Episode 1 Recap: Winter is coming
Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 1 opens with the prologue showing the Night’s Watch patrol leaving the protected fortresses in an austere environment and upon their patrols come upon coming upon a ritualistic massacre surrounded by dead, blackened and charred bodies including those of children (done by the Wildings).
Episode 1 primarily takes place in the fort of Winterfell where we meet Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark. He’s a warrior that has fought in several wars and married to Catelyn “Cat” Stark and has six children: Jon (illegitimate child), Bran, Arya, Sansa, Rickon, Robb. The trials and tribulations of domestic life and those that seek to change the peace and tranquility of the Stark life. A messenger notifies Lord Stark that a deserter from the Night’s Watch has been captured. To impress upon his son, Lord Stark takes 10 year-old Bran to watch the beheading of this deserter. The deserter claims that he saw the White Walker, a creature that has been extinct for thousands of years have suddenly re-appeared. Despite his claims, Lord Stark beheads him for disobeying the law of the land.
Lady Stark delivered news that Jon Arryn, who was a mentor and served as the Hand of the King, was dead. Therefore, King Robert Baratheon, Lord Stark’s war buddy is coming to Winterfell to visit him. While the entire house readies in preparation for the sumptuous meal, Lord Stark worries what the King is after. It turns out that the King wishes to have Lord Stark as the replacement to Jon Arryn. This obviously places the Stark family in great danger, but also comes with another way to cement their alliances. Lord Stark can marry Sansa off to Prince Joffrey.
Meanwhile on the continent of Essos, we meet Prince Viserys Targaryen, heir to the Seven Kingdoms and his sister, Princess Daenerys “Dany” Targaryen. She is 17 and is to be wed to a powerful horse lord of the “Dothraki” tribe: Khal Drogo which will greatly benefit her brother’s mission to have an army to reclaim his throne. Brother is only focused on getting his throne back, while his sister is deeply unhappy at the thought of being married. She is deeply repulsed by her brother’s touch, but takes a scalding bath to erase any thoughts of her brother and prepare for her upcoming wedding.
Lord Stark is tormented by his duty to his King but realizes he must give into the King’s wishes. A rider with word from Lady Stark’s sister claims that the Lannisters have plotted to kill Jon Arynn (her husband) which puts the King and Lord Stark in grave danger. Meanwhile, Bran climbs a wall (even though he promised his mother he wouldn’t) after being intrigued by some sounds and finds Jamie Lannister, the knight of the Kingsguard and his twin sister (and queen of Westeros), Cersie engaged in an incestuous sexual act. Jamie pushes Bran off the wall, to what we can only assume is his death.