I’m not pulling a Witney here, I promise. I just legitimately have not had room for HBO in my budget, but right now, the free preview the cable company is giving us has yet to end, so I’m taking advantage.
I saw the first six episodes of season 1 on screeners, and found them so densely exposition-heavy I wasn’t necessarily inclined to run out and keep track, though of course they stopped just as things were getting interesting. In the meantime, I’ve absorbed the broader strokes through pop-culture osmosis: people die en masse at weddings, Sean Bean lost his head, whiny little bitch boy-king died of choking, some giant dude named the Mountain killed some other dude, dragons hatched, Jason Momoa got killed off and became Aquaman, a fella named Hodor keeps saying “Hodor,” etc.
So I watched the season premiere last night. Let’s see how I kept up.
First, let me say that it really does seem like all the exposition dump is out of the way and we’re focusing on soap opera elements now, which is good. I gather from the “previously on” montage that Daenerys is now queen of Not-Egypt, the annoying Lannisters keep getting killed off, and that big-ass wall in the north is still a plot point. Aiden Gillen seems like an evil scheming dick – though I can’t remember specifically why – and then there’s some weird albino knight who says he’s not a knight, mostly so he can tell his would-be squire not to be a squire.
Am I close? I feel like that’s good enough to follow most of what happened next.
So we begin with two girls in a witch’s hut, and they want their fortunes read, but their fortunes are all pretty bad. Then – surprise! – it turns out to be a Cersei flashback.
Peter Dinklage is stashed in a small crate, because little-person jokes never go out of style. Then he vomits, because drunk jokes never go out of style either. Also he talks about pushing his shit through the breathing holes in the crate, and swears a bunch. This is how Emmys are justifiably won.
A statue is torn down in Not-Egypt. A eunuch-looking dude goes to a hooker to get sung a lullaby, but his throat is slit by somebody in a gold mask. This appalls Daenerys, who is now sleeping with some beardy dork who talks big about being a pit fighter, but looks like he’d be crushed by Momoa’s little finger. She decides to give the dead dude a hero’s burial, to make the assassins get all pissed off and more likely to screw up. Man, I wish that worked on real terrorists.
Speaking of which – politics learned in this episode:
-Freedom to screw up is good.
-Fighting in someone else’s army is bad, even if you get rewarded.
-A monarch who’ll make sure the rich don’t prey upon the poor is somehow a believable thing.
So John Snow has a nice easy name to remember, because he’s always seen in the snow. It would be more convenient if they all had names like that: Tyrion Short, Daenerys Naykydd, Cersei Purvibytch, etc.
I’ve absorbed a lot through pop-culture osmosis, but this episode finally clarified for me that “Wildlings” are people on the wrong side of the wall. Got it now. Ciaran Hinds is their leader and he’s a stubborn bastard. He is also the token major death this week.
Tyrion is going to ride with another eunuch dude to meet Daenerys. Many fan fiction writers are going off on a tear tonight.
Dragons look cool. We didn’t really need to see them to get the point, but it proves HBO’s happy to throw money around.
Sardo Numspa is dead. Cersei now has to marry a gay dude. I’m not sure quite why, but I’m rolling with it. Excuse to show male ass is okay with me, since we got hooker boobs in Not-Egypt.
Aiden Gillen’s escaping to somewhere after watching two kids have a really crappy swordfight. I assume that’ll pay off later.
Ciaran Hinds is burning to death, so John Snow kills him with an arrow. Is that treason, to interfere with a burning death? We don’t know because the episode ends right there. Next week, we are in Not-Africa and a place with a black and white door, and some gag-gift postcard with a snake head inside. Hooray for that stuff.
As you might deduce, I do feel like I may have missed a thing or two, but I don’t feel like I’m missing four years worth of stuff. It’s not hard to get the general gist, but the specifics are …unusual, I’d say.
I’ll keep doing these as long as we keep free HBO. Presumably I will sound less-dumb each week, but you never know.