I wrote these rewatches on the old site a few years ago, and now I’m posting them here. These recaps naturally contain spoilers.
Episode title: Winter is Coming
Director: Tim Van Patten
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: North of the Wall, three members of the Night’s Watch encounter a village of wildlings that have been slaughtered by an unknown force. They are attacked by a White Walker and one escapes. He is later discovered south of the wall, and Ned Stark is called upon to execute him. On the way back, Ned and company discover the body of a direwolf which has been killed by a stag. They discover six pups, one for each of Ned’s children: the eldest Robb, lady-like Sansa, tomboy Arya, climber Bran, youngest Rickon, and the bastard Jon Snow.
Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King is dead. King Robert Baratheon (first of his name) travels to the northern city of Winterfell to ask his oldest friend Ned Stark to become his newest hand. He arrives with his in-laws the Lannisters. His wife Cersei, her twin brother Jamie, known as the Kingslayer, and their brother Tyrion, a dwarf, who enjoys reading, wine, and whores. Also in tow are the King’s children, including the spoiled Joffery, with his bodyguard Sandor “the Hound” Clegane. Robert immediately heads to the tomb of Lyanna, Ned’s sister, whom Robert was in love with and started his Rebellion. They decide to arrange a marriage between Sansa and Joffrey.
At a feast for the king, Jon Snow is excluded from the festivities. He encounters a kindred soul in Tyrion, who encourages him to own his status as a bastard, and runs into his uncle Benjen of the Night’s Watch, expressing his desire to join.
Across the narrow sea the last members of the Targaryen family are in exile. Viserys plans to marry his sister Danerys to a Dothraki horse lord called Khal Drogo in exchange for an army to retake the Iron Throne. At the wedding, she receives a gift of three dragon eggs. She also meets Jorah Mormount, who pledges loyalty to the Targaryens. On her wedding night, Khal Drogo forcibly takes her.
Back in Winterfell, Lady Catelyn Stark receives a secret message from her sister Lysa, Jon Arryn’s widow, saying that she thinks that Jon was killed by the Lannisters, convincing Ned to accept the post of Hand to protect Robert. Bran is climbing the castle walls and discovers the incestuous relationship between Cersei and Jamie. He is caught by them and Jamie throws him out of the window.
My take: For an episode that had to introduce a lot of characters, they did a hell of a job keeping everything straight. Knowing that Jon Arryn was killed by Lysa makes you think about Littlefinger’s plans. Watching season one reminded me of how good some of the casting was.
Changes from the books: The most obvious change is the increased ages of the children, including Dany. Now in medieval times girls as young as fourteen were considered marriage material (and sexually active teenagers are fairly common now), but it would be inappropriate to show a thirteen year old Dany on her wedding night, so the ages of Dany, Robb, and Jon are changed to seventeen, with the rest of the family aged as well. They also change Dany’s wedding night. In the books, Drogo romances her until she gives consent. In the show, he simply bends her over and rapes her. The episode also introduces Esmé Bianco as Ros, a composite character.
Nudity: Ros is introduced nude while fellating Tyrion, and she is joined by other whores. Dany is stripped and has her breasts fondled by her brother before climbing into the bath. Later, she is stripped of her dress on her wedding night. Bare breasts during the Dothraki wedding. No male nudity but a scene of shirtless men getting shaved
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and Pentos
Death count: 5. Will executed by Ned Stark. Waymar Royce and Gared killed by the Others. Jon Arryn, dead at the beginning of the episode, killed by Lysa. A Dothraki killed during the wedding feast.
Quotes: “All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.”- Tyrion
“The things I do for love.” – Jamie
“Winter is coming” Ned (I have this on a T-shirt with Elsa from Frozen
“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” – Ned
Episode title: The Kingsroad
Director: Tim Van Patten
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: Dany wishes to please her husband, so she asks for sex tips from her handmaiden, Doreah. Viserys has decided to stay with the Dothraki until his army is delivered.
Bran has fallen into a coma since his fall from the tower. The Starks part ways. Jon travels to the wall with his uncle Benjen and Tyrion who wants to see the wall. Ned takes Sansa and Arya on the road with him to King’s Landing, promising to talk to Jon about his mother the next time they see each other. Before leaving, Jon gives a sword to Arya as a present.
A fire breaks out at Winterfell, and during the ensuing chaos, a hired assassin tries to kill Bran, but his direwolf jumps in and tears out the killer’s throat. Suspecting the Lannisters, Catelyn she decides to go to King’s Landing in secret with Rodrik as her escort to warn her husband.
On their way to King’s Landing, the king’s entourage has stopped to rest at an Inn. Joffrey and Sansa Stark are walking along the river, they run into Arya and a butcher’s boy named Mycah sparring with sticks. Joffrey draws his sword and Arya hits him while her friend flees. He is about to strike her with his sword when her direwolf Nymeria bites his wrist. Fearing that the wolf will be killed, she drives Nymeria away.
Later, they are all brought before the King. Sansa lies, pretending she didn’t remember what happened. Sick of the petty bickering, King Robert chastises his son for allowing himself to be disarmed by a girl but gives in to Cersei’s demands and orders the direwolf killed. Since Nymeria has fled, Sansa’s wolf Lady is to be sacrificed. Ned takes responsibility and kills the wolf and encounters The Hound” who has ridden down and killed Mycah.
Back in the north, in Bran’s bedroom, Bran finally awakens and opens his eyes.
My take: How do you handle exposition? Let Iain Glenn describe the Dothraki ways to us all. Also Joffrey getting slapped three times by Tyrion is just delightful. You don’t see Jon interact with Arya again after this episode, and they have a great scene together. It’s also hard to like Catelyn after she’s such a bitch to Jon, but we see the prayer loom that she mentions again in Season Three.. The question of Jon Snow’s mother comes up and when you remember the R+L=J theory, Ned’s mention of Willa seems a bit if a throwaway, but this is also the first time Rhaegar is mentioned.
Changes from the books: We get a scene with Cersei talking about losing a child during childbirth. We also get an episode of CSI: Winterfell, with Catelyn investigating the scene of Bran’s fall and finding a blonde hair. Cue The Who. In the books we’re introduced to Renly and Barrison Selmy, instead we get Illyn Payne. The sex instruction scene was added as well, as it is only hinted at in the books
Nudity: Drogo plowing Dany from behind. Later we see his ass as well.
Locations on the Map: Kings Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, Vaes Dothrak.
Death count: 3. The assassin by Summer, Mycah by the Hound, and Lady by Ned
Quotes: ” The Prince will remember that, little Lord.” The Hound
” I hope so. If he forgets, be a good dog and remind him.” Tyrion