Saturday, March 31, 2012

Game of Thrones, Season 1, Episode 10: Fire and Blood

I will begin by again linking to HBO’s most excellent guide to the 10,000 characters on this show, to help people keep up with who is who.

We open with the crowds cheering the death of Ned Stark and a member of the Nights Watch taking Arya out of the crowds. He cuts Arya’s hair, calls her a boy and plans to take her north, get her safe. He is taking her north in disguise among the other criminals bound to the Wall (also accompanied by Gendry, Robert Baratheon’s illegitimate son).

In the North, in Winterfell, Bran has another dream of a 3 eyed raven leading him down to the crypt where his father is – so he recounts to Osha. Osha reassures him that he won’t be in the crypt for many years – but we know he’s just died, pointing to Bran’s dreams as prophetic or oracular. They go into the crypt and Bran recounts some more of the Stark family history. They do find Rickon (Bran’s younger brother) and his Dire Wolf – Shaggy Dog, who isn’t nearly as well trained as the other Dire Wolves. Rickon has also seen their father in a dream in the crypt. Then Maester Luwin receives a message from Kings Landing – about Ned’s death

At the war, Catelyn Stark receives word of Ned’s death and goes to the woods to be overcome by grief in private, where Robb is also working out his grief hacking a tree.

Then they have a council on what to do next, some want to pledge fealty to Renly as king but Robb has that annoying Stark honour and won’t support the younger brother. But the Greatjohn supports neither Stannis nor Renly with their different culture and different gods. It was dragons who made the North kneel and they’re dead – he wants the North to be independent again, free from rule in Kings Landing. A rallying cry that is embraced by everyone – the King in the North.

And Catelyn goes to see Jaime Lannister, and doesn’t tolerate his insolent tongue either. She wants to know why he tried to kill Bran but Jaime refuses to confess.

On the other side of the war, Tywin learns that Jaime has been captured and his army scattered. With extra trouble that both Stannis and Renly raising armies as well. An advisor suggests suing for peace, Tyrion doesn’t see this as likely given that Joffrey executed Ned Stark. Tywin kicks everyone out – except Tyrion since Tyrion actually speaks sense. He finally acknowledges that Tyrion has a brain in his head – and he has a new plan. Ser Clegane will continue to cause chaos in the Riverlands, the rest of the army will return to Harrenhall to regroup and Tyrion will go to Kings Landing to rule as Hand in Tywin’s stead – to control Cersei and Joffrey and execute traitors. Tywin is beginning to acknowledge Tyrion as a son – just as Jaime has been captured. He’s also ordered not to take Shea, the prostitute with, him. Tyrion is unwilling to not bring Shea – especially as she is insulted by the idea he’s ashamed of her.

In Kings Landing a minstrel is singing an awful, satirical song about King Robert’s death which cast aspersions about the Lannisters (and the Queen). Joffrey has made him play it at court after he was caught singing it in a tavern. Then makes him choose between his fingers and his tongue – he chooses fingers so he gets his tongue cut out. Which is one of the things that the Mad King Aerys Targaryen did. He also compliments Sansa and asks her to walk with him (which she does, encouraged by Ser Sandor, The Hound). Joffrey talks about how, as soon as Sansa has her first period, Joffrey intends to impregnate her with a son ten takes her to see the decapitated head of her father and forces her to look at his severed head and the rest of the household. Sansa has some fire in her and wishes that Robb would give her Joffrey’s head. Because Cersei has told Joffrey never to hit Sansa (after her own experience with king Robert) Joffrey orders one of the Kingsguard to hit Sansa instead. Ser Sandor manages to stop Sansa from retaliating against Joffrey – it’s a shame, I have a feeling it would have been very impressive.

Cersei has also decided to keep it in the family – now sleeping with her cousin Lancel. Cersei has received news she’s less than pleased with – probably that Jaime has been captured.

We have a moment watching Grand Maester Pycell reminiscing about the many kings he’s known and justifying each and every one of their flaws, no matter how extreme. All while attended by a naked woman who appears to be a prostitute (of course).  His mind seems to wander and his movements are frail – until he’s alone and he seems to be both sharp and spry and playing up his ailments.

Meanwhile 2 more members of the Small Council, Baelish and Varys are sniping at each other as they usually do before the Council. I still give it to Varys.

In the north, at the Wall, Jon has a full blown pout attack upon hearing of Ned’s death and leaves the Night Watch – he’s going to go help his brother (has he actually thought for a moment exactly what one man with a sword and a whole lot of pouting will actually do to help? There’s something wrong with the Stark family, common sense is removed at birth). Sam tries to talk him out of it but fails.

They have another intervention with the Night Watch recruits to bring him back to the Castle Black. They chant the oath at him to make him return – Stark honour can be used to good purpose it seems. Pouting, he returns to the wall. Later Lord Mormont rebukes him for his foolishness and tells Jon that to the north there are more and more blue eyed corpses with abandoned wildling villages all over the north. Mormont says they need him at the Wall to a more important war than is being fought for the throne. The Nights Watch is moving out in force to find out exactly what is happening beyond the Wall.

With the Dorthraki, Daenerys wakes to find her son did not survive childbirth. The baby was deformed – with wings and scales. The witch says that it was the baby’s life that bought Khal Drogo’s continued living. The Khalasar has also gone – without Drogo, it split up while Daenerys was unconscious, moving on without Drogo and Daenerys. Only a few loyal to Daenerys remain.

Daenerys demands to see Drogo. He is mindless, utterly unaware, but he lives. This is what the witch has given him – life but no awareness. The witch fulfilled her promise but not in ways expected or desired. In grief, Daenerys presses a pillow to Drogo’s head suffocating him.

Daenerys places her eggs on Drogo’s massive funeral pyre. Jorah begs her not to climb on the pyre – he thinks she will commit suicide on the fire. She names her remaining slaves and Dorthraki as her new Khalasar. She frees the slaves – some of whom run. And she has the witch tied to the pyre – she wants her life for her own blood magic. Daenerys lights to funeral pyre, burns the witch Mirri Maz Duur then steps through the flames to the middle. She is untouched by the fire, unburned  and leaves a trail of flame behind her.

When the fire burns out Daenerys is there, naked, her clothes have burned. And the eggs have hatched – into 3 little dragons. The Khalasar bows to her

I feel that Joffrey is almost, well, comically overdone as a villain. We get it, he’s an evil spoiled little brat but it seems to be taken to extreme levels. Given how the whole kingdom suffered under Aerys not that long ago, someone must see that his actions are bound to force more rebellion.

Tyrion is awesome – can we see him as king please? I think everyone can get behind King Tyrion. And Queen Daenerys. Wouldn’t that be an awesome ruling pair?

I actually like that the witch got her revenge. What, she’s supposed to be grateful for Daenerys for rescuing her after the horde she brought burned her temple, killed her people and raped her? She’s supposed to suddenly be on Daenerys’s side? I like this a lot – it’s certainly a lot better than her suddenly being Daenerys’s number 1 fan. And her words “what life is worth when all the rest is gone” is very powerful.

I still don’t like Jon.