Nobody could blame you for not knowing everything that’s happening in Game of Thrones at any given moment. Thrones is truly the definition of “epic,” with a handful of complex characters spanning time periods and locations, so it’s an understatement to say there’s a lot going on. That’s why we’re here, to break things down and let you in on what you missed (or haven’t seen yet) in the world of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t seen Season 1 yet, brace yourselves: spoilers are coming.
Game of Thrones takes place in the great wide world of Westeros, which is ruled by give or take 300 different noble families, but there are only a few you really need to worry about. The north is ruled by House Stark, and has been ruled by them for hundreds of years before Thrones started. Eddard Stark, more often called “Ned,” is Lord of House Stark when Thrones begins.
Ned’s good friend Robert Baratheon is currently King of Westeros, with Robert’s wife Cersei Lannister reigning as Queen. To the outside world, Cersei and Robert have the perfect life, but behind closed doors, there’s plenty of conflict between them. Their marriage is unfortunately a loveless one, and Cersei is secretly sleeping with her twin brother Jaime behind Robert’s back. The conflict between the King and Queen is largely what sets the stage for the main storyline in Thrones. Got it so far?
Jaime’s secret relationship with Cersei plays an important role in Season 1 and sets the tone for the rest of Thrones as well. For it is not Cersei’s husband Robert who’s the father of her children, it’s…Jaime! (cue dramatic music).
But wait, there’s more! Cersei and Jaime’s secret didn’t stay secret for long. In Episode 1 of Season 1, the royal family comes North to name Eddard the new Hand of The King after the old Hand dies. While they’re in the North, Jaime and Cersei are spotted by Eddard’s young son Bran “bonding” in the high room of a tower Bran is climbing. Presumably to protect their secret, Jaime then throws poor young Bran off the tower, crippling the young boy’s legs.
Which brings us to Episode 2 of Thrones, entitled “The Kingsorad.”While Bran is in recovery, his mother Catelyn Stark watches over him day and night, praying for his safety. One night, while she’s doing so, an assassin walks in and tries to kill Bran.
As Wikipedia discovered, Catelyn keeps the murderer at bay and then Bran’s pet wolf attacks and kills the assassin. Catelyn sees a blonde lock of hair from the tower where Bran was pushed, and assumes the Lannisters hired the assassin. With this so-called evidence in hand, Catelyn makes for the capital city of King’s Landing to warn Ned.
Meanwhile, there’s activity across the sea on the continent of Essos as well. The Essos storyline follows two people, Daenerys Targaryen and her brother Viserys. Daenerys and Viserys are the only (known) survivors of Robert’s Rebellion, the event that put the current King of Westeros in power.
During this event, Robert became enraged at the Targaryens for abducting his first wife, Lyanna, and resolved to kill all of them. Daenerys and Viserys escape with their lives thanks to the help of those still loyal to their family, but start Thrones off with very little money or power to their name.
In an attempt to remedy said lack of power, Viserys cruelly “sells” his sister to a tribal warlord in exchange for an army. During her wedding ceremony, Daenerys receives three dragon eggs (a rarity in the world since magic is waning) as a present. In the Season 1 finale, Dany hatches the eggs in her husband’s funeral pyre after he is killed by a botched spell. The season wraps up with a wide shot of Daenerys surrounded by flame, ash, adoring followers, and three baby dragons.
In case all that weren’t enough to follow, a war begins brewing towards the end of the season. The origins of the war lie with two root causes: One, the fact that Cersei’s children are illicit comes to light, which means they cannot inherit Robert’s throne, and two, Cersei has Robert killed by ordering their servants to get him drunk while he is on a hunting trip. With no king and no rightful heirs, the race for the throne is on in Season 2, and the Game of Thrones begins.
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