40 Days. 40 Episodes. Game of Thrones, S1E3

Okay, so maybe I’m enjoying this a little bit. It was my friend Bryan who prompted me to do more of a recap of Game of Thrones episodes than the brief thoughts I initially did. I still don’t think I can do 40 episodes in 40 days but here are my thoughts on Season 1, Episode 3, “Lord Snow.”

So, really, I have never paid attention to the locations on the map during the credits. I think it’s a fantastic credit sequence and I enjoy how they represent every area of the map but when the show starts, I’m not paying attention to see if a new area appears or what’s focused on. Just thought I’d put that out there.

This episode starts with the cool Starks arriving at King’s Landing. So I guess that didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Ned’s immediately called to a meeting of the Small Council which is like, again, dude, this was a terrible decision to become Hand. You can’t even relax your butt from a month-long ride down the Kingsroad before you have to deal with bureaucrats.

Jaime confronts Ned as he walks into the throne room. It’s the first time we hear Jaime’s story of killing the Mad King. It’s interesting to compare this to how he later tells the story. In this instance, Jaime and Ned are equally arrogant. Ned lording his honor over Jaime. I really do see Ned as one of the most two dimensional characters in the show.

This the scene when we meet Littlefinger, Maester Pycelle, Renly, and Varys. First order of business, a tournament. Ned immediately learns that Robert has been overspending and putting the realm in debt. Ned gets mad and then he dismisses the meeting.

Then there’s Cersei putting ointment on Joffrey and teaching him to lie about the incident in which Arya’s wolf attacked him: “Someday, you’ll sit on the throne and the truth will be what you make it.” She also gives her son great advice about whores and the “occasional kindness” to pay to his fiancee. Joffrey then gives her a bunch of ridiculous political opinions. But Cersei is nonetheless proud of her budding tyrant in this moment. She does give him better advice on being a good king. You can pretty much hear Tywin speaking through her. And then, “Everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.”

Ned is really great with Arya and Sansa. He sees Arya with Needle and is impressed with his daughter. So are we, cause this is when she says, “I don’t want to be a lady.” Arya also starts her list in this moment. She hates all of them, she says, and starts a list. She also asks some really pointed questions of Ned: “How can you let her marry someone like that?” Ned, dude, even your children get that your “honor” thing is getting in the way of good sense.

Back in the North, Bran is getting stories from his weird old Gran. “Fear is for the Long Night,” she tells him and gives us all the background on that event that came once and is coming again. She talks about the White Walkers, Pale Spiders, and generally terrifying things. Then Robb comes in and tries to undo it.

Boom. Catelyn is in King’s Landing. So quickly. It’s like she teleported. But she meets Littlefinger in his whorehouse. And Varys, of course. The Spider knows everything. Cat shows him the dagger used to attack Bran and Varys doesn’t know whose it is. I guess Littlefinger is just eating this whole scene up, given that he, you know, arranged it all.

Then, that dickhead of the Night’s Watch (forget his name) is goading all the poor young men who’ve never been trained to fight into fighting Lord Snow. Mormont tells Tyrion about Bran being alive and then Pycelle delivers the news to Ned. And Ned attacks Littlefinger for delivering him to Cat. Ah, the Starks. Littlefinger is right, quick tempers, slow minds.

Then the Night’s Watch are attacking Jon when Tyrion saves him by interrupting and threatening them with beheadings. Jon is finally, sorta, grateful to Tyrion for being the only one to tell him the truth. You know, I forgot that I thought Jon was a dumb dumb for this whole season too. It’s honestly great how I’ve forgotten that in light of his journey. Which makes me think that really, the only characters I still dislike throughout the series are those who don’t change. Because in the next scene, Jaime (who becomes more compassionate) is fighting/seducing Cersei (who is the same B she always was).

Damn. And in retrospect, this goodbye between Catelyn and Ned is heartbreaking. “Off with ya” is the last thing he says to her.

It’s important that we meet Ser Barristan Selmy in the next scene. Robert’s bloodthirstiness in recalling his own killings becomes quickly hypocritical as he questions Jaime’s slaying of the Mad King. I remember how Season 1 and 2 were just full of interpersonal tension. Robert was just transparent in his loathing of his wife’s family.

Dany stops the horde and first uses the word “Khaleesi.” I do dislike her less on this viewing. I mean here we are three episodes in and she’s giving orders and standing up to Viserys. Man, V gets his ass whipped by the Dothraki. And then he tries to order Jorah again to no response. It’s a pretty amazing scene. But I mean, really, wouldn’t we have loved Viserys to stick around for more episodes?

Back in Black, Jon Snow is merely a Fly on the Wall. He greets Benjen and displays his usual lack of humility and gets another “we’ll speak when I return.” Jon has really got to be sick of people telling him they’ll talk later only to disappear. Then Benjen is a real jerk to Tyrion. God, the Starks. Such assholes.

Jorah hears about Dany’s pregnancy in the next scene and he is immediately off to rat her out.

As Maester Aemon and Mormont beg Tyrion to send men to the Wall, I do like Aemon’s expression, “The Starks are always right eventually: winter is coming.”

The episode ends with Arya meeting her dancing instructor. Just so.