IMDb synopsis: Robb vows to get revenge on the Lannisters. Jon must officially decide if his place is with Robb or the Night’s Watch. Daenerys says her final goodbye to Drogo.
In writing the synopsis here, I notice that I have been spelling Robb with only one “b”, apologies.
In the opening credits we see: King’s Landing (Baratheon sigil), Inn At The Crossroads, (Wait, they removed The Riverlands), The Bite, Winterfell (Stark sigil), The Wall, The Bite, (backtrack to Kings Landing), The Narrow Sea, Dothraki Sea, and Vaes Dothrak.
While re-watching the series, I find myself chuckling ever so often at the small details that go on to become a larger part of the show overall. Little did we all know how important those opening credits would become, how they would offer us the tiniest of clues that could lead to potentially huge scenes to come. During the last season, I would stand right in front of the TV to make sure to capture any slight change that might have been made. It is truly genius what they did with opening credits.
We open on a bloody sword with a little hair and Ned’s head being lifted to the crowd in the blurry background. That strand of hair is a gruesome nice touch.
Actor Sean Bean has died twenty-three times in his various roles. This role is no different. He still receives top billing on this episode, even though he is technically not in it. Only a lifeless head and his likeness is seen.
Yoren takes Arya’s face into his hands and screams into it. He is calling her “Boy”. She looks over his shoulder at the scene on the dais where her sister has fainted and her father headless body lies fallen. Yoren continues calling her boy as he hacks off her hair. He tells her they are going north. Is this a precursor to a girl has no name? Removing her identity and replacing it with something that is not remotely similar to who she really is?
The ravens are flying back to Winterfell. Oh, wait..that raven has an extra eye and Bran is walking. This is a dream. He follows the Raven into the crypts. We switch to the waking world where he is on Osha’s shoulders and she is carrying him to where his dreams had taken place. He wants to go into the crypts to reassure himself of what he saw, she is slightly bothered by the thought of it.
I like the play of orange torchlight set against the walls of the crypt. It gives a false feeling of warmth even though you know it would be cold and dank. Bran tells Osha about the various statues and who they represent. The show has left out Maester Luwin from this scene (from the book version). That leaves me feeling a bit sad. I felt the book version of this sequence allowed me to catch a glimpse of how both Rickon and Bran had more of a bond and reinforced how they had the “vision”, the knowing of things that had not happened yet. The book sequence ends with Bran forcing Luwin into allowing he, Rickon and Osha to stay with him in his solar because he and Rickon know of the impending demise of their father. When the raven arrives to alert them of Ned’s death, Bran asks: “What does it say?” and Luwin responds: “You know what it says.” I was really drawn to that sequence when listening to the book. It raised my awareness of the brothers’ connection and that they both shared a gift.
Shaggy dog lunges at them from the pitch darkness. Rickon had the dream too. And after he tells them he is waiting on his father, he disappears back into the darkness. In my opinion, GRRM and GoT missed a great opportunity for Rickon to be a “Dark Stark”, with all of his freakiness. Listening to the books as they detail the character of Rickon, he was just wild like his wolf. I try to wrap my mind around the character and I come away with the impression that because Catelyn left him to follow Robb to battle, maybe the dog took over as the “parent”, the protector. Rickon’s wild nature was because Shaggy Dog was “who” was left to nurture him. No one else had time to tend to him (or the energy, I dare say).
Osha carries Bran back up into the daylight, reassuring him that his father is ok… until they see the Maester. The look on his face and the scroll in his hand are all they need to know that words has arrived that Ned has died.
Back in the field of battle, Catelyn walks through a column of men who part the way and all bow low to her, honoring her grief. For all of my dislike of her character, my heart aches at her loss. She uses a tree to support herself as she weeps. She is hears someone else further into the forest, it is Robb and he is hacking at a tree with his sword. Wear out the grief, if that works. “Robb, you’ve ruined your sword.”
This show was such a game changer for me. At this very moment I was full of hope that they would get the sisters back and that they would kill them all. These are our heroes. Of course they will prevail! All the while, that tickle at the back of my brain nagged: “Will they prevail? Just ask Ned what he thinks…”
In the throne room we are listening to Marillion on the floor singing a tune to the king about the death of Ned. He comes to the part in the song about King Robert, “The Lion ripped his balls off and the boar did all the rest.” So, the small folk do know that the Lions (Lannisters) were partially at fault in Robert’s death as well.
