Game of Thrones recap by a non-watcher

So, I’ve never seen any of the TV series Game of Thrones, nor read any of the books on which it is based. It’s not because I don’t want to – I actually think it’s the sort of thing that would appeal to me, given what I know about it. I just haven’t had the opportunity or the time to get into it. But being a modern day cultural phenomenon, I can’t help hearing tiny snippets about it every now and then. And an idea occurred to a friend of mine who is a big fan of the show.

He said, “Hey, you know that thing where someone wrote up what they thought the story of Star Wars was, based entirely on cultural osmosis, having never seen the movies themselves?”

I said, “Yeah.”

He said, “You should do that for Game of Thrones!”

So here I am. And what follows is what I think happens in Game of Thrones, based on never having read the books or seen the TV show, but only from what I’ve picked up incidentally. A lot of this is really “I think this happens”, but I’m not going to keep typing that at the front of every sentence. I’m just going to assert it all as though it’s true (but on the understanding that I really don’t know what I’m talking about, so keep that in mind). Also, some of it might actually be true, so it’s possible there may be some significant spoilers in here, even if I don’t know they’re spoilers! You have been warned.

Herein lies everything I “know” about Game of Thrones!

There is a land called Westeros. There is also a land called Easteros, and there are also places called North-something and South-something as well. But they’re not important, because all the action takes place in Westeros.

The seasons in Westeros are unusual – there isn’t a summer and a winter every year. Instead, the seasons magically track events in the land. When things are relatively peaceful and everyone is living a good life, it’s summer. A summer can last many years, and people can get complacent. But when war descends on the land and evil things stalk the countryside, the season turns to winter. This descent into a bleak winter of violence and foreboding is a main theme of the storyline.

Westeros is a land of magic and monsters and mighty heroes who wield sword and shield. Not just heroes, but also despicable villains! One of these villains is a man named Joffrey – it sounds like Geoffrey, only with an “o” sound instead of an “e” sound. He’s a king or a prince or something like that. He’s a lot like Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride. He kills and tortures people for fun. He raids the lands of peasants and burns down villages and is generally unpleasant.

There are heroic good guys too. One of these is a big giant of a man named Hodor. He’s not the main hero, but more a sort of second string hero. He’s cursed in some way and the only thing he can say is “Hodor”. But he’s not stupid – he just can’t communicate effectively.

There are dragons and magical creatures and stuff, but mostly the people don’t fight them, because they’re too busy fighting and plotting against one another. What they really want is power, and a lot of the story is the political intrigue around the various royal courts of Westeros. (Thus the “game of thrones”.) These intrigues often spill over into violence and bloodshed. People die a lot.

There are lots of characters, both more or less heroic, good ones, and utter villains – though most everyone is tinged with shades of grey morality. Hodor is one of the purest of the good guys. There have to be lots of characters, because so many characters get killed by various means as the story goes on. Even the ones you thought were long-term heroes – all of a sudden something will happen and they’ll die.

And they often die horribly. There’s nasty brutish violence and people getting maimed and ripped apart all over the place.

One time there was supposed to be a wedding – a day of celebration. But it didn’t turn out that way. An evil character showed up and basically murdered a whole bunch of people at the wedding. Probably including the bride and/or the groom. With blood splattered everywhere. It was pretty shocking. Joffrey was probably behind it. Maybe he was jealous – it’s the sort of thing he’d do.

Um… that’s about it. I’d just be making stuff up if I wrote any more!

3 Responses to “Game of Thrones recap by a non-watcher”

  1. Chuk says:

    That is 100% correct, very impressive.

  2. Jay says:

    This is very entertaining. The main themes you list are generally impressively correct, although (as you probably expect) the story elements you’ve included are a very minor random cross-section of events and characters, and most of the major characters are not mentioned. In particular, that the main setting of the book is a conflict for political power, with magical elements playing a less central role, is an excellent summary of what it’s all about. Also, that it’s a story about a descent into war, that will ultimately see the death of most of the people who started it in the first place.

  3. Graham says:

    Your second paragraph is both absolutely true, and had never struck me before… The seasons absolutely track the political stability of Westeros.

    Well done!

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