Well! You know I like to subdivide my storylines by location to make it easier on the both of us, but this week that’s not really going to work out. Why? Because everything is finally coming together! The mail ravens are a-flying around Westeros like crazy, which means the Eyrie, the Wall, Winterfell, King’s Landing, and various armies on the move around the continent finally know what’s up with each other. We are approaching, as you may have guessed, WAR! And you know what that means. Death, strategy, ego-clashing, sword-clashing, spies, camp-following whores.. all of which we actually already have, come to think of it, but war means MORE!
Awesome Arya & Stupid Sansa
We open on a somewhat peacefully swordfighting Arya and Syrio. Thank goodness my favorite Stark and dancing-master are back. Their idyllic morning of wooden swordplay is interspersed with some pretty gruesome scenes of some soldiers killing some other soldiers. I don’t know the armor/colors/helms/faces well enough to determine who is killing who, but it appears to be Lannister soldiers killing guards, servants, and hangers-on from Winterfell – that is, the household of the Starks. Not only are Winterfell’s armored soldiers killed, but so are some servants who are innocently enough loading up a wagon of Stark possessions. As you may remember, at the end of the last episode the Starks were hoping to hightail it back north to safety – until Ned is betrayed by Littlefinger, and falls into Queen Cersei’s hands.
Sansa and her Septa guardian haven’t gotten the massacre memo, as they are running to grab Arya and leave King’s Landing when they hear the murdery commotion outside. Because Septa is old, wise, and a baller, she knows what’s going on right away and sends Sansa (who runs rather unhurriedly.. is she wearing super uncomfortable shoes) to hide. The Septa faces down the row of bloody swords, but we cut away before we see whether they decide to take mercy on a holy woman.
Sansa tries to hide, but is promptly caught by the Hound (burn-y faced guy; basically Joffrey’s servant; brother of the huge and terrifying horse-head-chopping Mountain.)
Meanwhile, Syrio and Arya continue to go at it with their wooden swords. Syrio ‘kills’ Arya by tricking her: he tells her he’s going to swing right, when he swings left. He then gives her one of his mystical mini-lectures about trust and really seeing what’s going on around you, instead of believing what you’re told. This lecture is pretty timely, because right then the bloody Lannister guardsmen burst in, claiming that they want to take Arya to see her father. Idiotic as Ned is, he would never send Lannister men to fetch his daughter, which both Syrio and Arya quickly figure out. She gives them some typical preadolescent sass – “I don’t have to go with you if I don’t want!”
When the soldiers lunge at her, Syrio proceeds to kick some ass against the six armored knights, using only his wooden sword! It’s how you use it, folks.
He dispatches five of them, and then tells Arya to make a run for it to her daddy before facing the biggest, grumpiest soldier one on one. Apparently nobody got the memo that Ned is in custody. Again, we cut away from Syrio when Arya runs away, so we don’t see what happens to him – although we do see his wooden sword get cut in half, and hear some unearthly screams.
Dodging the sounds of clashing steel, Arya makes it out to the stables to find dead Winterfell men and trunks scattered everywhere. She goes straight to her drunk to find her sword, Needle – smart girl! As she grabs it, however, a village boy comes from behind and tries to capture her for a reward from the queen. She sort of accidentally stabs him with Needle, and he dies. Her first kill.
Ned doesn’t have much to do this episode, mostly because he’s languishing away in a deep dark dungeon. His only visitor is Varys, who is disguised as a jailkeeper. In the books, Varys is described as unrecognizable in his disguises, employing beards, dirt, clothes, wigs, makeup and other cool stuff. In the show, it is just normal fat bald Varys with a hood on. Lame.
Varys has brought Ned some refreshment, which he naturally doesn’t trust – nobody trusts a eunuch Varys brings a bit of news, but little help – Arya has escaped, Sansa is a hostage. Before he leaves, Ned asks one question – who does Varys truly serve? “The realm. Someone must.”
We’ve seen Varys take a rather strong interest in Daenerys and her Dothraki army across the way, although I’m not quite her whether he’s trying to kill her or bring her to power. I suppose he is opting for whichever path leads to the least bloodshed and the most stability for the realm; I don’t really know which way that is yet.
Varys also has one question for Ned: “What madness led you to tell the queen you knew the true circumstances of Joffrey’s birth?” I expected Ned to name his usual vice, Honor, but he pops out Mercy instead – mercy, for the lives of the Queen’s children. Unfortunately, that mercy has led to Robert’s death, and possibly the death of Ned and his own children. So… Oops.
