Sunday, June 23, 2013

GoT Review: 1x01

Season 1, Episode 01: "Winter is Coming"  

I: Hi all! It’s Irene, aka Otter, and I’m excited to be watching a drama at the same time as one of my friends. (It’s been torture not being able to talk about what’s happening on Mad Men this season.) As an English major I’ve spent the last three years learning to structure logical arguments, so naturally I’ll begin my part of this review by talking about the episode’s ending. I knew the show was violent and sexual and everything, but that ending hit me even before I checked Wikipedia to make sure that that I was watching incest. (Anyone have a non-spoilery character map?) We had been told quite a few times that the Lannisters could pretty much do whatever they wanted, but that murder really solidified that point. Nothing shows the abuse of power quite like a man shoving a child out of a window after breaking one of society’s biggest social taboos.

Power, not emotion, seems to be driving almost all of the show’s relationships. We’ve got a thirteen-year old begging to be married off to the powerful Joffrey. Then there’s SuperBlonde who’s so desperate to regain his kingdom that tells his betrothed sister “I would let his whole tribe f*** you. All forty thousand men and his horses too, if that’s what it took.” He sticks to this goal even after he is visibly shaken by the savageness of the wedding. The cinematography highlights the couple’s mismatch, as a physically imposing man is juxtaposed with his much smaller bride, delicately dressed in pale colors. After the wedding we see some presumably non-consensual sex. Khal Drogo (the groom) can say no (and does repeatedly), but Daenerys is rendered voiceless in this transaction. There are some parallels to this scene in the whorehouse, where women are openly reduced to a commodity. There we meet Tyrion, a character who is all too aware that “All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.” The bastard trope lends an interesting dimension to these power dynamics. There’s more than just those with power and those without. Jon Snow and Tyrion have a sort of influence, but this can easily be eliminated. I’m excited to see how they develop: will they be squashed by their more influential relatives or will they sneakily absorb some power?

Since I guess this is a review, I should probably talk a bit about how much I actually liked this episode. Making a good pilot is a tricky business, since you have to introduce all of the characters without sounding like the beginning of a Baby-Sitter’s Club book. (There were over a hundred of those; did they have to write each girl’s bio every single time?!) This episode works around this by structuring much of its action around the Lannisters’ visit: that way the audience meets these characters as the same time as everyone else. This episode was a little slow at times, but I think (and know, thanks to friends/the internet) that things are really going to pick up. I’m definitely excited to see where these characters are going and how the kingdoms will be developing. Doris, did you like the episode? And what’s your take on that ending? 

D: Doris here. I'll admit, as a fan of light-hearted comedies and angst-driven coming-of-age stories, I didn't really want to watch Game of Thrones, much less like it. As the wonderful Troy Barnes once said, “If I wanted to know what happened in Europe a long time ago, I'd watch Game of Thrones.” (Thanks, Community.) Despite these lingering hesitations, and the extremely boring first 7-10 minutes of the pilot, I was definitely sucked in by the end of the episode. I won't say I'm a fan of the show quite yet, but I am intrigued to see future developments: how will Daenerys deal with her marriage to the intimidating, eyeliner-wearing Khal Drogo? Does Bran survive his fall from the tower window? What dirt will Boromir Eddard dig up on the Lannisters? (Then again, one does not simply dig up dirt on the Lannisters.) Will Sansa get her first period by the time she is betrothed and/or married? And most importantly, what trials and tribulations will Tyrion suffer that gave Peter Dinklage his Best Supporting Actor win at the Emmys?

Irene, you make an excellent point about power struggles. And about The Baby-Sitters Club (I always skimmed those intros- and seriously, they're 13 year-olds with a thriving local business? Come on. No way.) I couldn't agree more. I can't wait until that scumbag SuperBlonde meets his demise- I'm assuming that that happens, because no one that foul can possibly survive for long. As for the depressing end of the episode, I have to say this: after all those orgies, corpses, rapes, gratuitous boobs, and needless bloodshed, I'm surprised that you're surprised that the queen's lover/brother pushed a ten year-old out the window because of his voyeurism! Not that Peeping Toms deserve to be murdered- I'm just saying, what's an incestuous lover to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment