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Wow! This episode was violent, kinky, disturbing, exciting – everything that got me addicted to the books in the first place. There were a lot of interesting departures from the novels, which I found intriguing and offered some great new perspectives. This week almost all of the action took place at King’s Landing, with a bit at the Vale/Eyrie (why does everything have to have two names??), so I can go a bit more chronologically than usual.
The Eyrie: Catelyn, Tyrion & Lysa
Let’s start with the Vale, because it’s simpler, creepier, and we finally meet a character that’s been appearing in letters and conversations: Lysa Arryn, Lady of the Vale, sister of Catelyn Stark and widow of Jon Arryn (the former King’s Hand.) Once Catelyn seizes Tyrion on the charges of attempting to murder Bran and possibly Jon Arryn, she turns to the Eyrie and her sister for protection – the Lannisters would be searching up and down the Kingroad between King’s Landing and Winterfell, and turning to the Eyrie is a surprise move. In addition, the Eyrie is super high up on a cliff and is supposedly impregnable (cue one of the best lines: “Give me ten men and some climbing spikes. I’ll impregnate the bitch.” – one of Catelyn’s henchmen; “I like you!” – Tyrion.) Tyrion warns that Lysa has gone a bit crazy and will execute him immediately, and asks the valid question… “What sort of imbecile arms an assassin with his own weapon?” Yes, but how else did they get your weapon?
The East Road, as it’s called, is not particularly safe and is surrounded by the ‘hill tribesmen,’ who arrive right on cue to attack Catelyn and her party. It’s pretty gory; I’m not a huge battle person, unless there are awesome special effects, and all this swordfighting is just as awkward as I imagine real swordfighting to be, so I’m bored. There is a pretty gruesome throat slashing, though. There is a moment of truth where Tyrion could make a mad dash and escape on a horse, but instead he comes to Catelyn’s defense and whaps the crap out of a hill tribesman with his shield. Uh oh, I’m sure she’s going to say “I owe you my life” soon, and things just got more complicated – especially with the emphasis our Starks place on honor. We also find out it was Tyrion’s very first kill.
You’re still my hero even if that’s not your best face.
Our first image of Lysa and her son is pretty horrifying. That kid has got to be at least 5 or 6, and he’s standing there suckling at her nipple and dribbling milk all over his face. EWWW! There is some messed up Oedipal shit going on here! Also, how did they film that? That really looks like a way-too-old little boy sucking on a boob to me. Please someone blame it on photoshop. I don’t like itttt.
The kid acts pretty infantile; I think he’s supposed to be sickly and weak and also pretty behind mentally. Lysa, however, sees him as a big strong man, and interprets Jon’s final words –“the seed is strong” – as referring to the strength of their child. Jon has been described as an all-around reasonable and good man. What was he doing when his wife was breastfeeding their child into adolescence?
And why did he marry Gollum?
Gah. I’m really grossed out. The little nasty infantile boy declares that he wants to see “the bad man fly,” in other words, he wants to throw Tyrion off the cliff, which I guess is a great pastime if you live at the Eyrie and are F***ING INSANE. Rather than toss him out the window immediately, Tyrion is imprisoned in a three walled cell. The fourth opens into a million bajillion foot drop.
A room with a view!
It’s got to be cold in there, my poor boo. Lannister gold doesn’t help much againt crippling insanity. I’ll be interested to see how Catelyn reacts to the fact that her sister has gone off the deep end, as well; Catelyn and Tyrion were exchanging some commiserating WTF looks in the throne room.
uh oh spaghettio
Winterfell: Bran & Theon
We take a quick trip to Winterfell, where Bran is generally depressed. Even though he sucked at archery before, he’s sad that now he’ll really never learn. He’s also pissed at Catelyn for leaving him alone at Winterfell. Bran’s tutor says some comforting stuff about motherly love and archery from horseback.
Stop whining and get a haircut, Bran. You look like a monkee.
After this boring scene, we go to the last scene I ever wanted to see : Theon having sex with the aforementioned redheaded whore from Winterfell. We have our first penis shot of the show, which a. WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY THEON? WHY? WHY? His body is fine but his teeth are disgusting and I hate his wiggly eyes. Ew ew ew. B. His penis shouldn’t be that flaccid like five seconds after having an orgasm, I mean seriously. Said whore is way too sassy with Theon about his family’s dishonor and Tyrion’s mad sex skillz, which as I could have predicted ends up with him grabbing and verbally abusing her, a la Viserys last week. Maybe you can tell what kind of man someone is by their behavior with whores. Ned ignores them; Tyrion pleases them; Littlefinger owns them; Theon and Viserys use them and throw them away, or worse. Damn you, damn you scene. This scene existed solely to show that Theon Greyjoy is a butthead and that he’s very sensitive about his position as ‘ward’ of the Starks, a euphemism for prisoner. Theon lives there as a punishment for his father’s rebellion. I say it’s more of a punishment for the Starks cause he’s a big toolbag. Blegh. I refuse to dignify this scene with a picture.
