With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, here is a quick-ish summary of all 7 seasons and 67 hours of TV’s greatest ever spectacle. This is a recap of Season 1.
Before we jump into the world of Westeros, a quick summary of who’s who. But if you are someone who can tell if Hot Pie is a “who” or a “what”, you can ignore the family tree and skip forward to the recap.
The story kicks off with the death of the Hand of the King, Jon Arryn. King Robert Baratheon, too fat to do any actual ruling himself, needs a new Hand right away and makes an offer to his old friend Ned. Ned agrees to the offer, making it his first of many eventual mistakes. After the introductions are done, Robert pays tribute to Lyanna, Ned’s younger sister who died during the war in which Robert won the throne from the Targaryens.
Ned decides to leave for King’s Landing taking his two daughters, Sansa and Arya, while his bastard son Jon Snow decides to join the Night’s Watch. Ned leaves behind his eldest son, Robb Stark, in charge at Winterfell to take of Catelyn, Bran, and Rickon. Bran stumbles upon Queen Cersei making out with her twin brother, Jaime Lannister. While this was scandalous back then, incest is not that big a deal now. By the end of seventh season, I doubt this even makes it to the top 3 weirdest sex tapes watched by Bran. Bran is pushed out of the window for his troubles and he is paralyzed waist down, never to walk again.
The procession to King’s Landing is marred by incidents that stoke the growing tensions between the Starks and the Lannisters. Sansa’s direwolf has to be killed because Arya and her direwolf make Joffrey cry. Once Ned reaches King’s Landing, he discovers that the capital is filled with a bunch of schemers – most notably Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) and Varys, the Master of Whispers – with agendas of their own.
Meanwhile, Catelyn accuses the imp, Tyrion Lannister for a failed assassination attempt on Bran, and demands justice at the Vale, which is ruled by her sister following the death of Jon Arryn. Tyrion demands a trial by combat and gets off scot-free thanks to his newfound friend Bronn’s love for gold and skill with the blade.
At King’s Landing, Ned solves the cryptic clue left by Jon Arryn, that Cersei’s children Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella are actually Jaime’s and not Robert’s. Ned, being the incredibly naive person that he is, confronts Cersei. He also decides to trust Littlefinger. It’s a miracle he remained alive for so long. Cersei swiftly has Robert killed and declares Ned as a traitor. Helpless and surrounded by enemies, Ned accepts a plea deal that will let him live the rest of his days with the Night’s Watch. Joffrey, being the jerk that he is, decides that the punishment is not enough and orders for Ned to be beheaded. We’ve seen Sean Bean die so many times that we should have gotten used to it. But this is the one that hurts the most. Arya escapes, but Sansa is taken prisoner by the Lannisters. When news reaches Winterfell, Robb raises his banners and amasses an army of Northerners, before brilliantly outmaneuvering a Lannister army headed by Jaime.
At the other end of the world, Daenerys Targaryen is given away in marriage to Khal Drogo, in exchange for Drogo’s support in Visery’s claim to the Iron Throne. Among the wedding gifts are three dragon eggs. Dany friendzones Jorah Mormont and seduces Drogo, who kills a greedy Viserys and vows to conquer Westeros for Dany and their unborn child. Things take a turn to the south when Drogo is grievously injured. Dany’s ill-advised attempt to revive him using dark magic fails, leading to the deaths of Drogo and her unborn son. Dany steps into the funeral pyre with her dragon eggs and emerges unscathed from the smoldering embers the next morning with her “children” in one of the most iconic moments in the show.
Nothing much happens at the Wall. Jon befriends Sam Tarly and receives a cool looking Valyrian sword from the Lord Commander, who happens to be the father of Jorah. Unbeknownst to Dany and Viserys, their great-uncle, Aemon is also at the Nightswatch as a Maester. (Fun Fact / Spoiler Alert: Aemon also happens to Jon’s great-great-uncle.) Barring the opening sequence, we also don’t see much of the White Walkers. Despite the Starks insisting that Winter is Coming, it ain’t coming for another 6 seasons, folks. So, buckle in for the ride as we dive into next season’s recap.