We begin where we left off in King’s Landing. Arya is training in water dancing with her instructor while all hell is breaking loose in the throne room and spilling out to the rest of the castle where Ned’s household is being slaughtered. Sansa walks with her septa when they hear the sound of fighting. Her septa shows good instincts when she instructs Sansa to return to her room and lock the door. As Sansa runs away, her septa bravely faces four soldiers with bloody swords. Syrio instructs Arya in the difference between watching and seeing when Lannister men enter with “orders” from Ned for them to retrieve his daughter. Syrio challenges their request and Arya picks up her wooden sword. Syrio fights off them as he orders Arya to find her father. She pleads with him to come with her, but he does not. His sword breaks but he does not give up. Arya runs out and hears fighting everywhere around her as she tries to escape. Sansa is still running to her room when The Hound stumbles upon her. She warns him to stay back and he laughs at her as he advances with a smirk on his face and sizing her up.
In the stables, Arya finds the carnage of her father’s slain men and she quickly searches amongst her littered belongings for her sword Needle. Suddenly, a stable boy comes upon her and threatens to take her to the queen. When he does not heed her warning to stay away she sticks him with the pointy end and he falls to the ground.
Somewhere deep in the bellies of the castle, Ned Stark sits in a dark dungeon. A visitor comes to call, Varys clad in a guard’s uniform, brings Ned something to drink and word from above. He informs Ned that Arya has fled and that Sansa is still betrothed to Joffrey and Cersei plans to keep her close while the rest of Ned’s household has been murdered. Varys asks Ned why he told Cersei he knew her secret and Ned replied with the typical, “I did it for the children” clich©. Varys gives Ned the harsh truth that Robert died because of Ned’s mercy. He also lets Ned know that Cat no longer holds Tyrion, meaning Ned has no leverage. When Varys turns to leave Ned asks him where his true loyalties lie to which he craftily replies “The Realm.”
North at the the Wall, men bring in the corpses of two brothers found beyond the wall, one of them being the owner of the amputated hand. Sam points out that there is no smell or rotting as there should be. Some insist on burning the corpses the way the Wildlings do, but Jeor wants them examined by Maester Aemon. They are interrupted by word that a raven has brought news from King’s Landing. The Lord Commander sits at his desk reading the letter when Jon enters. Jeor informs Jon that the king is dead and Jon wants to know if there is word about his father. Jeor brings the devastating news that Ned is charged with treason because he was part of a conspiracy with the Baratheon brothers to deny Joffrey the crown. Jon reads the letter for himself and then rises quickly to leave when Jeor stops him and reminds him not to do anything stupid and that his duties and loyalties now belong to the Night’s Watch and not House Stark.
In King’s Landing, the new small council crowd around Sansa and inform her of her father’s treasonous deeds. Sansa denies that her father would do such a thing. Cersei’s tongue is filled with sweet manipulative venom as she tries to use Sansa as a pawn to pen a letter to Sansa’s mother and brother, urging both of them to keep the king’s peace. In return, Cersei will allow Sansa to stay betrothed to Joffrey. Sansa is skeptical, she wants to see her father and know his fate. Cersei reminds Sansa that her father’s fate rests on how well her brother Rob and she cooperate. She hands Sansa the pen and Sansa accepts.
In Winterfell, Rob has received his sister’s letter. Maester Luwin is quick to recognize Cersei’s words in Sansa’s script. Rob agrees to the request to go to King’s Landing, but is adamant about not going alone. He orders Maester Luwin to “call the banners” the North will organize. Theon and Rob talk of being afraid while outside dozens of ravens take flight, carrying Rob’s call to arms to every house sworn to Winterfell.
In the Eyrie, Cat runs to her sister with the letter from King’s Landing. She accuses Lysa of withholding information from her. They argue about how much family means to each of them as Little Robert cries out to be fed from his mother, belch. In conclusion, Lysa explains that Cat will always be welcome at The Eyrie, but she will not call her men of The Vale to fight with Winterfell. She will keep her knights close to home in order to protect her son.
On a trail in the Mountains of the Moon, Bronn and Tyrion walk alone and have a “defining our relationship talk. The high lord explains to the sellsword that he will have all he wants as long as Tyrion is alive. Bronn explains that he is not Tyrion’s friend. Tyrion then gives Bronn a very important piece of information, should he ever be offered a price to betray Tyrion, Tyrion will double that price for Bronn’s loyalty.
Tyrion is sleeping deeply as Bronn tries to wake him. Someone is coming towards them. Tyrion is welcoming and asks the men to join up with them. The leader comes up and instructs them to tell their gods that they were sent by Shagga (Mark Lewis Jones) of [insert long name/title here]. Tyrion introduces himself, to which Shagga asks him how he wants to die. Tyrion gives his best witty answer which makes the mountain man laugh as he decides to spare his life but kill Bronn. Swords flare, but Tyrion is quick of tongue as he tries to stop the fighting by playing the “My-house-is-rich-and-powerful” card. At first the men are not impressed until Tyrion promises them The Vale.
At the Wall, Jon, Sam and Pyp are preparing a meal when Ser Thorne comes in to mock Jon and Jon’s father. Jon pulls a knife on him, but is held back by friends. Thorne promises retribution when Jeor Mormont walks comes in and sends Jon to his room. In his quarters, Jon lays in his bed to broad, like only Starks can do, while his direwolf Ghost paces anxiously about the room. The restless wolf is whining and growling by the door. Jon realizing something is wrong, lets Ghost out and follows him. Ghost, on a mission, runs to the commander’s chambers where all is eerily silent as Jon investigates. Suddenly, the door slams and then OMG!ZOMBIES! Jon is attacked by a very undead corpse. Ghost paws at the door and Jon realizes that blades have little effect on the wight. Jeor enters and the wight gets up, in a quick move, Jon douses the corpse with fire which appears to be the only thing that works.
