Oh my! This was the episode I’ve been dreading. I have been keeping my fingers crossed that maybe just maybe they would deviate from the source material just a little bit so what happened in the book wouldn’t happen in the show. But alas, they stayed true. Knowing what was coming I was still shocked by the event. For those who don’t want to know, don’t continue reading. Consider this your spoiler alert.
Normally I’d start with what happened in Westeros but this week I’m going to start in the East. After the raping, pillaging and burning of last week, this week starts out with Khal Drogo looking a little worse for wear. As he’s leading the caravan, he passes out and falls off his horse. Not a good sign. Any Khal that can’t ride isn’t a Khal. Dany fears for him and decides that they will camp there for the night and summons Mirri Maz to see to his wound.
The men at this point have pretty much written him off, but Dany remains strong and tells Mirri Maz to do whatever it takes. Apparently the wound has festered and all that’s left to do is some hoodoo voodoo black magic which Dany agrees to. However, to buy a life they must pay for it with a death. Drogo’s horse gets the short end of that stick and it’s a pretty gruesome scene. While Mirri Maz is doing her business she’s tell Dany that no one is to enter the tent because “the dead will dance here tonight”. Sounds like pretty salty stuff, but Dany agrees.
Jorah tries to convince Dany to leave with him for her safety but she refuses to leave Drogo. Jorah tells her that at this point, he’s already dead and there will be a battle for a new Khal. A battle that will most likely leave her and her unborn child dead as well, yet she still refuses. Dany ends up going into early labor and having been abandoned by all of the midwives, her only option is Mirri Maz. We last see her as Jorah is taking her into the tent where Mirri Maz is working her magic on Drogo.
Robb and his army are still heading south but are stalled at the Trident. They need to cross the river, but the Lord who controls the bridge is a curmudgeonly old fart. Lord Walder Frey has a thing for teenage brides but has no love for anyone. He’s a sworn banner of House Stark, but that really doesn’t mean anything to him. Catelyn speaks with him hoping to gain access to the bridge, and while she succeeds, it comes with a cost. Arya is now betrothed to one of Frey’s sons, another one of his sons will become Robb’s squire and Robb is also betrothed to one of his daughters. It’s a high price to pay, but Robb agrees because he knows there is no other way across the Trident.
Robb really steps it up a notch and shows that he’s his father’s son. Doing what needs to be done in the name of family, Robb sent 2000 men to their deaths when he sent them to distract the Lannister army while the rest of the army went to claim the real prize. Even though the loss of men stung, Robb was able to capture Jamie Lannister. Now that the golden boy has been captured what will that mean? Cersei certainly isn’t going to be happy that’s for sure.
We got a look into Tyrion’s past this week which explains a little bit about him. He’s had to grow up in a cruel world being looked down upon both figuratively and literally. While playing a drinking game with his new female companion and Bronn, Tyrion tells them that he was once married. At sixteen he and Jaime saved a girl from rapers and Tyrion spent the night with her drinking, eating chicken and eventually having sex. He fell in love with her and married her on the spot. The next morning Tywin found out and forced Jamie to tell Tyrion the truth. It had all been set up by Jamie just so Tyrion could get laid. Tywin then gave the girl to his guards, who paid her a silver piece per man. And Tyrion had to watch. No wonder he is the way he is. Tywin is most certainly not the father of the year.
For his heroism last week, Lord Commander Mormont gave Jon a sword named Longclaw. The sword was originally meant for Jorah, but since he shamed his house and fled east, it went to Jon. Jon is a bit stunned to receive such a gift and is congratulated by his peers for a job well done concerning the Whitewalker from last week. His celebration is short lived however, when Sam tells him the bad news that Robb is heading south with an army to rescue Ned. Jon feels a sense of duty and expresses his need to be there with Robb. This is actually going to be a test for Jon since taking the black means cutting all family ties. This isn’t really a concept he can grasp just yet. Trying to figure out what he should do, Jon has a conversation with Maester Aemon who seems to know where Jon is coming from. Jon’s immaturity gets the best of him when he tells the Maester that he doesn’t know what Jon is going through. But he’s humbled to find out that Maester Aemon is actually a Targaryen and understands completely. Jon is going to have to make a decision and stick to it.
Ned has another conversation with Varys where Varys tries to convince him to admit to the crimes he’s being held for. Ned would rather die than be dishonored, but Varys points out that he also has to think of his daughters. Varys tells Ned that Sansa pleaded for mercy for him and all he has to do is admit to treason, and swear fealty to Joffrey and then he’ll be sent to the Wall to live out his days as a Nights Watchman. Coming from a long line of soldiers, this doesn’t come easy for Ned. He told Varys that he learned how to die a long time ago.
Arya is still on the run in King’s Landing when she gets word that her father is being taken before the King. As Ned takes to the platform, he looks up in time to see her looking on in horror. Sansa is also there standing along side Cersie and Joffrey. Ned does as Varys suggested, by admitting to the crimes of treason, hoping to save his daughters. Joffrey told the crowd that everyone begged him to be merciful, but that he decided that the crime of treason should be a punishable crime and ordered the beheading of Ned.
By the reaction of everyone, including Cersei, it seems this was a spontaneous decision on Joffrey’s part. He’s not looking at the big picture of what types of repercussions this act is going to have. Arya was pulled away and told not to look at what was about to happen. Sansa was terrified and Ned, while sad and upset, seemed to have come to terms with it as he bowed his head to expose the back of his neck. The job was done and Ned was beheaded by his own sword.
The decision not to actually show the beheading was a good one I think. This part of the book was told during one of Arya’s chapters and she didn’t actually see it happen. I’m glad that they filmed it the same way. I was absolutely gutted at this point in the book and I was just as gutted during the episode.
There’s only one episode left in this season and I can already tell I’m going to be on pins and needles for next season. It’s been a great ride so far and I hope this last episode doesn’t let off the throttle. What’s going to happen once Robb and Catelyn get the news of Ned’s death? While Sansa bugs the crap out of me, she’s stuck in the firm clutches of the Lannisters and is betrothed to Joffrey still. How is that all going to shake out? Hopefully we’ll get some answers in the final episode.Tags: Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin, HBO, Sean Bean