The most pirated and anticipated, ratings record breaking premiere got off to a steady start. Did some good old catching up with all our old friends, a minute or two north of the wall, a little check-in with the surviving Baratheon "licking his wounds" back in Dragonstone, and a peak at the carnage the Starks come across at Harrenhal while they bide their time, have a few pints before they get around to taking King's Landing.
I know this is the time for rising action, but start killing each other already! Two seasons and Joffrey's head is still on his body. What's with that? At least Stannis gave it a shot; what are those Starks doing? Dany has an excuse. Her dragons are too small to kill even the puniest of kings, and she doesn't have much of an army. Yet.
Thanks to the books we can just read ahead to the action, but Valar Dohaeris did start a few things off. The great ethical dilemma of Daenerys' completely dehumanized slave army, Jon Snow climbing up the wildlong ranks from prisoner to... not prisoner, and Sansa's opportunity for escape, and in fact, even wanting to escape King's Landing, or outwardly admitting that she does, is a new and very welcome development. I haven't figured out why I feel fiercely protective over this arguably very weak, sad character, but just think how much room there is for development when you're a complete crybaby and a coward. If she kills Joffrey one day it'll be the best thing a woman has done since the Witch King (okay not really), but she'll have to both beat Arya to it, and humble herself enough to her sister to ask for fencing lessons.
It's difficult to tell to what extent Stannis is still in the game, particularly when he's burning his own soldiers and generals at the stake, and he's not looking too hot. It would be a shame to lose another contender for the throne; the more the merrier. The more to take it from the damn Lannisters.
A few notable characters didn't appear in this first episode. Where's Arya? Last we saw her she had escaped Harrenhal, and good timing based on what Robb and Lady Stark found there. Hopefully she's near enough for a reunion but probably not. There are also the little stark boys, Bran and Rickon, whom Maester Luwin urged to flee north to the fricking wall in the season finale. Yeah, wish them luck. Osha and a couple direwolves should be able to protect them from the army of white walker things we got a glimpse of up north. Okay, those are on the other side of the wall, but we've seen what kinds of things can happen to children in this show, and at this point, nothing would surprise me.
Don't forget about Jaime Lannister, either. We should expect an update on where he is very soon.
Last season ended with Margaery Tyrell asking King Joffrey to marry her, which made me angry even though the new arrangement saves Sansa having to marry him. Still, what a strumpet. I guess I was most concerned over Sansa's safety if Joffrey is done with her, but that doesn't seem to concern anyone. I guess Cersei has forgotten about the Stark in their midst. Still, if there's one thing that makes me tear my hair out, it's when I don't like a character from the start, and the storyteller flips them on their ass to redeem them. Margaery Tyrell works with the poor in the city and isn't afraid to get shit on her boots in the process. How honourable. I'm running out of villainous characters to dislike.