May 23 2011 4:05pm

Game of Thrones Episode Six: Not Today

Game of Thrones episode six is titled “The Golden Crown,” and although a crown made of gold might seem great, all is not what it seems. But you knew that.

Episode five, otherwise known as “The Wolf and the Lion,” was covered last week, and prior to that was “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things” (episode four), along with previous epis “Lord Snow,” preceded by “The Kingsroad,” and it all started out with “Winter is Coming.”


In the aftermath of the epic swordfight between Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister (prematurely ended by a Lannister guard spearing Ned in the calf), Ned awakes, sweaty and presumably feverish, to find Cersei Lannister looming over him, a perpetually frowning blonde nightmare. Luckily (or perhaps not), Robert is also looming over him, so it’s probably not a dream.

Ned has barely opened his eyes before Cersei demands: “Do you know what your wife has done?”

Despite his feverish state, Ned has the presence of mind to keep up the pretense that Catelyn kidnapped the Queen’s brother on his command. Cersei is personally affronted by the idea that some lesser human being laid hands on her “blood” (i.e. a Lannister) and asks what authority Ned had to do so.

Ned says he’s the King’s Hand (but his wife Catelyn is not, and there’s the rub: The King’s Hand can have people arrested—or even, as we shall see, have people condemned to death in absentia—but Mrs. King's Hand’s legal position vis-a-vis abduction is a lot more sketchy, so Ned keeps lying to protect her. It's sweet to see that Ned’s honor is not so unbending after all; he'll lie on behalf of someone he loves even though it obviously pains him to do. Awww!)

Cersei reminds Ned that he resigned his position as King’s Hand, and they start overtalking each other until Robert tells them both to shut up. He finally gets to say what he wants, despite the squabbling.

Robert rules that Catelyn will release Tyrion and that Ned will make his peace with Jaime. Ned says that Jaime butchered his men, though Cersei’s hilarious version of the story is that Lord Stark, returning drunk from a brothel, had his men attack Jaime. No one who actually knows Ned would believe this story but on the other hand, who in King’s Landing knows Ned that well except Robert?

Somehow, despite his fevered state, Ned knows that Jaime has fled the city (presumably to go find Tyrion) and he asks Robert to have Jaime brought back to justice. (I know Robert wants to avoid conflict between the Starks and Lannisters and doesn’t really care about Ned’s men, but isn’t going AWOL from your Kingsguard duties a bit of a no-no? Maybe those rules just don’t apply to Jaime!)

Cersei goads Robert, saying that she took him for a King. Ned has “attacked one of my brothers and abducted the other. I should wear the armor, and you the gown.” (If Robert does borrow Cersei’s gowns, I hope he pays for the undoubtedly astronomical post-orgy drycleaning bills.) Robert, at a loss for words, hauls off and slaps Cersei hard. She tells him that she’ll wear the upcoming bruise like a badge of honor. “Wear it in silence,” Robert tells her, “or I’ll honor you again.”

OK, so yes, Cersei is a scheming, cold-blooded killer of direwolf puppies and she sleeps with her brother, but Robert doesn’t know this (well, he knows the puppy part but he was complicit in that too.) Essentially, he hits her for being ‘uppity’ and then after she walks away, he blames her for “making” him hit her: “See what she does to me, my loving wife?” Ugh! I hate feeling sympathetic to Cersei, but I do here (and I do during this scene in the books too.) See what you do to me, drunken King?

Throughout all of this, Ned wears the same look of silent, pained disapproval that he’s had since he arrived in King’s Landing. It’s hard to tell whether he’s specifically disapproving of what Robert just did, or generally disapproving of King's Landing, or whether he's in pain from his leg wound. Robert assumes the first and, after pouring himself a drink, ashamefacedly admits that he shouldn’t have hit Cersei because it wasn’t kingly. It’s a little late to be worrying about what’s kingly and what isn’t now, Robert, but I’ll take what I can get.

Ned wants to move on, and tells Robert that there will be a war if they don’t act. Robert agrees, though his idea of “acting” is a little different than Ned’s. He orders Ned to order Catelyn to return Tyrion to King’s Landing.

“What about Jaime Lannister?” Ned asks. Robert doesn’t respond so Ned asks again: “What about Jaime?”

Robert reminds Ned that he owes Jaime’s father Tywin half a kingdom’s worth of gold. Robert neither knows nor cares what made the Starks and Lannisters go after each other in the first place.

Note to Ned: This might be an ideal time to share your suspicions about Jon Arryn’s death and/or mention the whole Bran assassination thing to Robert.

Ned ignores my advice and remains silent on both those pertinent subjects, perhaps because he figures that Robert has no intention of dispensing justice anyway.

