Rewind the Realm: Game of Thrones, Season 1, “Winter is Coming”

Hello all you Watchers on the Couch, and welcome to the first installment of Rewind the Realm; my thinly veiled excuse for rewatching Game of Thrones while pretending to be productive. HBO recently broke our hearts by announcing Game of Thrones won’t be back until 2019 so to get through this dark and terrible year I’m going to try and do a recap of one episode per week.

If you read any of our Recap the Realm posts it’ll basically be like that but (probably) much shorter and somehow less structured. Also Nikki won’t be joining me on this except for maybe a few select episodes. So let’s get this started!

So we start at the Wall with Mark Wahlberg leading a very small ranging party to track some wildlings. They travel about 3 feet away from the wall and Marky Mark is a prick to the other two, as is his wont. Already we see the sharp class divide that defines Westerosi society. Also, there’s a wolf howling sound effect that I recognize from a goofy PC game I loved as a kid. So that’s fun.

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Say hi to your mother for me

One of the rangers finds some dead ass bodies arranged into a Theta (still no explanation for that whole thing) and Wahlberg gets KILLT by a distinctly Predator looking White Walker. This is a great opening scene, even if we don’t get the cool duel from the book or really much of a hint that White Walkers are anything other than brainless monsters. But damn the effects are cool. And that little zombie girl is super spooky.

And then the STARKLINGS! Together for literally the only time in the entire series. Oh if only these poor, beautiful children knew what was coming. Ya got Jon teaching Bran how to shoot a bow and arrow, ya got Robb lookin’ lordly and cracking jokes, ya got Rickon doing what he does best and not talking. Ned and Cat stand over them all, looking down on their children with love and adoration. Arya shows up and Robin Hoods Bran’s target – which what happened to that, her archery skills never come up again. I guess it could be just setting up her future stone cold killer persona but she never shoots anyone! Maybe we’ll get a call back in the last season. Hopefully.

You poor sweet Stark babies.

Then we get Ned executing the guy and talking to Bran and he doesn’t say what I think is probably one of the most consequential lines in the whole series. In the book he says something along the lines of “if you would kill a man you owe it to him to look him in the eyes and if you can’t do that maybe he doesn’t deserve to die.” I’m 99% sure that’s going to have a major impact on the end of the series. Guess it won’t in the show, but I guess that’s no big surprise considering the many themes from the books the show ignores. But whatever, no time for that Direwolf puppies! So cute. And Theon is way too eager to kill those puppies. GRRM you sly devil, foreshadowing like a boss.

We get our first glance of King’s Landing and the set design is glorious. From the very beginning this show’s production was amazing. This scene is our first look at Jaime and Cersei and they have to go full exposition on us. There’s a lot of that in this episode but for the most part it’s not too bad. This scene is probably the weakest of the episode but at least Jaime’s sexy. And nobody sounds good when their line literally starts with “As your brother…,” probably the exposition equivalent of “Webster’s dictionary defines x as…”

No time for that now though cus #starkswithoutshirts!

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Get outta here Theon, nobody wants to see that

Also we have our first time warp of the show. Suddenly the Direwolves are bigger and Robert has already made the trip up from King’s Landing. So weeks have passed even though it seems like the next day. And yet nobody complains about it. Everyone pretends like the weird time stuff just started in these last few seasons but they’re wrong and they need to shut their stupid mouths cus I’m sick of hearing about it! People have jet packs because nobody wants to watch a show where people sit around doing nothing at all for weeks at a time.

And then we get our only shot of every single Starkling all being in the same room together. All standing in a line. Sansa is already an amazon, basically as tall as Robb. It’s all so adorable, and they’re smiling and happy, and I’m going to cry!

And then we get our first sexposition with weirdo blonde Peter Dinklage. And Ros! RIP. You were too beautiful for this world. Also I’m pretty sure she’s wearing a spider ring. So that’s some great foreshadowing.

And then we finally get our first look at Dany! With her fabulous eyebrow game and her beautiful lips and those big sparkling eyes and oh my god I’m in love with Emilia Clarke. Now and forever. But there’s no time for that now guys because we have to talk about Illyrio’s love of science fiction. Cus that dude’s got a painting in his manse depicting two ships firing cannons. Ain’t no cannons in Planetos! And speaking of Illyrio, he looks a lot like Steve Bannon, but without the greyscale. #political

Viserys is creepy, Dany is dead inside, and Illyrio does some A+ manipulation of Viserys cus Viserys is the dumbest little boy in school. Also Illyrio has some Unsullied and they’re wearing book-accurate helms.

We get a quick look back at Westeros. Sansa’s fabulous and tall, Jon looks weird without a beard, Ned and Benjen have their only scene together, Ned and Jaime have a weird dick measuring contest that seems out of character for Ned, and then someone pronounces Maester wrong. Then we get a really cool shot of Ned in the foreground and Cat and Master Luwin out of focus over his shoulders, speaking as angel and devil. It’s actually really cool.

The Dothraki wedding happens and Jorah shows up. Emilia does amazing acting with her face. People don’t give her enough credit for her acting. And then we get the Dany rape scene that’s way rapier than it is in the books. And then finally Bran is a perv and gets pushed out a window.

Man this is a great first episode! Like it’s a hell of a series premiere. It does a great job setting up the world and introducing the characters, even if the dialogue is a little clunky. But it kinda had to be with how much stuff they needed to introduce. If there’s anything we can take away from this first episode it’s that the show was so much better when it was still beholden to the books. D&D are really talented and it’s very very obvious how much they love the books and when they’re just doing straight adapting they know how to knock it out of the park.

Also all the Stark babies! ALL THE STARK BABIES! We never see them together again.

So this post got away from me. I meant it to be about half as long as this. Oops. I get excited guys. And this is the first time I’ve watched this episode in years! I forgot how great it is.

I’ll be back next week for episode 2! It’ll be great reliving a time when the show was fantastic instead of just really good. I miss this old excitement. See you soon!

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