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Recap: Game Of Thrones S 1 E 1 Winter Is Coming

Winter is Coming.
Lord Eddard Stark
We start our series in the far north of the Seven
Kingdoms of Westeros, at the 700-foot tall frozen
barrier known simply as the Wall. Three rangers of
the Night's Watch Wil, Gared and the knight Ser
Waymar Royce have been sent beyond the Wall
to track a band of wildlings that have committed
recent raids and ambushes. Wil is the one to find
the wildlings... already dead, their body parts
spread in a circle. Even worse, by the time Wil gets
the rest of his party there, said body parts have
gotten up and wandered off. As the rangers head
back for the Wall, shadowy figures of legend, the
White Walkers, show up and begin the slaughter
After a freaking awesome credits sequence, our
young ranger Wil is the only one left alive. He's in
(literally) greener pastures, having made his way
south of the Wall. He's a deserter, a wanted
criminal. He is gathered up by guardsmen in the
employ of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, Warden
and nominal ruler of the North. Messengers
interrupt a happy afternoon at home: Ned's heir

Robb and bastard son Jon Snow teach his nextyoungest son, Bran, how to shoot, whilst daughters
Sansa and Arya occupy themselves with
needlework and Ned presides over it all with his
wife Catelyn. At news of the captured deserter, Ned
takes his three sons, as well as his ward Theon
Greyjoy, with him to pass judgment.
Bran, all of ten years old, watches his father pass
sentence over the renegade. Wil is brought to the
block, where he confesses upfront that he knows
he is a deserter and that he should have reported
back to his superiors, but he saw the Whiter
Walkers and had to warn the people. Ned does not
believe his story, and with swing of his Valyrian
greatsword named "Ice", Wil is executed by
beheading. Ned explains to Bran that the blood of
the First Men flows in the veins of the Starks; "Our
way is the old way." Ned feels he owes it to the
men he executes to look into their eyes and hear
their final words. "The man who passes the
sentence should swing the sword."
As the Stark entourage heads home through the
forest, however, there is another unusual interlude:
on the road lies a dead direwolf, killed in the
struggle with its intended prey, a stag... and its
pups, still alive and quite adorable. Though Ned

feels it would be kinder to put them out of their

misery, Jon Snow points out that there are five
children, five puppies, the direwolf is their House
sigil, etc. Jon finds the sixth, an albino runt who
was driven away from rest of the litter.
There's a short scene at King's Landing, the capital
of Westeros, where a blonde man and a blonde
woman Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard
and his twin sister, Queen Cersei Lannister have
a cryptic conversation about keeping secrets whilst
a funeral goes on. Up at Winterfell, Catelyn brings
a letter to Ned explaining what the funeral was
about: it was for Lord Jon Arryn of the Eyrie, Hand
of the King these past seventeen years until his
untimely death by disease. The letter also claims
that Robert Baratheon, the First of his Name, King
of the Andals and the First Men, Lord Protector of
the Seven Kingdoms, is coming north to Winterfell
to visit his best friend Ned, whom he has not seen
in years. Three guesses why.
The month of travel this requires is abbreviated,
consisting mostly of a shirtless Robb, Jon and
Theon getting prettied up. Finally King Robert
arrives in Winterfell, which Bran observes from the
rooftops (he loves to climb) and Arya from under a
half-helm (she's a tomboy). The king's family are

introducedhis children Joffrey, Myrcella and

Tommen, his wife Cersei, her twin brother Jaime;
but their younger brother, the dwarf Tyrion
Lannister, is nowhere to be found. (Jaime later finds
him in a brothel, partaking in the goods, drinking
and dispensing snark.) It becomes quickly clear
that Robert and Ned are old friends; in fact, Robert
was once betrothed to Ned's younger sister
Lyanna, before she contracted a serious case of
death. Whilst visiting her grave in the Stark family
crypts below Winterfell, Robert asks Ned to take Jon
Arryn's place as Hand of the King. He also offers to
betroth Joffrey to Sansa, joining House Stark and
Baratheon. The scene in the crypts also introduces
some of the series' Back Story: seventeen years
ago, Robert, Ned and Jon Arryn fought a rebellion
against the Targaryen dynasty, deposing them and
installing Robert on the Iron Throne. But two
Targaryens still live....
In the Free City of "Pentos, across the Narrow Sea,"
Princess Daenerys Targaryen awaits in a
spectacularly flimsy gown. Her rather creepy
brother, Viserys Targaryen, self-proclaimed Rightful
King of Westeros, arrives and announces that, with
the help of Magister Illyrio Mopatis, he has
successfully brokered an Arranged Marriage for