The book singer who was tried by Joffrey was not Marillion, but an unnamed tavern singer. Marillion, who was present at the Crossroads Inn when Catelyn captured Tyrion and accompanied them to the Vale, makes an appearance later on in the book series but never in King’s Landing.
Joffrey now menaces the singer, making him choose between tongue and hands. Tongues it is and Ser Ilyn sets about to do his dirty work, pinchers in hand. Joffrey exits and asks Sansa to walk with him. He wants to show her something. The Hound is there, “Do as you’re bid child.”
As they walk he callously tells her that once she bleeds he will put a baby in her. A few steps later they are standing on a walkway and he forces her to look at the heads on the pikes, Ned’s displayed prominently. “Mother says I’m still to marry you so you’ll stay here and obey. LOOK AT HIM.” “How long do I have to look?” The first bit of guts she shows. In this moment, Sansa realizes that not everything is as was described by Septa Mordane. Speaking of her, there’s her head!!
The head on a spike closest Septa Mordane was created using a mask of former president George W. Bush. After an official apology from HBO the episode was pulled from all digital platforms, including HBO Go and iTunes, and all shipments of the DVD box set featuring the show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ commentary that drew attention to the use of the head as a prop were halted. An updated version of the episode with the head digitally replaced was released online on June 25, 2012.
Joffrey taunts her with the idea of putting Robb’s head on a pike: “Maybe I will give you your brother’s head as a gift.” She comes back with: “Or maybe he’ll give me yours.” An,d because his mother has told him a king never strikes a woman (IRONY), he has Ser Meryn do it for him. One smack one direction. One smack the other. In the book, there was a number of men willing to beat this child for Joffrey. The bruises she sustained at the hands of others by his request. Horrible little monster that he is.
She is traumatized now, in shock. But the wheels are turning in her mind. You can see it all laid bare, she intends to push him off the walkway to his death but The Hound stops her before she can accomplish the feat. Oh how this whole thing could have been different had she just gave him a little shove. We have a true kindness from The Hound, adding so much dimension to who he might really be as a human.
Robb is holding court with his bannermen and they are discussing the potential of bending a knee to Renley. But, they are opposed to it. They are opposed to Stannis as king as well. “Why shouldn’t we rule ourselves again?… There sits the only king I mean to bend my knee to! THE KING OF THE NORTH!” And that sets off a domino of all the bannermen rallying behind Robb, as well as Theon.
Catelyn pays Jaimie Lannister a visit. She picks up a rock. Will she bash his head in? Oof… Maybe not repeatedly but at least one good punch. He tries to be witty, pretending to seduce her. She retorts: “That is what you want the world to believe isn’t it? That you don’t fear death?” His line: “Where were the trees when he was getting his head chopped off? If your gods are real and if they’re just, why is the world so full of injustice?” What a question to ponder, fantasy and reality. He admits that he pushed Bran out the window, hoping for his death. But, he won’t tell her why he felt the need to.
And then there was a naked boy in Cersei’s chamber… Same boy (Lancel) that plied King Robert with all the wine the day he was killed by a boar. I hate the actor’s wig. It is like a bad 1970s version of a TV show depicting Camelot. He is blabbering on about the war, Robb Stark, next moves and she cuts him off: “Stop talking. Get back into bed.”
Jump to Tywin, who has also received the word of Jaimie’s capture: “They have my son.” He is sitting with his war chamber, Tyrion included. They discuss the various the Baratheons, ransoms, on and on – all while Tywin looks away and then he looses his temper and chases them all from the tent. All but Tyrion. They discuss Joffrey’s impetuous nature. “Madness and stupidity.” They will send 500 out to Riverlands to set everything on fire, the rest will go to Harenthal to regroup. But he has a special order for Tyrion. Tyrion is to go to King’s Landing and rule as Hand of the King in Tywin’s sted. “You will bring that boy king to heel and his mother too, if need be.” Tywin’s final words before leaving: “And one more thing, you will not take that whore to court. Do you understand?” And before Tyrion can answer, Tywin leaves.
