Game of Thrones: Part I


A friend of mine had an interesting experience. He was with a group of friends and they started talking about Game of Thrones. When he mentioned that he'd never seen it, there were gasps all around. They assumed everybody had seen it. Then one of his friends had a kick-ass idea — he suggested that instead of watching the entire series, my friend jump ahead to the last episode and write down his reactions and thoughts while he watched. Well, I thought that’d be badass af for a blog since I, too, have never watched it. I’ve heard about it, of course, but never got around to actually watching it. 


So if you haven’t seen it, let this be your spoiler alert! Obviously, I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow of everything I see as I’m seeing it because this blog would end up ridiculously long — and it’s going to be longish as it is. I’ll just give highlights here and there. I assume most of you have already seen it anyway. So without any further ado, I’m going to dive in…


I skipped the recap — that’d be kind of like cheating, I think. Watching the opening credits... The theme is absolutely beautiful. And the graphics. Stunning.


Ok, so there’s a little man… I hesitate to call him a dwarf because I don’t know if that’s politically correct, but that’s what I’d call him. He looks really sad and he’s walking through some war-torn city… or maybe it’s been hit by a natural disaster like a volcano. There’s fire everywhere, ash falling from the sky, corpses lying around  on the street… A dead little girl… This guy staggering towards our little man who looks like a straight-up zombie; half naked, bleeding… the whole scene is just nightmarish to say the least. And our little guy looks absolutely devastated. Maybe he’s their king or something. We’ll call him “Sad Face” for the purposes of this blog… at least until I find out his actual name.


Ok, so now, Sad Face has been joined by a handsome guy with a man bun who was walking behind him… oh, wait, I’ve seen him before in something else. I can’t think of his name. We’ll call him “Handsome.”Anyway, they continue walking down the street and now there’s this black guy with a really mean look on his face. There’s half a dozen men kneeling on the ground and apparently, the mean-looking guy is about to execute them. Handsome gets up in his grill, haha, in other words he gets right in his face and tries to tell him that they need to be more compassionate now. Things must have been pretty bleak before for him to say that. But the mean guy’s not having it. As Handsome and Sad Face are walking away, he actually takes a knife and slits one of the prisoners’ throat. 


Now, Sad Face is alone and he’s walking into what’s left of some building… there’s nothing but rubble all around. He sees a golden hand in a pile of rubble. He starts removing rocks and uncovers a dead man’s face buried in the rubble, and an even sadder look comes over his face… which is saying something because he was already the picture of sadness. Then he uncovers a woman and starts crying. They may have been his parents... I don’t know. But he obviously loved them.


Now, we’re looking at a big palace with some kind of horde in front of it. Whaaaat! A dragon! There’s a dragon flying overhead! It lands inside the palace and a pretty blonde shows up. I think she actually flew in on the dragon. I didn’t see her on it.  Wow, the dragon’s behind her and it opens up its wings as she’s walking up, and it looks like they’re her wings. That’s badass! I think it also means that she’s evil. Maybe she’s the one who killed all those people with that horde. This really makes me want to watch the show from the beginning. Well, I better stop here or this blog is going to be endless… See you in Part II!

to be the picture of… This phrase can be used with any noun to say that the person in question looks extremely [ADJECTIVE], but using the noun form of the adjective in question. For instance, here, we use it to say that Fred looked extremely healthy and vigorous: “I can’t believe Fred died so suddenly. I saw him two weeks ago and he was the picture of health and vigor.”
gasps all around The forms all around and collective are both used when we refer to a reaction from everyone present somewhere. For instance, in this story, my friend mentioned that he’d never seen GOT, and everyone gasped. This can be expressed as in the story, with the plural: there were gasps all around, or with the word collective: there was a collective gasp. In this example, everyone at the dinner gave the turkey a thumbs up:“This Thanksgiving was my first time making a turkey, and thank God it received a collective thumbs up.”
af This is an abbreviation for a rather racy phrase, as f***, which is used colloquially (and vulgarly) to mean extremely. Note that it comes after the adjective it modifies. You may also hear as shit, as hell, and more politely as heck, or even as all get-out.
to get around to doing something To find the time to do something you’ve been meaning to do, or need to do. Note that the action in question is always expressed with -ing

“My excuse for not exercising is that my bike is broken. When I finally get around to fixing it, I'm going to weigh 300 lbs.!" 

longish When we add the suffix -ish to an adjective, it just means rather, somewhat, kind of. So here I mean that the story is already going to be kind of long.


New Words and Phrases

to skip the recap Recap stands for a longer word: recapitulation, and refers to a brief reminder of what happened in the previous episode of a show. Usually, when the recap starts, the narrator says "Last week on [series]..." and a button that says SKIP appears on-screen, that gives the viewer the option to not watch the recap and just start the show.
to jump ahead To skip entire sections of a story, movie, program, etc. or to skip everything in between and just go straight to the ending.

