Game of Thrones: Bastards, Cripples, and Broken Things

Previously on Game of Thrones: Daenerys started flexing her queenly muscles and found out she was pregnant; Stark and the court arrived back at King’s Landing, where Ned doesn’t seem to be fitting in all that well; Jon settled in up on The Wall and started training the other men.

A raven flies into the keep of Winterfell, where Bran’s standing, practicing with his bow. So we know this is a dream already. He follows the crow as it flies into a gatehouse, and when it looks at him we see it has three eyes. Creepy!

Bran wakes in bed, accompanied by his direwolf and the old lady with the scary stories. Theon, a ward of the house (to ensure his own family’s good behavior), comes in and tells Bran they have a visitor. Bran doesn’t want to see anyone, but he has no choice. Theon calls in some hulking man named Odo and has him carry Bran down to the great hall.

There, Robb’s staring down Tyrion and his accompanying Night’s Watchman. Tyrion notices the chilly reception he’s getting, but he overlooks it once Bran comes in and asks the kid if he remembers anything about the day he fell. Still no. Tyrion hands Bran plans for a saddle that’ll let him ride again, which wins him some points with Robb, though not enough for him to be sufficiently welcoming. Tyrion leaves the great hall to find a bed in a nearby brothel instead.

Outside, he chats with Theon, who recommends a particular prostitute. Tyrion asks where Cate is and guesses she’s not in Winterfell, but Theon just says she’s indisposed. Tyrion needles him a bit about his family’s defeat in a rebellion years ago before riding off.

At the Wall, Jon’s training some of the men. They pause to check out a new recruit—a hunched over fat boy who looks scared to death. His name’s Samwell, which honestly sounds a little too close to Samwise for comfort. The guys make fun of him, and the commander asks Sam to show them what he can do. Not a damn thing, as it turns out. One of the other men hits him twice with the flat of his sword and he crumples to the ground, whimpering that he yields. Ye gods, I wouldn’t want this guy on my team in a crocheting competition. Commander orders the other men to keep hitting him until he finds his feet, which clearly disturbs Jon, who finally intervenes. Jon hauls Sam to his feet, and Commander tells the other three men to team up on Jon, as an exercise. They know before they start they’re going to get beaten, but they give it a good try anyway. And get beaten. Sam goes all puppydog eyes and asks Jon if he’s hurt. Jon tells him things aren’t going to get any easier for him up on the wall, and one of the others chimes in and asks Sam why he didn’t fight back. Sam whimpers that he wanted to, but he couldn’t, because he’s a coward. He apologizes for that and thanks Jon for sticking up for him. Aww.

The Dothraki ride between two large statues of rearing horses, arriving at what they consider to be their city. Viserys sniffs that it’s just a pile of mud, but Daenerys tells him to shut up, because these are her people. Viserys claims these are his people, and his army, and I’d really like him to put that claim into practice. He rides ahead, and Daenerys asks Jorah if Viserys could reconquor the seven kingdoms, even if he had a Dothraki army. Jorah thinks they’d have a chance if Robert met them in open battle, but the men advising him would know better than that. He’s got a particular bee in his bonnet for Ned, who drove him off his lands for selling slaves.

Later, Viserys and Daenerys’s slave, the former prostitute, are in a bath together. They talk about the mythological dragons, and Viserys remembers how, in his father’s day, the throne room was lined with the skulls of dragons, and little Viserys was rewarded for remembering their names. For a while, it seems like they actually have some kind of functional relationship—they’re almost cute and playful together. But this is Viserys we’re talking about, and he’s always got to be a dick, so he suddenly accuses her of depressing him and orders her to get on with the sexing. She does, looking miserable.

Sansa and her nanny, Septa, walk into the throne room, where Septa tells the girl she’ll sit on the throne one day, at her husband’s side. And someday soon after that, she’ll present her husband with a son. Sansa flatly asks what’ll happen if she has girls, and Septa says the throne will pass to Joffrey’s younger brother, in that case. Sansa’s clearly depressed, and doesn’t seem any keener on marrying Joffrey than he is on marrying her. She’s also still pissed at her father, presumably both for betrothing her to Joffrey and killing her direwolf.

