40 Days. 40 Episodes. Game of Thrones, S1E4

Well, my half-assed idea to write up one Game of Thrones episode each day until the Season 5 premiere has become a little more whole-assed. Here I am on Episode 4 when I didn’t think I’d even do the second one. Hit those comments.

This episode starts with Bran’s dream of the three-eyed raven. He’s walking through Winterfell chasing it. Little does he know, right? He wakes up and there’s something much creepier in his room, grandma. Theon shows up and Bran’s wolf growls. And we meet Hodor.

Tyrion has returned with Yoren from the Wall. Tyrion gives Bran a schematic for a saddle. Robb accepts it with the typical Stark assholery. Then Tyrion mocks Theon…for what reason? I guess just to taunt him. Man, nobody likes Theon.

Back at the Wall, the roughnecks of the Watch meet Samwell Tarly and prompted whip his ass. Jon leads a compassion rebellion among his fellow Night’s Watch. Except that in doing so, he has to kick all their asses.

Dany and the horde ride into Vaes Dothrak. Viserys continues his pouty “my army” shit and Danaerys asks the right question, could my brother defeat the armies of Westeros? You know, I guess she was a budding leader all along. Cut to: Viserys in the tub with one of the handmaidens. He’s feeling all studly and she totally kills his mood talking about the dragon’s skulls. It’s pretty epic. She does mention a “man who could change his face the way other men change their clothes.” So we get that hint of what’s to come. And we get some dragon history.

“What if I only have girls?” Sansa asks in the next scene. And it’s like, girl, don’t even worry about that. She does say Joffrey hates her. So she’s not totally thick. At least, she’s figured that out.

Ned’s in another council meeting getting grief from that dum dum who ends up on the Wall. It’s almost like he should never have accepted a government position. The meeting adjourns and Ned cannot tip his hand quickly enough. He immediately asks Pycelle about Jon Arryn’s death. Pycelle gives him the book of kings and lineages. Pycelle tells Ned the dying words of Jon Arryn and it sounds so obvious now. We’ve seen Jaime and Cersei together. We see how Joffrey hates Robert. We hear Ned read the descriptions of the children. And then, “the seed is strong.” Why did we need 6 more episodes this season. j/k

Arya is basically the Luke Skywalker of GOT. She trains with one master for like a month and then she’s all, “I’m out of this swamp.” But for real, her comments to Ned when he describes her life as a Lord’s wife are awesome: “No. That’s not me.”

Back on the Wall, Jon and Sam begin to bond. Of all the things that annoyed me in the first two seasons, Jon and Sam were involved in two of the major moments. Sam telling Mormont he didn’t send the ravens (which he did in the book) and Qhorin Halfhand not explicitly telling Jon to kill him (which he did in the book).

I do like how Ned keeps being surprised that Littlefinger and Varys know everything. Like, bro, have you not figured this out yet? You’re being spied upon. Of course, that is the point of this next scene wherein Littlefinger walks Ned through the garden and points out all the spies. It’s just so awesome how Littlefinger is manipulating all of this: giving Ned info about Robert’s bastards and tactics to use to avoid the spies. And Ned’s typical obliviousness: “Let them look.”

Gendry really is a mimbo, right? Is that the word? Like Dan Cortese in that episode of Seinfeld.

Jaime’s offense at Robert cheating on Cersei is really rich. I do love his description of seeing Theon at Winterfell, “It was like seeing a shark on a mountaintop.”

Then Jon and his posse stage a nighttime “Code Red” to make sure no one touches Sam. It’s incredibly effective at pissing off their training dude.

Watching Viserys get angry is a really sublime pleasure. This next scene is the one where he says, “You are a horselord slut and now you’ve waken the dragon!” which is what I say to my alarm clock every morning.

Jon and Sam have the birds-and-bees talk. Or as Sam calls it, “Sally on the side.” They find out they’re both still holding their V-cards. This is the most chaste locker room conversation two men who are basically convicts have possibly ever had. Jon tells Sam he was worried he’d get Roz pregnant if he had sex with her. Which is like, dude, Roz has definitely planned for that eventuality.

Then that dickhead breaks it up with his weird ass story about being out beyond the Wall. And I’m thinking why isn’t this asshole teaching jazz drumming? It’s the same techniques as I understand.

I do love Jorah explaining to Dany how totally useless her brother is. “The common people pray for rain, health, and a summer that never ends.” Dany grows in my estimation with every re-watched episode.

Finally, the tournament that Robert has planned to bankrupt the kingdom. Littlefinger smarms up the Stark girls. Robert is already drunk. Joffrey is already a dick. The scene is really set for a great tournament. So Ser Hugh of the Vale gets totally murdered by the Mountain. There goes that clue for Ned. But Littlefinger tells the Starks about the Hound and the Mountain. Now, it has nothing to do with the story and you’d never remember it but the fake expressions of the extras behind the cast are pretty priceless as they pretend to be concerned for Ser Hugh. Littlefinger really just does this to scare the shit out of Sansa. It is really effective.

Then Cersei visits Ned to try to extract information about his mission. She nails it, “You’re just a soldier, aren’t you? Take your orders and you carry on.” It’s pretty vicious but Ned has never had any real agency in this story. Once he accepted Robert’s request to become Hand, he was done for.

Catelyn and Rodrik choose the wrong dive in which to eat. Or Tyrion does. Although it kinda loses its teeth now that we know what happens, Cat calling on all these bannermen to arrest Tyrion is a really great close to the episode.