*Please be aware that this review contains spoilers for Episode 5, but not for GRRM’s first book, A Game of Thrones.*
When you play a board game for the first time, you start with a box wrapped in plastic. You can see through the plastic to get a sense of what the game entails: You can read the title, you can sometimes see what the pieces look like, and you can maybe read a quick blurb about the general purpose of the game.
After pulling the plastic away, you have a box. Take off the cover and you can take out the pieces- the board, the player markers, cards, props and whatever else may be necessary for gameplay. You then set up the game and get ready to start. But before you play, you need to familiarize yourself with what you’re getting into. You need to know the rules.
“The Wolf and the Lion,” Episode 4 of Game of Thrones, was our instruction manual for just that- the game of thrones. We unwrapped the box in episode one, and since then we’ve set up the game. We laid out our board and got familiar with our starting points. We took out our pieces and got to know our characters. And tonight we learned how to play.