The important thing to Robert is that he can’t rule if the Starks and Lannisters are at each other’s throats. Since I’m not aware that Robert has done any ruling at all during his reign, what he is really saying is: “I can’t have tournaments and wine and wenches if my father-in-law cuts off the money so you, old pal, have to suck it up because heavens forfend I forfeit any of my pleasures.”

Ned asks for leave to go to Winterfell and sort things out, and Robert tells him to send a raven, because he wants Ned to stay in King’s Landing. “I’m the King,” Robert says. “I get what I want.”

Robert says that he never loved his actual brothers; Ned was the brother he chose. Which is all very well for Robert, but I still fail to see what Ned is getting out of this relationship besides a bad limp. From his facial expression, Ned agrees with me.

The King puts down his wine cup and throws the Hand’s badge back to Ned, saying that they’ll talk when he returns from hunting. Phew! I thought he was actually starting to be responsible or something, but it turns out that he’s just leaving the mess for Ned to clean up. Ned brings up Danaerys Targaryen again and Robert says not to start with that again. She dies, the end.

Ned still looks reluctant, considering his previous anti-killing position, so Robert tells him that if he ever takes off the Hand’s badge again, the position will go to Jaime Lannister. If that isn’t an incentive for Ned, I don’t know what is!

Cut to Vaes Dothrak:

In a large tent, Danaerys is holding one of her dragon eggs. She places it on a charcoal brazier, and between that and all the candles and the wicker and wood, the place just screams fire hazard. I hope the Dothraki have good sprinkler systems in their yurts!

As this scene will shortly show us though, Danaerys isn’t afraid of a little 3-alarm blaze. Irri, the Dothraki handmaiden who told Danaerys she was pregnant, enters to see the Khaleesi picking the dragon’s egg out of the hot brazier with her bare hands.

Evidently thinking this is some hormonal craziness, Irri runs over and grabs the dragon egg from Danaerys’s hands; she gives a yelp of pain as the hot stone touches her palms. When she takes the khaleesi’s hands and turns them over, Danaerys’s palms are unmarked, while Irri’s have little dragon-scale shaped scorch marks all over them. Man, that girl is brave because that has to hurt like a bitch. (In addition to sprinklers, I hope the Dothraki have exacted a tribute of Neosporin from somewhere.) But more importantly, it seems that Danaerys has a special relationship with fire. Hmmmm!

Far away, in Winterfell, Bran is in the midst of one of his dreams of walking and deceitful three-eyed crows. This time, the crow leads him deep into Winterfell’s crypts but agin, before Bran can follow the crow any further, he wakes up only to see Hodor holding the special saddle designed by Tyrion Lannister.

We cut to Bran riding in a clearing, whooping with delight to be on horseback again (awww!) as Robb and Theon discuss whether to tell Bran about the attack on Ned. Theon eggs Robb on, telling him that he has to make the Lannisters pay, using the irrevocable logic of the schoolyard that the Lannisters “started it.” (Why is Theon so anxious to see Robb go and attack the Lannisters? A general love of mayhem?) Finally, Theon says that it’s Robb’s duty to represent his House when his father can’t. Robb shuts him up by saying “it’s not your duty, because it’s not your House.”

At this point, Robb and Theon realize that Bran has disappeared from their little clearing. “Where’s Bran?” Robb asks. “Don’t know,” Theon says. “It’s not my house.” Goodness, Theon, you are almost as charming as King Robert!

Bran’s horse has wandered deeper into the forest, which is misty and creepy and full of wildlings who have fled south of the Wall because they are sensible people who don’t like White Walkers. The wildlings surround Bran and tell him to get down because they’re going to take his horse and his silver pin. When Bran says he can’t get off the horse because of the special saddle, one of the wildlings asks what’s wrong with him, and whether he’s a cripple. Bran gets touchy, shouting that he’s Brandon Stark of Winterfell and that if they don’t let him be, he’ll have them all killed.

Robb Stark of Game of Thrones

One of the wildlings, a woman who could give Viserys Targaryen a run for his money in the crazy eyes department, points out that Mance Rayder would give them a lot of money for someone from Benjen Stark’s family. As the wildlings argue over whether to kill Bran or just take his stuff, Robb finds them and is all badass, killing two of them. He grabs the woman by the hair after she attacks him, but the last remaining non-dead, male wildling gets his knife at Bran’s throat. The standoff continues until Robb moves to set down his sword, at which point the man holding Bran is shot through with an arrow. Theon’s archery skills are apparently the real deal and he saves the day, even though I hate to say it, because he’s such a jerk.

Robb drops the wildling woman and goes over to Bran who has a cut on his leg that he doesn’t even feel. (Aww, poor Bran!) Robb scoops his little brother up in his arms as Theon gets condescending with Robb for having killed his first human beings and thus becoming a man. (Shut up, Theon!) Robb, full of pent up emotions, yells at Theon for his arrow move, saying that if Theon had missed, Bran would have died. Theon is obviously hurt and says that it was the only thing he could do, so he did it.