King’s Landing: Ned, Littlefinger and Viserys
Ned’s first stop is the tournament grounds, where our dead Ser Hugh is being cleaned up by some Sisters. These Sisters are some sort of nun, but they look mad creepy. They have screens with starts across their backs, and ninja-style clothes covering their faces. I think they have to be silent as well. Barrister Selmy – an old, venerated members of the Kingsguard – and Ned jerk each other off about how sweet they both are at combat. Since there actually is some gay action in this episode, I should probably specify that this is verbal, metaphorical jerkoffery. After some conferring with Selmy and Varys the Spider, Ned suspects that Ser Hugh was paid or offered knighthood to poison Jon Arryn, then was set up in the joust to go against the Mountain and be killed. Since Ser Hugh couldn’t afford his own armor, it’s possible the Lannisters provided it with a glitch built in to it to make sure the Mountain could kill him. The poison in question is called the Tears of Lys, and is virtually undetectable.
Now, the real drama in this episode for me was the tension between Littlefinger and Varys. They’re both on the King’s Council, both very crafty and with eyes and ears in all corners of the kingdom. They don’t seem to be allies, but they aren’t exactly enemies either – at least, they’re not actively trying to take each other down, and seem to share the goal of Ned discovering the truth about Robert’s bastards and thus Joffrey’s heritage. Varys spills the beans about the poison and probably poisoner, Ser Hugh, while Littlefinger leads Ned to another of Robert’s dark haired, dark eyed bastard children. The intentions of both of these characters are pretty well shadowed, especially after Arya accidentally observes Varys gossiping about the Dothaki horde’s invasion with a certain ‘foreign dignitary’ (is it the same merchant who set Daenerys up with Khal Drogo? I can’t remember.) I don’t know if they’re good or evil or in the middle someplace, and I really like both of their characters – although I prefer Varys because of the eunuch pity factor.
close enough to touch…
All of this conniving leads to a pretty awesome Spy vs. Spy confrontation between the two in the throne room, where they both attempt (and fail) to hold the moral high ground and the most information. They really, really push each other’s buttons. Let’s break it down: Littlefinger accuses Varys of liking to bang little boys. +1 Team The Wire. Varys accuses Littlefinger of providing young boys, amputees, and fresh corpses to suit the sexual quirks of his brothel clients. +3 Team Eunuch. Littlefinger strikes a low blow by asking where Varys’ severed balls are now located. Varys does not know. +1 Team The Wire. Varys accuses Littlefinger of still having a crush on Catelyn, and threatens to tell the queen that Littlefinger identified the Bran assassination daggers as a Lannister possession. +2 Team Eunuch. Littlefinger accuses Varys of conspiring against the throne in favor of Daenerys’ heir. +10000 Team The Wire! Varys closes the argument with the observation that there is big news from the Vais Dothrak – Daenerys is pregnant. None of Littlefinger’s informants knew that yet. +1 Team Eunuch. So who won this one? Despite the points, I think it’s a draw. They could both severely eff each other over if they desired to do so.
After this slightly homoerotic showdown, everyone heads to the Council Chambers for a meeting which Robert has actually gotten his ass out of bed to attend. On the docket: Daenerys’ pregnancy with Khal Drogo’s child and what to do about it. King Robert and pretty much all of the Council are in favor of sending an assassin to murder mother and unborn child. According to the Council, this is all for the ‘greater good,’ as the Dothraki would murder a bajillion civilians if they invaded with their army of 40,000. By killing the heir and severing the connection between the Dothraki and Targaryens, they hope to prevent another war.
Ned, being the incarnation of all things Honor, refuses to be a part of the conspiracy against a rumored baby. The information came from Jorah Mormont, who we have previously seen as Daenery’s guard and companion among the Dothraki. Although Jorah was banished by Ned for selling slaves, he is apparently betraying Daenerys by reporting back to Varys. Anyhow, Ned resigns his post as King’s Hand rather than murder some Targaryen kids, and Robert loses his temper and starts yelling about putting his head on a spike and so forth.
Robert & Cersei
Ned is off to convince Robert not to compete in the tournament, since everyone would be too afraid to hurt him. Robert is busy torturing his page, a little femmy Lannister boy who is clearly scared shitless of Robert. I would be too. Robert’s temper is out of control. He sends the boy away and tells him not to come back without the ‘breastplate stretcher.’ Which does not exist, fyi, since breastplates are made out of metal and all. Here’s a sample exchange:
“It’s made too small, it won’t go.” – Page
“Your mom was a dumb whore with a fat ass.” – Robert
I hate Lannisters as much as the next guy, but Robert’s clearly taking out his Cersei hate on this poor kid.
