Previously on Game of Thrones: The war heated up, Robb captured Jaime Lannister, and Ned got his head chopped off. Also: things aren’t looking too good for Khal Drogo.
We get our squick early this episode, as the camera gives us a close-up of the gory, bloody sword that just hacked off Ned’s head. In the background, said head’s held aloft for the viewing pleasure of the rabid crowd. In the crowd, Ned’s buddy (who, I’ve figured out, is that member of the Night’s Watch who came south with Tyrion and warned Ned that Cate had taken Tyrion hostage) scoops Arya up and carries her away, referring to her as “boy” and warning her to keep her mouth shut. He takes her to a side alley or something and roughly starts chopping off her hair with a knife, telling her they’re heading north.
In Winterfell, Bran’s having his old three-eyed crow dream again. We go right from that familiar territory to him being carried by Tonks as he tells her the crow told him to go down to the crypt in his dream, and he saw his father there. She tiredly tells him his dad’s not down there, but she takes him down anyway, even though she’s clearly afraid.
Down in the crypt, Bran tells her who the various inhabitants are. Of course, Ned’s not down there, but a direwolf is. Luckily, it’s Rickon’s wolf, not a wild one, and Rickon’s there with it. Bran asks what he’s doing in the crypt, and Rickon says he came to see his dad, because he, too, had dreamt of Ned being there. Tonks gets a look on her face like “ok, yeah, that’s weird.”
Tonks carries Bran back out to the courtyard, where they find Maester Luwin reading a message with a really, really sad look on his face.
Cate walks through Robb’s encampment, as the soldiers bow respectfully to her. She holds it together until she gets to the woods, where she clutches a tree and cries for a minute, before the sound of someone beating the hell out of a tree catches her attention. She finds Robb hacking away at some poor tree. I feel him—hitting things has occasionally been my outlet for anger and frustration (non-living things, of course!). She gets him to stop and then tells him he’s ruined his sword. Not the right thing to say there, lady. Let the kid work out his grief and show some damn compassion! Robb drops the sword and his mother embraces him as he swears to kill all the Lannisters. She reminds him that they still hold the girls, but once they get them back, the Lannisters are so, so dead.
At court, a musician sits on the floor in front of an enthroned Joffrey and the whole court, playing a lap harp and singing a song about Robert’s death. It’s not very good, and the guy’s clearly tense. Joffrey leads the applause at the end and calls the song funny before bringing up the fact that it was first heard at some tavern. The musician apologizes and promises never to sing it again, but Joffrey has clearly decided to let his douchebag flag fly at full staff from now on, and he tells the man he can either keep his fingers or his tongue. The poor musician stammers that a man needs hands, so he gets to lose the tongue. Right in front of everyone. Entertainment at this court sucks.
As the man screams and begs for mercy, Joffrey hands his crown off to the Hound and tells everyone he’s done for the day. As he leaves, he pauses near Sansa, tells her she looks nice, and asks her to come for a walk with him. She hesitates, and the Hound urges her to do as she’s told.
She and Joffrey walk along one of the outside corridors of the castle, and Joffrey bluntly tells her that once she hits puberty he’ll be around to knock her up. And people say romance is dead. Joffrey takes her out to where all the traitors’ heads are displayed on spikes, and he forces her to look up at her father. She weepily reminds him he’d promised to be merciful and he claims he was, because he gave Ned a clean death. Sansa begs to be allowed to go home, but Joffrey won’t have it. He orders her to learn to be obedient, so she plays ball and looks up, her face hardening. Joffrey pushes her, pointing out Septa’s head as well (why did she have to die? Wasn’t she just a nanny or something?) and telling her that once Robb’s captured, his head will join the others. Sansa stonily tells him Robb might give her Joffrey’s head instead, and Joffrey moves towards her threateningly, then remembers that his mother told him a king should never hit his lady. So he has one of his guards do it for him. I don’t think that’s what she meant, Joffrey. The guy’s thorough about it, slapping her twice and bloodying her lip. Afterwards, Sansa looks down at the long drop off the drawbridge or whatever she’s standing on, and she starts to move towards Joffrey, completely dead-eyed. The Hound stops her from throwing Joffrey off and plays it off, handing her a handkerchief to wipe the blood off her face. Joffrey leaves, and the Hound tells Sansa she should spare herself some pain and give him what he wants. She goes to hand back his hankie, but he sadly tells her she’ll be needing it again. Ooof. Poor girl.