Ned, meanwhile, is in a council meeting, stressing about money, because they’re still throwing that stupid tournament and it’s causing more headaches than it’s worth. The captain of the Kingsguard (I guess) is reporting all sorts of disorderly conduct throughout the city, caused by visitors coming for the tournament. Ned gives him some more men to help keep the peace and grouses about the tournament. Varys claims tournaments like these are good for the local economy, but Ned’s still not excited. He dismisses the council, but holds back Pycelle, because he wants to talk about Arryn’s death. Pycelle doesn’t have much more information to offer, other than the fact that Arryn visited him the night before he died to borrow a book. Ned asks to see it.

The book appears to be an extremely detailed lineage of all the great houses in the kingdom. It even lists each member’s distinguishing characteristics. He asks Pycelle what Arryn wanted with it, but Pycelle doesn’t know. The only other detail Pycelle has to offer is that Arryn kept saying: “the seed is strong,” before he died. Ned asks if Pycelle’s sure Arryn died of natural causes, as opposed to poison? Pycelle doubts he was murdered, because Arryn was popular. Ned picks up the book and leaves.

On the way back to his room, he finds Arya doing some pilates—she’s standing on one foot at the top of a flight of stairs, apparently at her fencing master’s behest. She seems delighted with her lessons. She asks suddenly if Bran will come and live with them now he’s awake. Probably not. She reminds her father that Bran wanted to join the Kingsguard, which won’t be possible now. Ned admits that’s true, but Bran can still sit on the council and run castles and things. She asks if she can do that too, but he tells her she’ll marry some lord and manage his household. Ned, have you not been paying attention with this girl? She shortly tells him that’s not what she wants at all.

Jon’s taking his turn at the top of The Wall, and he’s soon joined by Sam, who’s going to be his new watch partner. Sam admits he doesn’t see well and he’s also terrified of heights. Is there anything about this guy that isn’t a strike against him? Jon asks what he’s even doing there, and Sam tells him that on his 18th birthday, his father told him he sucked, so he could either join the Night’s Watch or be murdered. The familial relationships on this show are just marvelous, aren’t they? Jon clearly feels a bit bad for him.

Petyr catches up with Ned in the palace gardens and asks about the book he’s reading. He also shares some gossip about Arryn’s former squire, who was knighted quite suddenly after Arryn’s death. In addition, he points out the many spies watching Ned out in the garden and suggests he send a member of his household to talk to Hugh, the former squire. He also advises him to visit a particular armorer in the city whom Arryn visited several times before his death. This guy’s quite useful, isn’t he? Ned gruffly apologizes for distrusting Petyr, but Petyr pleasantly says it was the wisest thing he’s done yet.

Hugh is measuring off the distance of the jousting arena when he’s approached by Jory, captain of Stark’s guard. Jory says he’s there on Stark’s behalf, but Hugh won’t speak to him because he’s not a knight. Little prick. He goes back to his measuring.

Jory reports back to Ned as the two of them arrive at the armorer. Ned tells him not to worry about and goes inside to talk to the armorer, who tells him yes, Arryn did come to talk to him a few times. He wanted to talk to the armorer’s apprentice. The armorer calls the young man out and Ned asks him what Arryn wanted. The kid (who’s got dark hair, in case that’s relevant), says Arryn asked him how well he liked his work, and then asked about his mother. All the kid knows is that his mother had light hair and died when he was young. Oh. OH! Is this the supposedly dead eldest son of Robert and Cersei? Did she jettison him and pretend he died so her children with her brother could ascend the throne? Ned takes a close look at the young man, tells the armorer to send the young man to Ned if he ever wants to wield a sword instead of make one, and reports to Jory he’s just discovered Robert’s bastard son. Hmmm. I’m not sure about that.

Jaime’s stationed outside Robert’s rooms, forced to listen while Robert whores inside. Jory comes along with a message for the king from Ned, but Jaime’s in a foul mood and is spoiling for a fight. They talk for a little about a battle they both fought in, as some of the whores slip out of the room. The sight of them annoys Jaime, who refuses to take the message from Ned.

Wall. Jon joins the other boys for lunch and tells them to stop making fun of Sam, telling them he’s no different from them, and they have to protect him. One of the guys refuses to play nice, so that night, as he’s asleep, Jon and his direwolf (where’s she been?) and the other boys threaten him and tell him not to touch Sam. The man looks terrified, and sure enough, the next day, he puts up no fight at all when he spars with Sam. Neither do any of the others. Disgusted, the commander tells Jon this is no joke and once they’re beyond the Wall, they’ll want a good fighter at their side.

