I: Thanks to the internet, I knew that Ned would die at the end of this episode. I still spent the last five minutes screaming and cursing out Sansa, Joffrey, and pretty much everyone else involved in this horrible event. The TV show has been very loyal to the books so far, but it was still a very gutsy move to kill the show’s ostensible protagonist. This episode settled something I’ve been wondering about for a while: Is Joffrey completely under his mother’s thumb? The answer is a worrisome “no.” I’d thought of Cersei as the show’s puppet-master villain, but I’ll definitely be watching out for Joffrey, too. Hopefully Ned didn’t die entirely in vain. His admittance may grant Arya and Sansa kinder treatment at the Lannisters’ hands. As Maester Aemon put it, “Love is the death of duty.”
Last episode, I questioned Robb’s decision to let the spy go. Luckily, it seems to have paid off for the Starks. I was genuinely shocked when Robb showed up with Jaime as his prisoner. Robb is forced to make an ethical decision as well: Should he sacrifice himself to prevent more of his soldiers dying? He decides to keep Jaime as his prisoner. I think this is the right choice. I highly doubt the Lannisters would be kind to the Winterfell army even if Jaime killed Robb. Besides, Robb also has to worry about his and Arya’s betrothals to the Freys. (Fun fact: The guy who plays Walder Frey was Filch in Harry Potter!) I’m beginning to understand why infidelity is so rampant in Westeros: Everyone’s married off to people they have no interest in. Although both Robb and Arya are pawns, it’s still a pretty sexist system. He at least gets to make a decision about his betrothal, while Arya has no input into her fate. Also, no one would judge Robb for picking up a mistress or two, but Arya would immediately be ostracized if she committed adultery.
Finally, this episode introduced my new favorite game: Make drunken acquaintances admit depressing secrets!
I’m going to start saying this every time I get bored at a party.
D: Bye bye, Ned. I figured it'd happen sooner or later but it was still terrible and heartbreaking to watch, especially through the eyes of his daughters. The dichotomy between Sansa and Arya was striking, with the elegantly groomed Sansa standing by the queen and a grimy, hungry Arya hiding among the rabble, but at the end of the scene, both of course showed the same reaction to their father’s decapitation. Where will they go from here? Arya has no money, no food, no guardian, and no shelter, yet in her exposure she is safer than Sansa, who remains under the watchful eye of Cersei and Joffrey. Now that King Robert and Ned are both dead and Robb and Catelyn have committed treason, Joffrey has no reason to keep Sansa as a fiancée. There’s certainly no affection on his part. I honestly don’t think he's capable of loving anything or anyone, not even his fawning mother. And I agree with you, Irene: I don’t think Cersei has a complete hold over him. Five bucks says Joffrey yells something along the lines of “I’M the king; don’t tell me what to do!” at his mother in the next episode.
Switching gears: the plotline with Khal Drogo’s festering wound definitely came out of nowhere. Last episode, he shrugged his injury off (“Meh, papercut”) and now he’s suddenly on his deathbed! With Westeros at war, it would’ve been a perfect time for Dany, Drogo, and the Dothraki- The Triple D’s: that could be the name of their alt rock garage band- to swoop in, but it looks like that won’t be happening. Didn’t Arya overhear Varys and that bearded Illyrio guy talk in the Red Keep about how they wanted a civil war for that very reason? Hmm. So is Varys a Targaryen ally? That could explain why he told Ned he serves “the realm” in the last episode, if he thinks the Targaryens are the true Protectors of the Realm. Gah!! This show is so mysterious and confusing- I want answers!!