"The middle of the novel gets a little boring with descriptions of everyone's clothes and stuff, so you may want to jump ahead a couple of chapters to get to the good stuff."

lying The verbs lie and lay are difficult even for native English speakers. To be clear, lie is intransitive and means to be in a lying position on a bed or other surface. Lay is transitive and means to put someone or something in a lying position. To complicate things, the past form of lie is lay: He lay in bed, thinking about his homeland. The past participle is lain. The past tense and past participle of lay is laid: When the baby stopped crying, she laid it in its crib.
spoiler alert A spoiler is when someone tells you what happens in a show, book or other such narrative before you see or read it and ruins the surprise for you. A spoiler alert is a warning that someone's about to talk about a book or show in detail, so if you don’t want them to spoil it for you, this is your warning to stop reading or listening.
blow-by-blow (account) This is a narration style, where someone describes what’s happening with absolute detail and in the order in which it’s happening. I think this phrase comes from boxing, where an announcer describes each punch, or “blow”, as the fight is happening. You can call this a blow-by-blow on its own, or add the words account or description

"My grandmother is the nosiest person I know. Every morning at breakfast, she looks into the neighbor's window from our kitchen and gives me a blow-by-blow of everything they do."

straight-up This adverb is more common in speech than in writing, and basically means real, genuine in the sense that there’s really nothing else to compare its object to. In this story, for instance, I mean that there’s no other way to describe how the guy looks than like an actual zombie. You may also hear people use it with the verb tell when someone is extremely direct: He straight-up told me he wasn’t coming back. That means he actually used those exact words with no hesitation.
the opening credits; the theme This is the part of a show where they show the names of the actors and play the theme — the music you hear at the beginning of a show. Also note that I refer to these with the definite article the. Whenever we talk about things that are normally assumed to be part of something, we use the definite article. To give you an example, we all know the parts of a house — things houses normally have — so when we refer to them, we say, for instance: The roof is red, the door is blue, the backyard is enormous, the kitchen has lots of natural light… because we expect houses to have all these things. Similarly, all series have opening credits, episodes, themes, etc.
to not be having it I imagine that grammatically, this is a confusing idiom for learners. But that's exactly what an idiom is — a phrase that's understood by its native speakers, but whose meaning isn't immediately apparent from the individual words it contains. So when confronted with an idiom, you just have to take it at face value and learn its meaning. The phrase [someone] isn't having it basically means «there's no way they're going to agree to [something]/tolerate a situation». The progressive brings the listener into the moment to make the refusal more emphatic and vivid. Think of someone stomping their foot and saying No way! In the following example, the speaker categorically refused to let his uncle stay in his room with him:“When my uncle Ron got divorced, my parents let him come live with us. At first, they wanted him to stay in my bedroom, but I wasn’t having it. So they ended up fixing up the garage for him.” 
to get up in someone’s grill/face Grill is the slang word for teeth, and when you get up in someone’s grill you stand in front of them somewhat aggressively, and put your face or mouth right up to theirs. We also use it when people just stand too close to us and we say Get out of my grill/face.
kick-assWhile badass means extremely cool, kick-ass means extremely good, excellent. We only use it before nouns and stress the word kick.
betterWe all know that the word better as the comparative form of good, but it's also used as a modal like can, must, should, etc. We use it as a modal when we want to express that it's advisable to do something. For instance in this story, I tell myself that it's a good idea to stop where I did or otherwise it's going to be too long. Note that this usage is never used in a comparative sense to say that one course of action is or would be better than another. In other words, You better go doesn't mean that it's better for you to go than to stay. It means I strongly advise that you leave to avoid some kind of danger or other unpleasant consequence.
horde A horde is an army of nomadic warriors, which is what the queen's audience in front of the palace look like to me.

man bun ☝︎

Study Notes

Paragraph 1suggested that… he jump/write | You may be wondering why I didn’t write he writes/jumps. This is a special verb form called the subjunctive, that's used after certain verbs in THAT-clauses. These verbs usually want, recommend or require something:"It's important that he ask for me at the door when he arrives. Otherwise, they won't let him in."The subjunctive has a very simple conjugation in the present: every person takes the same form as the infinitive. For instance, infinitive to be subjunctive be:"I don't care what time you arrive at the church, I only ask that you be there before the ceremony starts."Here's an excellent article on the subject, written by my friend, Linda.I’ve heard of it | When you’ve heard of something, that means you know it exists; when you’ve heard about something, that means you’re aware of something that happened. I often hear and read English learners mixing these two forms up. “Have you ever heard of a show called Game of Thrones?” «Do you know it exists?»“Did you hear about Clara and Roger? Apparently, they just won 35 million in the lottery.” «Did you hear what happened?» Paragraph 2If you haven’t seen it... | Here again, we see the present perfect used in a negative context in the sense of not yet. (Read more)as it is | The word is is stressed here | This refers to a situation as it stands right now. So in a way, it’s like saying already — although you can use it in conjunction with already to emphasize it.“I’m not buying anymore Christmas presents this year — I’ve already spent too much money as it is.”