In the desert, Daenerys is resting in her bed as Jorah watches over her. As she wakes, she is weak and confused but asks about her son. Jorah has to tell her that the boy did not live. “How did my son die?” as Jorah chokes out what the women say of her dead baby, Mirri Maz Duur chimes in from behind to tell her that the fetus was monstrous, twisted, scaled like a lizard, with wings. “I warned you that only death can pay for life.” “Show me what I bought with my son’s life.”
The Khalistar is gone. A Khal who cannot ride is no Khal. They take her to the cliff’s edge to see Drogo, her Sun and Stars. He likes the warmth but there is no life behind his eyes. He will be as he was when “the sun rises in the west, sets in the east”. The witch lady has screwed her over and she is pissed. She tells the men to leave them. “I have nothing more to fear from this woman.”
Mirri Maz Duur did this for vindication of the ruin of her temple and destruction of her people. (In the book there was more time given to the Lamb People and they were almost made fun of by Drogo and his followers – irony, this woman of the Lamb People brought down and entire Khalasar like she did.) “My child was innocent.” “Innocent? He would have been the stallion that mounts the world. Now he won’t burn no cities.” Daenerys learns that her idea of saving a person was superficial, Mirri Maz Duur had already been raped when she “saved” her, she had seen too much destruction. She likened her life now to that of Drogo – there, but not truly alive.
Jon Snow is opening a gate and Sam is trying to stop him from deserting. What does he plan to do? “Put a sword through King Joffrey’s throat.” He knocks Sam down as he rides out.
In this moment, I feel like Sam is Neville Longbottom, trying to stop his friends from doing something that might get them hurt or bring shame to their house by sneaking out, under cover of night…
Shae is helping Tyrion pack. He is explaining to her that Tywin has banned him from taking her. “He’s always been a cunt.” Tyrion decides in this moment that he is taking her to court, against his father’s wishes.
Jon rides through the night, his wolf at his side. Behind him are his brothers, giving chase. Sam is taken out by a tree limb. In a moment of guilt, Jon turns around to check. His Brothers start to recite the vow as Jon resists. This is a moment. Jon’s moment to truly join the Night’s Watch. Sam hands him longclaw, a reminder of Mormont.
Daenerys is back in the tent, washing Drogo and begging him to come out of his shell. She realizes that will not happen. She kisses him and then smothers the lifeless life from him with a pillow.
One of my favorite scenes from this season happens in this episode. We see Grand Maester Pycell, rambling on while sitting on the edge of his bed. He is espousing all of this knowledge of kings and history only for us to realize he is talking to a whore. The whore is ROS! Ros could give three shits less about his gibberish, is bored even. She goes about washing her lady bits. She just wants paid for crawling under that old, feeble, gross old man. He rambles, loses his place, and then she makes her way to leave. The moment she is gone and out of eye/ear shot, he stands up and cracks his back. He stretches and walks away, ailment free! He is not the broken old man that he puts out there. This is his game. Julian Glover is a master with this character.
I was able to see Julian Glover at Cincy Comic Expo where he spoke on a panel. He had this to say about Pycell:
I looked up Esme Bianco, who plays Ros, to find that she is in fourteen episodes spanning from 2011 to 2013. D&D added her character, loved her (for whatever reason) and continued to write her in to various scenes for multiple years.
Little Finger is met by Varys in the Throne Room. They exchange jibes and consider what each would do if they sat upon the throne. Petyr rudely asks personal questions about Varys castration, how he became a eunuch. They throw pretend compliments back and forth. “Here we stand, in mutual admiration and respect.” Joffrey walks by to the throne. They can think about sitting upon it all they like, only one rules the realms and it is neither of them.
