-ItsOnLikeDonkeyKong, King’s Landing
First and foremost, I’m truly ashamed it’s taken me this long to start watching this show. Everyone has nagged me to watch it over the years, predicting an undying obsession with a fantasy world that’s one part stuffy Camelot mixed with two parts gory ancient Rome, blended with a dash of Princess Bride, garnished with witchcraft, and served on the wings of magical dragons. And they were correct. I have officially found a new addiction.
At the beginning of the series, we learn that The Realm, which is comprised of seven kingdoms, is ruled by a pot-bellied slob of a king named Robert Baratheon. The icy northernmost wall of The Realm is guarded by an order called the Night Watchmen, who have sworn to protect the kingdom from white walkers, wildlings, and other ghouls that go bump in the night in the frozen tundra beyond the border. And winter is coming. Winter within The Realm can last decades, and with the icy chill of death also comes a wave of terrifying beasts from over the wall. Godspeed, Night Watchmen. Put down that sandwich and keep your eyes peeled.
Just south of the wall lay Winterfell, a keep presided over by Lord Eddard Stark, a leathery, weathered warrior with a heart of golden warmfuzzies. Which tells me he won’t last long. He’s married to Catelyn, whose resemblance to actress Katy Sagal leaves me giggling with visions of Peggy Bundy playing Lady Stark. Leopard print robes and bonbons galore!!! Anyway, they share five children together: eldest son Robb, selfish teenage daughter Sansa, feisty tomboyish tweener Arya, unfortunate castle wall climber Bran, and youngest son Rickon, who isn’t much of a presence in Season 1, so don’t burden yourself remembering him. Lord Stark also has a broody bastard son named Jon Snow, who lives with the noble family in Winterfell, much to Catelyn’s chagrin. Each child (even the bastard!) is guarded by a fearless direwolf, which is the symbol of House Stark.
Eddard soon learns that his old war buddy King Robert, along with the snooty royal court, have travelled to Winterfell in a mighty procession of chariots carried by their own arrogance. They intend to offer Lord Stark the job of Hand of the King, which is comparable to our earthly notion of Vice President. The former Hand, an unlucky bloke named Jon Arryn, who also happens to be Catelyn’s brother-in-law, was murdered recently under very mysterious circumstances, leaving a primo job opening in the kingdom. Around this time, Catelyn receives a letter from her loopy sister via a raven, who apparently moonlights as a mail carrier for the kingdom, warning the Starks that she suspects Queen Cersei of murdering her husband. After much beard stroking, Edd realizes the job provides an excellent opportunity to keep a watchful eye on the sneaky Cersei. So he accepts the position, and House Stark holds a bountiful feast in celebration. During the banquet, Cersei, a descendant of the filthyrich Lannister family, targets Sansa as a suitable bride for her sniveling nitwit son, Prince Joffrey. Blinded by her dreams of being the Prettiest Princess, Sansa becomes a neurotic fangirl to the prince, anxiously awaiting her family’s relocation to King’s Landing. Queen Cersei’s brothers- prettyboy Jaime, and snarky dwarf Tyrion- arrive late to the feast after visiting a local brothel, because priorities.
Outside the banquet, poor ostracized bastard Jon Snow informs his Uncle Benjen, a Night Watchmen, that he will not accompany his family to King’s Landing. Instead, he will join Benjen protecting The Realm from horrific monsters at the edge of the known world. Better bring some coffee.
To the far east of the kingdom, across the narrow sea, the exiled survivors of House Targaryen plot their strategy to invade the kingdom and reclaim the throne. Having reigned The Realm for years, House Targaryen came crashing down after they killed Lyanna Stark, sister to Eddard and the one true love of Robert Baratheon. General war ensued. After most of the Targaryen family was slaughtered by prettboy Jaime Lannister and his ilk, ashen skeletor impersonator Viserys and his quietly terrified sister Daenerys escaped eastward with their platinum silver hair intact, and their trusted adviser Jorah, and eventually found sanctuary in the violent land of the Dothraki peoples. And stringy haired Viserys has now traded his younger sister to a grunting savage warlord named Kahl Drogo, in exchange for an army.
At the auspiciously blood soaked wedding reception, Daenerys is presented with a magical box containing three petrified dragon eggs. House Targaryen had commanded dragons for centuries, and had used them to help rule the seven kingdoms until their alleged extinction. Now as reigning Kahleesi of the Dothraki tribe, Daenerys, Kahl Drogo, and her insufferable platinum pimpbrother Viserys lead the army- and the dragon eggs- through the vast continent to reclaim their throne from King Robert Baratheon and the Lannisters.
Meanwhile, back at Winterfell, adventurous young Bran Stark scurries up the castle wall like a nimble, cocaine fueled spider. Upon reaching the top story, he hears the unmistakeable sounds of lovemaking coming from inside the castle. The curious lad pops his head in the window, and spies Queen Cersei fornicating with her own prettyboy brother Jaime.
!!!Commence pearl clutching!!!
Desperate to protect the sterling reputation of the royal family, Jaime pushes Bran out the window to fall to his death.
