After the the shocking events that lead up to young Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) being thrown from the top of the broken tower, after catching Queen Cersai cheating on her husband King Robert Baratheon with her twin brother, this episode begins across the narrow sea, with the last of the Targaryans Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Viserys travelling with the Dothraki across fields of grass on horseback on the way to Pentos for the wedding. Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), promises things will get better for Daenerys when they arrive – she hopes so, since the hard riding is making her saddle sore and a diet of dried horse meat is not to palatable. Viserys is as big a shit as we have come to expect (one of many in Westeros as it turns out), he is no King, and although Ser Jorah has pledged his sword to him he clearly has a preference for Daenerys.
In Winterfell Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), awakes in a stable, not entirely certain how he ended up there. His hateful nephew Joffrey is watching him and the young prince attempts to poke fun at Tyrion’s expense. Tyrion however is having none of it and quickly puts Joffrey in his place, telling him to go and express his sincerest condolences to the Starks over the accident that has befallen Bran. Perhaps it is wrong of me, but I took great satisfaction in seeing Tyrion repeatedly slap the smug prince’s face (you can see more of that here – all 10 minutes of it ), sending him crying to his mother. Mission accomplished Tyrion enters the keep to have breakfast with his brother and sister. Cersai (Lena Headey), is disturbed to learn that Tyrion thinks young Bran might yet wake up from his fall, and its evident that Tyrion suspects Cersai and Jaime’s involvement in what happened. “My dear brother, sometimes I wonder which side you are on..” Says Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
After taking her leave of breakfast Cersai goes to Bran’s room to see Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). She tells of her own child lost to a fever when she was younger. The empathy is surprising and for a moment it is almost as though she regrets what she and Jaime Lannister did to the boy.
In the courtyard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is forging a new sword with the blacksmith when Jaime Lannister comes to congratulate him on his decision to take the black and become a member of the Nights watch. As ever with the Kingslayer there is something antagonistic in the tone of his voice as if he is mocking Jon at the same time. Jon does not rise to it and when Jaime leaves he takes the sword and goes to find Arya (Maisie Williams) where he says his goodbyes and presents her with the sword as a going away gift. “Stick them with the pointy end” he tells her – possibly the most important lesson she will ever learn.
Next Jon goes to See Bran. Still unconscious and with his Mother by his side Bran cannot hear his words as Jon promises he will see Bran at the wall when he wakes. Cat listens, but it is evident that she carries a lot of resentment towards this bastard son of lord Eddard Stark – a walking, talking reminder of her husband’s infidelity. She sends him away bitterly. Back in the courtyard Jon embraces his older brother Robb (Richard Madden), and prepares to leave for the wall with his uncle Benjen. Leaving winterfell at the same time as the Kings party as it travels south to Kings Landing, Jon rides part of the way with his Father (Sean Bean), who promises the next time they see each other, they will talk about his mother….
Further down the Kingsroad Ned and the King stop for a something to eat, and for King Robert (Mark Addy) to relieve himself against a tree. The pair reminisce about past conquests and the good times they used to have before Robert became King. Robert shows Ned a letter he received in the night. It tells of Daenerys marriage to the Dothraki and Robert is clearly unsettled. He fears reprisals from the Targaryens, yet Ned is adamant that Robert has nothing to fear. The Dothraki are not sailors, they will not cross the Narrow Sea.
Jon Snow meanwhile is having his eyes opened to the truth about the Nights Watch. Seated with Tyrion (who is coming along just to see the wall for himself) he sees two brethren escorted into camp with their hands tied. Rapists, Tyrion claims, they would have had a choice – castration or the wall, most choose the knife. Tyrion is a clever man, a deformed Imp who has survived by his wits in a family renowned for their looks, charm, and their ability to turn on people like snakes. Tyrion’s father was the hand of the King for 20 years, until his brother Jaime Killed that King – a truth that doesn’t sit well with Tyrion, he is not like the others but he has belief in himself and in his own sharp mind.
Back in Winterfell, Catelyn is fretting over Bran to the exclusion of all else. Maester Luwin needs Catelyn to attend to affairs of state. The cost of the Kings visit needs to be assessed and little Rickon, youngest of the Stark children is missing his mother. Robb is doing his best in his Mothers stead, but he is just a boy as well and it is difficult for him. Through the window drifts the sound of the Direwolves howling and the suddenly the faraway ringing of a fire alarm. Robb hurries away to attend the fire leaving Catelyn alone with Bran. Suddenly a man enters the chamber armed with a knife. He is surprised to see Catelyn there. Clearly the fire was intended as a distraction and he was hoping to find Bran defenceless in his bed. Someone has sent him to finish the job. Catelyn does her best to fight him off but she is not strong enough. As he moves in to kill the boy Bran’s wolf leaps to his defence, tearing out the attackers throat before jumping up onto the bed to sit by his master’s side.
