I am a Game of Thrones novice. By shirking some responsibilities and staying up late, I found 75 hours over the last sixteen days to watch the entire series. On Sunday, May 19, I am heading out of the country for a few weeks for work (to Denmark, where I hope to run into Jaime Lannister [Pretty Dennis Leary]), with the distinct possibility I won’t be able to stream the last episode. So the clock has been ticking.
Why did I do this? Mostly because I’m ridiculous. But as a sociologist, I’m a trained observer and predictor of human social behavior, so I thought I’d make an observation/prediction project out of this ridiculous adventure. Also, I thought I’d follow up on my original writing about Game of Thrones, based on viewing a sum total of 10 minutes of the first episode. You can read that here. It’s also about Murder, She Wrote. You may recall rumors about whether Angela Lansbury may appear in Game of Thrones around this time. I’m not saying that I started the rumor. I’m just saying the dates line up.
This show is a big deal to my husband and some of our friends – friends I’d find huddled in the corner at social occasions over the last several years whispering about what they think may happen in the next episode. If you read this and don’t believe that I wrote these in the timeframe I did, or if you suspect that I knew more than I say I knew, you can ask my husband or our friends. He doesn’t lie, and they all know I was clueless the entire time.
You may wonder how I avoided knowing about the show for these years. Easy – I have superhuman powers when it comes to tuning out. I can figure out diminishing returns so fast that I can exit a conversation or scroll past a spoiler within one second of hearing or reading “winter is coming.” If it doesn’t interest me, I don’t pay attention. Plus I never typed the words “Game of Thrones” into any social media posts, so I didn’t see much in my feed that would have shown up from the algorithmic figuring of my interests.
Despite my superhuman tuning out powers, I did (drink and) know some things. Here are the 7 things I knew before starting this binge:
- The first 10 minutes of episode 1 were gross enough for me to discontinue watching immediately and to vow I’d never watch it in the future (see earlier blog post reference).
- There are a sum total of 7 minutes that I watched over the years from various episodes because I had to be in the room where the show was airing to ask my husband something; one scene was in some kind of wooden fortress with snow; one scene was a very pale naked woman trying to seduce a man in a big black furry coat; and one scene was by a castle with some sort of naked shame march.
- I knew that Jon Snow survives into the last season because he hosted SNL a couple weeks ago.
- I knew that there was a bloody wedding where people who seem like central characters died and it freaked a lot of people out.
- I knew that a teenage girl has probably done something amazing.
- I knew that there’s something called a Night King, and that there were dragons and snow monsters. I wasn’t sure if any of these were the same thing.
- I knew that I should watch season 8 episode 3 in the basement with the lights off because it’s very hard to see since all the scenes are super dark (and full of terrors, whatever that meant).
And that is all I knew. I swear this by the old gods and the new.
Below are my observations and predictions as I watched Game of Thrones over the course of sixteen days. I posted them one by one on social media. The time stamps are real. I did not edit them once I posted them unless I found a typo. I read no commentary on the show. Sometimes I was bored while watching so I missed things. Spoilers, if they’re there, are fairly obtuse. This was on purpose, because I’d feel guilty if I spoiled it for others. This may mean that some comments seem oddly placed or vague, and not quite astute observations, especially to those who have not watched it. The pop culture references are what popped into my head as I watched. I also have trouble remembering character names. This will become quite evident as you read below. You may wish to use this as a review or a step-by-step guide, depending on whether you’ve watched it or not.
I can’t wait for Sunday, or for when I get back into this country when I can stream the episode using my HBO Go App. I’m pretty sure I will no longer be able to scroll quickly past mention of the last episode, so I’m fully prepared for spoilers. If I run into Jaime Lannister in Denmark I will give him permission to spoil everything while I stare at his jawline and shake his left hand.
May 1, 7:17 a.m. GoT S1, ep. 1-5: that boy’s not right, as if he was born out of incest; Aquaman has kind eyes; cats are harder to catch than puppies; if you don’t know who your mother is you just get named after whatever precipitation is falling where you live; something’s up with Pretty Dennis Leary.
