Game of Thrones S1E2 recap
|REVIEWS - TV|
In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die ...
Summary: Bran, son of Lord Ned, hovers between life and death at Winterfell. The Queen is obviously not happy with this and decides that an assassination is in order; but Lady Cat is suspicious. Lord Ned goes to King's Landing with the King, and brings his daughters Sansa and Arya. Jon Snow rides north, to the Wall, to join the Night Watch. Daenerys decides to attempt to make the Khal happy. The King's son Joffrey comes off the worst in an altercation with Arya.
Bran, who was pushed off the castle wall by the Queen's brother (after witnessing their disturbing incestuous relationship) isn't dead. In fact, he is hardly injured. Tyrion urges the King's son, Joffrey, to express his sympathies to the Stark family; following up the request with one, two, and three hard slaps to the face. Joffrey whimpers (my closed-captioning confirms this) and now we know exactly what to expect from Joffrey.
Jon Snow has an interesting day: first, a confrontation with the Queen's twin regarding Jon's intention to join the Night Watch; the second, where he gives Arya a sword and she confirms that she knows which end of the blade is which; and the third, where he visits Bran's sickbed in what would have been a touching scene, had Cat not ordered him out of the room. Jon is leaving Winterfell to join the Night Watch at The Wall. Tyrion goes along for the ride.
As Jon Snow prepares to depart Winterfell for the Wall, Lord Ned prepares to leave for King's Landing, to accept the post of King's Hand. His wife, Catelyn, argues against it. But as Lord Ned, it is his duty to go with his King, and as the moral center of the story, Lord Ned actually doesn't have the choice that Cat accuses him of making.
In exposition, we learn that the Mad King Targaryen was King before the current King Baratheron. The Mad King was responsible for the death of Lord Ned's sister (the one that King Baratheron was in love with) and was killed himself by Jaime, the currrent Queen's twin-lover.
Lady Cat Stark is keeping watch over her son's sick bed. Her eldest son visits, then leaves to investigate a fire. Lady Cat watches the fire, and turns around to find an assassin over her son's bed. She fights him, in a brutal scene, and Bran's direwolf rises up and rips out the throat of the assassin. Lady Stark is understandably curious, and investigates the scene of Bran's injury, discovering the Queen's hair in the room where the crime took place. Call it CSI:Winterfell. Lady Cat decides to ride to King's Landing to inform Lord Ned of her suspicions.
Daenerys Targaryen, tired of the nightly rapes that her marriage encompasses, has a consultation with her ladies-in-waiting. She decides that if she takes some action, she can hopefully improve her situation; if her lady in waiting can teach her to make the Khal happy, Daenerys may recapture some agency. So they have a girl-on-girl 'educational' session, as the lady-in-waiting educates the Targaryen in methods of pleasing the Khal.
Finally, Sansa is making inroads in her romance with the whinging heir to the throne Joffrey Baratheron, accompanying the heir on a walk, whilst leaving Sansa's direwolf Lady behind. They encounter Arya, the tomboyish younger sister, having a mock sword-fight with the butcher's boy. Joffrey decides to confront said butcher's boy, cutting his cheek with a sword (with impunity, obviously, the son of a butcher can't fight back!) but Arya's wolf bites Joffrey's hand, forcing him to release the boy. Sansa does not intervene in Arya's defense, and when she is called before the king she refuses to take sides. In the end, Lord Ned executes Sansa's wolf as punishment for Joffrey's injury. And as he does, Bran wakes.
This episode was high on character development, which, after the pilot, is a welcome change. Obviously the pilot episode was mainly concerned with introducing the main characters, as it needed to be, but it was great to learn more about the characters in episode two. We learned that Tyrion is a genius (and without doubt my favorite character so far); that Daenerys is going to take some steps within her limited scope to seize some agency or control; that the Queen is truly as evil as you may have suspected (it was Jaime who pushed Bran from the window, but who ordered the assassin?) and that Joffrey is a whiney, whinging little creep.
I cannot wait to see what happens next. Game of Thrones rocks.
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