Tuesday, April 3, 2012

F**k Yeah Game of Thrones!: Episode One, The North Remembers/Joff Rulez OK!

I’ll admit, I haven’t read the books. And I don’t always remember all the names. And sometimes I have to make names up like Sir Badassington and Lord Flibberty-Jibberty. But I totally love the unexpected mace to the face that is Game of Thrones and have been eagerly awaiting the series return.

Recapping/reviewing such a rich, character-laden, plot-heavy show is a daunting task and I won’t even attempt to recall everything in order, nor cover every aspect. But I do want to savour its flavour, and share with you the often gut-wrenching, mind-boggling, visceral experience of watching the show.

Series Two opens with what is very much a set-up episode. We take the grand tour, catching up on the current status of all our beloved, unloved, and utterly despised characters - as well as a few new players who have pulled up a chair to join Westeros’ favourite throne game. There are no earth-shattering twists here, but there is an overriding feeling that something big is brewing. It’s like leaving faulty Christmas lights near a leaking air-conditioner, or a box of fireworks on top of a heater. You’re assured that, very soon, something spectacular will happen.

Join me after the jump to find out more!

What better way to begin than with a knight get opened up with a mace, falling over a balcony, and getting dragged away in a stream of blood. It’s all for the amusement of evil bastard boy-king Joffrey “The Joffster” Baratheon who is so such a malevolent little prick that he makes Draco Malfoy look like a crippled kitten. It’s good to be king, and The Joff is living it up, sass-mouthing Sansa (his intended) and almost killing some poor fat fugger by force-funnelling him a barrel of wine.

It’s all fun and games until The Joff’s cousin - our true hero, Tyrion the witty, manipulative dwarf (portrayed brilliantly by Peter Dinklage who appears to be having far too much fun) rocks up and reveals that he is the newly appointed King’s Hand. To quote the brilliant John McClaine, Tyrion is the “fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench” who is going to cause all sorts of amusing shit at Joff’s expense - and cause particularly large problems the treacherous and troubled Cersei who has stupidly engineered this entire mess. Its brother-lover Cersei’s fault that the Starks have declared war on the Lannisters and it looks like Tyrion is going to whip her into shape. I am highly amused that despite her amassed power, it could all be undone by the wiles of an especially cunning imp.

Tyrion is awesome, and deservedly the break-out star of the series and as this episode starts he appears to be holding all the cards. He’s even secretly shacked up with nymphomaniac Shae played by Turkish ex-pornstar Sibel Kekilli. I am giddy with anticipation at all the crazy shit I’m sure Tyrion will get up to this season. He’s the unknown factor who is capable of instantly turning everything upside down.

Meanwhile the Stark boys are still pissed at the shock beheading of their dad and eldest son, Robb continues to lead his ever-expanding army to victory. They still have rakish sister-impregnator Jamie Lannister captive and Robb goes total badass threatening him with his wolf. This is a series where anyone can die at any second - even major characters - so I initially thought that this was the end of Jamie, but he’s proving to be far too valuable a bargaining chip if they hope to get Sansa back. Robb also wants his dad’s mighty bones returned so he can put them in a badass crypt so that Eddard can rock out in the underworld. Robb is also getting Lily Allen’s brother to negotiate with his own dad, Mr. Greyjoy, because they want to get 200 ships and stick them up King’s Landing.

Little kid Bran still can’t walk but he’s getting to be a lord and make decisions about his people. He’s also hanging out with Tonks from Harry Potter and getting grass stains on his knees by draggin himself around the forest. I see big things in Bran’s future. Maybe they’ll have an episode that’s all about him. And it can be sponsored by All Bran.

Elsewhere beheaded Eddard’s bastard expressionless son, Jon Snow, has ventured beyond the wall with the Night’s Watch and they’re sleeping over at the house of a wilding called Craster, a creepy old fat guy who had daughters, and then impregnated his daughter with more daughters, and then had more daughters with those daughters, and then had sex with his daughters. And if you touch his daughters he will cut off your hand. He especially hates pretty-boy Jon Snow because he assumes that Jon’s intense vacant stares are directed at his daughters and Craster fights a constant urge to gouge out Jon’s eyes. Craster also reveals that the wildlings are amassing in the north and will probably head south and kill everyone. Which would be depressing.

