Note: the following contains some spoilers for Seasons 1-3
I’m a complete newbie when it comes to Game of Thrones. I’ve had several of the books for a few years now, and more than once I’ve seen the complete first season in the shops and thought about getting it. My son even urged me to, although I’m unsure why, given he doesn’t tend to be interested in these sorts of books/movies/television series. And to be honest, I myself didn’t even really know much about it, other than that it depicts some sort of, well, game of thrones in which a variety of rivals lay claims to one throne with a multitude of validations, real or imagined. (As you can see, the GoT volumes on my shelves have been gathering dust, but not to fret, dear readers, I have been energized – see here.)
And then came Christmas morning: there under the tree, as I discovered, waited my Game of Thrones future. It was an especially delightful gift because it was totally unexpected—this series was not on my mind in the least. Now my son—previously uninterested, as you will recall—and I are on the third season and have been fully reigned in. The hook is deep. We’ve discussed many angles of the show, including the over-frequent bits of nudity and sex, though to be fair, not nearly as extraneous as the borderline porn featured in Outlander; tactics; secrets we think characters may be hiding even from us, the viewers; awful deeds and small kindnesses; what lives beyond the wall. We’ve scanned the maps and poured over the genealogy in order to ensure we have the relationships straight. And we both seem to be rather preoccupied with its sort of medieval fantasy, though as far as I know this isn’t really set, as my son says, in a different time so much as another world. Sure, the author may have had ulterior motives for this—freedom with writing and not having to adhere as strictly to history as historical fiction writers must—but it also liberates us as viewers, for we never have to wonder about the Danegeld, when Duke William’s army might arrive to create a mess, or the horrible end of Richard III, mistreated even in death, because none of these figures necessarily exist in this world.
It is probably inevitable that the two of us would start making lists of who we prefer and don’t—we certainly spent enough time gushing and griping over the various characters. Now that work, school and deadlines are on the calendar again, our viewing is sure to slow down, but our conversations likely won’t, especially as we are now in Season 3, a time in which many changes are underway, events conspire to influence events, and some are confronted by reality. I’d like to take the time now to highlight my initial favorite characters, let’s go with three, and I will attempt to pinpoint the reasons I was drawn to them. Fret not, for I will be returning with updates.
3. Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell—Yes, Stark is late by now, but he is the first character I liked. I admit, this is a bit of a biased affection, given that the story opens with the Starks, giving them a bit of preferential advantage. But there is substance there, such as Stark’s lesson to his son that he who pronounces a death sentence must be the one to carry it out. It’s probably impractical in today’s world, but I respected him for it. (Though I do rather wish this could be enforced today.) He is a flawed character, having brought home a bastard child from the last war, a circumstance that will have its own set of ramifications. He also speaks the truth to his king, Robert Baratheon, delivering it with humor and grace, though in the end truth becomes his enemy.
2. Danearys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons—I know, I know, she’s a Targaryen. But she’s also a badass and deserves a badass name to match. I’ve heard a few say they think Khaleesi is just an arrogant bitch, and that may be, but this isn’t mere opportunism. Back when she was being sold into marriage by her brother like a piece of meat, she still had a hardness about her, accompanied by keen intelligence. Later we saw a plan she had in mind, one ultimately revised, but which brought her a freedom that required ruthlessness without stamping out the compassion that was always a part of her. If you don’t think ruthlessness and compassion can go hand in hand, you haven’t seen Danearys Stormborn.
Cersei, Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros—This woman is the poster child for why bad news sells in the media. Sansa Stark, Cersei’s would-be daughter-in-law, is a nicer and more decent person, but watching her life is just not that exciting. So while I really dislike this manipulative queen a lot, my son made a good point in that she still is compelling; you want to see what will be happening at the court around her. She has begun to reveal her character arc, and I am rather intrigued to see where it takes her—and us.
1. Tyrion Lannister—Ok, it’s partly Dinklage. Sure, author George R. R. Martin gives his character a great personality and superb lines to work with, but Peter Dinklage brings Tyrion to life magnificently, with authenticity. He is cunning and very good at playing the political game, despite the setback of being treated badly by his family for his dwarfism; he rises above their low expectations of him. In particular, his father is quite cruel to him as he regards Tyrion as a killer of his mother, who died in childbirth, a terrible guilt to lay on a child of any age. Tyrion is not unaffected by this, and he hides his feelings while simultaneously working others around him. Currently he is, as Lady Tyrell refers to him, a “browbeaten bookkeeper,” having had his power removed with his Hand of the King position, but I am certain he has something brewing and I can’t wait to see it.
All images are original shots of Blu Ray case photos, courtesy Lisl P.