“YOU WIN OR YOU DIE”
Attempted murder, graphic sex and brutal betrayal! Welcome to King’s Landing kiddies…
Let me begin by saying I have officially re-named this episode to: “WTF Ned?!”. There is some seriously bad decision making and bungling done here by our Northern hero. He had an EPIC #DoTheSmartThingFAIL.
“A Lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep” ~ Tywin Lannister
Jaime gets a little “fatherly” advice from his father, Tywin about being a man and politics. Basically, screw everyone else, to Hell with honour and all that jazz and do whatever it takes to preserve the family name because we’re all going to die so let’s at least make our house memorable. He’s kind of ticked off that Jaime didn’t finish Ned when he was down. Jaime protests that this wouldn’t have been clean a.k.a “honourable” and Tywin says honour doesn’t matter when you’re dead – just your name lives on. He wants Jaime to man up and be the man he’s always wanted him to be. Let’s remember this convo for later on down the road – shall we? I’m sure this small snippet will have big implications for Jaime’s future decisions.
“I’m not going to fight them, I’m going to f–k them. Only by admitting what we are can we get what we want.” ~Littlefinger
A very graphic sex scene in Petyr Baelish’s (a.k.a. “Littlefinger”) whore house. He’s prepping two girls on how to perform and chastises them for being tacky and fake. He coaches them as they have sex with each other, all the while explaining sex and politics. I don’t know how politics can be considered dirty talk but it works and he applauds them for doing a better job after one of them climaxes.
This scene is by far the most graphic sex scene I’ve seen in a long time on HBO. The only thing I think that can compare is the sex scene from True Blood , season 3, where Bill twists Lorena’s head right around as her’s screwing her. This wasn’t violent like that but it was pretty risque – they were totally naked, full frontal, girl-on-girl. I felt like I was watching light porn. I bet this got some stellar ratings for HBO ;) Was it excessive? Maybe. Was it coarse? Sure, but I like that HBO isn’t afraid to “go there”, I always feared they would sanitize this show and it’s not a show that should be sanitized. The books are graphic and the show is following suit – well done *claps loudly*.
“Targareyans wed brothers and sisters for 300 years to keep the bloodline pure. Jaime and I are more than brother and sister. We shared a womb. We came into this world together, we belong together.” ~ Cersei Lannister
Ned finally confronts Cersei about her children – they’re all Jaime’s, and she’s very nonchalant about it. She’s like, ‘So what, the Targaryens did it’…ummm ya, they did, but they were also ousted from the throne. It’s not a good idea to list a failure as an example to excuse your behaviour, it doesn’t fly, sorry Cersei. Ned threatens her – he knows why Bran was thrown from the window – he saw them together. He’s going to let her get out of King’s Landing before Robert returns from his hunt because he’s going to be quite pissed. She tells him she loved Robert once, idolized him, but he was in love with Ned’s sister so that love turned to hate. OK, fine, we get it but your BROTHER?! EW. There’s got to be a million good looking guys in the Seven Kingdoms for you not to have to resort to incest. Give me a break.
Robert comes back speared in the gut by a boar and he’s dying. His wound is infected and there’s no saving him. He speaks a few last ‘fatherly” words to Joff and then tosses everyone out of the room – Cersei included (much to her sheer panic) to speak to Ned alone. He dictates his last will and testament to Ned, leaving him Regent of the Realm until Joff comes of age. BUT.…Ned does a sneaky thing and writes “rightful heir” in place of Joff’s name. It seems he didn’t want to tell Robert about Joff in his current state so he’s doing the right thing again and altering Robert’s will to put his true heir on the throne. Robert also tells Ned to rescind the orders to have Danerys killed, and he admits that Ned was right and the only person with enough guts to tell him “No” when he needed to hear it.
“Stannis is a commander. He’s lead many to war, twice. He destroyed the Greyjoy fleet” ~ Ned Stark.