On the other side of Westeros, victim turned victor, Daenerys still has a baby dragon on her shoulder and is lost out in the middle of nowhere. The primitive horse-people’s horses are dying and she needs to make some serious decisions or they’re all screwed. She sends four doodz out on the remaining horses and they have to find a town, or a pub, or a hotel or something. Fast. It’s a quiet start for Daenerys - especially after her strong finish last time - but you know that she is going to be a force to be reckoned with. She might even win the game. Or at least flip the table.

The most prominent new player in the game is Stannis Baratheon, the late Mark Addy/Fred Flintstone Baratheon’s brother. I remember hearing inititial rumours that he would be played by bad-ass people-punting Gerard Butler, but no - Stannis is actually far more unassuming and older looking, and apparently quite level and pragmatic. I don’t really know what his deal is yet, but word is well and truly out that The Joff is the product of incest and a false heir to the throne, and Stannis medieval mass emails everyone so they know. Stannis has the true claim to the throne and he is coming back hardcore (I hope). Oh, and did I mention that Stannis is hanging out with Melisandre of Asshat who is some kind of pagan/priestess/supernatural something or other. I don’t what she is, but she’s up to something.

So back to Cersei who is getting pretty antsy now that rumours of Joff’s true father are emerging. In fact Joff himself even challenges her on this in his throne room and Cersei smacks the shit out of him - something that everyone on set must have thought about at least once. Joff is super pissed but surprisingly quiet about it. He threatens her but I thought he was going to punch her in the throat or something. He’s such a malicious little prick. When he got hit his throne room was being renovated by about a hundred eavesdropping workmen and I thought Joff would at least put them all to death.

It’s bad timing for chief pimp Little Finger who also questions Cersei on her sleight with her sibling. Cersei shows an awesome display of power by siccing her guards on Little Finger and nearly slitting his throat. I totally thought he was done for, but then she continues to show her hold over the guards by making them release him, step backwards, turn around, do the hokey pokey, and finally kiss. Little Finger is shitting his pants and she tasks him with finding the escaped Stark child, Arya (posing now as a young boy called ‘Arry) as she is a powerful bargaining tool for the return of Jamie.

With only a few minutes to go in this episode I’m engaged but I start to think... this isn’t quite as hardcore as the previous season. There hasn’t been a whole lot of violence, and we haven’t even seen boobs. Luckily, Game of Thrones crams all of these things into the final minutes. In a brothel scene involving full frontal nudity, a secret baby - one of the late King Fred Flintstone Baratheon’s many bastards - is murdered by a guard. They then travel around the city torturing people and slaughtering the other bastards. Except they don’t manage to find the simpleton Blacksmith bastard. Where is he? Why he’s riding off into the countryside on the back of a wagon with Arya as the credits roll...

All in all it’s soft but solid start to this highly anticipated series. I never have any idea where the show is going to go and I have complete trust in George R. R. Martin to take me there. Looking forward to the next one!


  1. I al SO INSANELY HAPPY that GoT is back. Favourite TV show ever. I am MAD for it.

  2. Joff is such a wonderful a-hole that you hope bad things happen to. I don't know how the 'imp' will be able to control him.

  3. Every time he steps out of line, the Imp should hit him with a rolled up newspaper.

  4. 99% of the way through the episode I thought 'Huh, there wasn't that much in this ep to offend the softy whingers....ohhhhh, there we go'.

  5. Ha, yeah - exactly what I thought. They never fail to squeeze it all in somewhere.

  6. Game of Throooooooooones. So good. So, so good.

  7. Excellent start! Glad you're reviewing...I thought about it but I think it's better to have someone that doesn't know what's gonna happen due to the books. Good work!

    Great show! Oh you forgot there were more boobs when the old Maester was expositing about something or other. I notice whenever the dialogue gets particularly explain-y they tend to also show boobs to keep you interested...