Game of Thrones season 1 recap - everything you need to know

Game of Thrones season 7 feels like a long way away, and it’s easy to forget how far the series has come over the past few years; how many of the characters that you grew to love were alive and relatively happy once upon a time. Yes, the world of Game of Thrones is not a kind place, and season 1 is more than willing to make that point quickly and often. If you're looking to get caught up before Game of Thrones returns, or simply need a refresher to get all your Houses and double-crosses in line, read on for a summary of season 1’s biggest moments.


Ned Stark is tired.

King Robert Baratheon just asked him to be the Hand of the King (due to the previous one's mysterious death), winter is coming to the continent of Westeros (someday), and he just wants to do right by his family and his kingdom. He reluctantly agrees to head south to King's Landing to act as Baratheon's advisor.

Oh, and his son gets pushed out of a window because he spied Queen Cersei having sex with her brother, Jaime Lannister.

This is just the first episode. Strap in, everyone, it's only downhill from here.

Ned's bastard son Jon Snow travels north to the Wall to join the Night's Watch, to act as the first line of defense against the mythical White Walkers. It's cold there. He knows nothing about what he's getting himself into. This becomes a recurring theme in Snow's life.

No, you're not, Jon Snow. Shut up and listen for once.

Across the ocean in the distant land of Essos, Viserys Targaryen is arranging for his sister, Daenerys, to be married to Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo in exchange for an army he can use to reclaim the kingdom stolen from his bloodline. He's a real prick about it, too.

Daenerys gets a few fossilized dragon eggs as a wedding present.

Remember this, it’s important later!

At first, Daenerys isn't a fan of this arrangement, but over time, she grows into her role as khaleesi alongside Khal Drogo. She learns the language of Dothraki, embraces their customs, and begins flexing her new-found power.

Viserys grows impatient, and attempts to threaten Drogo and Daenerys into heading towards King's Landing. Bad move.

Yeah. Enjoy that forever looping gif. Really soak it up.

Back in Westeros, the king's company makes its way back to the capital, and Ned's daughter Sansa and Robert and Cersei's very blonde son Joffrey share a tender moment. The two are betrothed, enjoying a nice walk on the riverside - well, nice for Joffrey involves backhanded compliments instead of direct insults, anyway - when Arya Stark's direwolf attacks Joffrey. He goes from pompous ass to sniveling coward almost instantly.

Arya's wolf escapes, but Ned is forced to kill Sansa's wolf as punishment requested by Joffrey. I don't have a gif for this. It's very sad. Hold onto this emotion for when Joffrey really starts going off the rails.

In King's Landing, Ned Stark discovers a dark secret after some action-packed research.

He learns that all of Baratheon's heirs have had black hair, until Cersei bore Robert's children, who are all blonde. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

In the worst case of bad timing ever, King Robert gets fatally wounded during a hunting excursion. He makes Ned Lord Protector of the Realm.

He dies shortly after.

Despite Ned's status granted to him by the King, Joffrey assumes the throne. Ned will not bow to a false king, and ends up being betrayed by his closest friends and confidants. Joffrey charges him with treason and sentences him to execution.

Ned's dead, baby.

Arya ends up escaping King's Landing by disguising herself as a boy, but Sansa remains behind with Joffrey. Ned's son Robb forms an army and marches on the Lannister forces, striking a deal with the Freys - Robb will marry one of his daughters, and the Freys will allow them to move through their land unhindered.

Thanks to this, Robb's forces capture Jaime Lannister.

Back in Essos, Daenerys thwarts an assassination attempt against her made by King Robert, and Drogo swears to claim the Iron Throne in revenge. Other Dothraki aren't too keen on the idea, and challenge Drogo in combat.

Drogo wins. Fatality.

Drogo is injured during the fight, though, and Daenerys calls upon an old crone to help him - who instead turns him into a catatonic vegetable as payment for all the harm he has caused the women of Essos. Daenerys can't bear to see him suffer like this, and suffocates him in his sleep.

She then burns the old crone on his funeral pyre along with the dragon eggs, and walks into the flames.

The next morning, she is revealed to be alive and well, surrounded by freshly-hatched dragons. The Dothraki who remain do so willingly, as free people, joining her on her quest to reclaim the Iron Throne.

That's it for season 1! Tune in next time for season 2, where I'm sure everyone will forget all about this and laugh it off as one big misunderstanding.


David Roberts lives in Everett, WA with his wife and two kids. He once had to sell his full copy of EarthBound (complete with box and guide) to some dude in Austria for rent money. And no, he doesn't have an amiibo 'problem', thank you very much.
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