In the Dothraki village, Viserys drags Daenerys’s slave to Daenerys’s hut by her hair, throwing the woman at his sister’s feet and raving about her nerve, sending a whore to give him commands. Daenerys calmly asks another slave to take hers away and calm her down, then tells her brother that all she was doing was asking him to dinner. God, what a jerk! Not that I should be surprised. He starts to get rough, throwing things at her and accusing her of trying to turn him into one of her savages. He sneers that next she’ll want him to braid his hair. She’s found her spine, though, and spits back that he has no right to do so, because he hasn’t won anything. Good girl! He slaps her to the ground, screaming at her as she tries to fight him off. She grabs a nearby necklace and smacks him viciously across the face, shocking him. She gets to her feet and tells him she’s a Khaleesi of the Dothraki, and she carries the Khal’s son. The next time Viserys raises a hand to her, he’ll lose it. Go, Daenerys!

Jon and Sam have been put on scrubbing duty in the cafeteria. Sam remarks on the absurdity of being forced to remain celibate, which leads them both to reveal they’re virgins. Sam can’t believe Jon is, but Jon tells him that he came close once, really close, but then he started freaking out that he might get her pregnant and create yet another Snow bastard. Yeah, I’m guessing thinking about that would be kind of a mood killer. There’s a tense moment, but then Sam cracks a joke and they get playful in the way guys that age tend to do. The commander comes in and interrupts the fun to tell them a story of his own, about getting caught in a storm during the last winter, which kept they outside the Wall for months and forced them to eat their horses, and then each other. Uh, thanks for that. He informs them that new recruits will be coming soon, and he’ll be passing them along to the next level, where they’ll start dropping like flies. Ok, here’s a thought—if the Night’s Watch is so worried about not having enough guys to man The Wall already, then why don’t they properly train the ones they have before sending them out, so they don’t lose even more men? That just doesn’t make much sense to me.

In Dothrakiland, Daenerys, looking less certain than she did earlier, tells Jorah that she hit her brother. He tells her not to sweat it, since Viserys clearly deserved it, and he’s pretty lame anyway. He asks her seriously if she wants to see her brother become king. She doesn’t, but she thinks the common people do. Jorah knows better—commoners don’t care who’s on the throne.  Daenerys realizes her brother will never take back the seven kingdoms, because he couldn’t lead an army even if he was given one.

Tournament day! Joffrey sits sullenly with his parents, while Sansa sits nearby with Arya and the nurse. Sansa looks back at her future husband, who pointedly looks away. Petyr sidles up to her, notices the coolness in the air between the two tweens, and is introduced by the nurse. He sits down next to Sansa and fills her in on the vitals of one of the first riders: a massive man in black armor. He’s Ser Gregor Clegane, brother to Scarface (who’s best known as “The Hound”). Gregor’s riding against Hugh, who is clearly outmatched and knows it. The men collect their shields and lances and charge. The first pass does nothing, but in the second charge, Gregor manages to stab his lance right into Hugh’s neck. Hugh is knocked off the horse, a giant chunk of wood sticking out of his neck, and he expires horribly right in front of where Sansa’s sitting. As his body’s moved away, Petyr tells her a charming story of how one day, when he was only six or so, the Hound was playing by the fire with one of his big brother’s toys, and big brother found him and shoved is face into the coals to punish him. Lovely! Petyr says there aren’t many people who know that story, and Sansa promises not to tell.

Instead of attending the tournament, Ned’s in his room, with his book. Cersei stops by for a visit. She starts off chatty, but Ned wants to cut to the chase and asks her what she’s doing there. She throws the question back at him and he says he’s there to serve the king. She observes that he’s a very good soldier, which makes sense, because his older brother was trained to lead, and Ned was trained to follow. Perhaps unwisely, Ned adds that he was also trained to kill his enemies. “As was I,” says Cersei.

Cate and her bodyguard arrive at an inn (I think it’s the same one where the whole direwolf situation went down) and order some refreshments. Before long, the door opens and Tyrion comes in, looking for his own room and board. Cate tries to hide from him, but he notices her and says he was sorry to have missed her at Winterfell. Cate seems to come to a decision, and she rises and says she was born a Tulley. She goes around the room, noting that everyone else there owes some kind of alliegence to her father. She finishes up by accusing Tyrion of attempting to kill her son and calls on the men to help her bring him back to Winterfell to face the King’s Justice. They all draw their swords and surround Tyrion.

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