Column: Binge-watching early ‘Game of Thrones’? 10 things we learned from reliving Season 1

Culture columnist/critic

Winter is here, all men must die and “Game of Thrones” will end — in a way that will no doubt leave many of us furious and all of us grief-stricken (especially if the “all men must die” is taken literally.)

In preparation for that, I, like many of you, am trying to watch the previous seven seasons again, and I must admit that there have been some shocks (everyone looks so young) and surprises (though the constant nudity of the various prostitutes is still gratuitous and annoying, many of them say and do important things).


So here are a few thoughts on Season 1 revisited (with spoilers, if you’ve just started watching).

1. Jaime Lannister is the worst.

I am 99.9% certain that Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) will die before the series ends, and I have been feeling rather sad about that.

Like most of the surviving “GoT” characters, Jaime has changed much over the years, in his case for the better. But he really is so murderously smug, entitled and horrible in Season 1 that it actually seems unfair that he has survived so long.

FULL COVERAGE: ‘Game of Thrones’ the final season »

Never mind pushing young Bran Stark from the tower. He created evil Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), and not just in the biological sense. Jaime is the one who tells his sister and lover Cersei (Lena Headey) that no one in the world matters but them, so it makes perfect sense that she a) continually acts as if this is true and b) is so frustrated in the seventh season when she finally gets the throne and suddenly Jaime’s all “Chill out, sis. Why do we need a dynasty anyway?”


Hoping he dies by fire because, you know, he started this heat wave.

2. Tyrion Lannister is the best.

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is way nicer and less debauched than described or remembered. Yes, he frequents brothels, and there are many scenes of him reaching for wine. But he is very respectful of the prostitutes and not often drunk.

Instead, he offers all sorts of wise and kind advice to virtually everyone and designs that very cool saddle on which crippled Bran can ride. (Hoping that with Bran’s Season 7 return to Winterfell, someone will think to pull that out of cold storage.) Also, he is funny, in an unexpected but still believable way.

3. Daenerys is not the brightest moon and stars in the firmament — and she is pretty irritating in the beginning.

Granted, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is not in the greatest position when we first meet her — being sold to Khal Drogo in exchange for use of the Dothraki horde — but you would think that having spent all her life with her wretched brother Viserys (the oily Harry Lloyd) she would have learned not to bleat things like “I want to go home” and “I don’t want to marry him.”

She toughens up considerably after said marriage. (Could I eat a horse’s entire heart raw if my life depended on it? Possibly not.) But asking a woman from a village the Dothraki just razed to help heal the Khal? Not a smart move. And it was not that big a cut. Daenerys could have totally sewn it closed herself.


Still, the sight of her rising naked from the ashes with her baby dragon remains the Best Season Finale Moment Ever.

4. You could have a very successful drinking game using the term “Dothraki horde.”

Also the word “treason.”

5. Ned Stark just doesn’t listen.

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If Varys (Conleth Hill) was really so worried about maintaining peace in the kingdom, he would have helped Ned Stark (Sean Bean) escape. Except, there then would have been no show and, frankly, Ned totally deserved to die.

I mean, that man just wouldn’t listen to anyone. Not to the poor Ranger who deserted the Night’s Watch specifically so he could warn Ned that the White Walkers were real. Not to his wife, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), when she told him not to go South and that the Lannisters had pushed Bran from the tower. Not to all the people in King’s Landing who warned him that the Lannisters were treacherous, not to Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) when he told Ned not to trust him.

I mean, you find out that all the queen’s children are incestuous bastards and you tell her that you know her secret before you tell your BFF the king? Who is off hunting? Where anything could happen, and does.


Ned wouldn’t last two minutes in everything that happened after his beheading, so it’s good he wasn’t around.

6. Can you have too many brothel scenes? Yes, you can.

It wasn’t just my imagination; there really are way too many scenes in brothels, and the one in which Baelish has two women “practice” on each other while he tells his sad life story remains simply reprehensible.

That said, I should have paid more attention to Ros (Esmé Bianco) and Doreah (Roxanne McKee), who says at one point, “I’ve seen... a man with a dagger of real dragonglass. I’ve seen a man who could change his face the way that other men change their clothes.” Because, you know, Important Information.

7. Sansa Stark was a self-centered brat.

Sansa (Sophie Turner) wanted to be queen so much that she remained perfectly willing to marry Joffrey even when he showed his true nature after the baker boy incident and the killing of her dire wolf Lady. I think we should all keep that in mind as things proceed.

8. A bastard son?

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Arya (Maisie Williams) actually look like brother and sister, which is weird when you think about it.


9. King Robert was a jerk.

Ned’s sister Lyanna obviously met an unhappy fate, but I’m not sure being married to Robert Baratheon would have been much better, because he was a total jerk, and the notion that this was due to heartbreak is completely unconvincing.

10. The three-eyed raven is still creepy.

Even when you know what the three-eyed raven means, it remains the freakiest element in a highly competitive field of freaky elements. On the other hand, the dire wolves are almost as cool as the dragons, and Hodor is one of the best characters ever created, if only because he appears to be the only citizen of Westeros who is capable of happiness.

What about the other seasons of “Game of Thrones”? In this incredible video, Tracy Brown recaps the entire series through Season 7 in just 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

Need to catch up on the entire “Game of Thrones” saga in time for the Season 8 premiere? Los Angeles Times entertainment writer Tracy Brown helps you out.