We fly over the Narrow Sea where the Dothraki are slaughtering a whole town. Dany walks through the carnage and sees firsthand what men do after a battle. She also finds out that the captured people will be sold as slaves, for gold, gold that will by the ships to take her Westeros. She immediately demands that the men stop beating the women and her orders are carried out. She claims all the women as hers. Dany then has to face her husband, who has already heard the news of her saving the slaves and stealing the men’s spoils of war. Dany stands firm and fierce, traits that amuse the Khal. We soon see he cannot deny his “moon of his life” anything. Mago, the soilder who lost his spoils, is not happy with the ruling and he challenges the Khal. He slices a deep slice into the leader’s chest, but it seems to have no effect on Drogo as he prances around the man shouting insults before killing him with his bare hands. Dany runs to her husband’s side and is frightened about his injury. One of the rescued women comes forward and offers her help in healing the wound. Mirri Maz Duur (Mia Soteriou) is a great healer and wants to clean and stitch the wound of the man that led the attack on her home village.
In Winterfell, Rob’s bannermen have gathered for a feast. Greatjon Umber (Clive Mantle), demands to lead the Vanguard when Rob informs him that the position is already filled. The man threatens to take is troops and go home. A threat Rob matches. The older bannerman is insulted and draws his blade. Rob’s direwolf, Grey Wind, rushes to protect his master as he chews off one of Umber’s fingers. A tense situation is soon ended with a humorous exchange by Rob and Greatjon and Winterfell’s bannermen laugh into the night.
Later in the evening, Rob goes to say goodbye to Bran. He is leaving with his bannermen that very night. He tells Bran he must stay and be the “Stark of Winterfell” and that Bran is not to leave the castle. The oldest Stark leaves and the youngest appears, Rickon states how they have all gone away. He will not be comforted by Bran as he knows his family will never return to Winterfell.
In the Godswood, Bran prays for his family by the heart tree when Osha comes upon him and teaches him how to pray. She also tells the tale of why the old gods no longer have power in the South, all the heart trees have been cut down. A very naked Hodor randomly interrupts them and Osha comments that he must have giant blood in him. The talk then moves to giants and Osha informs Bran that Rob’s troops are marching the wrong way, they should be going north to face the growing threat there.
At The Wall, the brothers burn the zombie corpses and Sam informs them that the men must have been killed by The White Walkers. Also, that fire is the only weapon that will work in stopping them. We learn more about the legend of The White Walkers. Maybe a 700 foot wall of fire would have been better than a 700 foot wall of ice to protect against the cold undead.
Cat meets Winterfell’s army in route. When she is reunited with her son she resists the urge to embrace him in front of the men he commands. Cat wishes to speak to her son alone and when the men are all gone she takes her firstborn into her arms. She wishes someone else could lead the army but knows she can no longer order her son. Rob shares Sansa’s letter with her and then the two talk strategy and the great price they will pay if they lose.
Walking up over the hill to join the Lannister army is Bronn, Tyrion and his new army of mountain men. Shagga reminds Tyrion the price of treason. He will cut of his manhood and feed it to the goats. Tyrion and Tywin share a “touching” family moment as Tywin reminds his son that he is nothing like his older brother Jamie. Tywin and his brother Kevan (Ian Gelder) then bring Tyrion up to date on the events of Westeros and before Tyrion can demand payment for his new friends, they receive word that the Northmen are advancing. Tywin jumps up, gives orders, and then inspects Tyrion’s new “friends.” He promises them all what Tyrion did if only they would fight with the Lannisters. They agree as long as Tyrion fights alongside them, a request that surprises and dismays the “Little Lion of Lannister.”
In Rob’s camp, he and his men + mother, talk strategy. They speak of a new important character, Lord Frey, a bannerman to House Tully and Lord of the Crossing. He is an old man who is always late to battle, bringing his loyalties into question. He is in charge of who crosses the river that they need to cross in order get to Riverrun. The choice is this: to fight Jamie at Riverrun or Lord Tywin. Before the decision is made a Lannister scout is brought in. Rob lets the scout go with a message for Lord Tywin, “Winter is coming for him.” Greatjon Umber challenges Rob’s decision again and Rob reminds them who is in charge.
In King’s Landing, Sansa, styled in southern fashion, enters the throne room where an audience has gathered. The Queen Mother and King Joffery smile encouragingly at her as the commander of the city’s watch that gave the order to turn on Ned, Janos Slynt, receives his reward. We find that Tywin Lannister is given Ned’s old job of the King’s Hand. Next up, Barristan the Bold, the Commander of the Kingsguard is forced to retire. He protests as the Kingsguard serve for life when he is berated for letting King Robert die. In his place will be (surprise, surprise) Jamie Lannister. Ser Barristan is not amused or smitten with their offer as he removes his white cloak. He throws his sword at the feet of the boy king and orders him to “melt it down and put it with the others” before he walks from the room.
Sansa then comes forward to kneel before the king and plead for mercy for her father. She offers excuses for her father’s actions which are met with rebuke and praise from the small council. Sansa then plays on the affection she thinks Joffrey has for her. Joffrey considers and then passes his request, he is moved by her words, but he will only grant her father mercy if Ned will declare Joffrey the true king. An action Sansa promises her father will obey.
Don’t forget to check out my other “Game of Thrones” recaps:
Episode 1, Episdoe 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6 and Episode 7