EFi: I haven't read G.R.R. Martin's novels on which the series is based on. And I also did my very best to avoid reading all things spoilerish prior to watching the series, but instead concentrated on the most important thing for me - Sean Bean.
And on the difference between his scenes from the original pilot episode - then with Jennifer Ehle as Ned's wife Catelyn Stark - which had to be reshot a year later, because Michelle Fairley has taken over. He has gained weight to bring more gravity to his role. So the switch between these scenes was very unpleasant and distracting for me. Slender Sean looks way yummier for his private life, but the weighty one definitely fits the part better. And so he can live up to his King's greeting when they met again after many years: "You got fat!"
     
     
     


rg: Sean at his best. Eddard 'Ned' Stark is a family man and head of the family. As Warden of the North (something Sean might enjoy) he resides at Winterfell, a stronghold at the borders of King Baratheon's empire, and guards the country for him there.

First time we see him, he and his wife Catelyn watch the lessons in archery their youngest son Bran gets. The 10year old boy tries his best, but obviously he isn't a natural born archer. When his slightly older sister Arya - a real tomboy - shows how it should be done, all spectators are highly amused. A lighthearted moment, over way too soon.


 

A deserter is brought back from 'The Wall' - a gigantic fortification wall - and since desertion means death, Lord Stark doesn't have a choice but to enforce the law himself. "The one, who speaks law, should also execute it" - this sentence well describes this honourable and stern lord.

He is a caring family man who rules his realm with even-handed austerity. This is clearly a necessity in this strangely real fantasy world, that writer G.R.R. Martin has created.

All feels somehow medieval. There are knights, horses, armour, swords and everything else one's heart desires, including fair ladies and valiant chevaliers, schemers and prey, and this Eddard Stark.

In the first episode already Sean Bean's Warden of the North is so spot on, that you don't even consider that this is acted. Of course, it is a role, but Sean masters bringing Eddard Stark into life so that he appears as he lived there for ages. Or at least a long time before we meet him and his family for the first time.

The whole weights of power and responsibility shows in Lord Stark's face - fuller then we are used to from Sean's previous roles, and every wrinkle seems to be chiselled with extra care.

One glance, then another like only Sean can give it, and we read from this face all that his Eddard Stark is. So it is obvious why the king, who travelled to Winterfell with all of his family and the royal household, only wants HIM to act as his "hand" - and why he only trusts him...

  EFi: I'm still with the first episode. Perhaps it was my pretty small screen, but the matte paintings which should enhance the backgrounds and the special effects were so obvious and clearly noticeable, as well as the artificial buildings couldn't disguise the fact that they were only small size models. Especially the Stark's castle complex looks a bit like being made of chess towers. Also, the characters lacked of depth, with the exception of both Ned Stark and his King Robert Baratheon, but that comes mostly from their actors. Sean Bean and Mark Addy apparently have a hell of a good time together, both are from the north in their real lives and this you can see in the way they act, they really feed each other.
  rg: Because of our enthusiasm about Sean Bean and Mark Addy we had nearly forgotten that there are more things happening in the other parts of the world of Westeros. Why the king is in need of a trustworthy man, becomes obvious when Queen Cersei from the House of Lannister, played by Lena Headey enters the scenery. She is a cold majestic beauty with hidden depths who is accompanied by her brothers: her twin-brother, the very attractive arrogant Ser Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) who follows her wherever she goes and the dwarfish Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who is after every at least-half willing woman.

And then there are the offspring of the old king who was driven from the Iron Throne by Robert Baratheon: Viserys Targaryen and his sister Daenerys, two enchanted fairy like king's children who found refuge in the the far away Lands of the Summer Sea. And even as it looks like they live a comfortable life under this southern sun, Viserys is driven by only one wish: He wants to retake the throne, and to reach this target, without any remorse he sells his young innocent sister to the brutal battle-starred Khal Drogo. So far the only male who isn't constantly wrapped in estimated eight layers of clothing!

 

EFi: As an alternative many undressed women are shown, whereas the men stay dressed in many layers even in scenes when clothing is of no need. I hope that will change for good in the upcoming episodes.

rg: And of course, there is the change of seasons. As far as I have understood it has bean summer for many years, so long in fact that children can't remember any other season. But this should all come to an end now. The weather is changing and it is getting colder in Westeros. This might explain all those layers of warm closing, because as Sean Stark (or is it Ned Bean) dryly remarks...

 

"...Winter is Coming!"

         
         
       
         
       
rg & Evi/upload 27.04.2011
         
     
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Game of Thrones - episode 1 "Winter is Coming"

Musings about the series by rg & EFi / 27.04.2011