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Someone made an interesting observation elsewhere: While I think all of us clearly saw the episode as one that had themes of revenge, it even more strongly had themes of captivity and freedom. In every single situation we saw, this week, we had people who were, in some manner, captives and trying to reconcile that:
1. Jaimie and Brienne, with Brienne having to show him a better way than giving up.
2. The Night's Watch were, in a sense, captives of Craster. They lashed out with complete violence.
3. Arya a captive of the Brotherhood Without Banners, as well as the Hound, who she gives up to them as a murderer.
4. Sansa, as always, a prisoner of the Lannisters but given a way out. And many others, actually. And that, I think, is why Dany's story strikes so powerfully at the end. She is not the captive, she is the captor. And with that power she gives freedom, she destroys a slaver's city, but without harming innocents. This episode went a long, long way to showing just what kind of leader Dany is, and just why I think she is the Queen that Westeros needs.

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This is actually my favorite quote of the entire first season!

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Game of Thrones Review: Who Died?

@Katie, I had a lot of those reactions myself when I was reading the book, 13 years ago. However, while it hasn't happened yet, I'm almost 100% postiive I know who Jon's mother is. And, furthermore, I know the ONE person in the world who also knows who his mother is. That's right, there's one other, and He can still tell Jon. I don't know if it will ever happen in the books, but if you're really really curious, you can e-mail me at seventeenth_knight@yahoo.com with Game of Thrones in the header. Be warned, though, it's a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE spoiler. It's only speculation, but...well, let's just say that nearly every fan of the book series who has figured it out is convinced it's the truth.

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Uh, John Smith, have you paid attention to the books at all? Renly WAS a "gay sissy boy" as you so bigotedly put it. Protip: He was in a relationship with one of his knights, the Knight of Flowers, who was in his Rainbow Guard.

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No mention of Syrio, Carissa?! For shame! He is one of the few characters I think was cast and looks exactly nothing like the description in the novels, not even remotely. Yet, just like Dinklage has done with Tyrion and Maisie has done with Arya, the man playing Syrio has completely taken over as the character in my imagination. His waterdance with Arya was my favorite part of the episode (along with the introduction of Littlefinger and every scene with Tyrion). Arya's little smile when he bested her was perfect, his accent flawless, and in keeping with the books he said "Just so..." Those two have a beautiful chemistry. After only a minute on screen you can tell that there is already a bond between them.

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I was 14 when A Game of Thrones, the book, came out. My father bought it for me while I was in the waiting room of the hospital my grandfather was staying in. It has been a momentous part of my life, for half of my life now. To say that my expectations for this series were high is an understatement the likes of which the English language cannot properly encapsulate. It's like trying to describe the sun to a blind man. But not only were my expectations met, they were exceeded, destroyed, and left bloody on the floor. I am enthralled by the world they have created in this show. It is so...perfect. It cuts through many of the intrigues and sidestories and blasts straight at the heart of the books. The casting is brilliant. My favorite characters, like Kangaroo's, are Arya, Jon, Tyrion, as well as Eddard and Daenarys. All of them are PERFECTLY cast. Not exactly as I imagine them, or have seen them, but they breath a life into the characters that I was unable to share with anyone before now. Trying to describe the books to friends and family is almost impossible, but showing them this first episode is like giving them a glimpse into this world that has existed in my mind for half my lifetime. I am well hooked. I am ecstatic. I am assuming, by your review, you have not read the books. I'll leave only a tiny little hint for you of what is to come, something to somewhat confirm a little thing you wrote. Daenarys does keep her held high. Very high.