Episode 11 – The North Remembers – New Viewer Recap
By Winter Is Coming on in Recap.

Tyrion at Joffrey's nameday tourney

Our new viewer recapper We Do Not Sow is back this season with his thoughts on each episode from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the books. If you also haven’t read the books, or even if you have and want to see how a non-reader reacted to the episode, read on!

Spoiler note: This post is intended for new viewers ONLY (book fans can discuss the show here). We ask all the series veterans to refrain from posting spoilers in the comments here, veiled or otherwise. This show is best viewed without knowing all the surprises beforehand, so please be respectful of your fellow fans. Thank you!

We Do Not Sow: Game of Thrones, how I have missed you. I have tried to fill your place with fairy tales and zombies but nothing keeps me on the edge of my seat like you do. I was so excited for season two, I had re-watched season one a few weeks ago, also sat around most of today watching it again while watching writers, actors and bloggers all comment via twitter.

So this was very much of a reaction episode I thought, the last two episodes of season one were just a whirlwind of shocking events, twists and turns. We took a short tour through Westeros and spent a little time with each plot line to see how everyone is reacting to the the death of Ned, Jaime being captured and Robb’s victory in battle.

King Joffrey’s blood lust seems to be growing day by day, and for the prince and now the king, he really does get bitch slapped a lot. Speaking of the king, it almost seems like everyone has their own thought on who should be King of Westeros, of course King Joffery, and Renly is building his army and now Stannis. Across the sea, Daenerys, her followers and her dragons are looking to conquer King’s Landing but they are more concerned with dinner than war at the moment. I think Catelyn said it best, “There is a king in every corner now”.

They definitely picked up where they left off last season and even laid a strong foundation for the rest of season two. We got a glimpse of some hungry dragons, also a grown dire wolf, that I thought for a minute Robb was letting loose on Jaime, even a new location Dragonstone. In Dragonstone we meet some new characters that are aligned with Stannis, I’m not to sure how I feel about them yet, and the red priestess with the flaming adam’s apple??? I am not sure what went on besides her drinking some sort of poison and not feeling a thing. Maybe it’s witchcraft? Since we know there is blood magic in the East, maybe this red priestess dabbles in it as well. I did enjoy Stannis dictating his letter to be sent out, stern but also gave me a laugh or two.

I thought the scenes where they were hunting the bastards out in King’s Landing, really drove the point home how much the Lanisters are worried about their right to the throne. It seems like they will be looking for both Gendry and Arya. I bet they won’t find them too soon but with traveling with a group of outcasts if anyone knows they are looking for those two, they will turn them over in a heartbeat. The intense scene between Cersei, her guards and Littlefinger really caught me off guard, I was assuming they were going to ease back into the show and use this episode to set up the season, which they did, but for a moment I really thought Baelish was a goner. I really don’t care for Baelish so far but I think his character has a few more tricks up his sleeve. He knows how to the play the game well in King’s Landing, and for better or worse he will say anything he needs to to keep himself alive and in good standing.

We got a few scenes above the Wall and I can’t wait till we find Benjen, or the walking dead and now to find the deserter who calls himself the king. I am also looking forward to meeting more Greyjoys, tonight Theon tells Robb if they plan to win they need to invade King’s Landing and to do that they need ships, that his family is in possession of. I hope the Greyjoy family doesn’t let me down, I picked to align myself with their family only on the sigil artwork from HBO alone. Besides the uprising, the family does sound cool and I can’t wait to learn more!

Well now we are back to the waiting game, but at least it’s only a week away. Until then remember: Power is Power, unless you don’t have much power then a little power isn’t power at all, so maybe its with great power comes great responsibility, no thats not it…just Support the Bottom!


38 Comments

  1. Vandehook
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Farst

  2. Pau Soriano
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Awesome review, thanks a lot! ;)

    Btw, when can we expect the ratings for?

  3. Lyonel the Red
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    This really helps a lot to sort out my feelings about the episode. Really as someone who read the books my approach is completely different. I discovered aSoIaF with the series, and read aGoT after watching season 1, and it’s the opposite with season 2.