At the Wall, two corpses have been found in the woods, one of which is missing the hand that Jon Snow’s wolf, Ghost, found in last week’s episode. They look extremely pale and gross and dead, but as Sam Tarly points out, they aren’t smelly. This earns him the compliment, “You may be a coward, but you’re not stupid.” Apparently the fact that the corpses aren’t rotting is suspicious; I just assumed the Wall was so cold that they were popsiclized.
As if the corpses from his Uncle’s expedition weren’t enough family trouble, Jon is also privy to a letter to Commander Mormont explaining that Ned has been captured. Mormont warns him not to desert to go help his family, which is a crime punishable by death, as we viscerally saw in the first episode. Now that he has taken his vows, he is supposed to renounce his former family completely.
Stupid Sansa Returns
After Sansa is caught by the Hound, she is brought before Queen Cersei. It’s easy to see that Cersei is Sansa’s idol, and that she wants to impress her at any cost. For some reason (idiocy comes to mind) Sansa still loves Joffrey and still wants to marry him, and will therefore try to prove her loyalty to the Lannisters. In this vein, she writes to her brother Robb and her mother Catelyn to tell them not to fight back against the Lanniters – because if they do, Ned will be executed. Littlefinger is strangely on Sansa’s side in this conflict, arguing that she should get a chance to prove herself.
Robb continues his trend of showing only constipation faces when he receives the news about Ned’s capture.
He pledges to go to King’s Landing, but not to pledge fealty to King Joffrey! He’s calling up his ‘bannermen,’ which are basically all the different houses and lords that have pledged their loyalty to the Lord of Winterfell. He’s going to take these guys and go fight the Lannister armies. Little warmongering Theon looks particularly happy about this turn of events.
At the Eyrie, momma Catelyn is also making a constipated face. I guess these things are passed on genetically.
When barges into yell at her sister Lysa at what looks like the middle of the night – although it’s hard to tell at a gloomy place like the Eyrie. Apparently, Lysa has had a letter from King’s Landing since dawn, and waiting all day to show it to Catelyn. As Lysa (fresh off a session of ten year old son suckling) points, out the letter was addressed to her; as Catelyn points out, the letter pertains to the imprisonment of her husband and disappearance of her children. Plus, Robb is going to declare war, and Lysa refuses to stand by Catelyn and send her own knights to battle. Lysa doesn’t want to tangle with the Lannisters any more – after all, it resulted in the murder of her husband – or risk her darling TOO OLD TO BE BREASTFEEDING son. When your son can verbally ask for milk and untie your dress himself, you know it’s gone on too long. Hopefully, you know before that, but that’s really the last straw.
Nobody really seems to like Tyrion much (except for me!) but they sure do like his money. A few episodes ago, a sketchy rando named Bronn fought for Tyrion’s innocence in a trial by combat – and won. He now admits that this was, obviously, so that he could get a giant reward from Tyrion. And, since a Lannister ALWAYS pays his debts, as we are reminded in EVERY episode, he is in line to get some major gold. There is a caveat, though:
“Don’t go looking for me to bend the knee and m’lord you every time you take a shit,” warms Bronn.
It seems like everyone is trying to kill Tyrion. First Lysa, and now some hill tribes who have emerged from the fog.
I’m getting a total ‘goblins from the Labrynth’ vibe her – where is Asha to be David Bowie? The hill tribe leader guy wants to kill him, but Tyrion talks him out of it with – as usual – the promise of money, and in this case, possession of the Eyrie’s lands when the Lannisters win the war. Tyrion does get a scratch across the face for his impudence, but he wins the savages over. The hill tribes don’t like Lysa any more than Tyrion does, so for once the enemy of his enemy is his friend.
Remember that butthead swordplay instructor who was trying to torture Jon and get the other boys to beat up on Sam? Well, he’s still a dick. He points out that Jon is not only a bastard – he’s a traitor’s bastard. So what, you have to renounce your family, but you can still get made fun of for them? Not cool. Jon understandably tries to kick this guys ass – who is mega his superior – and therefore gets grounded to his room for the night.
Jon doesn’t seem to understand any rules, because about five seconds later he follows Ghost, who is freaking out, out of his room and into the night and snow. They go to Commander Mormont’s rooms and hear a noise, but it’s not Commander Mormont – it’s a zombie! The zombie cleverly locks Ghost out and attacks Jon.