May 1, 10:22 p.m. GoT S1, ep. 6-8: blond people are the worst; Uncle Fester might be worse; kings are slower than pigs; Ned has nice calligraphy penmanship; the ranger steward sorting hat seems to be broken; flat earth Kardashians are gonna take boats which seems like a big breakthrough for their worldview; many agree that boy’s not right so gathering troops seems about right.
May 2, 6:43 p.m. GoT S1, ep. 9-10: opening credits, upon reflection, lead me to believe there ought to be more steampunk in the episodes; the ugliness of daughters is currency in war bargains but so far there have only been supermodel naked women on the show so I’m not sure about their metrics; I look at birds differently now; that Arya boy is gonna do a lot of things; beach bonfires are fun mostly for the lizard lady.
May 2, 9:32 p.m. GoT S2, ep. 1-3: I didn’t need all those interchangeable old white baldish men with beards to prepare for the strong women showing up. I cannot keep them straight — the old white men, that is. Thank gods for Peter Dinklage and his whistling. Also is this all just one big Brexit leadup?
May 4, 9:16 p.m. GoT S2, ep. 4-6: the king has shown his 50 shades of Joffrey side; just when I was getting to know the Antler Brothers, a death eater flew from under the red dress; night is dark and full of terrors but so is daytime; rangers’ swords are colder on Hoth but spooning is warmer; all those fire jars in the basement seem dangerous; I think Baelish can teleport; haven’t seen Pretty Dennis Leary in awhile; dragon babies!
May 5, 9:59 a.m. GoT S2, ep. 7-10: battles; boats; tall Viking woman kicks butt; continual weaving of stories from gray places to yellow places; Peter Dinklage remains best character; more creative use of fire, herbs, and chemicals; I’m excited for when the baby dragons grow up so I can distinguish their screeches from those of the zombie people.
May 5, 9:36 p.m.: GoT S3, ep. 1-4: despite all the sloppiness of haircuts and limb removals these people are all really good at carefully removing all hair from women’s bodies; that bride to be is smart, perhaps inheriting it from her grandma; I sense an increase in mother-in-law issues; so many group forest journeys, like Goonies and Into the Woods had a fantasy baby movie starring that kid from Love Actually and singing horsemen; big wedding plans alongside the King’s obsession with past royals’ deaths bodes well for the fancy wedding room and its heptagon decor; but is Littlefinger really up to no good?
May 7, 8:49 p.m. GoT S3, ep. 5-8: Jamie has a back story, so give that man a hand; Yak trax up the wall and hot baths along the way; three cheers (coins?) for the nipple guards; I have a feeling that was a teaser wedding; so much pretty fabric; sons are unclesbrothersfathersinlaw so that makes for unwieldy genograms; aha dragon glass!
May 8, 9:38 p.m. GoT S3, ep. 9-10: another teaser wedding you may now cloak the bride oh wait that’s not a teaser; near sibling reunion; Willie Nelson sure is mean, just because he has a bridge; over the wall and through the woods to find the three eyed raven; Arya has grown; leeches are the new voodoo dolls; I’m thinking I’d like to write all my lecture notes on little horizontal rolled up pieces of parchment.
May 10, 4:53 p.m. GoT S4, ep. 1-5: 2 swords from one makes flimsy swords?; chickens; beware the cup bearer; finally a happy wedding; never underestimate a fool; Gilly is Smurfette; this season is pro-literacy; aha I finally heard a Danish accent in Jaime; oh baby.
May 11, 12:59 p.m. GoT S4, ep. 6-10: of course people look up when their ship passes through a bridge that is a giant knight with legs akimbo on the way to the funny bank people; helpful to have Arya list people she wants to kill so I can keep track of character names, which I still screw up; whispers from the east include deliberations about what it means to be free; hey the pie guy is back to connect some dots; oh so those were Littlefinger’s plans; wait how will they get that woolly mammoth over the wall; how not to train your dragon; glimpses of more alliances except not with those snow skeletons; head east.