Meanwhile, the poor wildling woman is still kneeling with Theon pointing an arrow at her head and decides that this would be a great time to beg for her life. Robb decides not to execute her.

Apropos executions, Tyrion is asleep in his open-walled cell at the Eyrie, which also apparently has a sloping floor. (The designer of this prison was deliciously and diabolically evil!) Tyrion wakes just as he rolls right to the edge of the cell, and clearly freaked out, bangs on the door of his cell for the jailer.

Mord the jailer arrives and hits Tyrion with his billy-club every time Tyrion tries to talk. Tyrion attempts to explain that his family is rich and that he has lots of gold. Mord searches Tyrion for the gold, and failing to find any, hits him again.

“Well, I don’t have it here,” Tyrion says in exasperation. Mord hits him again, and stalks off, muttering “no gold, fuck off," leaving Tyrion to contemplate the drop below and the difficulties of dealing with those at the other end of the intellectual spectrum from himself.

In King’s Landing, Syrio arrives for Arya’s “dancing” lesson. Arya is visibly worried and distracted. When Syrio tells her it’s time for her lesson, she says that she doesn’t want to practice because Jory is dead and her father is hurt. Syrio tells her that trouble is the perfect time for training. When life is happy and she’s playing in a sunny meadow with her dolls and kittens, that is not the time for training. (Um, last time Arya was playing in a sunny meadow, well, a sunny riverbank, it was with Mycah and she could have used some training.)

Syrio recognizes that Arya is afraid for her father; he asks if she prays to the gods. Arya tells him that she prays to the old and new gods. Syrio is apparently the Westeros version of a monotheist:

“There is only one god,” he says. “And his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to death. ‘Not today.’”

Arya is energized by this somewhat morbid pep talk and starts dancing around, her skills having clearly improved since her first lesson.

Back in Vaes Dothrak, Khal Drogo and Danaerys have a date night, because once the kid’s born, it’s going to be hard to find time for each other any more. He gazes soulfully into his beautiful wife’s eyes as a selection of old crones chant what sounds like “rock, rock the hedge.” Meanwhile, Danaerys is standing on a stage at the center of the yurt ingesting the Dothraki version of prenatal vitamins: a whole raw horse’s heart. (Thank goodness my OB just told me to eat spinach and an occasional lean steak.)

Viserys watches, appalled, and asks Jorah if she has to eat the whole thing. “She’ll never keep it down.” Indeed! As Dany keeps chewing, Jorah translates the chant of the crones (Danaerys’s son will be a badass, all others will cower and weep tears of blood when he turns up, yadda yadda. And just wait until he hits the Terrible 2s!) Viserys is visibly miffed by all this and insists that Dany’s son won’t be a true Targaryen.

As she reaches the end of the horse heart ordeal, Danaerys begins to retch, and the chanting stops. She leans forward, takes a few deep breaths, and swallows without vomiting. Go her! (Memo to whoever makes up the Dothraki shopping/tribute list: Add “Tums for pregnant Khaleesi” to “sprinkler system” and “Neosporin.”)

The chief old crone says that Danaerys’s son is going to be the Stallion Who Mounts the World (so either the equivalent of Genghis Khan or else someone who needs a lifetime supply of condoms. ANOTHER thing to add to the Dothraki Shopping & Tribute List. Jeez!) Jorah translates further, saying that this child will unite Dothraki and the whole world will be his oyster (prairie oyster, that is.) Viserys looks less than thrilled by this prospect.

Danaerys in turn announces to the assembled Dothraki in their own language that a prince rides inside her, and that he will be called Rhaego, the Dothraki version of her dead brother Rhaegar’s name. Drogo approaches her, his face shining with love and pride. If we needed it spelled out, Jorah announces that Danaerys “truly is a queen today.” He looks around, but Viserys has disappeared.

He hasn’t gone far, just to Danaerys’s tent where he’s slipping the dragon’s eggs into his travel bag. Jorah intercepts him, and Viserys draws his sword. Jorah tells him to sheathe his sword. “You know the law,” he tells Viserys. (In case those of you who are reading don’t know the law, there are no bared blades in Vaes Dothrak.) Viserys says that it’s Dothraki law, not his.

Jorah tells Viserys that the dragons’ eggs don’t belong to him because they were his sister’s wedding present.

“Whatever is hers is also mine,” Viserys says.

“Once, perhaps,” Jorah says.

But that’s clearly not the case any more. Viserys says if he sells the eggs he can buy a ship and a large army. He’s the last hope of “the greatest dynasty the world has ever seen” and that he’s carried that hope since he was five years old. No one has ever given him what they just gave his sister in that tent. Perhaps because unlike Viserys, Danaerys has worked hard at earning the love and respect of her husband’s people. (Also, she ate a raw horse’s heart, you gotta respect that!) In a rare moment of self-awareness, Viserys asks Jorah: “who can rule without wealth or fear or love”?

