Game of Thrones Season 1Series: Game of Thrones
Episode: Winter Is Coming (S1.E1)
Director: Timothy Van Patten
Original Air Date: April 17, 2011

I know that it may come as a shock to many readers, but this is the first time I’ve seen Game of Thrones. It is arguably the most hyped and beloved television series on right now (I’d argue that Breaking Bad was more popular, but it is now over), and I have spent exactly no time with the series. Until now. Since my wife and I just finished up my fourth, her third, viewing of the greatest television series of all-time, Lost, we needed something new to delve into. So to go along with Z Nation, which I watch solo, we’ve decided to finally take the plunge and see what all the fuss is about with Game of Thrones.

If the first episode – entitled Winter Is Coming – is any indication of what’s to come, then we’re in for a hell of a ride.

The series starts out by introducing us to the four major “Houses” of the Game of Thrones universe: Stark, Baratheon, Lannister, and Targaryen. King Robert Baratheon visits his oldest and most loyal friend, Eddard Stark, for help. The Hand of the King is dead, and Baratheon has no one else he trusts to turn to as a replacement to keep he and his throne safe. On the other side of the map, creepy ass Viserys Targaryen whores out his sister to a nomadic warlord in hopes of getting an army to go take back his hometown where he will rule as king. That’s the jist of this first episode, and it’s a ton to digest, but I hear that it just gets more complicated as the series continues.

If someone wrote a thesis on how to get my attention with a TV series or movie, it would be incredibly short: babes, blood, and violence. Hey, I never claimed to be a deep guy. Game of Thrones has all three, and in no short supply. There are tons of beautiful, naked women, heads being flopped off, and blood spurting just about everywhere. It’s clear from the start that this is the type of series that could only live in the land of paid programming like HBO. The best part is that it is incredibly sincere about everything, and nothing is done gratuitously. There is a reason for everything.

The acting is great as well, with Sean Bean (Eddard Stark) and Emilia Clarke (Viserys beautiful sister Daenerys) being the initial standouts. Clarke plays the character wonderfully, finding a genuine innocence and helplessness about her that you can’t help but believe. Sean Bean as Stark is powerful, sincere, and caring. I cannot wait to see how these stories play out, and what growth we will see from, not just these two character, but the whole of the cast.

The CGI looks fantastic, and there is never a moment where it takes me out of the world of the show. I hope this trend continues as well. What’s best about this episode, though, is simply the story. I am already 100% engaged with these people and this world, and I have to know what happens next. It is clear that the King is in danger, and that Daenerys is not going to place nice like her brother desires. And that ending!? Come on! It’s almost unfair how good this pilot episode is. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, Lost opener included. This is going to be a fun ride, and I cannot wait to share it.