A Golden Crown (Season 1, Episode 6, Game of Thrones)

2 Crown of GoldDirected by Daniel Minahan
Teleplay by Jane Espenson, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss

Lord Eddard (Ned) and Lady Catelyn Stark have an Adam and Eve quality, with Winterfell as Eden. Within Winterfell they enjoyed nobility, a happy marriage and children they love. Yes, there’s the occasional war to fight and deserter to behead for Ned, and yes, Catelyn has to endure Jon Snow (her coldness to him, given how lovable he is, keeps me from being completely a fan of hers), but they have done more than survived – they have enjoyed happiness, something most other noble couples in Westeros do not enjoy.

Outside of Winterfell, Ned and Catelyn make one disastrous decision after another, trust the wrong people, and as a result put themselves and their children in danger.

The serpent in Winterfell came in the form of the Lannisters, when the King traveled north to ask Ned to replace the late Jon Arryn as Hand of the King.

“I don’t know what happened between you and these yellow-haired shits.”

When last we saw Ned, he had spear in his leg thanks to a Lannister bannerman. The episode begins with Ned awakening in a fever to see Cersei and Robert looming over him. Cersei starts in on him with “Do you know what your wife has done?” Ned (as he has since he’s learned that Catelyn took Tyrion) says that it was on his orders. No one is buying it, in fact Robert chuckles, “Who’d have thought she had it in her.”

In spite of Robert’s attempts to drink himself into an early grave, I believe he is one of the most reliable viewpoints the audience has. He lays it out for Ned: Catelyn will release Tyrion and Ned will make peace with Jaime.

Cersei tries to paint Jaime as the victim by telling Robert, “Lord Stark was returning drunk from a brothel when his men attacked Jaime.” It’s such an absurd suggestion that Ned doesn’t even bother to refute it and Robert simply ignores it.

When Ned and Robert are alone (Cersei leaves after Robert slaps her over a comment that she should be wearing the crown, and he the gown), Robert confesses that he’s “half a kingdom in debt” to Tywin Lannister and can’t rule the kingdom if the Lannisters and Starks are at each other’s throats.

But it’s too far gone at this point. You can’t overlook a child being pushed out a window and all your men being slaughtered.

1 Crown of GoldWolf and Dragon Spirits

There have been some hints about Bran and Daenerys having a mystical quality. In this episode there are two scenes side by side that seem to underscore that these two are a little different from everyone else.

We see Daenerys alone before a fire. She places one of the dragon eggs on the embers, and after a moment, goes to pick it up. One of serving women sees her and rushes in and grabs the egg away from her. The serving woman’s hands get burned from handling the egg, but Daenerys, who held it longer is not burned.

Bran has been having dreams that seem to be guiding him to some sort of discovery or understanding. He awoke from his coma at the very moment Ned killed Lady. In his dreams he’s walking, following a three-eyed Raven into the Stark crypt.

What this all means is not clear, but the fact that these scenes are given attention, seem to indicate that it will become a key plot point.

Tyrion’s Confession

This is why there can never be enough Tyrion in any given episode.

Wonderful punch line from Lord Robin, “What happened next?”

3 Golden Crowns

This episode addresses three golden crowns. First the crowned stag, Robert as king; second, the yellow-haired Lannisters, and finally, the crown that was promised to Viserys Targaryen when Khal Drogo wed Daenerys.

The episode has an interesting pace to it. Tyrion’s confession and the duel between Ser Varids and Bron could have easily been a grande finale. But the story line moves to Ned’s epiphany on the connection between the golden-haired Lannisters and Jon Arryn’s final words “the seed is strong” through Sansa’s temper tantrum at the thought of leaving King’s Landing.

The story then travels to Vaes Dothrak where Daenerys has successfully eaten the horse heart and the Dothraki celebration is in full force. Viserys enters the banquet armed (contrary to Dothraki law) and demands his crown, saying that if he does not get his crown, he will take Daenerys back and leave the baby, menacingly pointing his sword at her abdomen.

The episode ends with Khal Drogo giving him a uniquely tailored molten gold crown that wasn’t quite what he expected.

Questions

This episode leaves me with the question of how much power do Littlefinger and Lord Varys have? Do they fear the Lannisters because of the debt Robert owes them? Do they know (I think they do) what Jon Arryn and Ned Stark have discovered? If so, why not let Ned go to Robert? Or do they want to see the Targaryens resume control? Is the wedge between the Lannisters and the Starks simply a result of the harm done to Bran or are others happy to flame that fire in order to splinter the strong holds of the Kingdom? I even had the thought, after Ned and Robert speak in Ned’s chambers, would Robert’s reaction to discovering that Joffrey is not his son, be what people think it would be? Or, based on his debt to the Lannisters and his lack of feeling for his own brothers, would he insist that Joffrey was his son.

The questions remain unanswered and the mystery beneath the excellent story lines grows deeper and deeper – and makes Game of Thrones so compelling.

Further Reading:

The Wolf and The Lion (Season 1, Episode 5, Game of Thrones)
Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things (Season 1, Episode 4, Game of Thrones)
Lord Snow (Season 1, Episode 3, Game of Thrones)
The Kingsroad (Season 1, Episode 2, Game of Thrones)
Winter Is Coming (Season 1, Episode 1, Game of Thrones)
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Golden_Crown
AV Club http://www.avclub.com/articles/a-golden-crown-for-experts,56414/

Watch along with me: Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season

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