    Great review.

  4. Sword-O-Da-Morning
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Tyrion steps onto the scene, checks Joffrey, checks hound, walks into the other room, checks small council, then privately checks queen regent… LOL Rob checks mother, checks lannister messenger, checks king slayer. LOL Amazing episodes, and best part oh so little of Ros…

  5. Justin Ashlock
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Remeber the Alamo!

  6. userj
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you thought the Stannis Letter writing was funny. :)

    Great review!

  7. DC
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Oh man… not the Greyjoys. I’ll give you good artwork, but Theon seems like such a sneaky snake. Remember the scene with Theon and Osha in Winterfell?

    My only gripe with the first episode was that the part in Dragonstone was a bit rushed. We didn’t get to really learn about any of the characters there, except for the magic of Melisandre, and left a lot of questions. For anyone who didn’t read the books, I can see how that part would have been utter confusion. Hopefully they’ll clear that up in upcoming episodes and they’re pretty good about that.

  8. andrea
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Great! I was curious about the non-readers opinion.
    What do you think about the burning of the Seven (the gods) on the beach? I don´t know if it was clear enough for non readers.
    As userj said I love that you enjoyed Stannis humor or the absence of it (which is precisely what makes him funnier).

  9. Denise
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    DC,

    @DC
    It wasn’t confusing at all. I haven’t read any of the books, yet and I understood what was happening at Dragonstone.

  10. Mimsy
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I think the burning of the 7 was quite clear. Made me kind of uneasy watching them turn their backs on their traditions to embrace this new god. It looked to me like the soldiers were extremely uneasy about it and were just following orders. Stannis was the only one who I thought was truly comfortable with the situation, but it was to his benefit so of course he must believe!

    Upon rewatch, it really struck me as funny how Joffrey was getting so annoyed by Sansa’s lack of response. He’d be all.. look how evil I am.. and Sansa’s all.. you’re the man Joff! .. and he’d deflate a bit and say.. of COURSE i’m the man! ..that’s what I just said now isn’t it?! as he gives her the skunk eye. :) Joffrey is going to be great fun this season!

  11. Violentos
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It would be truly amazing if someone could upload HD screenshots of each episode after it airs. I want to see some Grey Wind screen caps!

  12. Violentos
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    EDIT: Never mind, I found some up already here http://midnight-road.livejournal.com/83886.html

  13. Batres
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    andrea:
    What do you think about the burning of the Seven (the gods) on the beach?I don´t know if it was clear enough for non readers.

    Now that you mentioned, it wasn’t for me, thought it was a kind of a ritual, but not something that was going to have impact later on…
    Actually I didn’t understand why everybody left and the sword was left on the sand…

  14. Qazokju
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Try to organize your thoughts a little more. Is this a reflection of your reactions or a show report? What was great what was terrible? Your paragraphs are disjointed and overall bad writing No offense you are just dumping here though.

  15. Batres
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Another thing I didn’t understand is why the lord was picking on Snow when they ask for shelter

  16. Harald Natvik
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I hope the Greyjoy family doesn’t let me down, I picked to align myself with their family only on the sigil artwork from HBO alone. Besides the uprising, the family does sound cool and I can’t wait to learn more!

    —> Poor guy….

  17. DC
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Batres,

    Beyond the Wall they scoff at those south of the Wall much like those in Winterfell scoff at those from King’s Landing in the south… plus Craster (the lord) was being a jerk because he knew the Night’s Watch needed him for a place to stay and he’s too proud for his own good.

    Also, I could explain the sword thing, but I don’t want to give away any story lines they may be developing for future episodes.

  18. andrea
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Batres,
    Lord Commander you mean, no? because they were asking for shelter it wasn´t time to make uncomfortable questions to creepy Craster.

    Do you remember something about the Seven Gods of Westeros from season1? Let´s say that for Stannis this ritual was practically just a formality.
    Edit: if you´re talking about Craster, he´s not a “lord” precisely.

