This article only addresses events that happened during the first season of the HBO TV series Game Of Thrones, not how they were originally portrayed in the George R. R. Martin’s series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Game of Thrones has delivered unto us a show that is as rich as it is complex, a fantasy show flush with blood, lust, and treachery. To say that the bar hasn’t risen to unfairly high levels for the second season is an understatement, and saying that the show’s propensity for the truly shocking has added to those great expectations is certainly another.
In advance of Sunday night’s premiere of Season 2, we thought it best to highlight some of those shocking moments from Season 1; those scenes that made your jaw drop and your pulse quicken.
Warning: There are tons of spoilers beyond this point.
Jaime and Cersei’s incestuous affair/Bran’s fall
By the end of the first episode, Bran Stark had already witnessed a beheading, but it was what he witnessed while peering into the window of one of the towers in Winterfell that would most affect him, and us — Jaime Lannister furiously fornicating his sister, Queen Cersei.
The boy is, of course, shocked by his discovery, and as Jaime tries to calm him down while Cersei repeatedly cries out “He saw us!,” the boy’s eyes never un-widen and ours refuse to blink as we wait to see what Jaime will do.
What comes next, following a brief exchange between Jaime and the boy about his age and the remark “quite the little climber, aren’t you,” is a stunner that sets the tone for the whole series — no one is safe and a Lannister will do whatever it takes to keep their power, even push a young boy to an almost certain death. The things you do for love Jaime, the things you do for icky, incesty love indeed.
Heavy is the head…
Viserys Targaryen’s golden crown
I happily admit that I wanted Viserys Targaryen to die in an epic and memorable way from the very start of the show. An impudent and spoiled little brat who would go so far as to sell off his sister for a chance at the throne — we all knew he wasn’t long for this world, and I’m quite sure many others eagerly matched my blood lust.
By episode 6, “The Golden Crown,” Viserys’ jealousy towards his unborn nephew and his sister Daenerys’ acceptance into the Dothraki clan as their princess and holder of the coming “Khal of Khals” had become something more than palpable.
Furious and not of a sober mind, Viserys barged into a celebration in honor of Daenerys and called it a “whore’s feast” before coining the term “No one touches the dragon!”. He then took a blade to his sister and demanded his crown.
Always the able and accommodating host, Khal Drogo rose from his chair to give Viserys “a golden crown, that men shall tremble to behold.”
Suddenly, Viserys is snapped up by Drogo’s guards and brought to his knees as he cries out, “You cannot touch me, I am the dragon, I’m the dragon, I want my crown!”. Drogo, still trying to accommodate his guest’s demands, throws a few golden amulets into a cauldron while Jorah urges Daenerys to look away — she does not, and witnesses her husband pouring the now molten gold atop her brother’s head. The scene ends with an appropriate thud as the crown proves too heavy (and hot) for Viserys, killing him and dropping him face first to the dirt.
Heads will roll…
Ned Stark’s beheading
Speaking of people who I want to die on the show, King Joffrey has surpassed even Viserys in the annoyance derby, and I sincerely hope the sniveling little inbred bastard who has risen to the throne thanks to his mother’s machinations gets to wear his own heavy and hot gold throne. So, why do I want Joffrey to get it?
He killed Ned Stark in a beautifully arranged scene that was heartbreaking to watch. I know [BOOK SPOILER] he dies early in the book as well, [END SPOILER], but I’ll call your attention to the initial disclaimer and add that Stark was one of the best characters on the show — a slightly flawed, yet loyal man who wanted only what was best for his family, his realm, and his King — a man who fell because he was too trusting.
Brute simplicity was at the core of Stark’s dealings in the North, and his inability to see the available dimensions and full capacity for betrayal that those within and surrounding Kings Landing were capable of helped led to his capture but it was Joffrey, who joyously went back on his word and had Stark’s head lopped off and set down on a pike.
“The man who passes the sentence, should swing the sword,” apparently not if you’re King Joffrey.
Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon eggs hatch
While the Starks are bringing war and dealing with Ned’s death, beyond the narrow sea, Daenerys wakes to discover that her son has died at birth and the healer/witch Mirri has betrayed her by putting Drogo into a catatonic state after “healing” him. Abandoned by many of the Khalasar and distraught by the duel tragedies that have befallen her, Daenerys gently cares for her husband one last time before slowly and quietly putting a pillow over his face to put him out of his misery.
Following Drogo’s death, Daenerys proceeds to order Jorah to put the 3 dragon eggs that she was given, into the fire with Drogo’s body. Aware of their value, Jorah begs her to sell the eggs so that she might live as a wealthy woman, but he can tell that she intends to join them in the fire and though he tries to talk her out of it, she resists and addresses the remaining Dothraki slaves:
“You will be my Khalasar. I see the faces of slaves, I free you. Take off your collars, go if you wish, no one will stop you — but if you stay, it will be as brothers and sisters, as husbands and wives.”
Some leave, but Daenerys is unfazed and she asks Ser Jorah to bind Mirri to the pyre before continuing…
“I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, of the blood of old Valyria. I am the dragon’s daughter and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming.”
“You will not hear me scream,” boasts Mirri as she is being joined with a plank beside Drogo’s pedestal.
“I will, but it is not your screams I want… only your life,” Daenerys quietly replies before initiating the ring of fire. Soon she is proven right and hears a song of screams from Mirri before entering the fire herself.
In the morning, the ring of fire now a circle of ash, Jorah and his men walk to the center and discover Daenerys sitting naked on the ground, three newborn dragons upon her shoulder and at her feet. She rises as they and the rest of the remaining Khalasar drop to their knees.
A shocking moment, and a perfect ending to one of the best debut television seasons in recent memory.
Game of Thrones returns to utterly shock and amaze us Sunday night on HBO, so be sure to keep checking Geeks of Doom for all the best reviews and analysis of this second season.
To quickly catch up or refresh your memory of Season 1, check out this featurette from HBO. The second season of Game of Thrones premieres on HBO on Sunday, April 1 at 9pm ET/PT.