*** BE WARNED, THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Finally, an opening credits appearance from The Eyrie! With that out of the way, let’s 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.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), and Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) don’t appear in this episode. So it goes!
Lord Stark (Sean Bean)
Stark begins the episode by following up on Sir Hue’s death, the knight that The Mountain killed during the joust. Mysteries still abound. Varys visits Lord Stark with some friendly advice and some possible information on Lord Arryn’s demise.
King Robert (Mark Addy)
Meanwhile, the King can’t get his armor on, as he’s too rotund. His berating of the Lannister squire continues unabated. The joust tournament resumes, and Loras Tyrell, The Knight of the Flowers, faces off against The Mountain. It goes terribly, as The Knight of the Flowers horse was in heat, causing The Mountain to lose the joust, causing The Mountain to decapitate his horse. The Hound comes to the rescue, saving Loras.
When Ned and Robert meet again, it’s to talk about the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen and her unborn child. Lord Stark is against it, being an honorable man, but King Robert and his council recommend killing her to avoid having a Targaryen at the head of a Dothraki army. The argument leads to Lord Stark resigning as The Hand of the King.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Lady Stark (Michelle Fairley)
Tyrion’s abduction continues, and they are headed to The Vale, home of Lady Stark’s sister. Tyrion points out to Lady Stark the idiocy of arming an assassin with his own dagger, but they are soon attacked by hill people. Tyrion has a chance to escape, but instead comes to the defense of Lady Stark. Once again, Tyrion’s storyline offers the most complexity and entertainment for your HBO dollar.
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright)
Education has commenced! Bran is learning the map and families of The Seven Kingdoms. He’s also become a bit bitter that his mom has left him. Little does he know she’s out kidnapping Lannisters on his behalf!
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen)
The Greyjoy lineage is discussed in greater detail, their rebellion and the events that led Theon to be housed as a ward of The Starks
Arya (Maisie Williams)
Arya’s practice continues, and she chases a cat down into the dungeon where she happens upon a dragon skull … and a very sinister conversation. Lord Varys is talking with an outsider, and he speaks of the wolf and the lion soon being at each other’s throats. She attempts to tell her father about the conversation, but they are interrupted by a messenger from The Wall who informs him of Lady Stark’s actions. This puts Lord Stark in a political predicament, and time becomes of the essence.
Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen)
Varys and Baelish threaten each other. It’s a nice conversation of political brinksmanship. We learn that Baelish (Littlefinger) is well informed, and not to be trifled with.
After Lord Stark resigns Baelish comes to him with an offer to see the last person Lord Arryn visited before he died.
Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie)
It’s always nice to see some good old fashioned crazy, and as Lady Stark arrives at The Eyrie she gets a full dose of her sister’s new state of mind. Things begin to spiral out of control, and Tyrion is locked in a room without a wall on the side of the mountain, the special jail of The Eyrie. It’s no Holiday Inn.
Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) and Loras Tyrell, The Knight of the Flowers
Have a nice tender moment of chest shaving as they discuss political aspirations. Do we have another contender for The Game of Thrones? Ding, ding ding!
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)
She doesn’t appear until forty minutes in, but what a conversation she has with King Robert! They discuss the realities of a Dothraki invasion. The invading army would lack siege weapons, but would hold a massive advantage in speed, tactics, and morale. Backstabbing and scheming have made The Seven Kingdoms ripe for the picking. 17 years of Lannister-Baratheon marriage has kept it all together, but it’s starting to fray at the edges. Cersei asks about Robert’s true love, Lyanna Stark, pointing out that they’ve hurt each other so often over the years that it hardly matters what subject is broached now.
Cersei asks if it was ever possible for her and Robert to make it work. He answers “no.” It’s a six minute conversation, packed with subtext, very well done.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
After Lord Stark visits one more King Robert bastard, Jaime Lannister intercepts him. Jory Lannister takes a sword to the head, never a good thing. Jaime’s plan is to take Lord Stark alive in order to get his brother Tyrion back. After Lord Stark’s men fall, Jaime and Ned have a relatively even fight … until one of Jaime’s men stabs Ned from behind. Jaime seems more than a little put out by this, as there’s nothing he loves more than a good fight. The episode ends with Jaime telling Ned he wants his brother back.
Best Moment of The Show:
When King Robert asks Queen Cersei what holds the kingdom together and she answers “our marriage” which sends them both into laughter.