10 Thoughts I had re-watching Season 1 of Game of Thrones

With an eye to easing the withdrawal I will feel when season 5 of Game of Thrones ends next Sunday, I’ve decided to re-watch the entire TV series. Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen the entire TV show and who hasn’t read all the books.

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Season 1 is fantastic. There are so many moving pieces and they’re all moving in fascinating directions. The writing and acting is on point, and it follows the book very closely; if you need a backstory, chances are it’s in Season 1.

Here are 10 thoughts I have about Season 1, with an eye towards what’s coming:

1. It’s so sad to see all the characters together and know that they’ll never be back together again.

2. Jaime’s kind of rape-y towards Cersei even in the beginning. Neither one is a POV narrator until book 3, so we don’t see many scenes of them together in the books until the infamous scene over Joffrey’s tomb. The great question is whether or not the show runners wanted them to have a murky consensual line in their relationship or if they were unaware of this.

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3. We hear about a lot of backstories in the first season, particularly Robert’s Rebellion and the accompanying stuff about the Mad King and Rhaegar & Lyanna, but also Tyrion’s first wife and the Greyjoy rebellion. This drops as the plot gets more involved, so now in Season 5 they’re trying to remind us all about Rhaegar. Tyrion’s backstory becomes less significant once we’re all on his side (and I for one am glad we aren’t treated to a season of him stating “where do whores go?”). I suppose the Greyjoy rebellion is mostly to set up Theon’s arc in Season 2, and in Season 6 (when I think we’re going to have the kingsmoot), they can just remind us about the most recent Greyjoy rebellion.

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4. When Old Nan tells Bran stories about the white walkers, she mentions large white spiders that travel with them. Are we going to see those soon? How scary would that be?

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5. Did Littlefinger ever really love Cat? This is perhaps a central question (for me) in the series. I’ve gone back and forth on my answer to this question, but now I think the answer is no.

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He shows no emotion, ever, when discussing her (even in the obnoxiously gratuitous scene in the brothel).

And I’ve been thinking about it for all of Season 5, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care about Sansa either. My current theory is that he tries to play all sides and stir up conflict. I don’t know what his end game is; I assume to secure more power for himself? He doesn’t want to rule, but he wants influence.

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Littlefinger is also an obnoxious exposition machine throughout Season 1. It has the dual purpose of cluing in the non-book readers to the complicated family histories and it gives him this personality where he’s playing innocent–“Isn’t House Tully your wife’s house?”–in a way that makes you want to punch his little face.

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6. After we get past the rape, Khal Drogo is awesome! When he has his epic speech about how he’s going to cross the Narrow Sea and take the Iron Throne, I get chills. I remember when I saw it the first time (before I had read the books), I was so excited for the Khalasar to lay King’s Landing to waste.

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I’m not sure how she’d pull it off, but maybe when Dany runs into the Khalasar, she’ll be able to get them on her side as part of her army?

#AsTheStarsLookDownInWitness.

7. Loras Tyrell and Renly Baratheon plot for Renly to be king before Robert dies. I suppose Renly would have been a suspect in Robert’s hunting accident if the Lannisters weren’t more obvious about being the bad guys.

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8. Varys and Ilyrio plotted about helping Dany in the dragon skull storage facility–is Varys playing both sides like Littlefinger or was he always on the side of the Targaryens? Or does he change his mind about Daenerys once Joffrey ascends to the throne and Dany appears to be a better ruler? I think he plays multiple sides like Littlefinger but his motivation is for the people, the realm. Now why he cares so deeply about Westeros is another question. But, in the epic battle of Littlefinger v. Lord Varys, I’m #TeamVarys

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9. These amazing foreshadowing quotes:

Cat- “I’ve known him [Walder Frey] since I was a girl–he’d never hurt him [Robb Stark]”

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Bronn [upon hearing Tyrion’s story about what his father did to his first wife]- “I’d kill the man who did that to me.”

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Shae- “A girl who was almost raped doesn’t invite another man into her bed two hours later.” Apparently the writers forgot about this little piece of wisdom, because they had Gilly do it in Season 5.

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10. Daenerys is a problematic white savior from the beginning. I think I missed this the first time I saw it because I hadn’t read very many books on colonialism yet and I was so focused on Dany transitioning from a victim into a political actor. Mirri Maz Duur, the priestess she “saves” who then performs blood magic, tells Dany that she doesn’t feel grateful because Dany didn’t save her. She had already been raped and her village had already been destroyed. She asks Dany to check her own role in perpetuating violence–a lesson Dany still has not really learned. Since she’ll be back at square one next season, maybe she’ll finally learn her lessons.

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I’m excited to watch [most parts] of the other seasons and obviously I’m pumped for Sunday.

3 thoughts on “10 Thoughts I had re-watching Season 1 of Game of Thrones

  1. Yes! I think your 10th point is good; these people haven’t been saved and Dany hasn’t really learned her lesson. Also, I think Littlefinger, on the one hand, truly is devoted to Cat and Sansa but, alternatively, he has a relatively weak character likely to abandon others when push comes to shove. He’s a survivor. He adapts. I think people like that are ultimately rational and not romantic. From the start he ridicules Ned Stark for being willing to die for honor, etc. Also, I think Varys does want the best for the realm, but I still can’t totally understand his motivations. Like, why is he trying so hard to bring about these changes? Does he have first-person chapters in the book? I can’t remember.

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  2. [spoilers!] Varys isn’t a POV in the books, and I just re-read the epilogue of Dance of Dragons this morning and he goes 100% for little Aegon pretender-Targaryen who has been taught that being a king is a duty, not a right. He kills Kevan because Kevan was doing well uniting all the houses behind Tommen and Varys wanted to fuck it up so that Westeros would still be disarray when Aegon came. This seems to muddle his loyalty to the realm and the people, but maybe he was making a sacrifice of a few more years of chaos before a really solid ruler could come and make everything better? Idk, I think I’m more confused. Maybe show-Varys and book-Vars have different motivations…

    And you should at least try for Drogo’s braid. Don’t cut it unless someone defeats you in combat.

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