Jorah still stands at the door to Danaerys’s tent, and Viserys taunts him with having feelings for Danaerys. Viserys says he doesn’t care; Danaerys can dine on parts of horses and Jorah can dine on her, “but let me go.”

“You can go,” Jorah tells him, “but you can’t have the eggs.”

Viserys reminds Jorah that he swore an oath to Viserys and asks whether loyalty means nothing to Jorah. Err, considering that he’s spying for King Robert, probably not so much. Jorah is offended, claiming that loyalty means everything to him (though I guess he didn’t specify exactly who has his loyalty). Viserys eventually backs down in this whole loyalty pissing match, and leaves the tent without the dragon eggs.

Back at the Eyrie, Tyrion attempts, yet again to reason with Mord the jailer. A closer look at the enormous scar on Mord’s forehead causes me to revise my oxygen-deprivation theory to include “oxygen deprivation and being hit really hard on the head” as factors in Mord’s limited skill-set.

“About the gold...” Tyrion begins.

“No gold,” Mord says, having ascertained this for himself earlier.

“Sometimes possession is an abstract concept,” Tyrion says, earning himself another whack from Mord’s billyclub.

Finally, Tyrion manages to get through to Mord by mentioning that he’s a Lannister. It seems that even in the perilous heights of the Eyrie, everyone knows that Lannisters always pay their debts. Tyrion promises that he’ll give Mord lots of gold to deliver a message to Lysa Arryn; the message is that Tyrion wishes to confess his crimes.

In the great hall of the Eyrie, Lysa and her son Robin sit on the throne while Catelyn stands beside them, still looking a bit uncomfortable. Thankfully, there’s not a prosthetic breast in sight, so the crazy level is somewhat reduced from the last time we were in here.

Tyrion begins his hilarious confessions: He stole a servant’s clothes when he was seven; stuffed his uncle’s boots with goatshit when he was ten and let someone else take the fall; and when he was twelve, he “milked my eel into a pot of turtle stew” intended for his sister.

Accompanied by the titters of the lords and ladies of the Vale of Arryn, Tyrion next launches into a tale about a jackass and a honeycomb in a brothel. Much to the disappointment of both Robin Arryn and myself, we will never know what happened, because Lysa Arryn interrupts him, asking what he thinks he’s doing.

Catelyn accuses Tyrion of hiring an assassin to kill Bran and of conspiring to murder Jon Arryn, Lysa’s late husband.

“I’m very sorry,” Tyrion says. “I don’t know anything about all that.”

Lysa says that now Tyrion’s had his little joke and she orders Mord to take him back to a smaller cell with a steeper floor. Tyrion’s not cowed either by Catelyn’s accusations or Lysa’s craziness and he asks if this is how justice is done in the Vale. He demands a trial, and Lysa reminds him that if he’s found guilty, he’ll pay with his life. In addition to the ingenious cells, the Eyrie has a unique and elegant system of executions: the Moon Door, a round trapdoor in the floor of the throne room, opens onto a vertiginous drop below. Hence Robin’s desire to see people “fly” though, like Monty Python’s flying sheep, they don’t so much fly as plummet.

She says that little Robin will be the judge in the upcoming trial, but Tyrion, sensing that someone who keeps mentioning that he wants to see the “bad man fly” may not be the most impartial judge, demands a trial by combat instead. Everyone but Catelyn starts laughing.

Various knights step forward, offering to fight Tyrion. The only one who doesn’t is Ser Vardis, who met Catelyn’s group in the last episode. When Lysa Arryn asks him why he didn’t volunteer, Ser Vardis argues that it’s shameful to fight a man half his size, slaughter him, and call it justice. Tyrion demands a champion of his own, because that is his right and Ser Vardis says he’d be happy to fight against Tyrion’s champion. Tyrion warns Vardis not to be too happy, because his chosen champion is his brother Jaime. (Aww, I’m not sure how much the bond between Tyrion and Jaime comes out on the TV series, but it’s clear that Tyrion both absolutely believes his brother would fight for him and that his brother would wipe the floor with any of these guys.)

Lysa says that the Kingslayer is hundreds of miles from the Eyrie, and Tyrion tells her that he’d be happy to wait until they can get word to Jaime. Lysa has other ideas. “The trial will be today,” she tells Tyrion.

Tyrion asks for a volunteer to champion his cause, and it looks like all is lost until Bronn (“Give me ten men and some climbing spikes and I’ll impregnate the bitch”) steps forward. Tyrion smiles and Bronn raises an eyebrow and shrugs. They are definitely on the same wavelength. Who else smells bromance?