  19. Justin Ashlock
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Justin Ashlock,

    Well, now that you fixed the typo my comment just seems foolish…

  20. Nagga's Kin
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    @ We Do Not Sow -

    “New Viewer Recap” implies that you wrote this for those who have not only not read the books but not watched any of series 1, either. Instead, you constantly refer to the latter. I’ve come to expect misleading headlines from the Huffington Post, but I had thought House Gatewatch was above that sort of thing. Perhaps it wasn’t intentional.

    Regardless, there are still plenty of people out there who have never seen the show (or only S02E01). Given that season 2 introduces even more locations, characters and relationships between them, the already steep learning curve for truly new viewers just got a lot steeper. Keeping those new viewers hooked – and hence, improving the odds of HBO sticking with D&D for additional seasons – will depend in part on how hard it is for them to get up to speed. This is precisely where online fan communities such as WiC.net can make a difference, but I’m not sure if your chosen format of yet another post-episode review is an optimal choice.

    One idea might be to find and interview some of those truly new viewers on how they experienced jumping into the deep end:

    - Was “The North Remembers” episode fascinating and beguiling or rather, bewildering and frustrating for them?

    - Are they now motivated to read the books or else watch season 1 (on HBOgo, DVD/Blu-ray or elsewhere) to fill in the blanks themselves?

    - Or, will they instead rely on friends and frenemies, both online and off, to give them the Cliff notes versions?

    - Did any of them decide to skip the show because the plot is too hard to follow, even though the show’s core premise of Machiavellian machinations in an imaginary feudal world appealed to them?

    Just my $0.02.

  21. Winter Is Coming
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin, you raise an interesting question/topic about people who jumped in to season two without having watched season one. But that’s not what these recaps are about. They are episode recaps from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the books and has only watched the show. Maybe we can have another topic like the one you suggested, but these recaps will remain as they are.

    EDIT: “New Viewer Recap” just means someone who is a viewer-only, not a book reader. The title made more sense in season one, admittedly. But we’ll stick with it for consistency sake.

  22. Randy
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I felt really comfortable with the new Baratheon characters, I was worried about them fitting in, I think the new actors did a great job. Good review BTW.

  23. Pau Soriano
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin:
    @ We Do Not Sow -

    “New Viewer Recap” implies that you wrote this for those who have not only not read the books but not watched any of series 1, either. Instead, you constantly refer to the latter. I’ve come to expect misleading headlines from the Huffington Post, but I had thought House Gatewatch was above that sort of thing. Perhaps it wasn’t intentional.

    Regardless, there are still plenty of people out there who have never seen the show (or only S02E01). Given that season 2 introduces even more locations, characters and relationships between them, the already steep learning curve for truly new viewers just got a lot steeper. Keeping those new viewers hooked – and hence, improving the odds of HBO sticking with D&D for additional seasons – will depend in part on how hard it is for them to get up to speed. This is precisely where online fan communities such as WiC.net can make a difference, but I’m not sure if your chosen format of yet another post-episode review is an optimal choice.

    One idea might be to find and interview some of those truly new viewers on how they experienced jumping into the deep end:

    - Was “The North Remembers” episode fascinating and beguiling or rather, bewildering and frustrating for them?

    - Are they now motivated to read the books or else watch season 1 (on HBOgo, DVD/Blu-ray or elsewhere) to fill in the blanks themselves?

    - Or, will they instead rely on friends and frenemies, both online and off, to give them the Cliff notes versions?

    - Did any of them decide to skip the show because the plot is too hard to follow, even though the show’s core premise of Machiavellian machinations in an imaginary feudal world appealed to them?

    Just my $0.02.

    There’s almost no posts from non-readers already…so to make a recap for season 2 only viewers would be a total waste of time.

  24. No Raven For You!
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Great recap to a great start to the season! I remain an unspoiled non-reader who is just so happy to have GoT back (for 10 weeks) to fuss and wonder over.