Robb’s captains are arguing strategy. One wants them to go south and join with Renly’s army, but Robb remembers that Renly has an older brother, Stannis, who has more claim to the throne. Finally, the guy who lost two fingers a few episodes ago stands up and says he doesn’t give a crap about any of these southern kings, he only recognizes the King in the North: Robb Stark, now Lord of Winterfell. He bows to Robb, and others follow suit, including Theon. Looks like Robb’s got himself a good, loyal army.
After that heartening meeting, Cate goes to pay a visit to Jaime Lannister and beat the crap out of him with a rock. Jaime still manages to be cheeky, even bloodied and beaten. He urges her to go ahead and kill him, if she wants, but she won’t. She asks him what happened to Bran, and he admits to pushing him out of the window in the hope of killing him. He won’t say what Bran saw, though. Frustrated, Cate drops her stone and leaves.
Robert’s former squire, the Lannister Lad, is apparently sleeping with Cersei. Jeez, lady, branch out! Beyond your own family tree! He’s all eager about the war, which annoys her, so she sends him back to bed.
Word of Jaime’s capture has reached Tywin, who announces the news to his captains and Tyrion, who observes that Robb’s not as green as they’d thought. In addition, both Stannis and Renley had taken up arms against the Lannisters. Basically, what we’re looking at here is a big ol’ mess. One of the captains suggests they try to broker a peace, but Tyrion points out that the Starks are unlikely to agree to that, now that Ned’s had his head struck off by Joffrey. The captains bicker over what they should do next, so Tywin sends them all away so he can have a word with Tyrion. Father and son sit down together, and Tywin admits he was right about Ned’s death being troublesome, and now they’re in a serious corner. Tyrion tells his father they’re about to be surrounded by no less than three armies, which Tywin knows. He’s sending Clegane out to destroy the Riverlands while the rest of them regroup elsewhere. And Tyrion’s going to King’s Landing, to act as Hand of the King in his father’s place and bring Joffrey back in line. Tyrion’s not excited by the idea, but Tywin’s mind is made up. This is clearly the first time he’s ever shown any sort of faith in Tyrion and Tyrion doesn’t quite know how to react to it. As a parting shot, Tywin tells his son he won’t be taking Shay to court with him.
Dothraki encampment. Daenerys comes to and asks Jorah where her son is. He sadly tells her the child never lived, and then the healer breaks in to meanly tell Daenerys the child was a monster. It sounds like the baby was an infant dragon, to be honest. She reminds Daenerys that she told her only a death can buy a life, although I thought they’d already sacrificed the horse for that. Daenerys demands to be taken to see Drogo, and they oblige, though Jorah tries to persuade her not to go.
Outside the tent, Daenerys looks around the nearly abandoned encampment and notes that the others have all gone. It seems the only ones left are her slaves and Jorah. Drogo is propped up against a rock, staring catatonically off into the distance. He doesn’t react at all to Daenerys, not even when she kisses him. Daenerys asks the healer when Drogo will be the same as he was before, and the woman basically tells her it’ll never happen. Bitch move, lady. This girl did put herself on the line to save your life, and it’s wound up costing her her husband and child. Daenerys says as much and demands to know why the woman didn’t tell her exactly what she was getting into. The woman sniffs that Daenerys’s child was going to be some great warrior, but now he won’t destroy anything, ever. She adds that Daenerys didn’t really save her from anything, because she’d already been raped before Daenerys got there, and saw all her neighbors killed and her temple burned. And you chose to take this out on Daenerys, the one person who showed you compassion and tried to help you? Talk about misplaced anger.
Jon’s ready to escape from The Wall so he can go join Robb’s army, despite Sam’s entreaties to stay. Jon ignores Sam and rides off, even when Sam tries to stand in his way. Ghost, his direwolf, runs out after him.
Shay packs up Tyrion’s things and confirms she’s not allowed to go with him. She takes offense at being called a whore and insists she won’t act improperly. So, Tyrion agrees to take her along after all. Well, that was easy.