King Robert Baratheon and Renly Baratheon

Ssssshhhhh! Be vewy vewy quiet, they’re hunting ... boars.

That is to say, King Robert, Renly Baratheon, Ser Barristan Selmy, and Lancel Lannister are walking through some woods. Renly and Robert are armed with boar spears, Lancel is armed with a wineskin and Barristan looks like he’s bored out of his mind.

Robert cracks some jokes about Renly’s balls and masquerades and asks whether Renly’s ever fucked a Riverlands girl. I’d say the answer is “probably not” but Robert just wants an excuse to talk about how back in his day, you weren’t a man until you’d had a girl from each of the Seven Kingdoms AND the Riverlands. It was called “making the eight.” Mmmm, Robert grows ever more charming with each appearance.

“Those were the days,” Robert says.

Renly has had enough of hunting, Robert and talking about whores. And I’m with him.

“Which days exactly?” he asks. “The ones where half of Westeros fought the other half and millions died? Or before that, when the Mad King slaughtered women and babies because the voices in his head told him they deserved it? Or way before that when dragons burned whole cities to the ground?”

“Easy boy,” Robert says. “You’re speaking to your king.”

But Renly’s not quite done yet. “I suppose it was all quite heroic,” he says. “If you were drunk enough and had some poor Riverlands whore to shove your prick inside and make the eight.”

Go Renly! (Unlike Cersei, he even gets away slap-free.)

Poor Lancel hurries to offer Robert some more wine before he can be abused by the King. Robert drains the skin and Barristan watches him with a slight expression of worry.

Back in King’s Landing, someone is actually sitting on the Iron Throne. Ned, as the King’s Hand, is dispensing justice in the King’s name, so he gets to occupy that extremely uncomfortable seat. He’s flanked by Maester Pycelle and Littlefinger, both of whom have much more comfortable chairs.

A delegation of peasants have come to beg the King’s help because a band of armed men recently attacked their homes, killed their livestock, raped their women and killed them too, and murdered their children.

Pycelle remarks that it was probably brigands, but the spokespeasant says that the men didn’t steal anything (unlike your average brigand.) They even left something behind. The peasants out a big sack of fish on the floor of the Throne Room. (Man, the cleaning staff in this place needs to unionize. It’s not enough they had to deal with decapitated horse on the tourney field, now they have to clean fish guts from the Throne Room?)

For Ned’s and the audience’s benefit, Littlefinger mentions that the fish are the sigil of House Tully. “Isn’t that your wife’s house?” he says archly. Guess Catelyn invoking her father’s name and the loyalties of her father’s bannermen to kidnap Tyrion annoyed someone!

Ned asks if the men who burned the villages had any flags or banners that might identify them. Spokespeasant says that they didn’t have any identifying markers (because they’re not that stupid) but that the leader was a) much larger than any ordinary man and b) decapitated horses (in addition to dismembering the blacksmith.) Hmmm, I wonder who this could be?

Littlefinger, unsure that Ned can figure it out on his own, helpfully whispers: “The Mountain.” Yes, apparently Ser Gregor Clegane is rampaging through the Riverlands. Hide your horses and your blacksmiths! In fact, just hide.

Maester Pycelle pooh poohs the idea asking why Ser Gregor would turn brigand. Littlefinger, always helpful, points out that Ser Gregor is known as “Tywin Lannister’s mad dog.”

“Can you think of any reason,” he asks Ned, “the Lannisters might have for being angry with your wife?”

Ned glares at him. Hee!

Pycelle is still unconvinced (and/or a Lannister toady). He says that if the Lannisters were to attack lands under the protection of the king ... Unfortunately for him, he talks slowly and Littlefinger interrupts to say that this would be almost as brazen as attacking the King’s Hand in the streets of the capital (ok, but technically, Lord Petyr “Splitting Hairs about Slavery versus Treason Not So Long Ago” Baelish, Ned wasn’t the Hand of the King when Jaime confronted him.)

Ned continues to look pained and troubled, but also quite regal on the throne. I’m starting to think that he would have made a better king than Robert (though that's a rather low bar) until then he renders his judgment.

Ned tells the peasants that he can’t restore the lives or the homes they’ve lost, but he can give them justice in the name of their King. He summons a knight named Beric Dondarrion and assigns him 100 men to go to Ser Gregor’s castle and let him know that he’s now denounced, stripped of his titles, attainted and sentenced to death. That seems pretty harsh on the basis of Spokespeasant hearsay, but then again, the rules of evidence seem a bit vague in Westeros (cf. Tyrion’s dagger “proving” Tyrion’s guilt.) They could at least warn Gregor’s horses though: “Hey ponies, your master is going to be super pissed off, run for your lives if you want to keep your heads!”

