Attempted murder, sex, intrigue and the call to duty….this week’s episode of GAME OF THRONES, “The King’s Road” brings us more excitement, grit and gore as Ned goes south with King Robert and his retinue, Daenerys learns to love Khal Drogo, Jon and Tyrion head north for The Wall and Catelyn investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding Bran’s “accident”.
“Can you teach me how to make the Khal happy?” ~ Daenerys Targaryen
Dany and the Dothraki Horde are slowly moving towards the Narrow Sea. The scenes involving Dany are few in this episode and mainly deal with her relationship with Khal Drogo. We get a bit of background to Ser Jorah Mormont from a brief exchange with Viserys. Ser Jorah was sent to serve on The Wall with the Night’s Watch because Ned Stark caught him selling to poachers caught on his land. Viserys assures Ser Jorah under his rule, such punishments will not be meted out and he will be a free man. Right now, as it stands, if he is caught by Ned Stark, he will lose his head for desertion.
Time for a sexy party ….
While they are camped, Dany learns that one of her maid servants was a former slave in a brothel and knows how to “make men happy”. Dany is unhappy with her relationship with Khal Drogo; he takes her like a dog in heat and treats her like an object. She wants his respect but also wants to please him – enter the serving whore…she teaches Dany that Khal Drogo mustn’t be allowed to take her like a slave doggy-style, but must be made to look her in the eye during sex – to experience a different way than the Dothraki way. The end result is successful and Dany takes charge and gets Khal Drogo to have sex with her in a less animal-like fashion. Missionary success! Points for Dany! *high fives*
“Better looking bitches than you’re used to, Uncle.” ~ Joffrey Lannister
Tyrion wakes up in a stable to his odious little nephew’s taunts but Tyrion gets the last laugh when he bitch slaps Joff for being mouthy and not paying proper respect to the Starks after what happened to Bran. I’ve gotta say…I adore Tyrion. I think I adore just about anyone who slaps Joff around. He’s truly detestable. Uncle Tyrion showed him some manners BOO-YAH! 😉 Also, I like that even though he’s a dwarf and he’s treated like crap he doesn’t take shit from anybody. Tyrion stands his ground and isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind.
After schooling Joff, Tyrion head’s over to breakfast with the incestuous dynamic duo. He tells them, much to Cersei’s dismay, that Bran will live, and that he’s dying to hear what he has to say about what happened. Jaime whispers to Tyrion that he wonders where his loyalties lie with that comment. Tyrion loves his family but I have the sneaking suspicion he knows Bran’s fall wasn’t accidental. Tyrion announces he’s heading to The Wall with Jon Snow to “piss off the edge of the world” 🙂 Tyrion has some of the best lines of this series and provides some much needed comedic relief.
“My brother has his sword, and I have my mind, and a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone” ~ Tyrion Lannister
Jon and Tyrion wend their way north to The Wall; they stop for camp and we get a bit more of an indepth explanation of what life on The Wall entails. Tyrion mentions two rapists who have joined them on their march north – we find out that The Wall is really more like the “Botany Bay” of Westeros. Undesirables and criminals man The Wall. Rapists are given the choice of either castration or The Wall – Tyrion quips that most choose the knife! OUCH! Men leave their families behind, take vows of celibacy and serve their life there or face beheading if they desert. This being the case, why is Jon volunteering for this kind of post?!
I love the scenes between these two. Both are outcasts and are building a grudging friendship. Tyrion has plenty of ‘outcast-words-of-wisdom’ to share with Jon. As much as Tyrion ribs him, he’s really trying to help him because he’s in the same boat. He’s trying to teach Jon a thing or two about being an outcast and how to deal with the crap that comes with it.
“Seventeen years ago, you rode off with Robert Baratheon. You came back a year later with another woman’s son…and now you’re leaving again?! You do have a choice and you’ve made it!!” ~ Catelyn Stark
So here we have it….the why of Cat’s intense dislike of Jon Snow. Jon comes to bid farewell to Bran as he’s lying in bed unconscious. He tells him he’s going to The Wall to join the Night’s Watch and Cat throws him out of the room. It’s understood that most soldiers will father bastards on their campaigns, but Ned being the honourable guy that he is, brought his affair home to raise as an equal to his other children. He loves Jon dearly and it’s a terrible rub for Catelyn. The books get more in depth about this relationship but suffice to say, as nice as Jon is, as upstanding a character he is, he is an ever present reminder of Ned’s infidelity to Cat. You can see why she dislikes him, although I have to say, some of that should be directed at Ned;Jon’s not to blame for the accident of his birth. In spite of this nastiness, which is witnessed by Ned, Jon remains polite and kind about Cat when Robb asks him how she was with him. He says nothing of her meanness because that’s the kind of guy Jon is; he keeps it to himself because he knows Robb loves his mother.
“There’s great honour in serving in the Night’s Watch. The Starks have manned The Wall for thousands of years, and you are a Stark. You might not have my name, but you have my blood.” ~ Ned Stark
Ned truly loves Jon. He promises Jon he will tell him who his real mother was when they next see each other. He is very proud of Jon and I believe he says this to Jon because of what he witnessed with Cat. He’s trying to make it up to him because he knows Jon suffers at the hands of others and his step-mother. It was a touching moment before the two parted ways.