The best scene in the episode, in my opinion, explored the Robert and Cersei relationship on a level never seen before on the show or even in the books. As Robert cools down after Ned’s resignation, Cersei joins him and they have a serious, reflective talk about their marriage. I had always assumed that Robert was driven to drink by Cersei’s bitchitude. In this exchange, however, we learn that Cersei actually had some feelings for Robert and tried to make it work. He was completely in love with Lyanna Stark, however, and permanently shut her out and treated her like crap. They’ve been married seventeen years; look at Cersei and imagine how young and vulnerable and naïve she must have been then. After this conversation, Cersei and Robert’s dual infidelities make a lot more sense. I still don’t get the whole turn-to-your-twin-brother-for-sex thing, but I get the extra-marital impulse. They’re actually very upfront about their hatred for each other. Cersei asks about Lyanna for the first time – “What harm could Lyanna Stark’s ghost do to us that we haven’t done to each other a hundred times over?” Robert replies that he can’t even remember what Lyanna looks like any more, and that he never ever loved Cersei or even gave her a chance because of Lyanna. This scene was very realistic and touching to me, and perhaps will give us more sympathy for Cersei in the events to come. Maybe.
Hot Gay Action (Renly & Loras)
Can we even use the term gay? Isn’t that a social construction or something? Homosexual sounds too scientific for the Game of Thrones day and age. I wonder what they call it; I hope we find out. Judging by their use of cripple, imp, and whore, I’m guessing it’s called faggery or something like that.
Anyway, at the jousts, it’s the return of the Mountain, aka the murderer from last week. He honestly just looks like a big black kettle on a horse. He’s up against Ser Loras, the Night of the Flowers, a super handsome pretty boy. He gives a flower to Sansa, but gives Renly, Robert’s brother, a come hither look as he sits directly behind Sansa.
He’s like a young Leonardo DiCaprio! Right? Right?!
In a big upset, Ser Loras unseats the Mountain! Renly is very pleased, and Littlefinger teases him about his little shiny ‘friend.’ Apparently, the Mountain’s horse was in heat, which has something to do with Loras tricking him and winning the match.. anybody care to elaborate on how the horse’s menstrual cycle affects the joust? Either way, the Mountain is PISSED, and he immediately beheads his horse (NOOO!) and attacks Ser Loras. The Mountain’s brother, the Hound, comes to the rescue and defends Loras. Go Hound! You’re gross but you’re good! Oh, here’s the “I owe you my life” I predicted, but Loras says it to the Hound.
We then get a special gift, which kind of sort of almost makes up for me being forced to see Theon’s penis early in the episode: a homoerotic chest shaving scene. The lovers are Renly (Robert’s younger brother) and the knight Loras; Loras is tenderly removing all of Renly’s body hair. Hmm. As Renly gets shaved, he complains about how nobody takes him seriously as a warrior because he hasn’t fought in a war, and how he gets squeamish around blood and bored when hunting. Yay, gays were stereotypically prissy even back then!
Unnecessary nipple shaving closeup
They then have a nice little argument about who is more spoiled by their family. This scene, fyi, doesn’t exist in the books, and the homosexual hints are much lighter. I really enjoyed this extra character development, since I felt both of these men were slightly neglected in the books. The depilating kink takes another turn when Loras slices Renly with the razor, trying to convince him to toughen up! Mmm hot gay shaving. Loras then ditches the razor and goes down, down down to give Renly some oral TLC.
Everything Falls Apart:
Just as Ned starts figuring the whole Jon Arryn mystery out, some terrible news is delivered by Yoren, the recruiter from the Night’s Watch – Catelyn has taken Tyrion prisoner. Yes, this is old news to us., but Ned is like shiiit. Outside the brothel where Ned meets the latest bastard baby boy, he is confronted by Jaime Lannister and dozens of men. Ned claims Tyrion was taken on his order (why? WHY? To avoid looking like your wife wears the pants?) and Jaime is NOT HAPPY. Not happy enough that he orders his guards to kill all of Ned’s loyal men, and then attacks Ned himself.
Lead guard guy gets it in the face.
After some dramatic swordplay in which both men hold their own, one of Jaime’s men stabs Ned in the back of the knee, ending the fight. Jaime is NOT HAPPY about this either, and cracks his minion in the face for intervening.
The closing line: “ I want my brother, Lord stark. I want him back.” Jaime is one of the easiest characters to hate, but the relationship between these three siblings is really interesting. There’s a lot of resentment towards Tyrion for messing up the family line and killing his mother in childbirth, and Tyrion is clearly jealous of Jaime and somewhat disdainful of Cersei. I mean, you’re the third wheel anyway when your siblings are twins, but them banging just takes it to a whole new level. I’m excited for next week – the drama only picks up from here!
Body Count: some hill tribesmen + some of Catelyn’s minions + all of Ned’s guard + a horse = a lot
Boob Count: Lysa’s breastfeeding boob, two whores, Renly’s nipples