Unlike Candace, I'm a newcomer to "Game of Thrones." I'm not familiar with all the ends and outs of the characters and where the story is going. I'm coming in as a clean slate, which is nice for a change.
The first scene immediately caught my attention with a horrible massacre by an ancient supernatural race. I'm not sure who or what White Walkers are, but I'm terrified.
Following the horrific opening, the episode slowed, which is to be expected when a show has to introduce this many characters and establish their motivations. So to make things easier, I will try to recap one family at a time.
House of Stark
Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark (Sean Bean) governs the north under the rule of King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy). He is asked by the King to become the new Hand of the King when the old one dies. Think White House Chief of Staff, only everyone carries swords.
The interaction between Ned and Robert showed the cameraderie of old friends while never letting us forget that Robert is the King.
House of Lannister
Queen Cersei's brothers Tyrion and Jamie take full advantage of their positions, with Tyrion the dwarf (Peter Dinklage) pratically living at the brothel and Jamie, well we'll get to him momentarily.
Cersei (Lena Headey), is (as Candace calls her) Lady Macbeth. She plots against her husband and Ned, and uses her children as political pawns. The way she gave the backhanded compliment about the north to Ned's wife was exactly what you'd expect from her.
Jamie is "the kingslayer," because he killed the previous King, a member of the Kingsguard and respected as one of the Seven Kingdoms greatest swordsman. He is Cersei's twin and SPOILER ALERT!! lover.
Ned's son Bran suffered the unfortunate consequences of finding out this secret, as Jamie pushed him off the castle wall to keep him quiet.
House of Targaryen
King Targaryen ruled the Seven Kingdoms before Robert, he was the King Jamie killed. His son Viserys and daughter Daenerys long to return to their rightful throne and Viserys (Harry Lloyd) arranges a marriage between Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and warlord Drago (Jason Momoa) so that they can use his army to start a war.
Their wedding was a rowdy affair that featured a fight to the death, because "a Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is a dull affair."
Later the sun literally sets on daenerys' virginity as Khal Drogo makes her his wife in a heartbreaking, yet beautifully shot scene.
As the series progresses, the action will become faster paced and the political intrigue more complicated, but as a first episode the last twenty minutes set things up nicely.