This is a guest post by Game of Thrones fan, John S.
Winter is Coming. Well, actually, winter’s over and spring is here, but so is the second season of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. We only have to wait until April 1st until it returns to the airwaves. Only a few more days longer.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past nine months, Game of Thrones is the television adaptation of George R.R. Martin‘s critically acclaimed fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. The series takes the fantasy genre that we’ve all grown accustomed to and flips it on its head.
Before I get to reminding you about the end of the first season and throwing some spoilers your way, I want to tell you that if you haven’t seen the first season of the show or read the first book, A Game of Thrones, then you’re really missing out on a fantastic story full of intrigue, deceit, duty, honor, love, and glorious battles. If you’re interested in watching this series online and don’t subscribe to HBO with your television provider, I’m sorry to say you’re just plain out of luck. In fact, The Oatmeal made a comic about how difficult they’ve made it to watch Game of Thrones legally online.
Seriously though, this is your last chance to turn back. What I’m about to say will ruin your enjoyment of season one by taking away all the surprises. Are you sure that’s what you want? OK, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The story began with a rare glimpse north of the Wall where a group of rangers in the Night’s Watch are ambushed and slaughtered by white walkers and wights. A few days later, a surviving ranger who ran southward is caught by Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. The man is sentenced to death for deserting the Watch and beheaded by Eddard according to the customs of the North and the laws of the Night’s Watch. On the way back to Winterfell, the group finds six orphaned dire wolves, the sigil of House Stark and each Stark child adopts a wolf. Back at Winterfell, things are happy and normal until word reaches them that the previous Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, has died under suspicious circumstances, King Robert is riding north to ask Ned to be the Hand of the King, and Lady Catelyn Stark’s sister Lysa Arryn has fled King’s Landing for the safety of the Eyrie.
The season ended with Danaerys Targaryen giving birth to three dragons in the dying embers of her late husband’s funeral pyre, Tyrion is headed to King’s Landing to be the Hand of the King, while Joffrey is safely seated on the Iron Throne… for now. Jaime is a captive of Robb and Catelyn who are marching south to rescue Sansa and Arya from the Red Keep and avenge the death of Eddard. And the Night’s Watch is preparing a large-scale ranging north of the wall. That should be enough to jog your memory about how things were left off.
The big surprise of the first season of Game of Thrones, of course, came in episode seven when the main character of the story to this point, Eddard Stark, was beheaded. No magic saved the day. No heroic death-defying stunts could spare his neck. No. He made mistakes in playing the Game of Thrones and he paid with his life.
A lot of people were put off by the decision of George to kill the character that he designed to be your favorite. I saw many people tweet after the episode aired that they were done with the show at that moment, but for me, the lack of hesitation that Martin displays in killing off such an important character proves that the world of Game of Thrones is as real and brutal as our own. It also allows us to consider the greater impact a person’s death can have compared to what their life would have held.
Game of Thrones Season Two
Season two promises more surprises, more locations, more political intrigues, and much more military strategy. You’ll be introduced to interesting new characters like Ygritte, Davos, and Melissandre. The Night’s Watch will take us far beyond the frozen wall into the icy north, we’ll be trekking across Essos with Danaerys’ khalasar on her quest to retake Westeros for her own, and we’ll finally see the Iron Islands from where the House Greyjoy hails.
One thing’s for sure: season two will continue to deliver the same intricate, interwoven, quality story lines that bring together a myriad of different people in different roles playing their part in the Game of Thrones.
Oh, and be sure to check out these handy resources from HBO to help you keep track of people and places.
Game of Thrones Teaser Clips