Monday, May 2, 2011

game of thrones recap: 1.03 "lord snow"

I shouldn't like you Jaime Lannister, but I just loves it when you and Eddard face off

Even though this episode is entitled “Lord Snow”, most of the action took place at King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, so that’s where I’m gonna start this week.

King’s Landing

They made it! Ned Stark, his daughters, and their paltry one wagon of stuff (I am personally kind of impressed, I could NEVER only pack one wagon!) arrive in King’s Landing, and Ned is pretty much immediately summoned to council. But not before he has another delightful scene of banter with Jaime Lannister, where we finally learn just what happened to the king before Robert. Basically, Jaime stabbed him in the back because he was nuts. As the king’s Hand, it turns out it’s Ned’s job to run…pretty much everything it seems. We meet the other members of the council: Robert’s little brother Renly, spymaster and eunuch Varys, Petyr Baelish (and his moustache) and Grand Maester Pycelle. These are the people who do the real work of running the kingdom, while Robert sits around, drinking wine and reminiscing about killing people with his Kingsguard. In council we learn a number of exciting things: Robert is running the kingdom into the ground! Baelish once had a thing for Ned’s wife and fought Ned’s brother over her because she was initially supposed to marry the brother! There’s going to be a massively expensive tournament in spite of all these things!

There is another really great scene with Cersei giving advice to her son about being a king. Basically, tell everyone you are way more macho than you are, and be nice to your future wife, even if you don’t like her. Joffrey also makes some pretty grandiose and misguided political schemes about taking over the North, and Cersei is actually wise enough to shut that down. She also tells her son to give Sansa a present, and he gives her the creepiest doll ever. Sansa doesn’t play with dolls anymore either. Smooth Joffrey.

Things are not peaceful in the Tower of the Hand either, because Sansa and Arya are still fighting about the Joffrey/Direwolf incident, and Arya makes no secret about her dislike of Joffrey. Ned talks to her about it, and finds out she has Needle, and that she was only sword fighting with Micah because she wanted to practice. She blames herself for what happened to him because she asked him to practice with her. Luckily, Ned sees his daughter for who she actually is, and arranges to have her learn how to use her sword. Her “dancing master”, Syrio Forrel, is the tiniest man ever, but he teaches her to fence, not to “hack and slash like a knight”, a style much more suited to a tiny slip of a girl and her tiny slip of a sword.

Cersei and Ned both receive the news of Bran’s awakening, and Cersei runs straight to her brother with the news. She is still terrified the boy will remember something, but we see the extent of their twisted love when Jaime tells her how many people he would kill for her (it is all of them). He makes a lewd comment about how it will be known as “The War for Cersei’s Cunt” (this would be gross even if she WASN’T his twin sister) and she hits him, but you can tell she likes it.

Catelyn arrives in King’s Landing not long after her husband and daughters, and is immediately whisked away by armed men to a brothel owned by Petyr Baelish (she is super happy about it). However she calms down when he claims it’s for her safety and when Varys (who knows everything about what happened in the North) appears. Varys inspects the dagger, and we find out the dagger used to belong to Petyr, but he lost it in a bet to Tyrion Lannister. This is of course all the proof that Catelyn needs, but even her husband doesn’t think that is enough proof yet, and he stays in King’s Landing to see if he can find out anything more. Catelyn is then sent back north, towards home.

The Wall

Jon learns just how privileged an upbringing he had at Winterfell, when he whoops all the peasant boys at sword fighting simply because he’s actually had training. The other recruits hate him for this, and Tyrion saves him from a beating afterwards with simply the threat of having their heads chopped off. Tyrion and his Uncle Benjen help Jon to see that Jon not only has more training than these other boys, but also had a much better life in general – most of them are there for stealing because they were starving, or killing someone because there was no other way to get justice, or because their fathers abandoned them and they were forced to do any manner of thing to survive. Luckily, Jon actually starts to hear this message, because at the end he starts to help the other boys with their combat training, instead of just beating them to a pulp.

The Watch pretty much begs Tyrion to ask his sister and brother in law in the capital for help, and it’s unclear whether or not he takes this warning seriously. He doesn’t believe in the monsters said to live there, even though Wildlings (the people who live there) have been trying to flee south past the Wall away from these creatures for the past few months. Not to mention what they know about the patrol of that boy from the first episode, who Ned Stark beheaded.


Only a brief scene at Winterfell this week. Bran is awake, and an old woman tries to tell him stories. The boy is probably crippled for life though, and understandably depressed about it, and doesn’t want to hear any of her stories. He tells her he only likes the scary stories, and so she tells him the scariest story of all: what happens during a long winter. It turns out people starve and freeze to death, and that monsters once would roam the lands, killing anyone they happened upon. This was before they built the Wall though. Robb tries to find out what happened when Bran fell, but the boy doesn’t seem to remember anything.

The Dothraki Grasslands

Daenarys and the Horde still haven’t reached the Dothraki capital of Vaes Dothrak, so it’s still just a lot of riding. Dany asks Ser Jorah about all the slaves the Dothraki have, and she clearly doesn’t really approve of the practice, having been little more than a slave herself. She’s clearly become a little more confident with her role as Khaleesi, and even commands the horde to stop so she can wander off alone in the woods, which is seemingly just an excuse for her brother Viserys to attack her in a rage for commanding him to do anything. It doesn’t really make sense why she goes off alone (another instance of the carelessness of how they treat this storyline); although it turns out she’s not actually alone when her Bloodrider beats the tar out of him for daring to attack their queen. Dany does still love her brother though, and she orders them not to kill him, even though that’s what they believe should be done. Even Ser Jorah doesn’t come to Viserys’ aid, and the landless prince loses the privilege of riding his horse for his show of disrespect (only slaves walk among the Dothraki).

We also find out that Daenarys is pregnant, and she and Drogo both seem pleased about it. Again, they give this plot the short end, because there isn’t really much of a progression in her relationship with Drogo. For those who haven’t read the books, they were probably quite surprised that all of a sudden Dany seems happy in her marriage. In the books, she actually was quite happy in her marriage to Drogo from the beginning, because he’s much more tender and gentle with her, and she finally gains some sort of freedom away from the whims of her brother, and is offered respect that she has never really had before. But anyway, while she seems happy about it, and the Dothraki seem happy about it, Ser Jorah looks concerned when he hears the news and immediately leaves the horde to go to the nearest town. If that raises suspicions, well it should. We know that Robert knows what’s going on in the east, and is concerned about her having a child, and he must be getting his information from somewhere. It might be that Ser Jorah is the leak.

Other thoughts

  • There were no standout outfits this week, I’m afraid. Although I might have to with the Kingsguard. Their armour is pretty great. Although do they have their white cloaks? They’re supposed to have white cloaks, but I don’t recall seeing them. I don’t blame them if there’s not, their locations look MUDDY AS HELL.
  • Dany’s bloodrider is HOT.
  • Tyrion was not joking about pissing off the Wall guys. And it was great.
  • I am not hugely fond of who they cast for Renly, but Varys is perfect.
  • Boob watch: Only two scenes with boobs, and I barely count Dany’s sideboob.
  • Gore watch: One bloody nose. I remain unconvinced that this is the dirtiest show HBO has ever produced. Either I watch more HBO than TV critics, or they are just being stupid about it.

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