Monday, April 13, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5: Episode 1 Thoughts (Mostly Spoiler Free)

I am not going to recap the first episode from Game of Thrones Season 5, simply because I think you can get that elsewhere and also because you still may not have watched it (except... why?). However, I did want to share some thoughts on it, as well as some general thoughts on the series as a whole. I am trying to keep it spoiler free, but if you don't want to know anything, just wait.

As you may be aware, I am currently playing the game from Telltale. I have also been reading the books (I know. I really do know, but I have actually had them on my list of books to read for about eight or so years now to be fair. But after rewatching the series, I decided to try to read them all in time for the premiere. With life as it is, though, I am only on Clash of Kings, but I will definitely get them read. I also have studied the world in a lot of detail, even when I haven't read all the books so I know a lot about what's coming when I probably shouldn't). My husband and I usually plan little events for premieres, but with the move, we kind of let this one slide sadly. However, this season - maybe for the finale - we will do a party type deal. :)

Anyway, there has been a lot of hype in the house for this episode, including rewatching summaries, quizzing each other on trivia, and analyzing the trailers. So with that in mind, there was no way we would not feel a little let down, but not because the episode was bad. It's just been a long wait and an hour simply can't do the wait justice. Plus a lot of what was hinted at in the trailer was from the first episode, so there weren't a great deal of surprises.

With that said, it's clear this season will be intense. Things have changed quickly for all the characters. We didn't see all the characters (can't wait to see Arya!) and there were no real introductions, although there were characters reappearing.

Over in Essos, Daenerys has some trouble headed her way, which is quickly revealed in the episode. I thought the falling statue would have more significance because it's such a cool image in the trailer, but alas, no, it really just set up a scene and reminded us where we were. However, I personally don't trust Daario and it will be interesting to see how Daenerys handles both the threats she faces and his suggestions about the fighting pits.

We also get some time with Varys and Tyrion. I really like how the show wrote Tyrion in this episode, because while I find him entertaining, I do think he gets a bit of hype. He's not very noble or heroic and while I can empathize with him easily, I do think he tends to be somewhat complex (like all the characters). I noticed it even more reading the books; he tends to create more tension when it's not needed and though his family is beyond dysfunctional, some of it could be eased if he wasn't so... well, Tyrion.

There was a really unnecessary scene with Loras, because HBO feels like we need that, I guess. It didn't really advance the plot, but did give us some randomly creepy moments with him and Margaery. Ditto for Littlefinger and Sansa, but mostly because he's just really shady.

I love Cersei and we had some great scenes with her. (For more on why, this article expresses it better than I am able to do and really captures what I would say.) I think the revelation of the prophecy (albeit only 2/3 of it) is perfect timing, because it's starting to give us insight into what drives her. It also helps to show why she's holding on so tight and what she's so afraid of. We also have a really painful scene with her and Jaime. I know it's weird to want them to be together, but it's hard not to when they do love each other, even if they're really messed up about it. Since incest is not really new to the world of Westeros, I try not to think about that element of it. I also thought the reintroduction of Lancel was done well and definitely sets us up for the challenges of this upcoming season.

Finally, things are going down at the Wall. This is probably the most intense and complicated scene and the one that leaves so much for discussion, but also the one I don't want to spoil at all. It was very good, though, and I liked seeing the characters and how they responded.

Anyway, the writers of this series clearly know what they're doing and I love how they can already set us up to see our favorite characters changing and reacting to the stresses of the world. I enjoy this series so much since it's not afraid to shake up everything you believe and it certainly makes you think. It's so refreshing how imperfect the characters are. At the end of the episode, a character gives a speech essentially saying that one must choose between good and evil, but what's so fun about this show is that there really is no good and evil. It's all just a matter of perspective and what each person thinks is worth fighting - and dying - for.

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