Jon is all about harmony. He’s an all round good guy and very much like his father, Ned. We see an example of this when Jon commissions the blacksmith to make Arya her sword, “Needle”. He ensures she has something she likes, because she’s not a girly-girl like her sister Sansa, and also to protect herself while he’s on The Wall. She is grateful and in the conversations between Robb and Jon and Arya and Jon, we can see that his half-siblings also truly love him and treat him as an equal.
“There are still those in the Seven Kingdoms who call me “Usurper”. That Targaryen boy crosses with a Dothraki Horde at his back, the scum will join him….There’s a war coming Ned, I don’t know when or who we’ll be fighting, but it’s coming” ~ King Robert Baratheon
Ned’s trip down south is a shit show….
Ned and King Robert make a pit stop and get a “rider in the night” message saying Daenerys married Khal Drogo. Let’s just get this straight – “rider in the night” = bad stuff happening. Ned’s all “so what?”, and King Robert’s like “Ummm, no, this is a problem dude, I’m a throne stealer.” They also chit-chat about the past and Jon’s mother comes up but Ned is very reluctant to talk about her. He refuses to tell King Robert what she even looked like but we learn her name is “Wila”.
“I won’t hurt him…much.” ~ Joffrey Lannister
More problems dog them as they head south. Arya, Sansa and Joff have gotten into a fight and punishing the children puts a strain on King Robert’s and Ned’s friendship. Arya is playing with wooden stick-swords with Micah, the Butcher’s boy when Joff and Sansa come upon them while out on a walk. Joff, being the horrid little bully that he is, decides to pick a fight with Micah to make himself look big in front of Sansa. He tries to fight him with a real sword knowing he will hurt him. Nymeria, Arya’s wolf, attacks Joff and nearly tears off his hand. Arya, knowing that Nymeria will be put to death if she’s found, sends her away and spends the day in hiding. Ned and the King’s men look for her all day and night until the Lannister’s finally find her and she is brought before King Robert. Joff, the sniveling little brat, lies about what really happened. Cersei wants Arya punished and brings Sansa in to clear up the story. Sansa claims to not remember anything in order to protect Joff.
What’s even more upsetting is that the Butcher’s boy dies being run down by the King’s men. Due to Joff’s bullying and lies, we have a dead boy, and a dead wolf. He’s horrid and we can see that he cares for no one but himself. Even Sansa gets a view of his true colours when he’s injured; she goes to get help and when she comforts him, he screams at her. You really want to marry that Sansa? Yep. Joff. What a prize.
She wants to marry Joff so badly, she’s willing to cover up and let her sister be punished by the King to keep the truth hidden. I hate Joff, I’ve said it 150 times, but we can add Sansa to my blacklist now too. WOW. Talk about feeing your sister to the wolves – no pun intended. She’s a weak character and so self absorbed that she and Joff deserve each other.
Karma is a bitch and Sansa gets hers in the end. Cersei orders Nymeria put to death but because she can’t be found, King Robert allows Cersei to order Lady, Sansa’s wolf, to be killed in her place. Sansa is grief stricken and as much as I felt for the wolf, I was glad to see Sansa get it for her betrayal of Arya.
Ned is very unhappy about all of this this but does the honourable thing and prevents Ser Ilyn Payne from carrying out her death. Ned does it himself because ‘the wolf is of the north and she deserves better than a butcher’. I loved that line. The Dire wolf is the sigil of his house and Ned gives her a swift and decent death. It breaks his heart to do it and sets the tone that life in the south with the Lannisters will be unpleasant to say the least.
“I don’t think Bran fell from that tower. I think he was thrown…someone tried to kill him twice, why? Unless he saw something he wasn’t meant to see.” ~ Catelyn Stark
The end of the episode brings with it a very shocking and dramatic scene – Robb comes to see his mother while she’s holding vigil at Bran’s bedside and notices a fire outside the window. He rushes out and Cat remains with Bran. Seconds later, a hooded man enters the room and mutters that Cat wasn’t supposed to be there and tries to kill Bran. Cat lunges at the man and a struggle ensues. He tries to kill her and Bran’s wolf leaps off the bed and tears out the assailants throat, saving Cat. Blood gushes out of his neck wound in a hurl-worth graphic manner. We now know that the fire was a ruse to get Cat out of the room so the man could murder Bran.
Cat does some investigating the following day by the tower and finds a golden hair (Cersei’s) in the room where Bran fell. She assembles her most trusted household servants and Robb and Theon Greyjoy, Ned’s ward, to discuss her findings. She tells them she suspects the Lannister’s are behind this attempt on Bran’s life, especially after her sister’s note about suspecting the Lannister’s behind Jon Arryn’s death. The knife the assassin was wielding was Valyrian steel – meaning it was expensive; too expensive for a commoner to have so it was given to him. Catelyn feels she must send a warning to Ned but she doesn’t dare send a raven in case it is intercepted. She decides to ride out unannounced and warn him in person. Another member of the household accompanies her because a retinue would be noticed. She doesn’t want the Lannisters to know she is coming.
The final scene…Bran’s eyes snap open *insert dramatic music*…so we know that next week we will hear Bran’s side of the story. I can’t wait! Sometimes political intrigue can be dry and over complicated but this show makes it interesting and exciting. The characters are very well developed and the acting is amazing. Hats off to another fantastic episode!
Previously: Game of Thrones Review of the Pilot.
Written by Sandra Sadowski. Check her out on Twitter @AriesBunny and stop by her frequently updated website perfect for the history buff in you – Medievalists.net – which has tons of Medieval Information.
Pictures from HBO.
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