May 11, 8:39 p.m. GoT S5, ep. 1-5: who will vote Jon Snow off the island; black and white doors to a new karate kid movie; no don’t throw the needle in the, oh good; high sparrow people get black robes and now I’m worried; nervous we haven’t seen the snow zombies in a while and not many people are mentioning that winter is coming anymore; those harpys and the soundtrack are bringing an eyes wide shut vibe, but with knives; Winterfell looks like it’s been sprinkled with powdered sugar; uh oh grayscale.
May 12, 5:50 p.m. GoT S5, ep. 6-8: facepillars oddly not unsettling, probably because they’re not heads on stakes; when the many stop fearing the few; secrets will out; oh hey another Danish actor who I bet comes back as a zombie…yep she does; I wonder if the snow zombies can swim; I feel like there are a lot of scenes introducing us to the long narrow walking street outside the castle; ooh the sword works but oh no, zombie waterfall; head snow guy will make this personal I can tell.
May 12, 7:52 p.m. GoT S5, ep. 9-10: I wonder if dragons eat zombies; I think grayscale face girl would make a fine queen eventually, oh dang; stop drop and roll and fly; I feel like I should be paying better attention to the color of flags (like Podrick does) so when they join together to beat the snow monsters I can keep track; Brienne finally gets to follow through on an oath; it has become clear to me that I offer the same gifts to any expedition as Tyrion — talking and drinking; atonement is gross; wait I thought Jon Snow survives because he just hosted SNL this month.
May 13, 3:06 p.m. GoT S6, ep. 1-5: despicable Ramsay; sad boat; back to Jon; Arya keeps forgetting her name so talking in the third person comes in handy; Tree Root Obi Wan is the ghost of Christmas past; I wonder if the other 2 dragons will rescue Khaleesi from her new yurt; why does Littlefinger’s accent keep changing; I’m enjoying the maps and little figurines; do you really need that many zombies to climb a tree; hold the door!
May 13, 10:39 p.m. GoT S6, ep. 6-10: I’m enjoying the two-tine forks; good job Sam; how do all the crowds hear without microphones; jokes in the pyramid are a nice touch; lovely bear embroidery; the Hound looks good in brown but will his softer side impact a big battle; Arya needs to draw the map west of west; Theon intrigues me; I’d like to try to use the word usurper more in conversation; oh I just got it — upside down X men; notching up the battle scene horse slo-mo, with reminders of the Star Wars trash compactor; these violent battles are a nice reprieve from trying to remember anyone’s name during a lengthy conversation; puppies; Mrs. Brady in black leather has a sensible haircut for the trial; children’s whispers keep mattering; I’d like to see dragon glass covered in green goo; what was high goes low; weird to see Willie Nelson and Pretty Dennis Leary chatting; finally winter though the South has scorpions still; the pyramid’s midcentury bombastic decor is growing on me; gonna rename the birdbath in my yard the Bay of Dragons; mmm pie; so many scenes; my prediction — beating the snow monsters will require fire of dragons, wit of Tyrion, bewildered looks from Jon Snow, stabby children, Bran’s new trick of time travel via a raven’s third eye, Arya’s needle with the Hound at her side, a dash of incest and another surprising parent reveal as a lead-in, and Brienne and Pod for the win; looks like the queens are all winning.
May 15, 1:06 p.m. GoT S7, ep. 1-3: end of last season was better than a 23andMe kit but now does Jon Snow have dragon cousins?; Branch Davidian Willie Nelson; ooh new towns in the opening credits but the floor map review with the incest sibs and the giant rock Risk board seem heavy-handed; barricaded books and bowels for Sam; Brienne and Pod as the new Cagney and Lacey; is that Ed Sheeran and his merry band of harmonizing bros?; how did Uncle Fester get to the dragon island from the scorpion place so fast?; I think every leader is a queen now, likely eventually heading towards the Night King from many diagonal places…child queen, Mrs. Brady queen, dragon queen, tough queen, scorpion queen…check mate; the prince or princess who was promised…getting Luke and Leia vibe; Sam consults YouTube for the surgery; geez okay all the maps means the audience needs to know more geography for season 8 I guess; creepy uncle motif, including one stabby smarmy Dane and Batman with a toupee; puppies; so long some of the scorpion triplets; deciding who the enemy is; Jaime has a soft spot for Grandma for five minutes.
