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A Games of Thrones – Bran 1

A Games of Thrones - Bran 1

Lord Eddard Stark executes a deserter from the Night’s Watch; Each of the Stark children gets a direworlf pup

Chapter Summary

In the ninth year of summer, Lord Eddard Stark and his men ride out to dispense justice. They capture an old man accused of desertion from the Night’s Watch. Eddard executes him, adhering to the First Men’s belief that the one who passes sentence should carry it out. Bran witnesses this solemn duty for the first time. On their way back, they find a dead direwolf with five live pups. Jon insists they keep the pups, as their number and gender match Eddard’s children. A sixth cub, white with red eyes, is discovered by Jon and claimed by him.

Scene Setup

What a contrast we have from the previous chapter. Just notice the first line of this chapter. When the prologue was gloomy and horrifying, this chapter started with such a positive line. And then in next few pages there is an execution. George R. R. Martin never let any scene to be predictable. 

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer

Another interesting thing to notice is the choice of narrator for the first chapter. From all the possible characters George R.R. Martin could have chosen, he decided to go with a seven year old boy. Does this have any significance of the importance of the character? Or was it just to have a juxtaposition in the viewpoint to show us his world? What are your thoughts?


This chapter introduces us with a bunch of characters. As each major and minor character will build as the story will progress, some of the key things noticed in the characters from this chapter:

Lord Eddard Stark

Lord Eddard Stark comes out as an honorable man. He embodies duty, tradition and a sense of justice. His adherence to ancient customs, such as executing the deserter himself, reflects his unwavering commitment to upholding the law. But his decision to spare the direwolf pups, despite practical concerns also reveals his compassionate side.

The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.

Jon Snow

The bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark immediately becomes your favorite. He stood up for the direwolf pups, even at the cost of his own claim. He is a good brother in the way he supported Bran during the execution. There are definitely great things building up for this character, and I am so excited to read it.

“You have five trueborn children,” Jon said. “Three sons, two daughters. The direwolf is the sigil of your House. Your children were meant to have these pups, my lord.”

Bran saw his father’s face change, saw the other men exchange glances. He loved Jon with all his heart at that moment. Even at seven, Bran understood what his brother had done. The count had come right only because Jon had omitted himself.

Theon Greyjoy

Theon Greyjoy, a member of House Greyjoy, comes out as a brash and impulsive young man. His reaction to the executed deserter’s head—laughing and kicking it away—reveals a lack of reverence for life. One interesting thing to notice is his willingness to pound on the direwolf pups. 

"They sooner the better," Theon Greyjoy agreed. He drew his sword. "Give the beast here, Bran"

Another important thing which drew my attention was the age of all the characters:

  • Eddard : 35 years
  • Theon : 19 years
  • Robb & Jon : 14 years
  • Bran : 7 years
Throughout the epic saga we will expect these characters to show great strength of characters and will judge them harshly for any mistakes. When we do so, let’s just remember how young they are.

Playing with words

The detail in colors

As we have noticed in the previous post too, George R. R. Martin has a way of playing with colors. Both Jon’s and his pup eye’s color were described in detail. I am not sure what significance it has but it is interesting to note to see if we see any patterns

Jon’s eyes were a grey so dark they seemed almost black, but there was little they did not see.


His fur was white, where the rest of the litter was grey. His eyes were as red as the blood of the ragged man who had died that morning. Bran thought it curious that this pup alone would have opened his eyes while the others were still blind.


One of the most famous foreshadowing about the book is presented in the first chapter itself, only if you notice. But the ill foreboding is so strong that even a seven year old boy noticed it.

Half-buried in bloodstained snow, a huge dark shape slumped in death. Ice had formed in its shaggy grey fur, and the faint smell of corruption clung to it like a woman’s perfume


The men looked at the antler uneasily, and no one dared to speak. Even Bran could sense their fear, though he did not understand.

Important Swords

George R. R. Martin has gone to great length to describe the important swords. Naming it, describing the build & history. There will be many others that will come along as we read, but this is one of the first important ones.

“Ice,” that sword was called. It was as wide across as a man’s hand, and taller even than Robb. The blade was Valyrian steel, spell-forged and dark as smoke. Nothing held an edge like Valyrian steel.

Old Nan Stories

Pay attention to old nan stories. They don’t tell us the whole story but they are a form of distorted truth

The wildlings were cruel men, she said, slavers and slayers and thieves. They consorted with giants and ghouls, stole girl children in the dead of night, and drank blood from polished horns. And their women lay with the Others in the Long Night to sire terrible half-human children

Favorite Quote

Saving the best quote for the end. This chapter contains one of my favorite quotes of the whole series, and I can’t go without sharing it.

“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
“That is the only time a man can be brave,”

How was reading experience? Share any thoughts or any interesting thing you noticed in the comments

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