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BAM! Betcha didn’t see that coming? Did you? Did you? You thought there was going to be a protagonist. You thought Sean Bean was going to stick around forever. WRONG. Welcome to George R. R. Martin’s universe. WoooO!
The Birth of Arry
The episode begins where the last one ended: Ned’s head has just been cleanly sliced off at the command of King Joffrey, in front of a cheering and jeering crowd. Somewhere in that crowd, Arya clings to a man from the Night’s Watch, who keeps her head averted as the executioner Ser Ilyn picks up Ned’s bloody head and waves it around. Next to Ned’s body, Sansa falls in a dead faint.
The Night’s Watch guy (anybody catch a name??) drags Arya away from the crowd and into a dark corridor, where he slams her against the wall, whips out of a knife and begins to chop at her hair. He seems pretty scary, but this is all for Arya’s own good. Now that the Starks have Jaime and the Lannisters have Sansa, the prisoner situation is dire. Catelyn wants to save her daughters and Cersei wants to save her brother/baby daddy. The Lannister guards must be out in full force looking for Arya in King’s Landing, to use her as another pawn in the prisoner exchange. Thus, Night’s Watch guy is treating her like a little urchin boy, chopping off her name, and rechristening her ‘Arry.’
‘Arry’ is heading to the Wall, along with a bunch of rapers, thieves, etc. that the Night’s Watch have culled from the prisoners. She almost immediately runs into some medieval style bullies, who want her sword instead of her lunch money. Arya scares the crap out of em by threatening them with Needle and her love of killing fat boys.
I eat fat boys like you for breakfast!
Turning around, the fat bully runs into Sexy Gendry, Robert’s bastard son, who tells him to pick on someone his own size. Yay, Arry and Gendry are fast friends! But why is he here? He says his blacksmithing master got sick of him, but as I remember he was really awesome at forging. Maybe Ned set this up before he died to prevent anyone from finding out Gendry’s true identity (and thus murdering him.)
Nightmares Come True
At Winterfell, Bran is plagued with the same scary crow dream we’ve seen over the last few episodes. Although we don’t see it, Bran tells us that the dream ends when he travels down to the Stark family crypt (conveniently located in the basement) and sees his father Ned in his rightful place of interment. To confront these fears, Bran makes the wildling prisoner Osha take him down to the crypt to check it out. If you listen carefully as they walk down the hallway towards Ned’s crypt, you can hear a smattering of history about Lyanna Stark and Robert Baratheon’s fatal engagement. (Note: since when is the wildling prisoner woman who tried to kill Bran trusted to carry him around unguarded? Her hair looks a little tamer; does that mean she’s okay now?)
Osha is relieved to see that Ned’s crypt is still empty, but not relieved when a snarling wolf leaps out of the darkness. In fact, she falls over, tipping her cripple cargo to to the ground. The wolf isn’t a scary demon or ghost; it’s just little Rickon’s direwolf, Shaggydog. (Hilariously unthreatening name, by the way.) It turns out Rickon had the same dream of seeing Ned in the crypt, and came down to look as well.
Back above ground, Osha tries to comfort Bran that it’s normal to have nightmares when you miss your father and… then they see Winterfell’s maester looking crestfallen and reading a message from a raven. Yup, Bran’s dad is dead. Excellent clairvoy-ing skills, Bran and Rickon!
Oh, my b. Nightmares DO come true.
Kill Them All!
The news has also reached Catelyn and Robb at their army’s camp. The scene of Catelyn walking through the lines of soldiers with her head held high, before making it out of sight and collapsing in tears is quite moving. Both Starks run off into the forest to deal with their grief: Catelyn cries it out and hugs a tree, while Robb hacks at a tree with his sword like an angry five year old. Oh, those northerners and their trees. The two agree that after Sansa and Arya are safe, they’re going to “kill them all.” I assume that “them” implies the Lannisters.
In King’s Landing, Joffrey is enjoying his new and hopefully short tenure as king by punishing a treasonous minstrel. The minstrel mournfully presents his Ballad of King Robert, which was overheard as a tavern. Unfortunately for the minstrel, he includes a description of Queen Cersei as a murderous lioness and King Robert as a drunk failure. Joffrey offers him a choice in repentance for his slanderous singing: would he like to keep his fingers, or his tongue? Street justice! The minstel chooses to lose his tongue; the slice will be administered by the very same Ser Ilyn who previously took Ned’s head. I believe this is supposed to be ironic, since Ser Ilyn himself had his tongue ripped out by the Mad King Aerys.