It doesn’t die even after he stabs it like a million times. Finally, he sets it on fire and it re-deadifies.
Honestly, I was expecting these zombies to be a lot cooler and scarier, even though the fight scene was good.
Until now, we’ve just seen the Dothraki camping out in the homeland of Vais Dothrak, where no swords or bloodshed is allowed. In this episode, they’ve busted loose to go ravage and enslave another village. They’re going to sell these slaves for gold to buy ships to sail to Westeros, so it’s at least partially Daenerys’ fault all these people are suffering and dying.
As Daenerys tours the carnage – including lots of pillaging, headless bodies, and enslaved children – she is pissed to find the Dothraki men raping a group of terrified women. At least, that’s what she says they’re doing, although I didn’t actually see any of the patented doggy style Game of Thrones sex. Daenerys is not cool with this and puts a stop to it. (Does she not remember last week when she smiled proudly as her husband declared “I will rape their women”?) The Dothraki men are equally not cool with having to put a stop to their fun raping. Apparently, the newly conquered people are “lambs” while the Dothraki are “horses”, and it’s an “honor” for a lamb to be raped by a horse. I really hate how they use honor on this show. Also, bestiality overtones.
Daenerys claims all of the captured women as her own servants, and marches to her boy Khal Drogo to tell him so: “I have claimed many daughters today so they cannot be mounted.” One of Drogo’s blue-balled men claims that they’re ‘just’ lamb people. Daenerys spits back that the dragon eats both horses and lambs. Bam! Drogo tells the man to go find someplace else to put his cock. The man, Mago, (who is probably not much of a man since his braid isn’t that long and he can only get laid through rape) disagrees and steps up to challenge Khal Drogo to battle. What an idiot. He sticks his point sword right into Khal Drogo’s chest, and Khal Drogo flexes his pec into the blade, which is the sexiest thing I’ve seen today. He can have the pointy end of my clitoris.
The next moment is not so sexy; Drogo kills the man by slitting his throat, ripping out his tongue, and dropping it on a pile of dismembered bodies.
Although Drogo has won, as usual, he has a big boob gash which Daenerys wants to be treated. One of the ‘lamb’ women, a healer/witch, comes forward to offer her help. She looks like a creepy gypsy.
In his big traditional medieval dining hall, Robb has collected his troops, and they’re feasting in preparation to march for battle. Some guy named Umbar starts being an asshole, saying he won’t follow the commander Robb has appointed because he’s a pansy. Robb threatens Umbar, saying that he must listen to Robb or will be killed as an oathbreaker. Umbar erupts at this, and pulls out his sword – but Robb’s wolf leaps across the table in about two seconds and rips off his fingers.
Umbar then gets up and laughs. Soon the whole room is laughing, and both Bran and I are looking around like what the fuck. Hehe?
Robb then goes to say goodbye to Bran; Robb and his troops are sneaking off in the middle of the night to surprise the Lannisters. Bran can’t come – a. cause he’s ten, b. cause he’s a cripple, and c. because there must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Plus, he has to look after his baby brother – who we’ve still barely seen.
Oh, never mind, there he is. Tommen is 7 or something (though he was a toddler in the book) and emerges briefly just to say something cryptic about how none of the soldiers are ever coming back.
The next day, Asha and Bran have a nice encounter in the godswood, since they both worship the old gods. The old gods are the creepy, bloody faces in the trees we keep saying. The Northerners, as well as the Wildlings beyond the Wall, worship these gods instead of the Seven in the south. The old gods have no power in the south – the trees were cut down long ago, as Asha points out.
Just then, our favorite semi-retarded Pokemon Hodor runs over naked, displaying his FREAKING GIANT PENIS. Can I show that on tvgasm? I’ll spare you because it’s, well, a semiretarded middleaged pokemon penis. Asha seems to like it, though. I like this Helena Bonham Carter-esque lady. Why couldn’t they get her instead? She’s already played this part like a thousand times!
At the wall, they’re burning what they now know are zombie bodies – touched by “white walkers”. Remember the blue eyed little girl in the first episode, who was pinned dead to a tree then seemed to come back to life? (She had David Bowie just like Asha and apparently all wildlings!) She was a zombie, touched by the white walkers, just like these guys. Sam recognizes these signs from a very old book he read about the white walkers. They seem to be the reason that the wildlings are fleeing south, towards the wall.