Daenerys is being tended to by her handmaidens, talking of dragons as she looks over her prized wedding gifted of the three ancient dragon eggs. Dragons are no more, defeated by brave men the handmaidens tell her. She dismisses two of them, wanting to talk in private with Doreah (Roxanne McKee), the girl who seems to know the most. It turns out that this handmaiden is a woman of the world (so to speak) and she can teach the Khaleesi how to make Khal Drogo happy…
As Jon Snow’s party arrive at the wall, and Jon gets his first site of the vast desolate expanse of ice which he is to call his home from now on, Catelyn is climbing to the top of the Broken tower in Winterfell, from where her son Bran took his fall. After the attempt on Bran’s life she is starting to suspect that Bran’s fall was no accident and when she finds a lock of long golden hair she is certain of it and, worse, it involved the Lannisters. The knife the man carried was too fine a weapon for him to own – someone of wealth must have handed it to him. In a hastily convened meeting in the Godswood, Catelyn resolves to travel South to inform Lord Stark of these developments in person. Robb is to remain behind as Lord of Winterfell in her absense. Ser Rodrik Cassel will accompany her. The Kingsroad can be a dangerous place for a woman alone.
Daenerys is being well tutored in womanly ways by Doreah. She tells her Khaleesi that she should take control of their love making, even though Dany does not think that Khal Drogo will approve. That night when the Khal comes to her in her tent to take her from behind as usual, she resists and insists that tonight she will look upon his face as they make love. He doesn’t seem to mind after all…..
The Kings party make camp along the Kingsroad and Sansa (Sophie Turner), has a run in with Sandor Clegane, and the Kings executioner Ilyn Payne, who isn’t very talkative these days, not since the old king had his tongue ripped with a pair of pincers. Joffrey comes over and dismisses Clegane, who he also refers to as the Hound, telling him not to upset his beloved Sansa. Turning on the charm the prince asks Sansa to come walk with him in the sunshine.
They walk by the River and Joffrey offers Sansa a drink from his wineskin. They are interrupted by the sound of wooden swords clacking together. When they go to investigate they find Ayra playing swordfights with her friend the butchers boy. Seeing an opportunity to impress Sansa Prince Joffrey starts to taunt the butcher’s boy challenging him to a proper fight. The butcher’s boy is petrified as Joffrey cuts his cheek with his blade. Arya cannot stand by and let this happen and she hits him with her wooden stick. Joffrey turns really nasty then, calling Ayra all the names under sun and rounding on her venomously with his sword. Ayra is knocked to the floor and Joffrey has her at the point of his sword when her Direwolf, Nymeria, leaps to her rescue biting Joffrey’s arm. Arya calls of the wolf and the tables are turned when she picks up Joffrey’s sword. Joffrey begs for mercy like the craven coward he is before Ayra throws the sword into the lake and runs away with Nymeria. She knows that she will be in trouble for what she has done; Nymeria too so she does everything she can to get her wolf to leave her side, throwing rocks at him till he finally takes the hint. Then she goes into hiding herself.
When the Lannisters find out what has happened Ayra is tracked for days until she is found and taken directly to see the king. Ned Stark is furious and demands to know the meaning of it all. An impromptu court is set up where the King attempts to make sense of what has happened. Joffrey’s version of events is not exactly truthful, claiming Arya and the Butchers boy beat him with clubs then set the wolf on him. Sansa doesn’t exactly help matters claiming she can’t quite remember what happened.
King Robert doesn’t want to punish Arya, philosophically admitting that children fight. Telling Ned to discipline Arya and he will do the same with Joffrey that might have been the end of it. But Cersai, the Queen, Roberts Wife and Joffrey’s mother wont let it lie. She wants some revenge for the scars that Joffrey will bear for the rest of his life. She wants the wolf’s hide. But Nymeria is gone, Arya sent her wolf away. A wolf is a wolf in Cersai’s eyes though and says Sansa’s wolf, Lady, will do. Robert has to concede something to his wife, lest what is the point of him being married to her so he agrees that Sansa’s wolf is to be killed. Eddard is aghast, but seeing no other alternative he agrees; and just as he did with the deserter from the wall he will do the wolf the honour of carrying out the execution personally. As he goes to carry out the deed he passes Sandor Clegane returning from the search for Arya. He has the butcher’s boy slung over his horse. Dead. “You rode him down?” Ned demands to know, “He ran. But not very fast.”
As Ned finds it within himself to butcher his eldest daughter’s pet wolf, far away in Winterfell Brandon Stark Opens his eyes…
- There is some debate over whether Cersai was telling the truth when she spoke of the lose of her first child to fever. Some think she incapable of such natural empathy with cat. Personally I think she speaks the truth; it happened long ago when Cersai may actually have had feelings for the King.
- When Catelyn Stark headed South to Kings Landing in the book, she went by boat not along the Kingsroad. This way she could be certain of getting there ahead of her husband
- Dire Wolves are real animals, however the are long since extinct. Northern Inuit Dogs were chosen to double as these ferocious creatures due to their strong resemblance to wolves.
- Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa adopted the dog who played lady after filming was complete