While on my return trip from the US last week, as the kids were sleeping I binged on S01 of Game of Thrones that happened to be on the airplane entertainment system. It was an awesome experience because so much more of the story made sense to me. Like many of you I suspect, S01E01 was my first exposure to Westeros and the Starks. I never read the books until after season 3. Like everyone else, I loved Eddard “Ned” Stark and was shocked that he was gone by E09. What I found most interesting is that so many things were actually foreshadowed but as I was enthralled with the GoT universe, I overlooked the warnings. Seeing the youthful Sansa and Arya really put the Season 4 versions of these characters in perspective. In fact, during the first episode of Season 4, I know I wasn’t alone in wondering whether they switched actors for Jamie Lannister, but I realised watching S01 that the clean shaven and short haired look is what he uses around King’s Landing apparently. The death of Visaerys was also prefigured several times. The grotesquerie of the death of Drogo was still poignant – perhaps more so knowing how in the books – even 3000 pages later and half in love with Daario, she still pines over her Sun and Stars. Seeing Bran before and after the accident and his first warg experiences was fascinating as was the first appearance of the white walkers (side note: wasn’t it totally bitchin to see some white walker back story in S04E03? That wasn’t even in the book!). I loved seeing Theon in his young and unmutilated self and her too we see that his future betrayal is prefigured several times as Jamie and others remind him that his station as a ward of the Starks is barely higher than that of a house servant and how that chafes him every time. There was a pinch of nostalgie to see Sam arrive at the Wall and to see his friendship with the kickass Jon Snow blossom. And who doesn’t miss Arya’s dancing lessons, remember those? What do we say to death? Not today. Aweome, right? And then there was the Hound and the Mountain and all the animosity we see there. The intrigue around Jon Arryn and the death of all that knew the secret he found was so expertly woven into the story. The tourney where the squire died set a standard for GoT brutality that was matched in the beheading in E09. And I cannot even begin to say how much I love the character of Tyrion and the acting of Peter Dinklage. I remember being blown away by him in S02, but here in S01 he was already brilliant – funny, witty, amazing. The scene at the Eyrie where he gets Bronn to champion him and the ensuing fight were top-notch even for Game of Thrones. Make him fly, mother! May the little man fly! So many great memories.
Few shows have been so rewarding upon rewatching – in fact the only other one that I have taken the trouble to do so for was the incomparable Breaking Bad. If you have not done so since it appeared back in 2010, I encourage you to watch S01 again as I did. You will not be disappointed.