40 Days. 40 Episodes. Game of Thrones, S1E7

Watching 40 episodes of Game of Thrones in 40 days? Totally doable at this point, right? Well, HBOGo just crashed on me so maybe I shouldn’t be so confident. Episode 7 is titled, “You win or you die” so you know we’re in the shit now. Oh man, I just remembered Robb goes to war against the Lannisters! Man, that was dumb, right? Read on for a recap / totally loopy thoughts on the re-re-re-watching of Season 1, Episode 7.

This episode begins with Jaime receiving his summons from the Hand for the crimes of the Mountain. We meet Tywin in the first scene too. He’s butchering something while he gives some cold-blooded advice to Tywin: “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.” Then he gives Jaime 30,000 men to take to the Vale to get Tyrion back. Which seems excessive.

The entire scene is an introduction to Tywin and his calculating and power-hungry philosophy. Each of his children represents another side of him: Jaime, the warrior; Cersei, the politician; Tyrion, the tactician (I mean, if he’s not Aerys’s son. Spoilers!). (There’s your three-headed dragon, bruh.) Now, we’re meeting the man who made them. It’s a pretty great pay-off 7 episodes into the series.

Next, Cersei confronts Ned to try to convince him to leave King’s Landing. But Ned just throws his accusations in her face. It’s a terrible move. But Ned is the least talented politician in this whole show. He tells her to leave King’s Landing since Robert’s wroth will follow her. Which just gives her the opportunity to say, you done screwed up when you didn’t take the throne for yourself and “In the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” Point, Cersei.

Then we’re in Littlefinger’s whorehouse where he’s instructing Roz and another girl. I don’t really remember the point of this scene except to be porny and show how sleazy L-fings is. We get Littlefinger doing a soliloquy about his love for Catelyn. He tells us that he learned he’ll never win, not their way. He’s not going to fight them. He’s going to fuck them.

Back at Winterfell, Osha is doing some manual labor and Theon shows up to creep her out. He gives her some lessons from the Iron Islands a place he hasn’t lived in more than a decade. Osha outwits Theon easily. Luwin arrives and Osha tells him how she’s come south to get as far away from the North before the Long Night comes. She says those things they don’t speak about were never gone, just sleeping. And they ain’t sleeping no more.

Jon and Sam are on top of the wall to see a horse returning. It’s Benjen’s.

Back at King’s Landing, Renly gives Ned the news that Robert’s been gored by a boar. Ned really doesn’t heed the warnings. Get out, man. But Robert has to screw him up even more by dismissing everyone from the room before he dictates his orders to Ned. Dude, if you’d said this in front of Renly, Cersei, and Barristan, you’ve have spared so much bloodshed. This is like a gory Frasier episode.

I guess when I first watched this I probably thought, awesome Ned’s in charge. But I can’t even imagine that. This is such a moment of things getting worse, not better.

In Vaes Dothrak, Dany and Drogo talk about geography. Drogo tells her, “A King does not need a chair to sit upon.” Which is the sanest thing anyone has said so far regarding the throne. A moment later, Jorah gives her another lesson in kingliness: Aegon didn’t seize 6 kingdoms because it was his right. Jorah excuses himself from the party and receives his royal pardon from a little boy. Then he’s observing the poisoner about to kill Dany and has a change of heart. There are a great couple of moments where the look on the wine merchant’s face shows he thinks he’s about to get away with it. Then he runs and why Jorah doesn’t kill him is a mystery. Can’t this guy rat him out?

Mormont’s speech to the new members of the Night’s Watch is pretty cool. He tells them nothing in the past matters. Jon’s about getting annoyed with being named a Steward. He’s really a brat, right? It seems like a moment later when Aemon tells him he’s to be Mormont’s steward, Jon should figure out the score. But he’s pretty dumb. Sam has to explain it to him. Pip has to lecture him on what’s “fair.” Jon says, “I always wanted to be a ranger” to which Sam replies, “I always wanted to be a wizard.” So, you know, at least one of them gets his wish.

Continuing his total ignorance of practical politics, Ned refuses Renly totally smart plan to grab Joffrey and seize the throne. Renly quite logically explains that the line of succession didn’t matter when Ned and Robert rose in rebellion against the Mad King and it shouldn’t matter now. Ned wants to pass the throne to Stannis. “Do you still believe good soldiers make good kings?” Renly asks. Ned is just squarely determined to be a head on a pike.

Littlefinger too gives great advice: grab the throne, make peace with the Lannisters, release Tyrion. Ned is just disgusted, disgusted, by this suggestion. He’d rather try to wedge in Stannis and have war.

Sam and Jon walk out on the other side of the Wall to take their oath in the godswood by the Weirwood tree. Ghost runs ahead to pee on it but returns with a severed hand. Dun dun dun.

Dany returns to Drogo. Jorah tells her how her assassin will be killed (dragged behind a horse) and Drogo gives Jorah a horse. That’s ironic, right? Drogo is so angry by this attempt on Dany’s life that he pledges to travel across the sea and claim his wife’s throne. Or something. I kinda tuned out. Drogo is shirtless and pacing around a fire screaming. It’s one of the most metal moments in the show.

Then Ned learns that “King Joffrey” awaits him and Lord Renly has left the building. And… game over. Ned is the worst at this game.