I’ve been reading the books that make up George RR Martin’s epic cycle A Song of Ice and Fire since I was young… arguably way too young to be reading anything written by Martin. All that death, and they say it’s video games corrupting the youth!
Amusingly, HBO’s Game of Thrones series became family watching at my house when it premiered. Since every member of the family had already read the books, we all had to admit defeat, confess that we all knew what sex was, and glue our eyes to the screen with only minor levels of self conscious shifting in our places.
Now that I’ve grown up and moved out, it makes watching my favourite show much easier. Though I’ve got to say, I miss the family bonding that came from shouting at the screen whenever there was an inaccuracy. Though knowing what to expect at least made me feel superior to my other friends – when Oberon Martell laid The Mountain flat, my boyfriend at the time whooped with joy, having not read the books. I’m not going to say I got any satisfaction out of his scream of horror thirty seconds later, but I may have made a lot of really awful eye and headache related puns for the next week or so.
But now it looks like my darling love is betraying me. That would be my beloved George RR, of course. Georgie. Baby. How could you do this to me? How could you tell the writers of the show what’s going to happen before you told your truest fan: me? Was I unfaithful? Are you mad that I’ve been reading other books? Suzanne Collins was a fling, she meant nothing to me! Really!
Honestly if they hadn’t screwed with the pacing so badly, this wouldn’t even be necessary. There was some canon that they could have included to draw things out a bit. Alternatively, I could have done with more of the road trip comedy duo that was season four’s Arya and the Hound. Is it canon? Not really. Was it hilarious? You know it!
I have to confess, though, even if it is going ahead of me on the books, I’m excited about this season, and this pilot gives me no reason to doubt that the show will continue to knock my socks off.
We open onto a flashback. Beautiful things, flashbacks, when done correctly. And this one was. Who could that possibly be, that blonde girl with noble (and rather entitled) bearing? It’s not hard to recognize Cersei Lannister, even in a miniature. She’s given a dark prophecy by a Stevie Nicks knockoff who is rocking the ye olde smokey eye look. She’s told she’ll marry a king (check), have three children whilst her husband has twenty (check… also, use protection, kids), and then she’ll one day be replaced by one younger and prettier than herself. And with Miss Margery Tyrell flitting around Kings Landing, the final part is looking increasingly nigh.
Tywin’s funeral is so mouth-wateringly rich in terms of set design. I forgot how visually luscious this show was. If you get the chance and you’re a costume nerd like me, pause on a shot of Tywin lying in state and gaze at the embroidery on his front. It’s okay if you drool. I won’t judge you.
And then we’ve got Tyrion riding shotgun in a crate across the narrow sea. He gets out and instantly begins to drink, and even losing his wine on the rug doesn’t stop him from chugging it. In a twisted way, you’ve got to admire that sort of dedication. Varys is a long suffering and well dressed fellow, so same ol’, same ol’ there.
Brianne is bae. She’s so good and pure and cute in a “you could totally pick me up and sling me over your shoulder and if you did I wouldn’t have an issue with that” way. She’s had a fantastic character arc, and at the moment that arc is in the middle of some angst regarding her inability to convince Arya to come with her at the end of last season. I’m sure she’ll be back on the horse soon.
Jon is, well, Jon. I’m sorry I just don’t find his arc particularly compelling. He’s too stereotypical, too bland, and not nearly complicated enough to stack up to the other characters. If he’s your thing, more power to you, but personally I don’t even get the Kit Harington obsession. I just feel like he needs to wash his hair. Anyway, he’s being put between a Wall and a hard place by resident stick-in-the-mud Stannis, who wants Jon to win over Mance and talk him into bowing. Three guesses how that goes.
Sansa is looking straight up like a Sith lord and I am SO here for it. Littlefinger is still a creep of the highest degree, though. (Georgie, can you please do me a solid and kill him off? Just for me? No? Well Suzanne Collins would have done it…)
I am also going to add Margery to my list of characters I’m madly in love with. Have I mentioned lately that Natalie Dormer is the queen of my heart? Because she is. It’s the dastardly half smile she has. On a sort of related note, it’s nice to see Loras moving on after Renly.
Back to Varys and the delicious quote – “Who said anything about him?” Why, Varys, did you just sum up the arc of the last season spilling into this one? I think you did. Excellent.
Cut to the “not-him” and we watch Dany tackle the complicated issue of cultural relativism! Usually I’m full of opinions for these characters, but with most of Dany’s political problems, I’m just glad I don’t have to deal with them. Like closing down the fighting pits or letting them remain open. That’s over my head here, so good luck with that. Though I do have to say that you got exactly what you asked for with those dragons, honey.
And back to Jon. Of course. Mance is infinitely more interesting, as he (predictably) refuses to kneel and is (predictably) sentenced to death, (predictably) by fire. Jon puts him out of his suffering with an arrow, doubtless earning the ire of Stannis.
We cut to credits without a glimpse of Arya, which is killing me. But I can wait til next week… oooor I can go find all those leaked episodes that somehow escaped onto the internet earlier today. We’ll just have to see how long I can handle Arya-withdrawal.