Games of Thrones – Winter is Coming

The first episode of the first season of the adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantasy novel Games of Thrones starts as it means to go on and doesn’t hold any punches. The action begins in frozen wastelands where three members of the Night’s Watch (more on them later) are ambushed by something evil: one of them is ran through with a sword, and the other is beheaded (and this is in the first few minutes of the episode mind you) before the final member of the trio manages to leg it and ends up in Winterfell where we meet the first of the main characters of the series.

Winterfell is the home of the Stark family who had previously been the kings of the north in days gone past. The Stark’s comprise of the head of the family Eddard better known as Ned, his wife Catelyn and their children Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon. Ned also has a ward, Theon and an illegitimate son, Jon who also lives with them.

Ned has no choice but to sentence the man to death for deserting the wall and decides to take his sons with him to behead the man. They also come across a dying direwolf with six pups which the Stark children persuade Ned to let them adopt then on the basis that they look after them.

When they get back they learn that the King is on his way to Wintefell after the death of his advisor, to ask for Ned to take his place, which Ned’s wife, knows that he will not be able to turn down.

The King turns up with his entourage including his three very blonde children, his equally blonde wife Cersei, her twin brother Jamie and their younger brother Tyrion, who is basically a hard-drinking dwarf who likes nothing better that having sex with prostitutes and drinking and then more of the same. He is my favourite character.

In another part of the world the surviving heirs of the King deposed by Robert are living. Viserys, the true heir, is there to sell his younger sister, Daenerys, to a Dothraki warrior in exchange for an army so that he can reclaim the throne which he believes is rightfully his. Daenerys has little choice in the matter and ends up with the warrior as his prize and property.

The episode ends with Bran climbing the towers of Winterfell to witness the Queen and her brother having sex, and being pushed out of the window by Jamie who immediately goes back to shagging his sister whilst the boy’s falls to what you might assume would be his death.

This episode was a great way to start the series; it introduced the major players in the series and set things up for the following episodes nicely.

The acting was of a high standard with Sean Bean being an inspired choice as Ned as there isn’t many actors more northern than Sean Bean. I was a bit surprised to see Mark Addy as Robert but he played the part well and was a good fit for the part. Lena Headey didn’t have much to do as Cersei in this episode but she did give the part the superiority over everyone else that you know is going to be a hallmark of her character. The best performance of them all though was by Peter Dinklage as the superb Tyrion who I liked immediately.

If the rest of the episodes are of the quality of this one then we are in for an excellent series.