Missed series one of Game of Thrones? Here’s a potted summary to prep you for the imminent new run which starts this week — and looks set to be similarly awesome.
1 Eight houses, both alike in dignity
Grammatical sense aside, you get the picture: Game of Thrones is about noble conflict, and plenty of it.
Series one concentrated on pitting the dour but honourable House of Stark, led by Sean Bean, against the blonde, rich and incestuous Lannisters.
In the shadows lurked the exiled Targaryen siblings (Emilia Clarke, pictured below, and Harry Lloyd), who joined forces — in the military and biblical senses — with barbarian horse lord Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) aiming to capture the Iron Throne occupied at the end of series one by the stroppy King Joffrey.
2 Breasts. Lots of breasts. And at least one penis
Gratuitous nudity pervaded series one of Game of Thrones — all of it good lusty medieval fun.
You got to see Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) nailing his sister Cersei (Lena Headey), who by the end had traded him in for her 16-year-old cousin.
There were rippling torsos, bouncing boobs and, from Alfie Allen, who plays Theon, heir to the house of Greyjoy, an unabashed cock-shot.
You wouldn’t even put it past Varys the eunuch to get his end away in the next stint.
3 Copious brutal, random murders
Major characters die in Game of Thrones with shocking regularity and real-world renown doesn’t guarantee longevity. Sean Bean? Beheaded in episode nine.
Harry Lloyd? Molten metal poured over his head in episode six. Jason Momoa? Smothered by his missus in episode 10.
Carice van Houten and Stephen Dillane are among the newbies on series two, but who can say for how long? (Well IMDb, probably, so don’t look.)
4 Just enough “magic” (ie, almost none)
Though it’s definitely an epic that whistles to roughly the same tune as Lord of the Rings, series one of Game of Thrones was rooted in human conflict.
Still, a tantalising hint of the extraordinary lurked around every corner — there were dragons hatching at the end of series one.
There was also something very nasty lurking behind The Wall, which marks the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms. The men of the Night’s Watch (who guard The Wall) should be readying themselves to investigate.
5 Peter Dinklage
The schtupping Lannister siblings’ brother, Tyrion, played by the Emmy award-winning Peter Dinklage, is a priapic, amoral perma-pissed coward; he’s also one of the show’s most likeable characters (now that’s good writing).
“The Imp”, as he’s known — Dinklage stands 4ft 5in — regularly escapes certain peril via a combination of charisma and his family’s inexhaustible supply of cash, like a kind of medieval Kardashian (if you ignore the charisma bit).
Series two of Game of Thrones starts on 2 April on Sky Atlantic
Illustration by Peter Strain
Words by Max Olesker