In this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, Robb prepares for war, Sansa begs for mercy, the dead walk the Wall, and Tyrion strikes a bargain…
“THE POINTY END”
“Your sweet words have moved me, but your father has to confess and say I’m the King or there will be no mercy for him” ~ Joffrey Lannister
When I sat down to write this, I wasn’t sure who’s name to use for this section because it really isn’t about Ned, but the people around Ned. There are so many of them; Arya, Sansa, Joff, Cersei, Cat…that it was hard to choose, but in the end, everything that’s happened, happened because of Ned’s actions, so I left it as “Ned”.
We see very little of our northern hero – he’s locked up in a dungeon while the Lannister’spress their advantage and slaughter his household. Syrio Forel makes a daring stand armed with only a wooden sword to let Arya escape to safety when the Lannister guards come for her. Arya flees and kills her first person in this episode – albeit unwittingly…a stable boy threatens to turn her over to the Lannisters and she sticks him with “the pointy end” of Needle. This is her turning point – it’s no longer a “dance”, it’s for real and she has to fend for herself now.
Sansa is kept hostage, by the Hound, after her Septa is murdered. She pleads with Joff to show mercy for her father – she is so naive, she can’t wrap her head around the fact that Ned did this because he knows she loves Joff… *sighs*. I want to shake her sometimes – shake her out of her stupidity and narcissism. In the book, and in the series, she is one of my least favourite characters. She is more Lannister than Stark in personality and she deserves that little snot, Joff, wholeheartedly. Joff is moved by her tears and gives her a chance. Sansa agrees to write a letter to her brother Robb, asking him to come to King’s Landing and swear fealty to Joff as new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
My thing is this: did she write the letter to save Ned or was it in panic because they threatened to rescind her marriage offer to Joff? I’m sure she loves her father, but she’s so smitten with that little punk that I think a lot of her desire in writing that letter was to smooth things over so she can marry Joff and become Queen. In that, she is little better than Cersei…a young Cersei at best.
“Now there’s a rare sight – not only a bastard, but a traitor’s bastard” ~ Ser Alliser
All the war and excitement going on south didn’t quite get me as much as Jon’s scenes this episode. The scenes from the Wall always have this creepy, supernatural air to them and this episode proved no different.
They take the dead men Ghost found back to the Wall and Sam Tarly (played brilliantly by newcomer John Bradley-West) notices they have no smell. They’ve been dead a good while, but have no rot to them – which is odd, in spite of the cold, and it’s suggested they burn the bodies in case. It’s pointed out that while Sam is no fighter, he’s no dummy either. He notices things that bypass others.
When they get inside, Jon is told that a raven has arrived for him. Uh-oh…Ravens = BAD NEWS on this show. Ravens and ‘riders in the night’. If I hear either of those two lines and I cringe, going ‘uh-oh, here come trouble’. Jon finds out his father’s a traitor and Robert’s dead. Great way to round off the afternoon – vows, dead bodies, and bad news. Poor Jon :( He’s teased, of course, by Ser Alliser, so he assaults him in a rage and gets confined to his quarters for it. Ghost wakes him up because something’s worng and leads him to the Lord Commander’s room where he’s attacked by one of the dead men! He kills him, and saves a very bewildered Lord Commander. But it;s not over yet; the dead guy pulls the sword out of his chest and attacks again! He’s finally lit on fire, and they escape.
Sam tells Jon that he read about the dead walking in a very old book – it means they were touched by Whitewalkers, who sleep beneath the ice for thousands of years and can only be destroyed by fire. Sam’s ominous words really got my hackles up – creeeeeepy! The Wall – from the dreary colours, to the Night Watch in black, to the whispers of ghosts and ghouls is eerie and I love all the scenes that take place there. They add a nice horror touch to the show.
I love Sam SO MUCH. His friendship with John has this Frodo-Sam Gamgee element to it that I just adore. I love the two of them on screen; they play off each other so well – totally believable as best friends.
“Tell Lord Tywin, winter is coming for him” ~ Robb Stark
Dang! Robb’s starting to take on a bigger role now that Ned’s been tossed in the dungeon. It’s up to him to do what his father would have done since Jon’s on the Wall and Bran and Rickon are too young to do anything. He gets Sansa’s letter and brushes it off, saying “Joffrey puts my father in chains and now he wants his ass kissed?!” He’s not doing it – he’s growing a pair and heading south to save Ned!
Robb shows us he’s a man this episode. He’s mustering troops and gets challenged by one of Ned’s bannerman. Robb’s dire wolf attacks him and rip off two fingers. This earns Robb some northern street cred. He’s afraid, but he’s doing what has to be done. Get ‘er done Robb! ;)
Cat meets with his encampment on the march south and though more than anything, she wants him safely back in Winterfell, she knows he can’t (and won’t) do that. If he swears an oath to Joff, Tywin will murder all the Stark children as he murdered the remaining Targaryens in their beds when Robert took the throne. If he loses this fight, they all die too – but at least they died trying.
He shows some more bravado when he captures a Lannister scout spying. Instead of executing him, he send him back to Tywin with a cheeky message to the tune of ‘I’m comin’ for ya’ :) It’s on! He has 18,000 men and he’s coming for Tywin Lannister! I like Robb’s character (played deftly by TV newbie Richard Madden). He’s been more of a background character for most of the series but he’s likable, like Jon Snow, so it’s nice to see him get more air time, decent lines and a good story.
“The wolf rushes into the Lions jaws…so be it” ~ Tywin Lannister
It was nice to see Tyrion back on screen again. I’m not a fan of Tyrion-less episodes; more than any other character, he provides the best comic relief on the show. His role was small, but it was still good.
Tyrion is on the road with Bronn when he gets accosted by the Stone Crows, a fierce mountain tribe lead by Shagga, Son of Dolf. They’re about to kill him and Bronn when Tyrion’s quick mind and tongue save his butt yet again. He promises Shagga Lord Arynn’s Vale in exchange for his life. Shagga accompanies them to the Lannister encampment to make sure Tyrion keeps his end of the bargain.
He sees his father, Tywin (played wickedly well by Charles Dance of Alien 3 fame). Tywin doesn’t look thrilled to have Tyrion back but he fills him in on current events i.e., Ned Stark’s treason, Robert’s death, and Robb Stark’s move south to attack the Lannister forces. Tyrion has been quite out of the loop roaming around the countryside with Bronn. He tells Tywin of his debt to Shagga and Tywin asks Shagga to fight for him in exchange for all the things Tyrion promised him.
Dany, like Tyrion, has a short stint onscreen this episode, albeit, a very violent one! Dany stops the Khalasar from raping women as the pillage and plunder to get supplies to cross the Narrow Sea. Khal Drogo acquiesces to Dany and gets challenged for bowing to her whims, a “foreign woman”, by a member of his Khalasar. A bloody hand-to-hand combat scene ensues and Khal Drogo wins by slashing his throat and ripping out his tongue! There is never a lack of excitement, crude taunts, and blood when it’s a Dothraki scene. God bless their violent little hearts :) Martin wrote this episode, so it’s no doubt it had a great gritty, edge to it!
Join me next Sunday at 9pm, for another exciting episode of Game of Thrones, episode 9, “Baelor”.