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Review–Game of Thrones Ep 1 (part 2)

Con’t:

Pentos: there we see Viserys admitting he is selling his sister Dany for an army. Khal Drogo rides up supposedly to approve of Dany (or not).  The Khal does not speak the common tongue so he says nothing.

Here is where I’ll say something about the women in A Song of Ice and Fire.  Yes, it is true, women are treated horribly as a class, as they were in the Middle Ages.  Here, women of the upper classes are used to cement bonds between differing houses, to ensure pacts and otherwise ordered to marry whom their father instructs them. For Dany, it’s worse. Her father is long since dead, and she and Viserys have been in exile. All she knows is that she was raised by Viserys and she only knows what he’s told her. She has no concept that what he’s telling her might not be true or common or whatever. Also, the Targayren family wed brother to sister to keep the blood lines true (just as European upper classes tended to wed within the family – altho not generally brother to sister).  When Viserys threatens her when she shows reluctance he says, “Do you want to wake the dragon?” This is a direct threat that he will punish her physically and she knows it. That is why she is so meek. Viserys is brutal and has a short temper. She’s reacting as any woman in an abusive relationship must. Let him have his way or pay the price. That Dany stands up to Viserys at all to say she doesn’t want to be Khal Drogo’s queen is rather remarkable considering her wretched abusive brother.

As to the other women who at first seem meek and open to manipulation, I say only WAIT!  This is where they begin their journeys. Nearly every one of them, will grow and discover the need for  independence of action and thought and they will accept the challenges.

Illyrio Mopatis, the magister who sets up the sale of Dany to Khal Drogo so Viserys can win his throne back, is, of course, lying through his teeth. Yes, there are a few factions in Westeros who might back a return of the Targaryens, but the common people are trampled on by everyone and really could care less which family is in power. All they want is peace and to be left alone. Illyrio, btw, is rather mysterious. Keep an eye on him.

Winterfell:

Here we see Sansa delighted to discover she’s to be wed to the future king, Joffrey who she thinks handsome. She’s the sort of girl who believes in fantasy princes and suddenly discovers her life is headed EXACTLY where she wants it to go.  Alas, she’ll find out soon enough things are not always what they seem.

Jon greets Benjen Stark, Ned’s younger brother who is the First Ranger at the Wall. Jon pleads to go with him. He realizes that if Ned leaves, he will not be welcome to stay at Winterfell, as Catelyn despises him.  He has to choose something, go somewhere where even a bastard might be accepted.

Jon then speaks with Tyrion who offers Jon words of wisdom in a most, uhm, unsettling way. Typical of Tryion.

“Have you bled yet.”  The question Cersei asks. She asks it because it is when a girl first bleeds she is then considered a woman. Quite normal in a Medieval society. Amazingly some who watched found the question  shocking and red more into it than I think was intended. For this society it is a perfectly understandable question.

A raven arrives then, with a message from Cat’s sister Lyssa Aryn who was married to the Hand who is seen dead at the beginning of the main storyline. Lyssa believes the Lannisters poisoned her husband and has fled to the stronghold of her husband’s family with her only son and heir to the Aryn lands and powers.

Cat believes it immediately, Ned is skeptical.  But it is another reason for Ned to accept the position of King’s Hand, as he wants to know for certain who, if anyone, killed his childhood friend.

Pentos:

Dothraki wedding. Dany is clearly terrified. This society is nothing at all like she’s used to. For one thing, everything is done in the open with no privacy and no sense of shame. Everything of consequence is done under the stars.  As for the wedding itself, Illyrio says it all. A wedding without three deaths at least is considered a very dull affair.

Here Jorah Mormont is introduced. He’s fled Westeros and is in an exile for his own reasons, which he will admit to in a future episode.  We’ll also meet his father quite soon, who is in another sort of exile.

Here is the first hint of magic, too. Dany, as a wedding gift, is given three dragons eggs.  This is significant because the sigil of the Targaryen House is a three headed dragon. And there are stories and prophecies which point to ‘the three heads of the dragon’ as returning to Westeros.

At this point, dragons are believed to have been extinct for three or four centuries. The last ones were used by the Targaryens to overcome a rebellion against the Iron Throne.

Khal Drogo gives Dany a white horse as a wedding gift. She’ll refer to it as her Silver.

The scene of Drogo and Dany’s wedding night is stunning and upsetting. She’s been told he’s a barbarian and believes it and she sees the events in that light. And since he cannot speak to her not having the common tongue, he can’t claim otherwise.

Winterfell:

We meet ‘the Hound’ the scarred fellow talking with Tyrion. He’s Joff’s bodyguard and will do whatever Joff tells him. Watch out for him.

Most of the males in the visiting party ride off from Winterfell to do some hunting for wild boar. Bran, despite having promised his mother to stop climbing, heads up to do his favorite thing. He spies two people having sex and is caught. What happens next is horrifying if not surprising. Their lives are at risk so they protect themselves.  Their secrets MUST be protected as there is no question as to what Robert would do. Bran must pay the price.

::end of episode::

Let me add that the VAST majority of this first episode is entirely true to the book, to the law if not always true to the letter of it. Naturally some things have been left out. It’s a HUGE book, after all. But I am delighted to see this as it sets up subsequent events perfectly.

As far as I’m concerned, the series is faithful, well done, and stunning in its understanding and use of the source material. I like all the casting choices so far. I adore Arya and Jon is suitably angsty and conflicted here. Jaime is perfect IMHO.

This is by far the slowest part of the book, so I’m not surprised some folks find this episode a bit dragging. But there is a LOT to introduce and so much is built up on the events here. Please just hang in there and know it is uphill from here all the way.



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Still like the review. :-) Thank you!
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