Jon gallops through the woods, but soon he’s pursued by three other riders who turn out to be Sam and two of Jon’s other buddies. Jon stops when Sam falls off his horse and tries to explain to the others that he needs to do this for his father and family. One of the others tells Jon they’re his family now, and he took an oath. Just to remind him, they go ahead and recite it in its entirety. One of them hands Jon his sword back, and he returns to The Wall with them.
Daenerys attends to Drogo in their tent, begging him to show her some sign that he’s still in there. He’s not. After a while, she tearfully puts him out of his misery. He doesn’t even struggle.
In King’s Landing, Pycelle enjoys a post-coital conversation with Roz about how many kings he’s known in his day. She couldn’t possibly care less and obviously thinks he’s a sad, feeble old man. When she leaves, though, he stands up, straightens out, does some stretches and calisthenics, then dresses and, before he goes out, assumes the appearance of a weak and tired old man. Interesting.
Great, another pissing contest between Varys and Petyr. They meet up in the throne room, and Varys correctly guesses that Petyr wouldn’t mind having the throne to himself. Varys has no such aspirations. Somehow, the conversation steers in the direction of Varys’s castration, as just about every conversation with this man on this show tends to do. Why is everyone in King’s Landin so preoccupied with this man’s lack of balls? It’s bizarre. The two men express mutual admiration for their ability to survive through many reigns, and that’s about it for that scene.
Arya, now shorn, is being told by her rescuer that she’s now to be known as ‘Arry, an orphan boy, and she’s to watch her step. He brings her back to where he’s keeping his new recruits for the Night’s Watch—a nasty bunch, not that we should be surprised. A pair of boys start circling Arya and try to steal her sword, but she finally finds her spine and threatens to kill the fatter one, who’s quickly revealed to be a coward. She’s then backed by Robert’s bastard, the armorer’s apprentice, who’s joining the Night’s Watch too, because the armorer got tired of him. He chases the bullies off, then checks out Arya’s sword and recognizes the workmanship. He figures she stole it, but she informs him it was a gift. The Night’s Watch member calls for everyone to get in line and head out, because they’ve got a long journey ahead of them.
Jon brings Mormont his breakfast and learns that the commander knows about his little midnight foray. Mormont tells him he’s not going to be in trouble this time, but he needs to smarten up, because things are about to get super busy up at The Wall. Things are looking grim, and they can’t be bothered with some southern skirmish. The Night’s Watch is about to go beyond The Wall and bring back Benjen Stark, and find out just what’s going on out there. And Jon and his wolf are going with them.
Drogo lies on a funeral pyre, watched over by Daenerys and the remaining slaves. One of them, on Daenerys’s orders, removes the dragon eggs from their little chest and places them on the pyre. Jorah tries to talk her into selling the eggs instead, but Daenerys says they weren’t given to her to sell. Jorah somehow deduces that Daenerys plans to join her husband on the pyre, and he begs her not to do it. She kisses him on the cheek, and he steps away as she turns and addresses the slaves. She tells them they’re all free, and they can leave if they want, but those who remain will be free people, and her khalasar. Quite a few of them turn and leave, eliciting a smirk from the healer. Daenerys’s next order of business is to order Jorah to bind the woman to the pyre. Damn, Daenerys. I know she kind of screwed you over, but burning her alive is pretty harsh, don’t you think? As the woman’s bound, Daenerys promises the others that those who set out to harm them will die screaming. Does this woman really actively mean harm to everyone there? She did warn Daenerys that the spell to bring Drogo back was a terrible one, and as far as we know nobody else has been harmed by her.
Daenerys takes a torch and lights the pyre. Someone begins to chant, and the healer begins screaming in pain. Daenerys exchanges one last look with Jorah, then steps into the flames as the slaves kneel. The fire doesn’t seem to touch her at all.
The following morning, the slaves wake as Jorah walks through them. The pyre is now just a smoldering mound of burnt wood, but in the middle of it sits Daenerys. There’s not a stitch of clothing left on her body, but she’s entirely unharmed. And she’s got three cute little baby dragons with her. Jorah immediately kneels before her, and as she rises, the other slaves touch their foreheads to the ground, honoring her. Yeah, I’d be pretty impressed by that too. And with that, season one ends. Season two starts shooting soon, from what I hear, and it’ll be back in spring 2012. See you then!