Photo credit: tvequals.com and HBO
There is nothing better than seeing the “Game of Thrones” premiere before everyone else you know. Absolutely nothing. I was given this life-changing opportunity by HBO, who hosted an premiere night earlier this month. Watching the premiere was a fun time, but the real treat was the week and a half that followed, where I knew every sordid detail of the premiere and could quietly smirk while everyone else drove themselves mad over promotional photos and trailers.
It was really fun, guys. I’m a terrible person.
Now that the episode has premiered (and leaked online), I can share my thoughts with you. I loved the premiere. But what does that really mean? It’s very hard not to love a Game of Thrones premiere. When you have to wait so long between seasons, it’s somewhat nostalgic to reunite with the characters again after so long. The episode could have open with Cersei riding a unicycle through King’s Landing and I’d probably still think it was television brilliance.
Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the premiere, I’m glad to say it holds up to my first impression. To recap:
We didn’t start out with Cersei on a unicycle, but we did start with her, at some point in her past, visiting a psychic, who told her that she will be queen and that a younger, more beautiful woman will replace her (presumably Margaery). The actress who played the bratty, sneering teenage Cersei in the scene is a spot-on mixture of adult Cersei and Joffrey. In present day, Cersei berated Jaime for his role in Tywin’s death, which she said he caused with stupidity. Seeing Tywin’s body with the buggy rock eyes they use for corpses in Westeros was weirder than seeing Joffrey’s was, since the buggy eyes looked almost natural on the whiny boy-king and not at all so on the dignified older man. The twins worried that their enemies will destroy them now that Tywin is gone, and I find it hard not to share their fears. Meanwhile, Margaery calmly walked in on Lorus having sexy times (because siblings on this show are contractually forbidden from normal, healthy relationships) and implied that Cersei might not be her future mother-in-law after all. Does she mean that Cersei will be out of the picture or that she’s having cold feet on the wedding? Questions. Also, that cousin that Cersei slept with in season one made a surprise come back and is super religious now. I’m not sure what’s going on there.
The Starks had a limited presence in the premiere. The most obvious omission of the night was Arya, who, despite being a fan favorite, made no appearance in the episode beyond the “Previously on Game of Thrones” intro. I can’t say for certain until I’ve seen the next few episodes, but I think this was a smart decision. With Arya leaving Westeros and starting a new story in a new world, I would rather they devote a large chunk of episode two or three to her than give her one confusing and shallow scene in the premiere.
That’s basically what Sansa got, which gave me just enough time for her new dark hair we saw at the end of last season to sink in. My best guess is that her new brown-hair and demure clothing is an attempt to manipulate Littlefinger by appearing more like Catelyn. It’s not the look I would have gone for if I had her glorious mane of red hair, but it might keep her alive, so power to yah, Sansa.
Across the Narrow Sea
For the first time in the history of GoT, across the narrow sea didn’t just mean Daenerys! Tyrion and Varys made it through their journey on the boat, but after killing Tywen, Tyrion gave up on politics, Westeros, and life in general. Varys pushed back on his cynical word view, suggesting that the right ruler could make a better, less brutal world. “Good luck finding him,” Tyrion muttered. “Who said anything about him?” said Varys, and Tyrion agreed to go meet Daenerys in Meryn, with the stipulation that he could drink himself to death on the way there.
Speaking of Daenerys, she had multiple problems this episode and handled none of them well. Her people wanted her to reopen the fighting pits, but she wouldn’t consider it. When one of her subjects suggested she do so in the name of politics, she said, “I am not a politician. I’m a queen,” in the super badass but super dumb way only Khaleesi can master. Daario revealed to her that he grew up fighting in the pits and suggested she reconsider opening the pits. He also told her that a dragon queen with no dragons is no queen, inspiring her to visit the two she has locked up, but they tried to attack and she was forced to flee. Apparently they aren’t too pleased with their mother.
While the episode, like usual, was divided between a large ensemble, the heart of the story was probably with Jon, who was tasked by Stannis with convincing Mance Rayder to swear loyalty to him. Stannis wanted a Wildling army, Jon wanted Rayder to live, and and Rayder just wanted to stick it to Stannis, so things got messy. Even though Jon warned Rayder that he’ll be burned alive if he doesn’t bend a knee to Stannis, and Rayder admitted that he really did not want to die like that, he was unwilling to budge and Melisandre smugly lit the fire around him. Jon stormed off, and at first it seemed that he was just going to go pout alone, but instead he grabbed his bow and, in front of and very much in defiance of Stannis, shot Rayder in the chest before the flames could reach him. Bad. Ass.
Did you love the GoT premiere? Are you as excited as I am for this season? Let us know!