(1.5 “The Wolf and the Lion”)
This episode had everything!
In King’s Landing the tournament continues. Ned questions Ser Barristan as to how Ser Hugh afforded the nice armor that he died so quickly in, but the noble knight has no answers, only the gossip that Robert plans to joust. Ned finds Robert in his tent, no having his armor put on by his squire Lancel Lannister, because, as Ned points out, Robert is too fat to fit into his armor. (It’s hysterical.) Ned convinces Robert that as king has no place competing in the tournament, which to Robert is simply another disagreeable aspect of being king. The tournament is turning into quite the fiasco: Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of the Flowers, gives a rose to Sansa and a wink to Renly before riding his frisky mare to face off with the Mountain, whose own mount is so, um, distracted, he’s unseated. The Mountain attacks Ser Loras with his sword, but his brother the Hound jumps in to save Loras’ life, becoming the winner of the tournament. (What an honor.) Surprise sword fights abound in Westros. When the bag is removed from his head, Tyrion realizes that he, Catelyn and her band of merry men are not on the King’s Road. Apparently it was her cunning plan to shout to everyone that she was taking Tyrion to Winterfell, so that they can make it to her true destination: the Eyrie, the home castle of her sister Lysa Arryn, the ruler in the Vale. Tyrion warns Catelyn that her sister might not be in her right mind, but similarly to his protestations of his innocence, Catelyn isn’t listening. A tribe of lawless hill men attack, and despite reservations, Catelyn cuts Tyrion’s hands free. Longingly looking towards to the horses and his escape, Tyrion kills a man who’s about to kill Catelyn, bludgeoning him with a shield and saving her life (because he’s the best). Bronn suggests his reward for his first kill should be a woman, but Catelyn’s the only option. Back in Winterfell, where Catelyn belongs, Theon is practicing his archery while Bran learns his geography on Great-Houses-of-Westros history with Maester Luwin. Bran’s heart isn’t in his studies, angered over the words of his mother’s house (Family, Duty, Honor), and insisting that his mother cannot be protecting the family if she is not with the family. Because Bran is kicking his ass in their argument, Maester Luwin convinces Bran that he can be taught to use a bow from horseback. That night with apparently the only whore in town Roz, Theon makes a case for the nobility of House Greyjoy (and our first penis shot of the series), but Roz counters that thought he calls himself a ward of Lord Stark Theon is still a hostage. (They also talk about her tumble with Tyrion. Apparently Tyrion’s very skilled. All in all, the conversation is odd.) Back down in King’s Landing Arya is chasing cats, and Varys is chasing down Ned, letting him know that Robert is doomed, the same poison used on Jon Arryn (The Tears of Lys) could be in Robert’s future and that Jon Arryn is dead because he started asking questions (after his 17 years of service as the Hand). Chasing a cat into the dragon skull filled dungeon, Arya overhears Varys and “an unknown foreign dignitary” discussing that events are moving too quickly, and that even though he’s found the bastard, Ned must be delayed because Drogo will not move until his son is born. On their way to a Small Council meeting, Littlefinger and Varys trade barbs about eunuchs, whoremongers and murders, and some threats about each telling a royal party about the other’s companions. Renly interrupts their angry baiting with news that Robert is actually going to attend the council meeting. After she finally convinces the Guards at the Red Keep that she is Ned’s daughter, Arya tells her father that she overheard men threatening to kill Ned because of the bastard and the savages. Hesitant to believe her, Ned doesn’t have a chance to really discus the matter with Arya, because Yoren arrives to tell Ned that Catelyn has taken Tyrion hostage. Catelyn and Tyrion have made it to the Vale and are being escorted to the “impregnable” Eyrie by some less than receptive knights. Tyrion finds an ally in dirty jokes in Bronn. The hits just keep coming for Ned down in King’s Landing, since on the heals of finding out about Catelyn, Robert summons him to Small Council, informing him that he orders Dany’s assassination. Ned pleads that there is no need for such an action, but Robert blusters that fear and blood keep the realm together not honor. Everyone else stands by Robert, because apparently Dany’s kid is bringing the apocalypse and her death will spare the lives of millions. Ned refuses to have anything to do with something so cowardly and resigns his post. Packing to leave, Ned gets a visit from Petyr, promising that if Ned gives him an hour he will provide him with information on Jon Arryn’s death. Jon Arryn is way better off dead! No words can prepare one for a six-year-old breastfeeding, but honestly, Tyrion undersold it to Catelyn. I can’t say this strongly enough: LYSA ARRYN IS A CRAZY BITCH! She receives a disgusted Tyrion and a horrified Catelyn in the Eyrie’s throne room, with her son on her lap, I guess having lunch, accuses Tyrion of murdering Jon Arryn, and because little Robin wants to “see the little man fly” she throws him into a cell with only three walls (the forth is a thousand-foot cliff face). Lysa isn’t the only one with ideas; we find out while he’s shaving Renly’s chest