Pycelle suggests that it might be better to wait for the King’s return, so Ned goes a step further, ordering Pycelle to send a raven to Casterly Rock, summoning Tywin Lannister to King’s Landing to answer for the crimes of his bannerman, Gregor Clegane. If Tywin doesn’t show up in a fortnight, he’ll be branded an enemy of the crown and a traitor to the realm. (If I didn’t know Ned’s upright nature, I’d think this was a neat way to get out of paying the 3 million that the crown owes Tywin Lannister.) So much for smoothing over the Stark-Lannister feud in Robert’s absence!

As Ned hobbles away, Petyr Baelish reminds him about how much money Tywin Lannister has. “Gold wins wars,” Baelish says, “not soldiers.” If that’s true, Ned asks, then why is Robert King and not Tywin Lannister. Because Tywin Lannister loaned him a whole bunch of money?

Aww, Ned always has the best of intentions and he really seems like one of the few people who cares about the little folk. But Ned’s barely keeping his head above water amongst all the intrigues going on around him as it is, so is summoning the father of cunning Cersei, brilliant Tyrion and ruthless Jaime to court really the best idea? Again, if this were anyone but Ned, I’d think this was a way to provoke Tywin into open rebellion against the King. But in the case of Ned “My Middle Name is Definitely Not Devious” Stark, I think he really believes Tywin will show up and meekly accept the king’s judgment.

Back at the Eyrie, the duel to establish the guilt or innocence of the littlest Lannister is about to begin. In preparation, the Moon Door is opened. Robin Arryn throws down a gauntlet (or a dagger possibly) and shouts “FIGHT!” with all the relish of an eight year old boy at a sports match. Except this one’s going to end in death.

Bronn, who’s wearing just a boiled leather coat, refuses the shield he’s offered, and it looks like he’ll be totally outmatched by the heavily armored Ser Vardis. But Bronn’s agility and unconventional tactics are a better defense than his shield. After lots of banging around by Ser Vardis, and lots of leaping and feinting by Bronn, Bronn gets a big cut in on Ser Vardis’s leg.

Lysa Arryn, who’s apparently unaware of how the duel is really going, shouts: “Enough, Ser Vardis, “finish him!” But it’s Vardis who’s finished. He falls to his knees, trying one last despairing stroke before Bronn brings his sword down on Ser Vardis’s unprotected neck and chucks him out the conveniently opened trapdoor in the floor.


“Is it over?” Robin Arryn asks, clearly disappointed. Tyrion gives him a huge grin.

“You don’t fight with honor,” Lysa Arryn accuses Bronn.

Frankly, that’s kind of rich coming from the woman who had already found Tyrion guilty without a trial or a chance to defend himself and wouldn’t let him wait for his chosen champion to arrive.

“No,” Bronn says, gesturing towards the aperture in the floor. “He did.” Unlike me, Bronn is a man of few words.

Catelyn looks deeply troubled (as well she might since her plan of establishing Tyrion’s guilt vis-a-vis Bran has crashed, bled out and been scuppered out the Moon Door.) Mord unlocks Tyrion’s shackles as Robin asks his mother if he can make the little man fly now. (Aww, there’s a cute little psychopath!!!)

“Not this little man,” Tyrion says firmly. “This little man is going home.” He demands his purse back from Ser Rodrick “Sideburns” Cassel and tosses it to Mord. A Lannister always pays his debts!

In King’s Landing, Sansa and the Septa are sewing. Sansa looks exceptionally lovely in the light, and Septa Mordane comments that Sansa now wears her hair like a Southern lady (it’s a really goofy roll above the forehead style and frankly it doesn’t actually suit anyone.) Septa Mordane is not sure Sansa’s mother would like the new styles.

Sansa is quite rude and asks why the Septa cares, and whether she even has hair under her headdress. When Septa Mordane tells Sansa that she definitely has hair and asks whether Sansa would like to see it, Sansa says “no.” She compounds her snottiness by asking where the Septa is from, and once Septa Mordane starts to talk about her home, responds “Oh, wait, I don’t care.”

Septa Mordane’s reprimand for Sansa’s rudeness is interrupted by Joffrey, who arrives with a gift for Sansa: a golden necklace like the one his mother wears. Dollars to donuts, this entire conversation was not only instigated by Cersei but she probably wrote Joffrey’s lines for him, because she’d know exactly how he could hit all of dreamy Sansa’s romantic buttons.

Joffrey says a lot of insincere things about how Sansa will someday be queen and should look the part, and asks for her forgiveness for his rudeness. (I think threatening to kill Sansa’s sister is a bit more than “rudeness” but anyway ...) Sansa is completely won over by Joffrey’s speech, and finally Joffrey leans in and kisses her. Sansa looks enchanted and the Septa looks disgusted and concerned.

Next up, a totally pointless scene between Theon and Ros the Winterfell Whore, who’s now going to King’s Landing. I guess Theon is all alone in Winterfell and nobody loves him and somethingsomething that I don’t care about at all.