    We Do Not Sow:

    I did enjoy Stannis dictating his letter to be sent out, stern but also gave me a laugh or two.

    It also showed Stannis as a humorless control freak. What was up with his council table? They never showed it clearly – was it a giant map of Westeros?

    I am also looking forward to meeting more Greyjoys

    Cat sure isn’t! I think this will be horrible for the Starks. It seemed like a lot of S.1 was setting the table for a nature/nurture conflict within Theon btw. the Greyjoy “way” (unseen yet, but it gives Cat the willies), and the Stark (!) way of honor.

    It is going to be a hell of a ride!

  25. Jeff O'Connor
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Great write-up for us non-readers. (Which makes us all sound illiterate; I promise that isn’t the case. I simply haven’t gotten around to it yet… and there’s something special about flat-out being left in the dark this season, I think!)

    All my favorite characters got their moments this episode, which made the back-and-forth setup pacing not nearly so dizzying as it might have otherwise been. Well, OK, Ned and Robert didn’t get much screentime but those two don’t exactly count anymore… And Arya didn’t get much screentime but that’s OK because she was talked-about frequently and got to share that killer final scene with Gendry.

    Really looking forward to “Meet the Parents” next week; that Theon Greyjoy should be a great lead.

  26. Jon
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin,
    I think that’s a pretty silly thing to do. Many shows, especially Game of Thrones, are NOT designed for the casual viewer. They are not designed for you to be able to jump in at whatever point you want during any season and still be able to understand what is happening.
    In fact, most of the greatest TV shows are the literal opposite of this. The creator of The Wire even came out and said “Fuck the casual viewer, I don’t make my show for them.”

  27. Suzaku
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    Batres,

    I don’t really think it’s a spoiler at all to say that the ritual is basically a nightly ritual in Melisandre’s religion. Almost every night they burn a pyre of some sort and she leads a prayer. Stannis’ part of the ritual is acting out something from the religion’s mythology, and you’ll learn more about that later.

  28. Suzaku
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Also, from my point of view, watching S2 without having seen S1 is kind of pointless.

    These are adapting from books. Fairly faithful adaptations, at that.

    If you jump in on a random episode, you’re not going to understand what’s going on, any more than you would understand what’s going on if you picked up the second book and flipped to page 100 and started reading.

    There are enough resources online that you could familiarize yourself with the setting and characters and goings on, but you’re only doing yourself a disservice by not watching the previous episodes.

  29. Red
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    On the Dragonstone beach scene, I think it was all said. It is a turning point for Stannis people. The old guy who dies later yells at them about all being raised believers on the 7 gods, while the seven effigies burn. So I doubt it was a regular ritual, more like a point of break from the past and a “this is now us against everyone”.
    This lord of light thing, and the fiery necklace (and the comet) has me thinking… Maybe Stannis/Melisandre will be Danaeris saving. So this is now entering into the speculation realm!

    What is that “Blood of my blood” thing going on with Danaeris? By the way, her character has had such a transformation. And those guys are bound to find supplies soon otherwise their storyline would end, and I don’t figure that will happen.

    Robb’s character has grown too. I wonder what is he planning with the offer he sent to the Lannisters, because I doubt they will agree (Joffrey is a powerful coward and what’s his name his grandfather would consider it an insult). So this is one thing that could happen: Robb continues to war South, maybe joining forces with Renly, and will continue to win, but will be forced to retreat because this other King beyond the wall starts marching south.

  30. No Raven For You!
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Red:

    What is that “Blood of my blood” thing going on with Danaeris?

    I believe that Drogo’s closest henchmen were called Bloodriders, and I seem to recall at least one of them referring to Drogo as ‘blood of my blood’, but I had assumed that they were related to Drogo in some way. Then, when Dany emerges from the ashes of Drogo’s funeral pyre with the triplets, Jorah kneels to her and says “blood of my blood”, so now I think it is sort of like pledging your life to a sovereign, like ‘my life is in your hands’.