that Loras thinks Renly should be king. According to Loras, even though Renly has never been in a battle and fourth in line of succession, he’s the most qualified man for the job, because the people love him. Then Loras shows Renly how much he loves him. In a less amiable domestic scene, Robert and Cersei have a nice long chat: Cersei thinks they can win a war because the Dothraki are undisciplined but Robert counters that if Dany should land in Westros the nobles could stay safe in their stone castles but the people would be enslave and the land decimated. Eventually the realm would call for Viserys as the true king because an army only wins when united by one purpose under one strong leader the last of which for the men of Westros was the Mad King. Cersei then asks what Lyanna was like, something she’s never done before, and Robert admits that he will never heal from loosing her, so even if he and Cersei were suited to each other, their marriage (which is what’s holding the realm together) never had a chance. The mother of Robert’s youngest bastard, a very cute baby girl, wants nothing more than to make the king happy, but the best assurance that Ned can give her is that her child will be provided for. Outside the brothel Ned and Jory are surrounded by Jaime (and Lannister men) demanding that Ned release Tyrion (because Ned tells him that Catelyn took Tyrion on his order). Ned informs Jaime that his brother will die if he kills him, so Jaime settles for killing Jory and allowing one of his men to stab Ned in the leg with a giant steak. Leaving Ned bleeding in the street, Jaime repeats that he wants his brother returned.
No joke, this episode had everything!
How is it that with a wife like his Jon Arryn didn’t pitch himself off the battlements? I would devote myself to my work too if I were married to a freakishly delusional woman, no wonder he was (by all accounts) a wise and reliable King’s Hand for almost 2 decades. For the love of the Seven, she is breastfeeding a schoolchild! That has to be child abuse. Now, I see the family resemblance of throwing out accusations of guilt at inappropriate times, but even Catelyn has the good sense not to parade her crazy for all and sundry. I know that she’s a bit more concerned with wildly flinging allegations (without anything resembling evidence) of Tyrion’s responsibility for Jon Arryn’s death, but Lysa really should consider the long-term repercussions of her determination to cultivate her son’s Oedipal complex. How exactly are any of his knights going to take Robin (little Lord Robert Arryn) seriously when he’s giving orders as an adult if he’s sitting on the same throne where they watched his mother insist on his nutrition impoverishment? So. Frakking. Gross.
Nothing Lysa said or did indicated that she is going to listen to Tyrion, to give a fair hearing to the crime (sorry, now crimes) he stands accused of. Catelyn presumed upon her history with her sister, asserting (in her mind) that such a relationship would remain fixed independent of any personality alteration that takes place over time to either party. She’s made the error that (unbeknownst to her) Bran accuses her of: if you are not with your family you cannot take measure of them, you cannot know what is best for them (and adding fuel to Lysa’s nutball fire wasn’t good for her) or what aid they can give to and/or receive from you. Not that it does Bran much good to know he’s right.
Sansa Stark has the worst taste in men ever. She’s been pining for Joffery, who may or may not be a teeny-tiny sociopath, and then she makes googley eyes at Loras Tyrell who is a damn schemer. (Sorry, you don’t want to get beaten to a bloody pulp, don’t win a tournament with cheep tricks.) During his whole conversation with Renly he speaks in the present tense as if Robert were already dead and the crown were up for grabs. At least everyone else seems to have the decency to talk about Robert’s demise as if it is to be a likely conclusion based on the combination of his poor life choices and power hungry enemies, while Loras on the other hand has the bad taste to talk as if Robert’s death is so inevitable it is a present fact and instead of trying to prevent it his brother should be concerned with how to profit from it. Renly doesn’t seem like a bad guy, just easily swayed, but as he should be able to see so clearly from Robert’s current problems, the character of the counselor will determine the course of the reign. A man who asks you to behave as if your brother is already dead isn’t necessarily someone you want to listen to.
Renly would be better off actually talking to his brother, who can actually be a rational human being in private. Pycelle made the argument that Dany has to die to save lives, but he didn’t explain it in nearly the way Robert did to Cersei. Recognizing that it would be the lowly who would die and that with their support Viserys would win showed both a keen understanding for how public opinion is formed and influences events as well as a genuine concern of the well being of his kingdom. If he had had that conversation with Ned, he might have made Ned understand the severity of the danger, but because his Small Council expects him to be a bombastic dolt, that is how he behaves with them. Robert didn’t have to be a bad king, but he was allowed to be one.
Oh, and Theon, proclaiming your superiority to a woman you pay for sex is kind of absurd. She’s right to mock you.
|Yes Tyrion, that is a long fall.|