“Yes, he’s a good soldier. Everyone knows that. So was Robert. Tell me something. Do you still believe good soldiers make good kings?” ~ Renly Baratheon
Renly, Robert’s brother, tells him to strike – he believes Cersei will strike against him and Ned. Stannis should be rightful heir but Renly thinks he isn’t suited for the role of King and puts his name forth. Ned’s all about honour and bravery in battle but Renly makes an excellent point about his brother Robert; he’s a great warrior but a terrible king. He drinks, whores and spends wantonly. He does nothing good for the people of his realm and can’t make coherent decisions without Ned or his council. He’s an absolute failure as a leader and Renly tries to point this out to Ned but Ned once again, isn’t listening,
“I did warn you not to trust me.” ~ Little finger
Remember those words Ned? Nope…guess not….
Ned tells Littlefinger about Cersei’s dark secret and he advises Ned to make peace with the Lannisters. RIGHT HERE Ned should’ve heard alarm bells going off. He’s advised him to be nice to the Lannisters and keep the tidbit as blackmail for later on down the road should Joff get out of hand?! It completely foreshadowed his betrayal at the end of the episode. That would’ve been my cue to pack up my kiddies and leave ASAP. Ned has made a fatal error: Littlefinger’s promise to help Cat does NOT extend to helping Ned. He is in love with your wife Ned! WAKE UP! Why would he help YOU?!
Ned’s most of the focus of this episode but his actions are the least impressionable. He’s the perennial “Paladin” from a D&D module – “Lawful Good” to a fault in spite of everything pointing him towards wiser, albeit, less honourable decisions. He does what’s right, in spite of it costing him dearly. I think he could’ve done what was “right” from a safe distance of King’s Landing without sacrificing his need to be the hero.
“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.” ~ Oath of the Night’s Watch
A riderless horse return to The Wall – it’s Benjen’s. This doesn’t bode well. Jon and the boys are gathered to take their vows to enter the Night’s Watch. They’re divided into groups based on the needs of the Watch – Jon is not selected as a Ranger and he’s PISSED. He’s a better swordsman than many of his brothers and wanted to be a Ranger like his Uncle Benjen. He’s selected to be a Steward – which is the equivalent of being a chambermaid for high ranking Night’s Watchmen. Sam shows him the brighter side of his new post – he believes that Jon is being given access to higher ups so that he can be groomed for their roles. Jon worships the Old Gods and takes his vows with Sam and several others by and old Heart tree…they hug it out and clap each other on the back after they’re done and then…Ghost, Jon’s dire wolf comes out of the woods and drops a human arm in front of Jon. UGH. Way to ruin a party. Dun-dun-dun! *cue scary music*
“And to my son, the stallion who will mount the world, I will also pledge a gift. I will give him the iron chair that his mother’s father sat upon.” ~ Khal Drogo
Dany is trying to convince a very non-plussed Khal Drogo that they should cross the sea and take back the Iron Throne. Khal Drogo doesn’t see the need for it – he doesn’t believe a king needs a throne, just a horse.
Meanwhile, a young boy hands Ser Jorah a piece of paper pardoning him for his crime. It sends his hackles up – rightfully so. Anything coming from Varys, “The Spider” can’t end well. Ser Jorah spies Dany in the market speaking to a wine seller – he offers her the best wine until Ser Jorah steps in and asks him to drink it. He suspects poison, and he is right – the merchant bolts but is apprehended. An assassination attempt on Dany’s life foiled!
The punishment for the assassin is rather brutal. He is stripped naked and forced to walk tied to a horse until he drops dead. Then he is just dragged behind until he IS dead.This attempt has Khal Drogo riled and now he promises the Iron Throne to Dany as vengeance. He will rape, pillage and plunder his way through the Seven Kingdoms to show them just what the Dothraki can do. These were great scenes – Khal Drogo rousing his men, all in Dothraki with subtitles running across the bottom of the screen! I felt like I was watching some cool foreign film LOL! You forget this a made-up language when you see how much they make use of it in this series. It’s a brilliant touch – it’s small things like this that go a long way in making a fantasy show believable.
All in all, one of the BEST episodes yet, in spite of Ned’s failures. I really enjoyed the Dothraki scenes and hope to see Tyrion back next week for episode 8! See you next Sunday!