Monday, April 18, 2011
Game Of Thrones - Episode 1.01 - Winter Is Coming - Initial Thoughts
The final moments of tonight's series premiere of Game Of Thrones, which shall henceforth be known as GoT, are what set it apart from pretty much everything else that I have ever watched. Certainly, the rest of the episode had its fair share of gore, taboo subject matter, sex, and profanity, but these have all become fairly commonplace and even expected of shows on cable channels like HBO. This was something altogether different and, hopefully, for those of you who have yet to read the novels, completely unexpected.
If you haven't watched the first episode, entitled "Winter Is Coming", then I suggest that you read no further.
When the episode began, we were treated to a beautifully shot, wonderfully intriguing, and yet somewhat typical cold open. All was well, but a bit tense. Then it wasn't. People died. 'Nuff said.
From there, we were shown something even more typical - at least in the realm of fantasy. The body of a female direwolf, the symbol of House Stark as well as a species long extinct, was discovered by Eddard "Ned" Stark and several of his children. This was clearly an omen of some sort. Near the direwolf's corpse were five direwolf pups, one for each of Ned's legitimate children, and a special albino pup for his bastard son. It must be fairly apparent at this point that these children are special. More than that, these children are CHILDREN OF PROPHECY! That's how this stuff works in fantasy. These kids are going to be fine, right?
The aforementioned final moments of the episode showed us something truly horrific. Bran, a child aged ten, was intentionally and potentially irrevocably harmed. He's a child of prophecy dammit! THEY CAN'T EVER BE HURT THAT BREAKS THE RULES WHAT'S HAPPENING!?
His special status aside, children just don't get hurt much on television in general. Yes, doctor dramas have dying children, but the doctors are trying to save them. Torchwood COE did some intense stuff, but most of it was to A) save children from a fate worse than death or B) save even more children.
Bran wasn't hurt for any sense of greater good. He wasn't suffering from a disease that no one intended for him to contract. He had walked in on something he (and probably we) should never have seen. During the course of one of his regular climbing expeditions, he was pushed off of the edge of the castle for having discovered Cersei Lannister, the Queen and wife of King Robert, sexing it up with her TWIN BROTHER, Jaime. Jaime's final words of the episode, "The Things I Do For Love," were beyond twisted. He clearly had no wish to hurt the child, and yet he did so because his lover/(sister) asked it of him.
The fact that the Queen is having an affair with her brother and that he would defend their secret... for the sake of love? That's weird/complex/HBOworthy. If the Queen had been married to her brother, I would have simply explained that away using medieval royal goings on as an excuse. That not being the case, let the Kind of Awkward Twincest Party Times ensue!
As a final note, I understand that the idea of "NO ONE IS SAFE, NOT EVEN YOUR SERIES REGULARS" has become almost a cliche these days; however, when those series regulars are children under twelve, it's a different matter all together.
I'll be posting a more complete review and my opinion of the rest of the episode in a few days. For now, I'd like to know two things from watchers who aren't readers:
1. Were the huge number of characters and plots difficult to follow?
2. How shocked were you by the final scene and what do you think will be Bran's fate?
For those of you who have already read the books, what did you think of the opening episode? Was it too full of exposition? Were you bored because you knew what was going to happen? Or was it the most awesome thing you've ever seen?
Hit The Comments!