Season 1, Episode 02: “The Kingsroad”
I: Doris, I think this episode answered a few of your questions. First of all, we’re starting to figure out just how Peter Dinklage earned that Emmy: Slapping Joffrey in the face three times in a row. That foreshadows an even greater humiliation when Joffrey is at Arya’s mercy. For all of his bluster, Joffrey is pretty cowardly and weak. By the end, everyone knows that he’s getting beat up by people he should easily best. An unkind character being publicly humiliated during adolescence...who does this remind me of? Oh right, every comic book villain EVER. We also learned that Bran Muffin is alive but not exactly well. He’s survived two attempted murders, but I don’t know if his luck will hold out if (and I’m guessing when) the Lannisters try to kill him again. Between the hit man and that poor butcher boy, I’m really concerned about Arya’s safety. Will there be any mini-Starks left by the end of the season?
On the plus side, we’re seeing the women of this show assert some more power. There’s Catelyn doing her detective work and holding her own against that hitman. And let’s not forget Cersei Lannister, who terrifies the crap out of me. I’m a little less worried about Daenerys than I was last week. I don’t know why she was getting sex lessons, but I’m hoping she’s going to try to gain some power over Khal Drogo. One thing that sometimes annoys me about prestige dramas like this and Mad Men is their tendency to practically write their themes out in bold print. In this episode, we saw that with the juxtaposition of Daenerys and the former prostitute turned lady’s maid. Both are brought into sexual relationships at young ages, and they are expected to please men at all costs. It was already clear that SuperBlonde is basically the pimp of House Targaryen, and that Daenerys is sold for sex. Let’s hope that Sansa doesn’t end up in the same trap.
This episode still had some great moments. It was nice to be reminded that the Starks (including Jon!) actually love each other. Whoever plays Catelyn Stark just killed it when Jon came to say goodbye to Bran. It must be horrible to be reminded of your husband’s infidelity as you watch your own son fight for his life. Ned seems to actually care for Jon, reminding him “you are a Stark.” He may not be treated like one, but it’s nice to see that there are some genuine bonds there. I’m also loving the Tyrion-Ned bromance, so I’m sure that means something horrible will happen to at least one of them. Doris, who do you think is next on the Lannisters’ hit list?
D: For me, the strongest asset of Game of Thrones thus far has been its compelling characters as performed by a talented cast. The main drawback, however, is that there are so many characters and plotlines that I can never remember what's happening to whom or why this person is doing this or that to the other. In regards to my prior questions, these are the answers: Dany gets kinky sex lessons from her handmaid; Bran wakes up; Eddard has found naught (although his wife Catelyn is starting to get clued in on the Lannisters); no word on Sansa's cycles; and Tyrion gets to slap Joffrey and be snarky about Jon Snow's illegitimate birth!
Well, Irene, things are still not looking good for the Stark children. Bran is probably still on the Lannisters' hit list, and now that we've become aware of what a huge jerk Joffrey is, I'll add Arya and a wandering Nymeria to it as well. (I wouldn't be surprised if he still held a grudge in the next episode.) I'm also concerned about Sansa, but not so much for her safety as for her sanity: how can she like that guy?! I can't imagine her adoration will last very long, given his cruelty and arrogance. I can't believe she still wants to marry him, either, given that he threatened her sister's life! Sansa, you need to sort out your priorities. Turning to another woman of the Stark family: I understand that Catelyn Stark has a hard time dealing with Jon because he is the physical embodiment of her husband's infidelity and all that, but she should really ease up on him a bit. For one, his birth is obviously not his fault, and for another, he is clearly a loving brother to her biological children. (That bit in the beginning was a highlight for me, too.) I mean, he gave Arya a cute little sword of her own! Nothing says familial love like telling your baby sister to stick people with "the pointy end" of her new sword.