Once Joffrey feels he has completed a day’s worth of maiming, he takes Sansa outside to show her a special present: Ned’s head on a pike.
Is it just me or does his nose look a little pinched?
The head of her Septa is there as well, as a bonus. He also offers her the promise of Robb’s head. Sansa retorts that Robb will bring her Joffrey’s head instead. Since “my mother tells me a king should never strike his lady,” Joffrey has one of his men, Ser Meryn, strike her instead. Joffrey, I think that’s an example of following the letter and missing the spirit of the law.
Equipped with a new bloody lip and Joffrey’s promise that “as soon as you get your blood I’ll put a son in you,” Sansa acquires that psycho, demon-infested look common to so many preadolescent girls before her.
Peering over the edge of the bridge they’re standing on, Sansa clearly considers pushing Joffrey off. She even takes a few vengeful-looking steps – but burny face the Hound steps in at the last moment to wipe the blood from her lip with his hanky. Aww? He also gives her a warning: listen to Joffrey, or she’s just going to get her ass beat more.
The King in the North
At Robb’s camp, all of his bannermen are – as usual – arguing over what to do. This time, the debate is over which king to support: King Stannis, who is rightful heir but an asshole, or King Renly, who is the younger brother but a more attractive candidate. The solution? Neither! A third way: A King in the North. After all, before the dragons came and conquered the north, it was its own domain. Now that there are no dragons (….) why shouldn’t they claim independence again?
Meanwhile, Catelyn takes a visit to see the bruised and bloodied prisoner, Jaime. “Your bed must be lonely, is that why you came?” He gets a rock-fueled punch in the face from Catelyn for tht one. “I do like a violent woman.” I’m here, Jaime!
They have a brief existential conversation about hell and the justice of the gods. “If your gods are real and the gods are just, why is the world so full of injustice?” asks Jaime. Good question. Your husband did just get beheaded. I remember first asking this question while watching Titanic. Whhhy, god, whyyy? Then I stopped believing in god. So. Anyway. Jaime has decided to be a bit more forthcoming than usual today, as he admits to attempting to kill Bran by pushing him out the window. He doesn’t, however, tell Catelyn why, even though she probably knows about the incesting.
The Littlest Hand
The Lannister camp is also struggling with the Stannis and Renly problem. Between Robb and the two brothers, they have three armies coming for them to take the throne from Joffrey. Before Ned lost his head, negotiating for peace would have been an option, but Joffrey put an end to that option. Daddy Tywin’s first priority is getting Jaime back, but he also has some newfound kind words for his second son. “I always thought you were a stunted fool. Perhaps I was wrong,” he says. “Half wrong!” tweets back my darling Tyrion. Showing Tyrion some (semi-)respect for the first time ever, Tywin sends the Imp to become the Hand of the King and to keep Cersei and Joffrey in line. After the whole head-chopping incident, Cersei clearly can’t be trusted to control crazy Joffrey. Remember, kids, incest —> crazy.
One caveat to Tyrion’s new post? He can’t bring his new bwf (best whore forever), Shae, with him to King’s Landing. Tyrion being crafty little Tyrion, he decides to bring Shae with him anyway.
Hey, remember that bumbling little blonde squire to King Robert who drunkified him to death while they were out hunting? He’s banging Cersei. I think they’re cousins or something. Gross. Does she love incest, or is this a power thing, or both? I’m personally never attracted to people who share my blonde pasty genes. Especially when we’re related. Obvs. That scene was short and seemingly irrelevant, and I didn’t enjoy seeing that guys youthful butt.
Another weird/gross/irrelevant scene? The old maester from Joffrey’s Council, sitting on the bed in his nightie telling the whore Roz all about the history of kings while she wanders around his room dressing and scrubbing her vag. Okay? He looks pretty fragile, but I guess he’s not too old to bone. He must be pretty senile though, as he ‘senses greatness’ for Joffrey. Great douchebaggery, perhaps. After Roz leaves, we get a completely unnecessary shot of him stretching out. Because of the see through nightie and the light from the window behind him, we get a totally gross peen silhouette. Why?? Can we get some appropriately aged man nudity in here? And NOT THEON.