  31. Steven Swanson
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Qazokju: Try to organize your thoughts a little more. Is this a reflection of your reactions or a show report? What was great what was terrible? Your paragraphs are disjointed and overall bad writing No offense you are just dumping here though.

    Wow, what a dick. I thought it read just fine, and it’s pretty obviously a reflection of reactions, as this kind of thread serves as both a place for non-readers to express their opinions and for readers to lurk and get a sense of how well it’s going over to the uninitiated.

  32. Argliac the Arrogant
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Steven Swanson,

    Name calling on someone who is just offering advice to make a stronger blog. That’s unacceptable. There was nothing in that post that seemed malicious or disrespectful. It was only helpful criticism. No need for someone who it wasn’t even addressed to to get so defensive and start cursing at others. This is the internet. People are going to offer up their opinions. And considering all that, it could have been real ugly. I didn’t see that here.

  33. Steven Swanson
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Argliac the Arrogant:
    Steven Swanson,

    Name calling on someone who is just offering advice to make a stronger blog. That’s unacceptable. There was nothing in that post that seemed malicious or disrespectful. It was only helpful criticism. No need for someone who it wasn’t even addressed to to get so defensive and start cursing at others. This is the internet. People are going to offer up their opinions. And considering all that, it could have been real ugly. I didn’t see that here.

    It was not tactfully done, and in fact I thought he was acting like a dick in the way he phrased his criticisms (despite throwing in the obligatory “no offense”). Would you have been okay if I’d used the word “jerk”? Didn’t realize there were people so sensitive to “cursing” around here.

  34. Qazokju
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Steven Swanson,

    The reason most forums have the rule ‘no personal attacks’ is because your personal opinion can better be expressed with reason. ‘Jerk’ could have been better since you might have spent time into an explanation instead of putting all your implications into a male sexual organ. Your reason is more a hunch. No, it’s a mix of embarassement for the writer and prejudice for all the negativity you read every day on the internet. Well that’s my hunch anyway. I’d like to see this topic raised a few notches. It’s actually the most important topic about GoT this season, because of the complexity of the show. I read the books and forgot most of this shit. I didn’t even notice the burning of the seven. You really have to be ultra aware or watch the show more than once to get over 50% of what’s going on. I just watch a show once. I don’t believe a tv show based on a book I read should need to be watched more than once.

  35. Argilac the Arrogant
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The cursing is not what the problem was. Its the unnecessary name calling.

    Qazokju just criticized the work, not the person doing the work.
    You criticized the person replying, not the reply itself.

    Get it? This place can tend to get nasty (still remembers the days of TSK–or he who shall not be named) and only wish to see helpful discussions take place. But whatever, call me too what you will if you feel the need to get defensive.

  36. Nymeria
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    My husband, who hasn’t read the books and wouldn’t watch this show if I hadn’t forced him to, had the same reaction after this episode as for the entire season 1: “this is f*ked up!” And if I try and ask more reaction, he’ll say he liked the boobs scenes but doesn’t understand what’s great in a story revolving mainly around a brother doing his sister.

    So off I ran and logged onto WiC to find some true conversation about my beloved series :) Thank the Seven for WiC!

  37. No Raven For You!
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Qazokju,

    You really have to be ultra aware or watch the show more than once to get over 50% of what’s going on.

    Which is exactly why I find this forum on WiC so valuable, including the recap, but esp. the comments. I may only “get” 30% of what is going on, maybe 60% on rewatch, but the 30% I do get may be different from the 50% another noob gets, and reading their speculations and discussions fills in some gaps and gets me focused for my rewatch, usually right before the new ep. airs. I even saw something super-obvious from the S.1 “cold opener” when I rewatched the entire series over the last few weeks that I had never noticed before!

    Thanks to everyone who contributed, awesome stuff, but I would like less about the recap itself or rudeness or whatever, more on the content of the show! Please.

  1. [...] a non-book reader and for non-book readers. If you fall into the latter category, head on over to the new viewer thread. But if you’ve read the books the show is based on, click on through for our season two [...]


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