The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros welcomes you, and wonders, where have you been? If you’re a true Television Fanatic, it seems impossible that you missed the HBO adaption of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series called “Game of Thrones.”But as that is the case, strap in for the briefest, Cliff-note rich version of the show’s first four seasons, 100-plus characters, and numerous deaths.
Television Fanatic Story Recap and (Body Count): Game of Thrones
Like Ice-T, I’ll offer a body count stemming from the War of the Five Kings, where the major houses and characters were last left, and who is still alive. Needless to say, this entire article will be a spoiler alert. This should tee you up to watch Game of Thrones online, and get ready for its return in 2015.
Television Fanatic Basic Plot:
One king tenuously rules a nation of seven separate kingdoms. That death of that king ushers in a war among eligible throne seekers. People fight, die, lie, and get it on. Pretty entertaining. Meanwhile, some zombies called White Walkers are leaving the North and may feast on humans, making the game of thrones moot. Only a rag-tag group of soldiers called the Night’s Watch guarding the Wall stand between zombies and certain human death. Other magical elements (such as dragons, fire gods, face-shifters, and body possessors) pervade what would otherwise be a Medieval society. Thinks swords, not guns, but sometimes magic sneaks in.
King Robert Baratheon rules from King’s Landing the Seven Kingdoms. He secured his throne in a rebellion aided by Ned Stark, from Winterfell; his father-law, Tywin Lannister; his brother-in-law, Jamie Lannister, captain of the King’s Guard; and other lords. They overthrew the mad King Aerys II Targaryen–his heirs are secretly across the ocean. Robert is married to Cersei Lannister, and was thought to have fathered Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella.
However a freak hunting accident (spurred on by Cersei) kills Robert when he is gored by a boar. Joffrey, a vindictive monster, ascends to the throne. But is he really the king? Robert’s late top of adviser and Hand of the King Jon Arryn realized that Cersei’s children were really fathered by her brother, Jamie. Jon Arryn mysteriously dies, and his successor Ned Stark is beheaded by Joffrey.
Word has gotten out on the incest, as Robert’s brothers Stannis (dark and moody) and Renly (bright and a closeted homosexual) challenge Joffrey’s claim. Stannis, now in league with a god of fire, gets his sorceress to birth a shadow baby that kills Renly before war begins.
Cersei reigns through Joffrey while Tywin and Jamie Lannister fight other rebellions–including one led by Robb Stark, Ned’s son, the King of the North. Her dwarf brother, Tyrion, is now Hand of the King, and hates Joffrey for being evil. Although Tyrion holds of a Stannis attack long enough for Tywin to save the day, he is undervalued and forced to marry Stark’s daughter, Sansa.
Later, just as Joffrey has married Renly’s former bride Margaery Tywell, he chokes and dies at his own wedding. Tommen is now king. Tyrion is accused of the murder and sentenced to death (after losing a trial by combat where his champion the Red Viper is slain). The night before he is executed, Jamie (now with only one hand) breaks Tyrion out. Tyrion kills his father with a crossbow before fleeing into exile.
Robert (boar); Renly (ghost); Ned (sword); Jon (poison); Joffrey (poison); Tywin (crossbow); Red Viper (hubris).
Throughout that drama, Daenerys–daughter of the mad king–is across the Narrow Sea. She marries a horse lord, witnesses her brother and husband’s deaths, is abandoned, and births a stillborn in a fire pit, which turn into three dragons. With these dragons, she leads a slave uprising and plots a return to Westeros to be restored to the Iron Throne.
Viserys (molten silver); Khal Drogo (gangrene).
At Ned’s death, his daughters Arya and Sansa live in King’s Landing. Arya escaped and wandered aimlessly. Sansa married Tyrion, escaped after Joffrey’s death, and now lives in the mountains with Jon Arryn’s widow (Aunt Lysa) and Littlefinger, the king’s adviser. It turns out Lysa poisoned Jon, and Littlefinger orchestrated Joffrey’s death–more or less just because. Littlefinger makes the moves on Sansa and pushes Lysa off the mountain.
Ned’s two youngest, Rickon and Bran (who was pushed out of a window by Jamie for learning of the incest and can’t walk) wander in the north. They are thought dead because Winterfell was seized by Theon Greyjoy (formerly Ned’s ward but also a prince from Pike. He also later gets his man part’s severed). They separate and Bran, who also can inhabit people and see the future, becomes an apprentice to a tree-person and can see everything. Confusing.
Meanwhile, Robb Stark leads a northern rebellion with his mother Catelyn and keeps winning battles. He promises to wed one woman but instead marries another. Even though everyone is rooting for Robb, he and Catelyn are slain at the Red Wedding in a bloody massacre.
Also, Ned’s bastard son, Jon Snow, is a member of the Night’s Watch and fights the zombie White Walkers. Recently, a battle between the Wildlings and the Watch ended when Stannis, giving up on King’s Landing, saved the day. All we know about Jon Snow is he knows nothing.
Ned (beheaded); Lysa (moondoor); Robb & Catelyn (stabbed/throat slit).
There are about 500 more characters and lots of plot lines, but knowing all of the above will get you Television Fanatics into the entertaining and enthralling world of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Watch Game of Thrones online here.