings on beyond the Wall. Somewhere around 300 rode north…and about 12 survived.

 

Call the banners, we’re on to Season 2!!

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