Don’t mind me, I’m just bitter that instead of checking in with the Night’s Watch to see if my boys had finally gotten some hats and earmuffs, I’m treated to another shot of Ros’s muff.

In King’s Landing, Ned limps into his office, and tells Arya and Sansa that he’s sending them back to Winterfell. Sansa objects because of Joffrey and Arya objects because of her “dancing lessons.”

Ned tells them that this isn’t a punishment, he just wants them to be safe. Arya asks if they can bring Syrio with them, and Sansa interrupts her saying “never mind about your dancing master, what about Joffrey?” Apparently all it took to buy back her affection was a gold locket and a couple of kisses because she now is all excited about marrying Joffrey and having his babies.  Upon hearing Sansa's tirade, Arya’s hilariously deadpan “Seven Hells!” cracks me up!

Ned tries to reason with Sansa, saying that when she’s older, he’ll find her someone who’s brave and gentle and strong to marry and Sansa says she doesn’t want anyone brave, gentle or strong, she wants Joffrey. Hee! Ned and Arya exchange a quick smile at Sansa’s inadvertent diss of her future husband.

Sansa goes on to say that Joffrey will be King someday, “a golden lion” and she’ll give Joffrey sons with beautiful blond hair. Arya tells her that Joffrey’s sigil is not a lion, but a stag like his father and Sansa bristles, shouting that Joffrey is nothing like that “old drunk king.”

A very dim seven-watt nightlight bulb switches on in Ned’s head. He sends the girls away to start packing, and goes back to the book he borrowed from Maester Pycelle. As he reads through pages of Baratheon geneaology he notices that all Baratheon kids are always black-haired, except for Joffery.

The lightbulb's glow grows a little stronger as Ned realizes the implications. (In Ned’s defense, it’s not as if he actually knows that the Queen is committing adultery and incest with her brother as we the audience learned in the first episode. So I buy that it takes him this long to figure out what’s been plain to the audience for a while.)

In Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki are having a big party, complete with scantily clad girls dancing blindfolded around stew pots bubbling over open flames.  Everyone’s having a great time until Viserys shows up drunk, shouting for his sister.

Danaerys begs Jorah to “stop him” as Drogo looks at his scruffy brother-in-law with increasing disgust. Jorah goes over to Viserys and tries to have him come away but Viserys insists that he has a place at the feast. The Dothraki make some jokes that Viserys doesn’t understand, and finally Drogo points to a place somewhere in the shadowy recesses of the tent.

Viserys says that that’s no place for a King, and Drogo, who’s evidently also had some language lessons tells him quite plainly in English/Westerosi: “You are no king.”

Viserys is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it any more. He draws his sword as Danaerys gasps “please!” This causes her brother to notice her, just as Jorah is telling him that now they’ll all die because Viserys has broken the taboo.

“They can’t kill us,” Viserys says, “they can’t shed blood in their sacred city, but I can.” (Viserys has evidently never heard of numerous ways to kill people without shedding their blood. Those prophecies are always so ambiguous and confusing!) He points his sword at Danaerys’s belly, saying that he wants the crown he was promised in return for selling his sister to the Dothraki. As Irri translates for an increasingly pissed off Drogo, Viserys says he’s taking his sister back, but he’ll leave the baby because he intends to cut it out of Dany’s belly.

Khal Drogo from Game of ThronesDrogo says something that Dany translates for her brother.

“You shall have a golden crown, that men shall tremble to behold,” she says, her eyes full of pity.

Poor crazy eyes Viserys actually thinks that he’s about to get what he always wanted, and he looks grateful and happy and very young all of a sudden. “That was all I wanted,” he says, as if it will be that easy for everyone to forget that he threatened the khaleesi and her unborn child.

Dany continues to look sad and Drogo looks menacing as he rises. At his signal, his men grab Viserys, possibly breaking one of his arms. Poor foolish Viserys still doesn’t realize what’s going on. “I want my crown,” he shouts.

Drogo stalks over to one of the stew pots that’s conveniently emptied and takes off his golden belt, dropping it into the pot where it melts and bubbles.

Jorah tells Dany to look away, but she refuses, gazing fixedly at her brother and her husband.

Viserys has finally got a clue that something’s very wrong. “Dany,” he begs. “Tell them ... make them ...” His sister is silent.

“You can’t ...” Viserys begins and then wails “Dany, please ...” (Oh Viserys, she really did try to help you out, you know! But now it’s too late.)

Drogo approaches Viserys with the stew pot as I try to ascertain whether he’s wearing oven mitts. He looks at Viserys contemptuously and says “a crown for a king” as he dumps the pot of molten gold over Viserys’s head.