Yoren gives Arya a new name: ‘Arry. He tells her to piss in the woods alone as they travel so they don’t realize she is a girl. They will be on their way to The Wall. Hot Pie lies and says that he knocked a boy down and kicked him in the ballas and kept kicking him and eventually he “kicked him all ta pieces”. Arya pulls the blade on him and pushes him back. She tells him that she enjoys killing fat boys. Gendry comes from behind them to chastise Hot Pie for picking on “the little ones”. And so begins a relationship that would be discussed over every watercooler for an entire series…
As Jon prepares breakfast for the Lord Commander, we find out that Commander Mormont does not like ham. He would like beer for breakfast. He tells Jon that he knows that he almost ran away. “Honor made you leave. Honor brought you back.” “My friends brought me back.” “I didn’t say it was your honor.” Such a great exchange. Beyond the wall the rangers are reporting strange activities, blue eyed corpses, movements of the wildlings. “When dead men come hunting for us in the night, do you think it matters who sits on the iron throne?” Tomorrow they will be riding beyond the wall to find out what’s happening. They leave in force with the Lord Commander leading them. It is a spectacle to behold, the numbers that are marching beyond the wall.
Jorah tries to convince Daenerys to keep the eggs, that she could sell them and survive on the proceeds. She lets him know that is not how this story will go.
He begs her to not climb into fire, he fears she will burn. “Is that what you fear?” Then she kisses him.
The book gives you insight into her thoughts at this moment. She considers the prospect of loving him as he does her. She kisses him and immediately dismisses that option all together. She turns to the people and tells them she frees them, they are no longer slaves. Take off your collars, if you will. Some do leave and walk away. But some stay. She tells them if they stay, they stay as free people.
Mirri Maz Duur smirks from where she kneels, bound by rope. “Ser Jorah, bind this woman to the pyre.”
“I am Daenerys Stormborn, of house Targaryen, of the blood of old Valeryia, I AM the dragon’s daughter and I swear to you, that those who would harm you will die screaming.” Her name will grow longer as the series continues on.
Mirri Maz Duur calls out to her that she will not hear her scream. Daenerys calmly responds: “I will.” And she does. But she wants her life, not her screams.
All of the circular symbols in this series. The symbolism of round…
Mirri Maz Duur begins to scream as the flames take her.
Without fear or looking back, Daenerys approackes the pyre and walks in.
The next morning all that is left is ashes.
Ashes and an unburnt Khaleesi … and her dragons!
The birth of Daenerys’ dragons marks the first living dragons in nearly 150 years. According to the books, the last dragon died during the reign of King Aegon III in the year 153.
Two scenes from this episode: 1) Arya’s brutal encounter with Hot Pie and Lommy and 2) The conversation between Jaime and Catelyn – are not included in the original novel, but in the sequel “A Clash of Kings”.
The episode title is a reference to the words of House Targaryen “Fire and Blood”. It has an additional meaning, referring to the magical ritual that hatches Daenerys’ dragon eggs.
And now, for the Ozzy Man’s review: well shit – he has the first nine eps and no ten?? He also doesn’t have season two. Sigh. So, let’s see if there is something equally humorous… Sigh. Nope. Here is the HBO recap of the ep:
|Sean Bean||Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark (credit only)|
|Michelle Fairley||Catelyn Stark|
|Nikolaj Coster-Waldau||Jaime Lannister|
|Lena Headey||Cersei Lannister|
|Emilia Clarke||Daenerys Targaryen|
|Iain Glen||Jorah Mormont|
|Aidan Gillen||Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish|
|Kit Harington||Jon Snow|
|Richard Madden||Robb Stark|
|Sophie Turner||Sansa Stark|
|Maisie Williams||Arya Stark|
|Alfie Allen||Theon Greyjoy|
|Isaac Hempstead Wright||Bran Stark|
|Jack Gleeson||Joffrey Baratheon|
|Rory McCann||Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane|
|Peter Dinklage||Tyrion Lannister|
|Donald Sumpter||Maester Luwin|
|Conleth Hill||Lord Varys|
|Jerome Flynn||Bronn (credit only)|
|James Cosmo||Jeor Mormont|
|Ron Donachie||Rodrik Cassel|
|Charles Dance||Tywin Lannister|
|John Bradley||Samwell Tarly|
|Julian Glover||Grand Maester Pycelle|
|Clive Mantle||Greatjon Umber|
|Wilko Johnson||Ilyn Payne|
|Mia Soteriou||Mirri Maz Duur|
|Ian Gelder||Kevan Lannister|
|Eugene Simon||Lancel Lannister|
|Ben Hawkey||Hot Pie|
|Eros Vlahos||Lommy Greenhands|
|Art Parkinson||Rickon Stark|
|Ian Beattie||Meryn Trant|