The next scene isn’t really sexy, but it’s also irrelevant. I love me some Littlefinger/Varys sparring, but this didn’t really get us anywhere. Basically, Littlefinger teases Varys about his castration as usual, and questions whether he has a ‘gas’ between his legs. I was imaging more of an angry inch. Varys retorts that he’s flattered that Littlefinger thinks of what’s between his legs when surrounded by boobs in the whorehouse.
At the Wall, Jon sneaks out in the dead of night to desert the Night’s Watch and come to his brother’s aid. Fatty Sam tries to stop him, but to no avail – Jon practically runs over him with his horse when Sam refuses to get out of the way! He makes it to the woods, but his friends eventually catch up with him. They manage to convince him not to desert (and thus get beheaded like the late Ned) by giving an inspiring rendition of the oath of the Night’s Watch.
The next morning, Jon is back at work serving Commander Mormont breakfast. The commander immediately lets it slip that he knows that Jon ran off. However, Night Watchmen apparently suck at their oaths, and frequently run off to go whoring for the night. So I guess Jon is off the hook. It’s a good thing he came back, too, as he finally has a chance to do what he wanted: go beyond the Wall and look for his Uncle Benjen. Commander Mormont has been getting crazy stories about more blue eyed corpses and scared wildlings forming an army. He’s takign the Night’s Watch out in force to investigate. As the men ride out from the gate, Mormont gives an inspiring voice over and the music rises to Mighty Ducks tiebreaker, Lord of the Rings victory levels of triumph.
The Birth of Dragons
In Vais Dothrak, Daenerys wakes up from a fevered sleep asking for her baby. Ser Jorah Mormont has been waiting at her side to tell her that the baby was stillborn. In fact, as the witch pops in to inform her, the baby was born as a twisted , blind monster with lizard scales. Eep! The life of the baby was the price for Khal Drogo’s life. Now, I like me a hot violent man, but I’m pretty sure I’d prefer the baby in this case. What’s that? Drogo is in a vegetative state, technically alive but with nothing left inside? Yea, I’d prefer the baby.
Daenerys is, obviously, pissed that the the witch tricked her and took both her baby and her husband. Why did the witch do it? Vengeance. Before Daenerys came to the ‘rescue,’ the witch lady had already been raped by three Dothraki, who also burned down her temple and killed all of her people. So, when she got the opportunity to kill the baby who would be the Stallion Who Mounts the World and go around conquering and killing even more, she took it.
Daenerys tries to call her ‘sun and stars’ back to life with what would be a sexy spongebath if he weren’t coma-y. When that fails, she opts for what would be sexy asphyxiation time if again, no coma. Realizing Drogo’s mind is no longer inside his body, she smothers him with a pillow.
End of sexy pecs
Finally, it’s time for Drogo’s funeral pyre. To burn? Drogo’s body; the dragons’ eggs; Jorah’s passion for Daenerys. Also, the witch woman. You can kind of sympathize with her for killing Drogo. To her, he’s kind of like Hitler. I still feel bad about the baby, though. Especially since I don’t believe in prophecies, so it could have been a perfectly nice baby. Daenerys also frees all of the Drogo’s slaves, inviting them to leave or to stay as ‘brothers and sisters’. Most of Drogo’s men and women are gone already, having followed the most powerful.
Daenerys lights the beautiful funeral pyre, which is arranged in two circles with Drogo in the center. The witch burns and screams. Burninating the countryside, burninating the peasants! Daenerys walks right through the circles into the center of the fire. Here’s the moment of truth…. can fire burn a dragon??
The screen fades to black, then to the ashy, smoky remains of the funeral pyre and the sleeping follows. Jorah walks to the center of the circles and finds Daenerys, the Unburned, sitting naked in the center. She stands up to reveal… three FUCKING AWESOME BABY DRAGONS! SQUEEE!
Everyone is like HOLY SHITTTTZZZ and bows to their new dragon queen.
And as the baby dragons let loose their birth cries, the first season ends.