Rebel Robb meets Crabby Catelyn
After hearing of Robb’s plans to go to war, Catelyn rides straight to his camp. He and his bannermen are fighting, as usual, about who should lead and what strategy to follow and whether they should attack Tywin or Jaime’s army first. Catelyn’s native people, the riverlords, are already fighting but getting their butts kicked.
Catelyn is clearly freaked out to see Robb looking so grown up and ready for war-y; maybe she even sees a little Ned in him, or Brandon. She tries to convince him not to lead the army – aka not to die – and he hasn’t having any of it.
Robb has 18,000 men. To defeat the lannisters is the only hope. If he loses, all the Stark children and Ned will die – it was Tywin Lannister who commanded the killing of the Targaryen children, so he has a proven baby killing history. Soooo they basically have to win, or all the protagonists die, right? Except for Tyrion.
Treasured Tyrion meets Treacherous Tywin
Tyrion, being a baller, has taken command of three tribes of savages in addition to his boy Bronn, and he marches them straight into the Lanniter army’s encampment to meet up with daddy Tywin. Neither Tywin nor his advisors look particularly excited to see him alive; they’re just like oh hey. Guess you aren’t dead. Tyrion’s long absence necessitates a quick overview in the events of the past view episodes – he’s reallly behind. What he has missed: Robert is dead, Ned is imprisoned for treason, Joffrey is king, Robb is declaring war. Whoa.
Tyrion has brought the Stone Crows, the Burned Men, and the Black Ears to the camp to collect their payment of gold and weapons. Tywin has a better idea, however – he invites the tribes to fight for him, and he will reward them richly when they win. The tribes agree – as long as they can keep Tyrion in the meantime, as collateral. Being a pragmatic asshole, Tywin instantly sells out his son.
At Robb’s camp, things aren’t going so well planning wise. Everyone disagrees, and nobody knows whose loyalty can be trusted. In the middle of an important strategy meeting, a scout from the Lannister camp is caught. (Really? Isn’t the Lannister army supposed to be awesome? Why is this random, young hairy Tom Cruise lookalike doing the important scouting?) The other lords assume that Robb will behead the scout, but he lets him go instead, in the name of Ned’s “mercy and honor.” Damn you honor! Look, Ned, your stupid values are now screwing over your son too.
Stupid Sansa meets Jerky Joffrey
At Kings Lnding, things are super awkward for Sansa while she waits to hear her imprisoned dad’s fate. She heads to the throne room to see the newly crowned Joffrey, and everyone stares and gives her mean looks. Joffrey is awarding his friends and favorite guards with cool lands and lordships, and names his grandpa Tywin Lannister the new Hand of the King. Cersei looks very pleased with herself, indeed.
Cersei and Joffrey also depose Ser Barristan Selmy, the most ballerest, best, oldest, most honorable member of the Kingsguard. You may remember him chatting with Ned about his awesome battling skills and boar hunting with Robert. Ouch. This is supposed to be a for-life kind of job – you serve until you die. Joffrey says that Selmy is “too old to protect anybody,” and that Jaime will be the new lord commander of the Kingsguard. Jaime, who killed the second to last king and possibly the last one! Cersei tries to sweeten the blow by thanking him for his service, but Selmy rips off his army and stalks away.
Next up before the throne is Sansa. She comes forward before King Joffrey to ask for mercy for her father. She claims that Ned must have been confused because of his injury, or tricked by Lord Renly, or incapacitated by the milk of the poppy he took for his pain.
Joffrey surprisingly relents to Sansa’s “sweet words,” although this is probably actually a political decision to avoid war with Robb. (Not that I think Joffrey came up with it himself – I’m sure everything is fed to him through his mom and grandma.) Ned will get mercy – IF he confesses his crimes and admits that Joffrey is the rightful king. The episode ends as Sansa promises that he will – but what will Ned do, what with his commitment to honor and honesty and all that? DUN DUN DUN… that’s the end of the episode unfortunately.
For those of you who read the books, I’m sure you expected – as did I – that this episode would end in a different, much more exciting spot – but we’ll pick up with that next week. This episode has set up all the storylines for the massive clash coming next week.. so get ready! Also, there was SHOCKINGLY no sex this week, so maybe we’ll get extra boob portions next week.