First of all, I have to say that this is probably my favourite episode so far. They introduced a couple of my favourite characters, both major and non (SAMWELL! HODOR! GENDRY!), and some very sweet things happened amidst all the doom and gloom. People in Westeros ARE capable of kindness after all, although there are always lots of other people around ready to bum you out immediately. I’m looking at you, Alliser Thorne.
Our time in Winterfell was incredibly brief this week. We saw crippled Bran having strange dreams about three eyed crows. Tyrion stopped by on his way back south, and brought Bran an adorable gift; a saddle that he can use to ride now that he’s lost the use of his legs. Tyrion, being Tyrion, follows this up with lots of bitchy comments, mostly directed at Theon Greyjoy (glorified hostage). You have to admit he burned him pretty good though. I probably cackled for about 20 minutes over that not wearing his favourite whore out line.
SAMWELL TARLY HAS ARRIVED!! And he is just the cutest! Samwell is not at all suited to the life of a brother of the Night’s Watch, since he can neither fight nor see very well, but he is sent there because his father doesn’t think him worthy of inheriting the family’s holdings. Again Jon sees just how not bad his own father was. But of course since Sam’s round and admittedly a coward, the other boys decide it will be fun to beat on him in practice. Worse, their arms master, Alliser Thorne, encourages it. But Jon takes the boy’s side, and defends him against the bullies, and even has the clout to get the other boys off his back. True, he has to threaten some of them with his direwolf, Ghost (who we finally SEE!), but it gets the job done. I really quite enjoy the dynamic Jon has with Sam – it reminds me of him with his brothers in Winterfell, although you only saw it briefly. They laugh together (their little sex talk was hilarious and endearing), and Jon is much less emo about his bastardy, which frankly gets pretty tiring after a while. Not that they were allowed to laugh for long mind you.
They made it! But you don’t really get to see how neat it is (or at least how neat it is described in the books). Again the Dany plotline gets the short end when it comes to budget. Viserys continues to be a self-important little ass, proclaiming the Dothraki as “his” people, refusing to dress like them, in general considering himself better than everyone else. Dany and Ser Jorah (who I kind of find hot; I blame the voice) have a nice little talk about how exactly he got himself exiled, and it turns out he needed to sell those poachers for money, as he may have taken a wife with expensive tastes.
We finally learn about the Targaryen/dragon connection like three episodes after it should have been explained, in a weird, bathtub sex scene with Viserys and Daenarys’ former prostitute handmaid whose name I can’t remember. He was almost a human being there at the beginning, and I can’t blame the girl for finding all this talk of dragons arousing. It was weird, but kind of in a good way. Also that spit a lot of other people keep mentioning was actually just a strand of the girl’s hair catching the light.
And FINALLY, Daenarys gives her brother a piece of her mind when he hits her handmaiden FOR ASKING HIM TO COME HAVE A FRIENDLY DINNER WITH HIS SISTER, and then attacks Dany herself. I almost cried when she cut him with that belt. “That’s my girl!” I thought. Afterwards Ser Jorah helps her realize what she always knew: that Viserys will never get them back the Seven Kingdoms, not even if he had a million Dothraki hordes. He simply does not have the stuff of leaders in him. But after that very fierce and commanding “The next time you lay a hand on me is the last time you have hands!” maybe it’s Daenarys who is the one who does.
Sansa worries about only giving birth to girls and having everyone in the kingdom hate her for it; Arya doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife and broodmare at all, she’d rather be a Water Dancer thanks. Ned refuses to go the huge tournament that’s being in held in his name, although he’s stuck with the task of dealing with the fallout of having so many visitors in the city. However, he does have enough free time to figure out just what Jon Arryn, the former Hand, was up to before he died. And let’s say it does nothing to assuage his suspicions that he was perhaps murdered. Not only did his illness come on very suddenly, but he was looking into the lineage of the noble houses, and even found one of King Robert’s bastards at a smithy in the city. And it turns out this boy favours his father, not his mother. Who maybe not so coincidentally shares the same colouring as the Queen. I was pretty excited to see Joe Dempsie from Skins playing Gendry. He was my favourite in the second season of that show, and Gendry will be making further appearances in this show too. Ned tries to send a message to Robert with this news, but it doesn’t get there, as the king is “indisposed”. His favourite pastime is apparently having 5 ways with women who are not his wife while his brother in law stands guard in the hall. Keeping it classy as always King Robert. Lots of people keep saying that they only like Tyrion because he seems to be the only one having fun, but come on, King Robert seems to be having a pretty good time too.
Arya and Sansa and their Septa are the only ones who go to the Hand’s tournament, even though it’s supposed to be for their father. Robert of course, acts like a drunken ass; his wife leaves pretty much immediately, the disgust barely hidden on her face. Petyr Baelish gets pretty creepy and pedo-y with Sansa, which I found kind of amusing because she seems to be a good inch or two taller than him. He tells her who everyone is, and we find out that Sandor Clegane, the Hound, has an enormous scary brother, and that said brother is the one who maimed him as a child. The first joust doesn’t end in cheers and glory for all though, when Ser Hugh (formerly Jon Arryn’s squire no less) takes the lance through the throat. Everyone looks justifiably horrified, although I didn’t see what Robert’s reaction was. I’m just going to assume he fell asleep from being so wasted.
Cersei, having left the tournament, for some reason decides to go and “make amends” with Ned Stark, who is also not attending. For a Lannister though, “making amends” has a much different meaning than for the rest of us, and the exchange is filled with subtle jabs, outright disdain and threats. It was kind of awesome though. If it has not been obvious, I kind of secretly love Cersei, and am continuing to love Lena Headey’s simmering portrayal of her.
The episode ends with Catelyn Stark taking a meal at the very inn Lady died at, but her cover is blown when Tyrion Lannister saunters in and recognizes her. What he doesn’t know however, is that Catelyn thinks the knife used to kill her son was his, and uses the only weapon she has, her standing and House allegiances, to have him arrested on the spot. Tyrion looks very surprised. I was glad to see he made good on his word of traveling all the way south with Yoren, the Night’s Watch recruiter though.
- We saw THREE WOLVES THIS WEEK. Bran’s wolf, Summer; Robb’s wolf Grey Wind; and Jon’s wolf Ghost. It’s my understanding the reason for their infrequent appearances have a lot to do with how little time they had to train them. They had about 12 weeks, and all the dogs were rescues. Hopefully by next season they will be trained better, and we’ll get to see more of them?
- Boobs: 1, blood: 1. Ser Hugh’s death was pretty gross, but is that the grossest use of blood gurgling I have ever seen on HBO? NOT BY A LONG SHOT.
- Ser Gregor looks almost exactly the way I thought he would, but I still don’t find the Hound that scary.
- Outfit of the week: Sansa and Cersei at the tournament, hands down. Although Hugh’s armour was also quite beautiful.
- “Come to take the black pudding!” was a pretty good burn. I still love you though Samwell!
- Also: Lady piggy is way worse than ser piggy (and for some reason my caps won't shut off)