Watching this episode was like watching the book come to life. The opening sequence played out just like reading the prologue. Thank you David Benioff. Three men of the Night’s Watch are on patrol. One of the men stumbles upon a clearing full of dismembered bodies. The men continue on and two of them end up being slaughtered by what we will learn are the White Walkers. The surviving member of this patrol unit runs into a kingdom known as Winterfell to share the story of the slaughter. He warns of the attack by the White Walkers and is then beheaded for being a deserter.
The lord issuing the beheading is called Eddard Stark (played by Sean Bean). He rules over Winterfell with his wife Catelyn and six children; Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon, and his bastard child Jon Snow. Eddard (also known as Ned) takes his sons to witness the execution of this man showing the children the importance of duty and honor to the land even when it is hard. After the Ned’s lesson in duty, the family heads back and find a dead stag on the road. Farther down the road they encounter a dead dire wolf and its pups. Jon Snow says it is a sign since the dire wolf is the symbol of the Stark household. They find enough pups for each child to have one and Jon Snow receives the runt of the litter and the only white wolf pup.
Once the Starks get home Ned and Catelyn receive word from her sister that the King’s advisor has died. The sister suspects murder. At the same time they find the King is on his way to Winterfell with his entire entourage. Once the King arrives he asks Ned to take over as advisor (the King’s Hand). Ned is conflicted because he doesn’t want to leave his northern kingdom of Winterfell, especially for a position where the last man may have been murdered, but he also wants to help his good friend King Robert. As he grapples with this decision we are introduced to Cersei Lannister, the Queen of the seven kingdoms, played by the amazing Lena Headey. She has two brothers, her twin Jamie, and her dwarf brother Tyrion. The Lannisters are the richest family in the kingdom and ‘a Lannister always pays their debts’ be it money or otherwise so this family seems to be a force to be reckoned with.
Next we travel across the narrow see to the city of Pentos where we meet Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen. Viserys, we learn, is determined to reclaim the iron throne from Robert Baratheon. He seems to be viscious and manipulative and his sister is just along for the ride. He nonchalantly marries her off to the intimidating Khal Drogo for use of his sizeable army in the upcoming war. Daenerys is clearly a pawn in his game so far as her only wish is to go home but she is instead bound to this man who doesn’t even speak her language. Good luck there
The episode ends in a most dramatic fashion. Bran Stark, we learn is a bit of a mischievous climber (who isn’t at age 10). He is climbing the towers of the Stark household when he happens upon an incestuous relationship between Cersei and her twin brother Jamie. Yes, the twins were doing it. Cersei is concerned since Bran has seen them together and Jamie tosses Bran out the window with a simple ‘the things I do for love’. Yup that’s how the episode ends! Did Bran just fall to his death because these siblings couldn’t keep their hands off each other?! What a way to hook the audience. I need episode 2!