We’ll take a look at the episode with brief character recaps and a couple of clips mixed in followed by a few discussion points before turning it over to you for your take on what went right and what didn’t exactly work for you.
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright)
We open on another Bran dream. He’ll be having many of these as he seeks to piece back together the threads of his lost memory. We finally meet Hodor, who will be Bran’s faithful carrier. You’ll know him by his faithful “Hodor!” cry.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)
The MVP of Game of Thrones, Tyrion, hands Bran a partial way out of his disability. We again see the complexity of Tyrion, as he immediately heads to the brothel, but not before delivering a dressing down to young Greyjoy.
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen)
Greyjoy makes his first major appearance of the series, and the seeds of his discontent are sewn. Tyrion points out his position, as a “hostage” to the Starks, though of course they’ve treated him well as a noble captive.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington)
The training continues, and Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) is introduced. Tarly doesn’t fight a bit, he’s a meek fellow, but his shyness is well earned. Snow’s empathy is again at odds with The Wall’s need to train hard men.
Jon’s second appearance in the episode comes as he learns more about Sam’s reason for coming to The Wall. Like many of the stories in Game of Thrones, it’s not particularly cheery. In the next scene, Snow sets the standard that Sam is not to be hurt. He accomplishes this via Dire Wolf, which is really the best way to handle things if you ask me. Snow’s edict stands, but has he only weakened the Night’s Watch?
A rare moment of levity comes as Jon and Sam talk about laaaaaaadies while cleaning the dining hall. Four scenes for Jon Snow? Excitement! Game of Thrones can’t resist again setting up some context, as Snow’s trainer comes to regale them with tales of what lies beyond the wall. Key takeaways: It is cold, and you will eat your companions should things get really bad.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)
We arrive at Vaes Dothrak, city of the horse lords. Viserys again lays claim to Khal Drogo’s army. Daenerys asks a pertinent question, “Would a Dothrak army be able to conquer the seven kingdoms?” The answer is “sort of.” Later, Daenerys realizes that Viserys is a complete nightmare, it’s quite a moment of realization, and it will spin the series in a new direction.
Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd)
Has a nice moment with his slave concubine Shae, if by nice you mean “sociopathic”. There’s also a crucial moment where we see Viserys isn’t immune to heat, as a true dragon would be. He gives a bit of background on the history of the dragons, their size and their end. Viserys continues his string of bad choices as he throws his sister’s gifts and her kindness back in her face. Thankfully, she stands up for herself.
Arya and Sansa Stark (Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner)
Sansa continues to brood over Joffrey’s affections and berate he hired help. She’s a gem. Arya’s lessons continue, she’s learning balance and cat chasing. Vital skills if you want to be an expert with the sword. Or at least Syrio Forel says so. Arya also mentions she doesn’t want to be a wife with sons that are knights. She’s the gangster rapper of Game of Thrones, she’s gotta do her.
During the joust, Littlefinger regales Sansa with the tale of The Hound and The Mountain aka assault by arson, bodily harm by fire. Poor Sansa.
Lord Stark (Sean Bean)
Preparations continue for “The Hand’s Tournament,” but Lord Stark is still more interested in Lord Arryn’s death. He questions the GrandMaester about the previous Hand’s final acts, he’s slowly tracking down the mysterious events that led to Lord Arryn’s demise. He also learns Arryn’s last words, “The seed is strong,” a phrase that will certainly have impact as events unfurl. Lord Varys’ status as a eunuch is revealed, for those who are into that kind of thing.
Lord Stark then meets with Lord Baelish, (Littlefinger) who reveals a little bit more. Stark learns that spies are everywhere, and that you can trust no one. He visits an armorer, based on Littlefinger’s advice, and meets with a teen apprentice. Who is this kid? Why is he so strong willed? And why was Lord Arryn so interested in him? If you knew the answers, and you hadn’t read the series, then you’re pretty clever. It’s revealed that the boy is King Robert’s bastard son. Crucial detail.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
The prettiest of the Lannisters stands watch as King Robert enjoys the company of many a prostitute. Jaime also mentions that seeing Theon was like seeing a “shark on top of a mountain”. The Greyjoy’s have quite the ferocious history, you see.
King Robert (Mark Addy)
Robert doesn’t have much to do with this episode, but he presides over the joust. The Mountain takes on Sir Hue of the Vale, a man The Hand had been attempting to question about Lord Arryn’s death. Sadly, it’s going to be tougher to question him without a throat. The Mountain takes him out in a big way, mortal style.
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)
The Queen comes to visit Lord Stark, The Hand, and they have a little chat. Two family titans have a heart to heart where they realize they’re at odds. Cersei has the intellect, while Lord Stark is battle hardened, who will come out of this little fracas?
Lady Stark (Michelle Fairley)
The show ends with Lady Stark taking Tyrion, The Imp, hostage. It’s not a good moment for Tyrion, he’s far too north for Lannister influence to extend, and he doesn’t realize Lady Stark’s intentions until it’s too late in the game.
Best Moment of The Show:
To be honest, it was the final “setup” show of the first six episodes, and so there weren’t many amazing moments. The appearance of Snow’s Dire Wolf, maybe?
How many women was King Robert with as Jaime stood watch?
Should Sam Tarly’s weakness be tolerated given the dire peril that faces the wall?
Is King Robert a “good” king?