Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned’s idiocy got him thrown into prison, which pissed off Robb, so he gathered a big ol’ army and started marching on the Lannisters. Up on The Wall, Jon proved his worth by saving Mormont from a zombie. Oh, and Drogo got a scratch on him in a fight that I’m sure will somehow wind up being fatal.
Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned confronted Cersei about her twincestuous ways and then ran about being suicidally stupid, putting his faith into people like Petyr, who ended up betraying him. Maybe. I feel like you can never tell with this show. In other news of dumbassary, the attempt on Daenerys’s life failed and just made Khal Drogo decide to invade Westros after all, and King Robert died from drunk hunting, putting Joffrey on the throne. Joy.
Arya’s having a fencing lesson, blithely unaware of the very real fighting going on a few floors below her. So I guess we’re staring immediately where we left off. Sansa and Septa are walking the halls, wondering where Arya is, when Septa hears the unmistakable sounds of battle and sends Sansa right back to her rooms. Sansa runs off, and Septa is almost immediately confronted by a bunch of guards with bloodied swords. In her lesson, Arya loses, and she’s a terribly sore loser.
Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned got his Hand job back, and finally figured out that Cersei’s been sleeping with her brother. Tyrion won his freedom through trial by combat, but it’s probably not enough to prevent an all-out war between the Starks and Lannisters. Viserys finally got his crown—molten, and poured over his head. I don’t think he’ll be too missed.
In a magnificent encampment somewhere, Lannister Senior, played by Charles Dance, aka Lord Stockbridge, is gutting and skinning a deer while Jaime reads aloud the order for Senior to return to court and answer for Clegane’s crimes. Senior tells Jaime he was stupid to attack Ned, and even stupider to leave Ned alive. He does, however, give Jaime 30,000 men to go attack Cate and free Tyrion. So, hang on a minute, they don’t know that Tyrion’s already been freed? Communcation in this world is confusing to me: Robb Stark knew about the attack on his father, like, a day after it happened, but the Lannisters still haven’t received any kind of raven or whatever telling them that Tyrion’s on his way home? It seems like the first thing Tyrion would do. This seems really inconsistent to me.
Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned got fired/quit as Hand of the King and was all ready to go home, but then Jaime Lannister attacked him in the city and killed Jory because he was pissed off about Tyrion being taken prisoner by Cate, who hauled the Imp to The Eyrie to see her nutjob sister.
Ned wakes, looking a bit feverish, perhaps from that leg wound he wound up with during Jaime’s attack. He finds Robert and Cersei hovering over his bed. He and Cersei almost immediately start harping at each other over the Tyrion situation, until Robert shouts at them both to shut up and orders Ned to return Tyrion to his family and make his peace with Jaime. Ned’s unwilling to do either and wants to go fetch Jaime so he can face justice for all of last episode’s unlawful murdering. Robert hesitates, and Cersei starts nagging him, telling him he should be wearing the dress and she the armor. He decides to show her how tough he is by smacking her in the face. I’m in no way an advocate of domestic violence, but I have to admit, I was a tiny bit happy to see someone smack this awful bitch for a change. Maybe that’ll shut her up for a minute. She leaves, and Robert admits he shouldn’t have hit her. He also repeats his order for Ned to release Tyrion so they can all get on with their lives. And he can’t go after Jaime, because he’s deeply in debt to Lannister Senior, and he really can’t have the Starks and the Lannisters at war with each other. He reinstates Ned as King’s Hand and leaves him in charge of the kingdom while he goes out hunting for a few days.
Ned finally makes his way to his own tournament, where dead Hugh is being cleaned up and stitched up for burial. Ned observes that young Hugh was wearing brand new armor, and he wonders how a kid who was just a squire until recently could afford new armor. Like me, he thinks this death is mighty suspicious. He chats a bit with Ser Barrister, who tells him Robert wants to join the joust.
Ned next goes to the king’s tent, where that poor young Lannister lad’s trying to squeeze fat Robert into armor that just won’t fit. Robert barks at the kid to go find the breastplate stretcher, which doesn’t exist, but the kid scuttles off anyway, probably happy for an excuse to leave. Ned and the king tease each other a bit, and then Ned tells him not to joust, because everyone would just let him win. Well, maybe this would be a good way to avoid more bloodshed, then. Robert puts up a bit of a fight but ultimately agrees not to ride.
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.
Previously on Game of Thrones: Daenerys got some sex tips from her slave and started making her marriage work; Ned and his daughters headed south with the king and court, and Prince Joffrey proved himself to be a sniveling little jerk. Cate realized the Lannisters were behind Bran’s big fall and headed out to King’s Landing to tell Ned.
The royal entourage, now two direwolves short, arrives at King’s Landing and rolls up to the fairytale castle, where Stark dismounts and is immediately asked to attend a meeting of the high council. Ned tells the nanny to get the girls settled in, ignores the suggestion he change into something fancier, and heads inside.
Previously on Game of Thrones: The King’s Hand died/was killed, so the king asked his old buddy, Ned Stark, to take the job and marry the oldest Stark daughter to the king’s oldest son. Meanwhile, the last male member of the Targaryen royal line pimped his sister out to a nomadic warlord, so he could score himself an army.
The Dothraki are on the move. Daenerys, mounted on her lovely grey horse, takes a break and watches the others pass by. Jorah joins her and offers her some jerky to eat. He notes her sad face and tells her things will get better. One can only hope so.
I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t read the novels this show is based on. Fantasy isn’t really my genre of choice; at most I’m a fantasy dilettante (I’ve read Harry Potter and watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but that’s pretty much it. I haven’t even seen Star Wars all the way through). So maybe it’s a bit odd that I’m recapping this, but I figured it’s got swords and horses and wimples and whatnot, so why not give it a go? Plus, it’s HBO, so I figured it would be good. Thankfully HBO was kind enough to provide plenty of supplementary info for those of us newbies, so hopefully I won’t make a complete idiot of myself here.
We start off with three men on horseback waiting for a gate to slooooowly rise. The one in front is all cropped hair and attitude—we’ll call him Snide in Charge (SIC). Behind him is a bearded veteran type—Bearded and Experienced (BAE), and the third man is skinny and nervous. Taking what happens to him soon into account, we’re going to go ahead and call him Scared Shitless (SS). The men ride through a tunnel, then emerge through another opening in the side of a snow-covered mountain. They split up when they hit the wintry woods and the camera follows SS. He spots something, dismounts, and crawls up to the top of a small bluff, which overlooks a horrifying spectacle of dismembered bodies set out in what looks like some kind of ritualistic circle. SS turns to flee and finds a little girl impaled on a tree behind him. Lovely!