May 15, 4:26 p.m. GoT S7, ep. 4-6; Bronn really needs a castle, or a big dragon arrow; sister and brother pairs with too many stories to share; dragon glass mine in the 7 kingdoms makes me want to connect the 7 dwarfs somehow; cave paintings are useful visual aids; all the conversation about Bran makes me miss the reason why they’re moving all the gold; I feel like travel times have shrunk or maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to the map distance legend, which by the way notes nothing about sea depth; your sword, no your sword; the Hound and the other mountain; Tyrion would make a decent life insurance salesperson; doesn’t Jon Snow know you lose 90% of your body heat off the top of your hatless head?; windchill of minus ice bear; light saber whitewalker dominoes; nobody’s talking about climate change as the cause of winter coming; with all the fancy outfits that seem to come from nowhere you’d think they could make a decent dragon saddle; finally a not creepy uncle; duh blue eyed dragon.
May 15, 8:53 p.m. GoT S7, ep.7: stabby smarmy uncle put in his place; show and tell that’s better than cave paintings; a brother knows; bend the knee; Jon Snow telling Theon he can hyphenate his name is cool; sisters giving the finger to Littlefinger; the cousin heir name truth is revealed alongside much skin on the boat so the Night King needs to be defeated by these 2; Rapunzel let down your red beard; Mr. Deaddragon tear down that wall.
May 15, 11:28 p.m. GoT S8, ep. 1-2: a new opening; Jon Snow really needs help every time he tries to make a speech to convince people of things; finally a realistic question about food; I just remembered the stabby smarmy Dane was in Borgen…good show; Bronn is gonna take the deal but turn it against the queen; a whole new world; now when Jon Snow needs to smoothly ride a dragon later it’ll be more believable; dragons suspicious of their stepdadcousin; how about co-royals?; yeesh screaming crab boy; Cersei really does need to be taken apart; I don’t think they’re all going to die; campfire stories build bridges and ask “okay if this was your last night in earth…”; crushing on the toolman on the last night; Dany’s all, “my life’s work unraveled because of stupid male heir rules.”
May 16, 12:36 a.m. GoT S8, ep. 3: the night is dark and full of I can’t see what’s going on; oh good the music got louder so now I can see better.
May 16, 12:45 p.m. GoT S8, ep. 4: nice funeral where finally Jon Snow didn’t need help with a speech but how did they figure out which of the dead to pile up; Jon Snow is getting more credit for riding a dragon than Dany is; you can’t propose to Arya, nobody can ever find her anyway; Bronn makes some good points; spinoff show proposal — Arya and the Hound; are we sure we got all the snow monsters?; lots of references to how small Jon Snow is; bye puppy; asking sibs to keep secret but Tyrion and Uncle Fester know so I’m not confident in the secret keeping; hard to choose; but who does Jaime hate?; didn’t think Dany could get any paler.
May 16, 2:07 p.m. GoT S8, ep. 5: ah, oops, Sansa told him so I got that time order wrong; seeing more fire Jon Snow is getting conflicted about it all; bell ringing plans can go wrong, since all it takes is one knucklehead to grab the rope to ring at the wrong time; does Tyrion want the bell to be smuggled?; Adventures of Arya and Hound Installment 1– “We Don’t Need an Army”; oh wait a different bell plan; ding dong which witch; the inevitability of vengeance; better start the castle reconstruction fundraising; so much grunting and clanging; a cryptic death; Arya is a phoenix; one more battle I guess?