Game of Thrones: Season 1 Review

When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

There has probably never been a quote in the history of television that laid a path for an entire series like that zinger from Cersei did. For all of its complexity, depth and shocking turns, Thrones is a pretty basic show at heart. Those who play the game either wind up victorious or six feet under. Or burned alive. Or flayed. Or killed only to be brought back as a mindless husk. People are very particular about the way that they like to kill in this world.

I have done reviews for Thrones in the past, but they are very much a mirror of Pegboards’ activity level (and by result, my level as a writer). Now that we are heading into the final two seasons of this sprawling, epic saga, I am running out of opportunities to write about it and be somewhat timely, so I thought it would be fun to look back at the series and see if there is any singular storyline or character that catches my eye. It only makes sense to start with season one.

And of course there will be major spoilers for season one and much of the series, but if you haven’t caught up by now, what the hell are you waiting for?

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Game of Thrones: “The Wars to Come” Review

We all must choose: man or woman, young or old, lord or peasant, our choices are the same. We choose light or we choose darkness. We choose good or we choose evil. We choose the true God, or the false.

(This will be a pretty spoiler-heavy review for episode 1 of season 5 and for Game of Thrones in general. DO NOT READ unless you are caught up or are indifferent to having shit spoiled for you. You’ve been warned.)

When Game of Thrones first premiered, Westeros was a stable country that relied on the establishment of its noble houses to keep the peace in the seven kingdoms. Maybe not every lord saw eye to eye, but no one was willing to risk disrupting that kind of tranquility over a meaningless grudge. Part of that is due in thanks to all of the experienced soldiers and commanders that were at the head of almost every faction and family: Ned Stark, Tywin Lannister, Robert Baratheon, Lord Commander Mormont and on and on it goes. Flash forward to season 5 and that’s simply just not the case.

Ever since Ilyn Payne lopped off Ned Stark’s head, we’ve been conditioned to expect anyone who doesn’t play the game of thrones as shrewdly or quickly as others will likely suffer a grisly demise. Westeros thrives on chaos, you see, and getting swept up in the madness without a contingency plan is akin to joining a game of paintball with a slingshot. By the time you realize that you’ve made a mistake and weren’t prepared, it’s too late. Your enemies will celebrate with a barrel of wine while everything you love and hold dear turns to ash around you.

Not every lord or lady truly understands how to play the game, but even those that do aren’t safe from rapidly evolving circumstances. Exhibit A: Tywin Lannister, the Bill Belichick of Westeros, who always seemed to be 10 steps ahead of everyone who tried to thwart him. The mastermind behind a massacre like the Red Wedding is certainly not the most honorable or popular person, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t get results. And yet, despite all of the success and victories that Tywin accumulated over the years, he was undone by a member of his own family. How ironic that he withstood so many wars and battles, yet in the end it was his dwarf of a son who ended his life. As Tywin’s corpse awaited a certificate of death from all of his rivals in Westeros, Jaime and Cersei were trying to make sense of a future that is grim and hopelessly uncertain.

After all, what chance does the future have when the boys of the new generation can’t even hold their shields up and swing their swords like girls with palsy?

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Game of Thrones: “Mhysa” Review by Jesse Schaffer

Update: Yeah yeah, I’m a little late with this puppy. And by a little I mean almost three weeks after it aired. But who’s counting?

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Game of Thrones Power Rankings Week 10

Whether you watch Game of Thrones or not, by now you’ve heard about what’s become known as “The Red Wedding.” It’s received a significant amount of national media attention; author George R.R. Martin and several prominent cast members have appeared on a variety of talk shows and I’ve lost count of the people who have said that it was the most shocking or violent scene that they’ve ever witnessed on television. As I predicted, the fallout from last week’s episode has been enormous and it altered nearly every perception about where Thrones is heading in future seasons. It may have had an even bigger effect on the last edition of our weekly (minus a few) Thrones power rankings. I know there’s still the season finale this Sunday, but next week I’ll be doing something a little different. Stay tuned.

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