‘Game of Thrones’ Season 1 Review: Heartbreak, Heartbreak, and More Heartbreak

With the final season of Game of Thrones premiering April 14, we thought it would be a good idea to re-watch all seven seasons before the new one begins, to, you know, get in the zone.  For those who have yet to watch the masterpiece that is Game of Thrones, this shall remain a spoiler free zone, at least for future seasons.  This review covers only season one.

There will be one review per season till the season eight premiere, so this is probably a good time to get started with your own re-watch!

Game of Thrones is a show full of complex characters that play various roles.  You have various houses that seek to further their own agenda. They all ultimately either want the Iron Throne for themselves, or to benefit from it for their agenda.  Take the Lannisters for instance: Cersei may be Queen, but she doesn’t hold power like a King would.  Her father Tywin uses his daughter’s powers as Queen to influence the realm in their favor. It certainly helps they are also the richest house and the crown owes them a great deal of gold. Tywin also sees his youngest son Tyrion, a dwarf, as a disappointment that he doesn’t particularly care for, and he isn’t afraid to let Tyrion know. Which leads me to my favorite quote this season.

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I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, and other broken things”- Tyrion Lannister

This season is full of cripples, bastards, and other broken things.  There are the literal cripples and bastards, Bran Stark and Jon Snow. Then there are the more figurative ones. For example, we see a crippled realm on the brink of war after the death of King Robert, a realm that is drowning in debt after King Robert didn’t rule wisely. We see Daenerys, a broken girl at the start of the series, growing up with emotional, physical, and verbal abuse at the hands of her older brother Viserys.

Fragile relationships are holding together alliances, and there is a lot of mistrust outside of families. On the other side of the Great Sea, the Dothraki rape, pillage, and burn through lands, because that is just what they do. There’s also Sam at the Wall, a shell of a person, afraid of his own shadow, and yet he is expected to be a solider to protect the realm.  King’s Landing  is full of back stabbing people who only want to further their own agenda, and will only help others when it means profit to themselves.

We see a system that is broken, where the rich and noble prosper and the commoners are seen as nothing but a nuisance.

But despite all of that, there is also good in the realm. Devoted families, who would do anything to see their loved ones safe, like the Starks.  Jon, who before leaving, gifts his little sister Arya with a sword. She doesn’t want to be a proper lady, but a warrior. Ned, who grants Arya’s wish of water dancing lessons.  Dany, who realizes her self worth and becomes stronger, despite what she has gone through growing up.  Jon, and other brothers of the Night’s Watch who help protect Sam, because he is the most likely going to get himself killed.  Game of Thrones in season one shows us that there are characters that look out for other people and their well being.

I think we could all take these lessons and apply them in our own lives.

Season 1 Hbo GIF by got50

Despite it only being season one, this season was full of character growth. The character, which in my opinion, grew the most is Daenerys. She started out as an abused little sister, who was afraid to speak up about what she wanted.  When she did, Viserys wouldn’t hesitate to verbally and physically abuse her.  He was truly the Mad King’s son.  He sold Dany to Khal Drogo for an army. When Dany spoke up saying she didn’t want to be Drogo’s wife and just wanted to go home, Viserys didn’t care.  He told her he would let all 40,000 Dothraki rape her if it gave him the army he desired to take back the Iron Throne.

Over the course of the season, she learned to overcome the obstacles that were thrown at her, adapt to the situations she found herself in, and grow into not just a Queen, but a Khalessi.  She became a strong woman who was no longer afraid of her brother, someone who did what she thought was right and started speaking up about what she thought was wrong.  When a witch murdered her husband and son, she took her dragon eggs into a pyre.  In the morning, she walked out of it with three dragons, the Unburnt.  This was the defining moment of the season for me.  When a woman is seen for more than just a woman and is respected for who she is.

I have many favorite characters from this series, but if I had to choose just one it would be Tyrion.  While he is a Lannister, and I despise the Lannisters for obviously good reasons; he is different from the rest of them. He doesn’t judge everyone else because of the things they can’t change, but because of who they are.  He also hates Joffrey, which is always a plus in my book, because we all hate Joffrey.  He provides great comic relief as well, which never hurts in this series, as there are few happy moments.

Now onto my second favorite character this season, Ned Stark.

When you play the Game of Thrones, you either live or die.  There is no middle ground”- Cersi Lannister

Ned Stark was not good at playing the game of thrones. When he died, I felt like it was my own father that had been killed. He was above playing politics. While that is ultimately his downfall and his death, that is the quality I find I love most about the Starks. They do what is honorable, what is right. The Lannisters don’t posses this quality; they only care about what their family name means and what it can bring to their house. Ned’s most endearing quality though, is his love of his family.  He gladly forfeit his honor, titles, rights, and life to try to save his daughters. He would do anything for them.  It is very easy to get attached to these characters, since the character development is on point. If it weren’t, this series wouldn’t be what it is.

season 1 hbo GIF by got50

Game of Thrones is a series of lessons, stories, heartbreak, and ruin.  It captures you through characters that are real, and suck you into their world.  You find yourself drawn to people like Cersei or Joffrey, because they are compelling. You can’t but help feel for them in some instances. And that’s one of the best things about this show – they storytelling. There are not many television shows shows that are this compelling, or this beloved.

There aren’t as many that we’ll remember.

Below are some of my thoughts and comments as I re-watched the series, spoiler free:

  1. This little girl is creepy and the symbols in the snow.
  2. This is not from the Wildlings, Rangers.
  3. Arya can deliver some serious side eye.
  4. These Stark children and these happy times. You break my heart.
  5. Catelyn, I love you but if you give Jon the evil eye one more time, I swear.
  6. Robb/Jon are such good brothers.
  7. Bran is precious. Arya is hilarious. Sansa needs to stop, she is awful this season.
  8. Wrong Ned, the White Walkers are not gone. They are here.
  9. Jon, you ARE A STARK!
  10. Times I have already wanted to punch Theon in the face, 3 times.
  11. Robb, you don’t know how much of a prick Joffrey is.
  12. Breaks my heart to not see Jon up front in the receiving line with his family to greet the King.
  13. Arya, staying true to her personality.
  14. Robert, if I could roll my eyes anymore they would roll out of my head.
  15. Cersei, your fakeness is showing.
  16. Viserys, I can’t wait until Dany stands up to you.
  17. Dany, be a dragon.
  18. I feel like the only one who doesn’t like Drogo.
  19. Cersi, what is the monstrosity that is your hair?
  20. Jamie, why would you push precious out the window? He is so good.
  21. If you didn’t shed a tear at Arya and Jon’s goodbye you aren’t human.
  22. I love when Joffrey shows his true cowardly behavior, it makes me laugh.
  23. I love Arya stabbing the table around her hand saying she is practicing for the Prince.
  24. Sansa, nothing in this world is fair. Why would you want to marry Joffrey anyway?
  25. All my Stark children are growing up.
  26. Rickon, you are breaking my heart, I just want to hug you.
  27. Robb, when did you get so wise?
  28. AND the most heartbreaking scene of this season.
  29. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE?
  30. Dany, I love you. You are a QUEEN!

Game of Thrones season 8 premieres on HBO April 14th.