Paragraph 3

that’d be | The contraction that’d is pronounced [ðæːd] and it’d is pronounced [ɪːd].kind of like cheating | When people start learning English, they have a lot of fun with forms like gonna, wanna, kinda, etc. The problem is that most learners end up overusing these forms, which natives usually only use for effect, i.e. when they’re being humorous or silly, etc. At that stage in their learning, they almost always write kinda for kind of. This is ok in the right context and only once in a while, but not every time. However, in speech, it’s always natural to say kinda or even kinna (like me in this story).  Note that I also say that the story’s gonna be kind of longish. Again, we almost always say gonna in actual speech, but don’t constantly write it as such. Paragraph 4because | Notice that although I said cuz, I wrote because. Again, reducing words in writing can make your English look silly, but using them in speech sounds very natural and actually helps you maintain a natural rhythm. And rhythm is important for fluency! (Watch this interesting video)there’s fire everywhere | Much too often, I see English learners use the phrase there's when they mean there in that place. Remember that there is/are is an existential phrase that means that something generally exists, but it doesn't indicate where. In this story, I say There's fire everywhere. Here, the only location is everywhere because there's means exists. Similarly, you can use there's/there are and there in the same sentence to express two different concepts — existence and location: "I just drove by your house... there are two policemen there."Maybe he's their king or something. | Notice that I sometimes pronounce something as sumpm. Lots of people do.this guy staggering… | Here, we have our “third article” this. The key here is to give it the same emphasis you’d give an indefinite or definite article in the same place… none! Make it as short as possible so that it doesn’t sound like you’re using it as a demonstrative and saying thís guy out of several. (Read more)

If you'd like to receive notifications when new blogs come out, email "Sign me up!" to


Paragraph 5Ok, so now,... | In Paragraph 4, I started the story with the first scene of the episode — our little man walking down the street. Notice that every subsequent paragraph starts with contrasting now because every paragraph is a new scene. Contrasting now can be used at the beginning, middle or end of a sentence, but using it at the beginning expresses the strongest contrast. (Read more)…seen him before in something else | in another movie or showcan’t think of | Another way of saying you can’t recall something you knew before.Anyway, they continue walking… | Here, I use the discourse marker anyway, to get back to the story after a small detour. (Read more)there's this black guy | This is our storytelling this — keep it unstressed and short.really mean look on his face | [ɑnɪz féi̯s]he gets right in his face | [ɪnɪz féi̯s]...need to be more compassionate now | This unstressed now at the end of this statement is a contrasting now with a nuance of from now on. (Read more)Things must have been pretty bleak | When we emphasize the adverb pretty, we often say it like two words: prit-tee. Bleak is an emphatic way of describing a bad situation and expresses a sense of hopelessness. Things is just another way of saying the situation or life in general.for him to say that | To make him say that, to cause him to say that.actually takes a knife | This actually means something like just as I feared. In other words, previously, I suspected he might do it, but true to my suspicions, he went ahead and did it.Paragraph 6what's left of some building | The remains or ruins of some building; the only thing left over of some building after it was destroyed."I just tasted a corner of that pastry, but I'm trying not to eat sugar, so you can have what's left."rubble | Fragments of stone left over from a building after it's been demolished. (that’s) saying something | This phrase is used to highlight something you consider significant in light of something else. For instance, in this case, Sad Face already looked sad, so, in light of that, to say that a sad look came over his face is quite significant. In this usage, you may also hear saying a lot. Note that here, that isn't saying anything — this isn’t a progressive phrase; saying something/a lot is a noun phrase in this case: that = saying that a sad look came over his face."I walked an entire mile today... and that's saying a lot because I usually have to sit down after two blocks."may have been his parents | These two words, although written separately, are normally contracted in speech to [méyǝv]. The contraction may’ve is somewhat rare in writing.Paragraph 7some kind of horde | [kʰái̯nǝv]pretty blonde shows up | To show up is to appear somewhere, be it onscreen, as in this scene, or for a date, for example."I waited at the café for an hour and you never showed up for our study date. I hope everything's alright."actually flew in | here: if I'm not mistakensee her on it | [síyʀ ɑ̀nɪt̚]the dragon's behind her | [bǝhái̯ndʀ]...as she's walking up, and it looks like they're her wings | Note that when the words as and her are stressed, they have their full pronunciation: [æːz] and [hʀː].that's badass! | Note that when the adjective badass comes after the verb to be, the stress moves from the first syllable to the second. (Read more)