So all your friends ever talk about anymore is how much they hate some kid called ‘Geoffrey’, how much they love some chick called ‘Denearez’, and how ‘winter is coming’. It’s time to give up and just watch the last five episodes of Game of Thrones, so you can understand what your loved ones are talking about.
Here’s what you need to know to make it through.
Episode five starts off with a character dear to many people’s hearts, young Arya Stark. She looks like an escapee from a Harry Potter film, and she’s currently on the run because the Starks aren’t friends with the family currently in charge (who we’ll get to). At the moment, Arya’s under the stewardship of the Brotherhood Without Banners (think Robin Hood, Merry Men, etc). She’d really love to be taking care of herself, but for now the Brotherhood will have to do.
The Brotherhood are guys who got jack of serving all the crazy kings and other leaders that have ruled over the land (Westeros, in case you were wondering), but they do still worship someone: a god called the Lord of Light. You’ll quickly learn to spot Lord of Light fanatics – they spend a lot of time talking to fires and saying ‘the night is dark and full of terrors.’
Now I say fanatics, but in this episode, the head of the Brotherhood gets killed fighting a large, ugly dude known as the Hound (one of Arya’s least favourite people) but then he basically…comes back to life. So either the Lord of Light is actually pretty amazing, or the Brotherhood have figured out how to make very convincing fake blood.
Further north (or as you’ve probably heard your irritating friends say, ‘north of the wall’) there’s another bunch of people who look like extras from a production of ‘Shakespeare on Hoth’. For now let’s just focus on Jon Snow, who’s defected from his previous band of brothers (the Night’s Watch) to hang out with these guys, who are known as ‘wildlings’.
The wildlings don’t love Night’s Watchers, so it’s an uneasy alliance. On the plus side, Jon Snow gets to hang out with flirty redhead wildling Ygritte, who loves to call him by his full name and who’s idea of flirting usually involves one or both of them risking death. This episode, she decides she’s through with flirting, pulls Jon Snow into a nearby cave complete with waterfall (and a pool of clean water – hard to come by in Westeros), and the two warm each other up the old fashioned way.
So far we’ve mostly covered the ‘good’ characters, although that term gets less and less relevant the more Game of Thrones you watch. One of the particularly complicated characters, especially at the moment, is Jamie Lannister. You’ll recognise him by the fact that he looks a bit like Jesus and is currently missing a hand. Jamie is famous Westeros-wide for being the guy who killed ‘the Mad King’, who ruled a while back. Back in Season One, he also crippled Arya’s brother Bran when he caught Jamie getting it on with his own sister. So that was a bit shocking.
This episode, after having some old-school surgery to fix up his hand, Jamie has a bath with Brienne (a ‘good’ character who’s kind of been holding him captive, but also kind of becoming his friend). During bath-time, Jamie reveals that he actually killed the Mad King to stop him killing pretty much everyone else. So now we’re all conflicted about Jamie and it’s interesting.
I’m sure you’re excited to know that those are only a few out of a cast of what feels like around 50 ‘main’ characters. Before you throw your iPad out the window, let me tell you about two more: Cersei and Tyrion Lannister. Cersei is Jamie’s twin sister/girlfriend, and she’s pretty much 100% hateable, so be sure to hiss whenever you see her. Tyrion’s a dwarf and we love him for his quick wit and way with the ladies, even though he’s a Lannister too.
At the end of this episode, their dad (Tywin Lannister) tells them they’re both going to be married off for strategic reasons. Cersei’s match is to a gay guy and Tyrion’s match is to Arya’s sister Sansa, who’s been a captive of the Lannister’s for so long she’s forgotten how much she’s meant to hate them. Now to you that sounds like one of the more boring parts of Pride and Prejudice, but trust me, your friends are going to have kittens over these last five minutes.
Confused? Upset? Hungry? Just watch next week – there’ll almost certainly be an incredible looking blonde chick with dragons (it’s spelled ‘Daenerys’) and maybe some undead guys. It’ll be great.