TVGuide.com's Hanh Nguyen is an avid scripted-TV watcher, a horror-avoider and someone who's read George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series, on which HBO's Game of Thrones is based. Her co-worker, Rich Juzwiak, rarely watches scripted TV, is a gorehound and became alerted to Martin's existence just this past week, as he started researching this new swords-and-sandals (well, boots) series. He knows nothing of these sorcerers (if that is indeed what they are), while Hanh is something of an expert (read: fantasy/sci fi nerd). Each week, he'll try to make sense of this crazy new show by enlisting Hanh's expertise. It may turn out to be a test of tolerance: in this case, the Games begin after the TV is off.
Rich: The Wall has been mentioned, but I assume I also am not supposed to know what that is yet.
Hanh: I can tell you what it is — its presence in the world is not a secret. In fact, you already saw The Wall.
Rich: Oh, the very first shot?
Hanh: Yup, those three guys were with the Night Watch. The Wall is a huge wall built on the northern end of the Seven Kingdoms for protection. Thousands of years ago, it was built to ward off a threat to the north (not very specific, but that's what they say). Also, the wildings are a group of people who don't bow to the king and live beyond the wall.
Rich: Do we have any idea in what year this takes place? Dire wolves have been extinct for 10,000 years (on Earth).
Hanh: Right, but this ain't Earth. Hmm, don't know the year in Westerosi terms.
Rich: I assume old-timey, but then Dothraki are so post-apocalyptic chic that I get all confused!
Hanh: George R. R. Martin draws on so much western history and cultural things that it feels historical. What I think is interesting is that the Lannisters and Starks are at odds, and in real life, the War of the Roses was between the Lancasters and Yorks. I'm sure some nerd has written a treatise on parallels.
Rich: Well, if they haven't, we have you! J Thank you for being patient with me. I now know the other side of watching something with my mother. Whenever I do, she barrages me with questions. So many of them can be answered with a simple, "YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW YET." So basically, I'm becoming my mother in full view of all of the Internet.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.