Lord Snow (Season 1, Episode 3, Game Of Thrones)
One of life’s greatest miseries is being someplace you don’t want to be and knowing you’re going to be there for a while. One of the most fulfilling aspects of life can be overcoming one’s circumstances and mastering adversity. Lord Snow is an episode of misery and mastery in the face of adversity.
Jon Snow’s eagerness to join his uncle Benjen, take the black and serve the Night’s Watch has crumbled into depression as he is mocked by Ser Alliser, set upon by a gang of his “brothers” for besting them in training, and denied his request to join the rangers scouting trip. Winterfell, and even Lady Stark’s icy hostility, is looking pretty good right about now. And recalling Jaime Lannister’s observation in The Kingsroad, “…and it’s only for life.”
Likewise, Ned Stark arrives at King’s Landing to begin a job he didn’t want, for an indifferent King, with a kingdom in debt, his eldest daughter betrothed to the detestable Joffrey, and separated from his wife, sons and Winterfell.
Winter may be coming but the bleakness has already arrived.
The fallout from the incident on Kingsroad has Arya and Sansa fighting, but worse, it has wounded Joffrey’s pride. Sansa saw him acting cowardly and he won’t ever forget that. As Cersei, dresses his very minor wounds, we get to hear Joffrey’s adolescent worldview and a terrifying preview of what life in Westeros under King Joffrey might be like.
Cersei’s warm soft voice delivers a very chilling message, “Some day you’ll sit on the throne and truth will be what you make it.”
Tyrion Lannister walks the talk. While at The Wall he learns by asking questions and absorbing everything he sees. The uncomfortable friendship between him and Jon Snow grows as Jon begins to learn from Tyrion’s tough love and straight talk.
When the congenial talk and wine drinking with Yoren and Tyrion is interrupted by the sour Benjen, who tell Tyrion that the young men of the Night’s Watch do their duty and die in pain so that “plump little lords like you can enjoy their summer afternoons in peace and comfort.”
Tyrion’s deadpan, “Do you think I’m plump?” to Yoren is one of the highlights of the episode.
Daenerys is finding her way in a foreign and brutal culture. This episode shows her practicing her Dothraki pronunciation with her servant girls and gently exploring the power of being the Khaleesi. As Daenerys adjusts, Viserys (perhaps just a slightly older, poorer version of Joffrey?) continues to be obnoxious and when he angrily grabs Daenerys by the throat, he quickly regrets it when Rakharo’s whip cracks around his own throat and he is pulled off. Daenerys has also been “blessed by the Great Stallion” and is pregnant.
Why does Ser Jorah Mormont leave so abruptly when he hears that the Khaleesi is with child? We’ll have to wait and see.
The spies of Lord Varys discovered that Catelyn Stark was coming to King’s Landing. Lord Baelish (Littlefinger) arranges for the City Guard to bring her to one of his brothels so that her presence in the capitol is not discovered. He tells Catelyn that the knife used in the attempt on Bran’s life belonged to him until he lost it in wager with Tyrion Lannister.
- Sadly, there are no direwolves in this episode.
- Word has come to Catelyn, Ned and Jon that Bran has come out of his coma.
- Robb questions Bran about whether or not it was actually a fall, since he had seen Bran climb in all kinds of weather (rain and wind) without falling.
- Ned, in a ham-handed attempt to comfort Sansa after the incident on Kingsroad gives her a doll, only to have Sansa remind him that she hasn’t played with dolls since she was eight.
- Arya’s question, “But how can you let her marry someone like that?” is one that Ned chooses not to answer.
- Ned arranges for Arya to learn how to handle a sword by bringing in Syrio Forel to teach her. The first lesson is a beautiful scene.
- In this episode we get some background on the Mad King (the father of Daenerys and Viserys) and learn how he killed Ned’s brother Branden and Father in the Great Hall of the Iron Throne. We learn that Jaime Lannister served the Mad King before killing him (which is why he is called Kingslayer) by stabbing him in the back. When Robert calls Jaime into his chambers to talk about war kills, he taunts him by asking what the last words of the Mad King were and Jaime replies, he kept repeating “Burn them all.”
- Robert is a warrior without a war. It’s a sad sight to see him recounting war stories with Ser Barristan Selmy.
- Renly Baratheon is introduced in this episode. In the book he is described as the spitting image of Robert when he was that age. Also in the book, there are some fun instances of him making verbal jabs at Joffrey.
- When Ned asks why the council meeting is starting without the King, Renly says, “Winter may be coming but I can’t say the same for my brother.”
- Nothing says romance like Jaime promising Cersei “I’ll kill them all until we are the only people left in the world.”
- “A king should have scars. You fought off a direwolf. You’re a warrior like your father.” Cersei to Joffrey.
- While Tyrion doesn’t promise anything when Maester Aemon and Lord Commander Mormont ask for his help in asking the King and Queen for more men for the Night’s Watch, it’s easy to get the sense that his visit there has raised his respect for the cause.
- Tyrion makes good on his promised to piss off The Wall.
Winter is Coming – Episode 1, Season 1, Game of Thrones
The Kingsroad – Episode 2, Season 1, Game of Thrones
Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things – Episode 4, Season 1, Game of Thrones
The Wolf and The Lion – Episode 5, Season 1, Game of Thrones
A Golden Crown – Episode 6, Season 1, Games of Thrones
You Win or You Die – Episode 7, Season 1, Game of Thrones
The Pointy End – Episode 8, Season 1, Game of Thrones
Baelor – Episode 9, Season 1, Game of Thrones
Fire and Blood – Episode 10, Season 1, Game of Thrones