her: she will wed Khal Drogo, a horselord of the

nomadic Dothraki, whose army Viserys will use to
reconquer Westeros. As part of the visit, Viserys
strips her naked and fondles her breast, whilst
Daenerys stands there and woobies through it.
Viserys tells her that today she must "be perfect
for him" and when his little sister can't answer for
fright he warns her not to "awaken the dragon" by
displeasing him before stating that this is the day
the chroniclers will remember as the day his reign
began. Dany, for her part, wades into a bath which
is visibly steaming, despite protestations that she
will burn herself. This will be important later.
Khal Drogo arrives. He is a man of few wordsnote
and Viserys is not entirely sure he approves of his
new bride and her spectacularly flimsy gown.
Daenerys, understandably, wibbles that she'd
rather not enter into this dynastic marriage, but
Viserys is having none of it: he wants the Seven
Kingdoms, and he claims "I would let his whole
tribe fuck you, all 40,000 men and their horses too,
if that's what it took" to get it. To judge by her
Reaction Shot, Dany is skeeved out.
Back in Winterfell, there's a feast going on for the
king. Robert is doing what he does best seducing
serving wenches whilst Queen Cersei looks on in

cold disapproval, largely unreceptive to Lady

Catelyn's courtesy. Outside in the yard, Jon Snow is
hacking away at a practice dummy with a sword,
having been barred from the feast for fear of
offending the royal family, and is thus best
positioned to receive his uncle Benjen Stark, First
Ranger of the Night's Watch, who has come for the
feast. Jon begs Benjen to let him join the Night's
Watch. He also runs into another late arrival, Tyrion
Lannister, who (in addition to providing a serious
dollop of As You Know) gives Jon some useful words
to live by: "Never forget what you are; the rest of
the world will not. Wear it like armor. Then it can
never be used to hurt you." And, at Jon's retort that
Tyrion knows nothing about bastardy: "All dwarfs
are bastards in their father's eyes."
After the feast, Ned and Catelyn recline in bed
trying to decide what to do. Neither want Ned to go
south to the Wretched Hive they call a capitol,
King's Landing, but the problem with kings is that
it's difficult to turn them down gracefully. The
situation is worsened by the arrival of a letter from
Lady Lysa Arryn, Catelyn's sister and Jon Arryn's
widow. This letter claims that Jon was murdered by
the Lannisters, and suggests they plan to move
next against Robert. Ned must now decide whether

to abandon his best friend to almost-certain death

or join him in it. Considering that Ned is a living
embodiment of Honor Before Reason, you can
guess which he's going to pick.
Back across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys is getting
married to Khal Drogo. It's a savage business, with
women dancing and men raping them, or
occasionally fighting over who gets raping rights.
Dany does get three gifts. One is a few books from
Westeros, a link to a home she's never even seen.
The second is the giftor: Ser Jorah Mormont of Bear
Island, known to the Dothraki as "Jorah the Andal,"
a Westerosi knight who now travels across the
narrow sea. And the third are from Magister Illyrio:
dragon's eggs, three of them, long petrified from
age but still beautiful. Finally it's time for the
consummation. Khal Drogo takes her far away from
Pentos and bends the weeping girl over.
Finally, we're back at Winterfell, where Tyrion
banters with Ser Sandor Clegane, called The
Hound, and Robert leads a royal hunting party out
of the castle. Bran, who is going south to King's
Landing with his father, takes this opportunity for
one last climb on the walls of Winterfell. He comes
across a blonde man and a blonde woman, naked
and alone, doing what naked men and women have

done together whilst naked and alone since the

time of the First Men. One is the queen, Cersei
Lannister. The other is not Robert, which is bad
enough. Even worse: it's Jaime.
He sees them. They see him.
Bran loses his balance and almost falls, but Jaime
rushes over and saves him. "It's all right, it's all
right..." "He saw us!" Cersei retorts. "I heard you
the first time," Jaime tells her. "How old are you,
boy?" "Ten," Bran replies, clearly scared out of his
Jaime looks from him, desperate and dishevelled
on a window ledge, to Cersei, desperate and
dishevelled on the floor. "The things I do for love,"
he says with a casual shrug, and pushes Bran out
the window.
Bran's body hits the ground. The credits roll.