Viserys screams as the gold melts his face and then falls foward, dead. Jorah is still concerned about Danaerys’s reaction, but he needn’t be because she’s totally calm and collected as she says, “He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.”



Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current tv shows, and a hopeless romantic.

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Jill Slattery
1. JillSlattery
The important thing to Robert is that he can’t rule if the Starks and Lannisters are at each other’s throats. Since I’m not aware that Robert has done any ruling at all during his reign, what he is really saying is: “I can’t have tournaments and wine and wenches if my father-in-law cuts off the money so you, old pal, have to suck it up because heavens forfend I forfeit any of my pleasures.”

LOL, I love it! Great recap. I LOVED the last scene, particularly the clang of metal as poor, dead Viserys fell to the floor with a thud. It was one of my favorite scenes in the book and I thought it was perfectly executed.
Susanna Fraser
2. Susanna Fraser
Loved last night's episode, but at the end, I thought, "Why did we have that bit with Ros and Theon when we could have had more of...well, anybody else? Like Jon Snow, because he's pretty, or Arya Awesomesauce because she's my favorite?" Then it hit me. If it hadn't been for that scene there would've been no nekkid girlybits for a whole hour. This is my first HBO series but I think I'm starting to catch on.
Susanna Fraser
3. Susanna Fraser
either the equivalent of Genghis Khan or else someone who needs a
lifetime supply of condoms.

Genetic studies suggests they are one and the same!
April George
4. AAGeorge
Don’t mind me, I’m just bitter that instead of checking in with the
Night’s Watch to see if my boys had finally gotten some hats and
earmuffs, I’m treated to another shot of Ros’s muff

I didn't really get this scene either...until Susanna brought up the nekkid girlybits. *sigh* I would still have prefered knowing whether or not Jon is finally wearing a hat.

I almost, *almost* felt totally sorry for Viserys at the end there.
Megan Frampton
5. MFrampton
Okay, pertinent to no-one but me is that my DVRed version CUT OUT after 40 minutes, so I missed the end of the Tyrion fight and the Viserys gets it scene. Ack! (I will see it soon, it is promised).
But that said, how awesome is Tyrion?

“Sometimes possession is an abstract concept."

Bwaha! And I wonder if we, in our post-Gregor Mendel world, are too harsh on Ned for not figuring out what ALL OF US DID IN THE FIRST EPISODE. Though I have to admit to not figuring it out until much later than that in the book.
6. shipperx
Yeah, I think Cersei is manipulative, devious, a little bit cray-cray, and raising a sociopath to boot... but that doesn't excuse Robert for belting her.
7. MaggieKat
I think that Robert is what he is (and that doesn't excuse him for slapping Cersei) in a large part because of Cersei. I think that while would probably have been a drunk and lecher regardless, but Cersei proximity made him
8. MaggieKat
I can't believe that they cut out the most significant scene in that stretch of book. The Tower of Joy scene. I dont think that that is a spoiler, but I whited it out just in case.
9. lady trudy
I don't get Ned or his wife's motivations. they make no sense. And how could those two have produced such an idiot daughter who would want to marry joffrey. and why would that guy willingly champion Therion? This is the problem I'm having with this series (not having read the book) is I don't get why they do the things they do. The only ones I 'get' are the dothraki's and danys. they're having a dragon baby!! I keep thinking one of those eggs will hatch. I guess her brother was more of a water dragon than a fire dragon. my only question is why hasn't someone off'd idiot robert by now. he encompasses everything i hate in men - doing the eight? errgh. i have no one to root for in this show except danys and her hub. why do i like this show???
10. Sharyn
Thanks so much for your reviews - they are great and I wait eagerly for them after every episode.

After seeing The Golden Crown, I now realize why Dany was able to get into the scalding hot bath water in the first episode - clearly she is impervious to heat and fire. I'm thinking that means she must be the real dragon (whatever that means). Also, it probably means that Robert is right in wanting her and her baby killed (sadly) as I'm thinking a dragon with a Dothraki lord in her belly probably means a lot of power!

And, I agree, that Ned isn't doing too bad with figuring out the black hair/golden hair issue. If we didn't see the twins together in the first episode, I don't think I would have figured it out yet. In fact, I'd still be thinking, "Hmm, what man has blond hair?" and definitely not thinking of Jamie because, hello!, he is her brother. I'm curious to see how this plays out!
romance reader
11. bookstorecat
This is my fave episode so far. I laughed and laughed during the Tyrion and Mord scenes (okay, it was slightly funnier when I thought the guard was called Maud--I swear I would not know half these characters' names if it weren't for this blog).
12. Jack_o_the_Shadows
Remember, Ned didn't mention Cersei's adulterous relations because, as he later tells Varys in the dungeon, he wanted to warn her of his intent to tell the king (he was compelled by mercy for her children). Too bad Robert had to get skewered by a fat pig, thus eviscerating his plan.
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