Only he doesn’t die. Comatose, yes. But not dead.
Side eye at Queen Cersei wringing her hands and announcing the royal family’s early departure from Winterfell with the new Hand.
Later, while parked at her ailing son’s bedside, Lady Stark intercepts a knife wielding assassin hellbent on ending Bran’s life. But it’s an epic fail, because Bran’s pet direwolf launches right to the guy’s jugular and eliminates the threat. Firmly convinced the Lannisters are behind both attempts on Bran’s life, Lady Stark keeps the blade for strategic supersleuth investigating purposes. She decides to travel south towards King’s Landing, to warn Eddard and their other children about the shady Lannister family. Just like Peg Bundy would do!
Her son Bran is still in that coma, in case you were wondering.
En route to King’s Landing, human anal blister Prince Joffrey, who may as well be Justin Beiber in Camelot garb, tries flexing his royal muscle to impress Sansa, when he commands Arya’s friend the lowly butcher’s son to battle him in a deadly duel. Yet another epic fail, because feisty Arya’s direwolf attacks the pompous blowhard, and Arya throws Joffrey’s sword into the river. The direwolf escapes into the woods, but Arya is soon dragged before King Robert to answer to Joffrey’s bullshit claim of unprovoked assault. When all is said and done, Queen Cersei puts a bandaid on Joffrey’s vajayjay, and has the butcher’s boy killed. Then she orders Eddard to kill the remaining direwolf. And Arya’s hatred for His Twerpness seethes with a fiery passion.
Back at Winterfell, Bran finally rouses from his coma and enters a living nightmare where his legs are paralyzed, and his mother has abandoned him. He has no memory of what happened on the castle wall.
Lonely bastard Jon Snow finally reaches the north wall, and is quite disheartened to learn the Order of Night Watchmen mainly consists of hardened criminals and other lowlife rejects sentenced to life threatening gruntwork. However, he is pronounced the least useless of the bunch, so he’s got that much going for him.
When Lord Stark and the royal family arrive at King’s Landing, Eddard is greeted by the council, which includes slithery Lord Varys, the head of the kingdom’s intelligence network. Also on the council is Pytre Baelish, who serves as the king’s Master of Coin (and owns of a local brothel), and also happens to be a childhood friend of Catelyn’s. In fact, Catelyn is hiding safely in his pleasure house, awaiting a covert meeting with Eddard in which she updates him on her increasing suspicions regarding the Lannisters. She presents the blade, and Baelish immediately identifies it as one he lost in a bet to smart aleck dwarf Tyrien Lannister. Eddard vows to uncover the truth about House Lannister, and report it back to King Robert, which should work out just dandy for everyone involved.
Across the Narrow Sea, The Kahleesi discovers she’s pregnant with Kahl Drogo’s heir. She is convinced she will bear a son who will one day sit on the iron throne of her ancestors. In the meantime, woe is Viserys, for he has grown envious of his sister’s newfound power as Kahleesi. And the nerve of her tribesmen, refusing to obey HIM as their rightful king! In a fitful tantrum of stringy silver hair, the ashen pimp attacks Daenerys, leaving her bloodied and bruised. But The Kahleesi pulls rank and fights back, warning him that the next time he hits her will be the last time he has hands. Daenerys then realizes her brother will never gain the support of the tribe, and could never successfully command the Dothraki army in war.
On his way back south after leaving the great wall, snarky dwarf Tyrien Lannister stops in at Winterfell to deliver sketches of a Bran-friendly horsey saddle. So moved was he by news of the boy’s crushed legs, that he took pen to paper and designed a handicapable saddle, so the boy can enjoy daily rides and still practice archery. All of this out of nothing more than sheer kindness. That oughta throw everybody off the murder trail.
A pudgy new recruit named Samwell has joined the Night Watch to help protect the wall. What he lacks in physical prowess, streetsmarts, and hygeine, he more than makes up for in self deprecating kindness. Lonely bastard Jon Snow befriends Samwell, and defends him from the bullies of the Order.
In King’s Landing, Eddard continues his not so discreet inquiry into Jon Arryn’s death. He learns that the former Hand’s illness manifested fast, and progressed rapidly. Just prior to his demise, he had studied a voluminous account of the bloodlines of the seven kingdoms, and his dying words were, “The seed is strong.” Baelish then informs Eddard that Arryn’s former squire was recently knighted, and will fight in the upcoming tournament celebrating Lord Stark’s appointment as Hand. His broad daylight investigation then takes him to the local armory, where he discovers Jon Arryn took a keen interest in the smith’s apprentice, Gendry, who is one of King Robert’s numerous bastard children.
Later on at the tournament, the recently knighted squire with the fetching title Ser Hugh of the Vale, is accidentally stabbed in the neck by King Robert’s bear of a knight, Ser Gregor. Or as he is also known, “Mountain That Rides.” Oopsydaisy!
Resuming his journey south toward King’s Landing, Tyrien crosses paths with Catelyn Stark at a local tavern, where she boldly charges him with the attempted murder of her son, and orders her guards to take him prisoner.
To Be Continued….