Five Quick Things You Need To Know About Game Of Thrones If You've Never Watched It Before And Want To Start Now

HBO screenshot
HBO screenshot

1. There are shows where you're able to start the show mid-series or even mid-season and still have a general idea of what's happening. And not just episodic fare like and Law and Order, whose structure allowed for each episode to exist as a standalone artifact. Shows like Suits, for instance, intentionally inject a gaggle of exposition into each episode because they know a sizable chunk of their audience comes from people clicking through channels, landing on USA, and saying "Oh…Suits is on. Lemme check that out tonight." Even The Wire has seasons (two and four specifically) that can live by themselves.


Game of Thrones is not one of those shows. If you decide, on Sunday, to watch the season premiere, you will be lost. You won't know what's up with the dragons, the zombies, the face-shifting child assassin, or the horny and pithy little person. You won't be able to distinguish a Targaryen from a Stark or a Lannister from a Greyjoy, and you won't know why those distinctions are necessary. So you should, before Sunday, find a way to watch each of the seasons leading up to this one.

2. You know that infamous Cam'ron line from Paid in Full?

"Niggas get shot everyday, B."

Well, Game of Thrones takes that literally. Most of your favorite characters will die. And they'll die the worst deaths anyone ever died in the history of dying deaths. I happened to catch a bit of an old episode when HBO re-ran the entire series last week. And there was a scene where seven different important characters were on screen at the same time. And every single one of them niggas is dead now. Watching old episodes turns you into Haley Joel Osment. You'll see nothing but dead (White) people.

3. Be warned that, while it fills the mythical creature diversity quota, this is not the world's most racially diverse series. You have zombies, dragons, giants, thousand-year-old sexy witches, women immune to fire, trees with sentience, and members of One Direction who control nature with their minds. But apparently a nigga in Westeros is too hard to imagine.

That said, there are the Unsullied — a collection of brown people known to be the world's best fighters. But I'm loathe to count them because them niggas get their asses kicked in every battle. No one has ever needed more people than the Unsullied do. Basically, their reputation = the Knicks before every season. Their production = the Knicks every season.

4. The most ruthless and terrifying characters on this show are women. Like, remember Rihanna in the "Bitch Better Have My Money" video? Well, imagine if she had dragons. Or thousands of buckets of flammable materials. Or swords named after sowing materials.

5. Do not be ashamed to rely on the internet for crib notes to keep up with each season. Because that's what literally everyone else does. Even the actors and writers on the show. It's too encompassing and labyrinthic to not have help. By the end of season one, you'll believe that the internet specifically exists just to be able to store Thrones-related recaps, deconstructions, explainers, and theories. And, while doing this, try not to be annoyed by the people who've read each of the books and act like Every Craft Beer Drinker Ever when sharing their thoughts about it.


Happy watching!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Two words:
Red. Wedding.
I literally sat on the side of my bed for two hours trying to figure out wtf just happened. I'm still slightly shook by that.
6. Episode 9 always brings the heat