Archive for August, 2017

Game of Thrones, Season 1, Ep 6 “A Golden Crown”

Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Nothing at The Wall this time, so from the top:

Winterfell: Bran has another dream of the three-eyed raven which we saw in the previous episode. Obviously this means something, but it’s not at all clear what yet. Awake, his special saddle is ready and he can ride a horse again, with his crippled legs strapped in. He goes riding with his brother, whose name I finally catch, Robb Stark, and a squire who isn’t related to them. (I’d thought before that this squire was the other Stark brother whose name I don’t know yet, but apparently not, because there is a specific conversation here where Robb says the other guy is from a different family.) Bran rides off while Robb and the squire have a petty argument about Robb taking charge and getting justice against the Lannisters for trying to kill Bran.

A group of four scruffy itinerants surrounds Bran and demands his silver pin and the horse, cutting his leg (which Bran doesn’t feel because of his paralysis). Robb appears and kills two with his sword, but enters a standoff with one remaining one holding Bran with a dagger to his throat. Robb drops his sword, and the squire shoots an arrow into the ruffian’s back, triggering another argument with Robb saying he could have killed Bran. The remaining female ruffian begs for mercy and says she will be in Robb’s service; he lets her live.

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Game of Thrones, Season 1, Ep 5

Monday, 14 August, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Wow, a lot is happening in this show, really fast, and it’s hard to keep track of it all. Let’s see how we go.

You know, I don’t remember anything happening in the Land of the Dothraki at all in this episode.

In King’s Landing, the intrigue continues, with Ned digging into things that might be best left alone. The tournament continues, and the knight called The Mountain is bested at the joust by a young pretty-boy with long blond locks who presents a rose to Sansa before proceeding to knock The Mountain off his horse. Sansa almost swoons – I guess she’s not as doting on Joffrey as she appeared to be before. Or at least she’s realised Joffrey hates her guts and marrying him might not be the best way to ensure her happiness and longevity. The Mountain takes offence at Pretty-Boy and grabs a sword, intent to cut him down. The Mountain’s own brother (the one scarred when The Mountain held his head in the fire when they were younger) intervenes and fights him to save Pretty-Boy, until King Robert calls things to order and The Mountain stands down, then runs off.

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Game of Thrones, Season 1, Ep 4

Sunday, 13 August, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Let’s recap in the other direction this time. I’m sure this won’t capture everything, because this episode contained a lot of back-story in conversations that sort of just washed over me with unfamiliar names and events, none of which I remember now.

Land of the Dothraki: Daenerys Targaryen is definitely starting to turn more against her brother, whose name I finally picked up as Viserys. The naming pattern makes sense, with their father being Aerys Targaryan, a.k.a. The Mad King. I still haven’t worked out the relationship to the guy who is accompanying them as a Dothraki translator. I think this guy must have sent news of Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding to King Robert (or maybe to Ned Stark), because I recall in an earlier episode that one of them received a raven carrying the news. Oh yeah, they seem to use ravens the way wizards use owls in Harry Potter – attaching notes to them. I’m pretty sure this would only work in a fantasy world – I don’t think ravens work like homing pigeons (or wizard owls, for that matter). So anyway, it feels like the translator guy may be a spy for King Robert.

The wandering caravan of Drogo and Daenerys reaches the city of the horse lords, which Viserys views with disdain. He tries to attack his sister in a fit of frustration, but she whacks him one with a lump of jewellery and threatens to have his hands removed next time he raises one against her. I think I know who’s going to win this conflict.

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Game of Thrones, Season 1, Ep 3

Friday, 11 August, 2017

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

The locations are intercut throughout the episode, but let’s recap from north to south.

The Wall: Jon Snow settles into his role as a member of the Night’s Watch, while Tyrion Lannister lurks around enjoying himself, knowing that he can head back to the comforts of more southern climes at any point. The Night’s Watch seems to be made mostly of ne’er-do-wells who are rounded up and brought north by a guy called Benjen who seems to be the captain. The result is that they are poor fighters, and Jon Snow shows his superior combat training against them in an exercise. This earns him their enmity, and a group of ruffians overwhelm him and threaten to mess up his pretty face, when Tyrion appears and pulls his “my sister is the Queen” card to get Snow out of it.

Snow takes a hand-cranked lift to the top of The Wall and peers out into the snowy north beyond. Tyrion takes a very meaningful piss off the Wall into the land of the Wildlings. We hear that Benjen and his rag-tag mob patrols north of the Wall. It’s not clear why they bother – the Wall is so huge that surely it can keep a bunch of people (they say explicitly that the Wildlings are “just people like us”) out without bothering about patrolling the enemy territory. But there’s also the threat of White Walkers and monsters and stuff, although Tyrion says dismissively that he doesn’t even believe such things exist. Famous last words, perhaps?

We get the first explicit explanation of how the seasons work here. Summer and winter each last a variable number of years. The current summer has lasted a very long nine years, and the winter that is coming is expected to be long and harsh.

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Black-crowned night heron

Wednesday, 9 August, 2017

I really should go through all my old travel photos and specifically look for photos of birds that I never identified. I just found another species of bird that wasn’t in my list of photographed species, lurking in some old photos from my 2011 trip to South America.

This is a black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax).

Black-crowned night heron

Game of Thrones, Season 1, Ep 1 + 2

Monday, 7 August, 2017

So, I started watching Game of Thrones. From the beginning. For the first time.

Yes, I’m six years behind the trend. I blame lack of time. It certainly seems like the sort of show that I’d enjoy, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and watch it at any point in the last six years.

Naturally, I’ve seen and heard snippets of information about the show, but possibly less than you might think. To recap you on what I do know about Game of Thrones, here’s a post I made just over a year ago, which tells you everything that I knew about it. I’ve picked up a few more things in the year since I wrote that post, which I’ll summarise here before we dive into the first episode recap.


Okay, besides the stuff I already knew, I’ve found out that there’s a queen named Cersei and that she has an incestuous relationship with her brother (whose name I think I heard, but I forget). And there are a bunch of different families, which are called “houses”, like the old fashioned “House of Tudor” or “House of Windsor” or British royalty. Cersei is a Lannister, and there’s also House Stark, and House Baratheon, and a few others whose names I forget.


Okay, I think that’s it. That’s all I knew about Game of Thrones until I started watching Season 1, Episode 1 last night. I watched it with my wife (who’s also never seen it), and after watching Episode 1, we decided to continue with Episode 2 straight away. So today’s recap covers Episodes 1 and 2. I’ll try to keep them separate, but I may misplace events from one episode into the other. I’m not looking up character names I didn’t catch yet, but I am looking up ones I definitely heard, to make sure I get the spellings right. Without further ado:

Season 1, Episode 1

It opens with some guys emerging from a tunnel into a snowy landscape. This is immediately confusing, because one of the things I do know about Game of Thrones is that it’s set in a world where the seasons are unusual and notable for lasting a long time. And that “winter is coming”, representing a metaphorical descent into chaos and war, so presumably the story actually starts in an idyllic and relatively peaceful summer.

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