As before, I will hide the major spoilers behind the read more break.
By the time I watched this episode, I had just finished “A Storm of Swords,” and I was impressed on how well streamlined the show was, distilling the book to its essence yet still getting the most of the important details of books adapted for the show.
I never really mentioned it in the last 2 rewatch recap posts, how good is that introduction? You get a clear idea of the importance of certain locales, you see the sigils of important houses, and if you pay extremely close attention the back story of Roberts Rebellion is detailed on the comet. The comet is also very significant too. Such a good intro. And Dat Scoring, Ramin Djawadi does an excellent job on the show.
The opening scene with Ned and Jaime is a nice touch. The first time Ned came to Kingslanding and the Iron Throne, he found Jaime on the throne in his golden armor and gilded gold sword after he killed Arys and broke is sworn oath as a member of the Kingsguard. The scene plays out with Jaime and Ned trading barbs but ends with an honest moment from Jaime about Ned’s Father and Brother, yet Ned see’s only that Jaime broken is sworn vows and oath. Jaime feels like he avenged Ned’s father and brother but Ned cannot see past his broken vows and oath. Jaime seem’s very disappointed that he can’t get any sort of respect or regard from Ned.
The next scene with Ned and the small counsel is impressive as well. Varys is called out by Ned about only caring for the prince Joffrey and not child that died, and that look of surprise or is it hurt from Varys. His false smile is immediately shed and is replaced by a look of concern, that Ned isn’t the person Varys thought he would be and that his usual platitudes won’t work on him.
Ned is genuine in his regard for Renly, he is happy to see him again.
The story of the Littlefinger is done very well here, we learn that he still is in love with Cat, that he bears a scar from Brandon Stark from a duel for Cat’s hand in marriage, and LF relationship with Catelyn.
Pycelle, didn’t like the implication of serving another.
Ned learns that the crown and kingdom is in severe debt because of Robert.
The scene with Cersei and Joffrey, shows how badly Cersei was at teaching Joffrey to rule. She teaches him that he is entitled to rule and he can do what he likes because the truth is what he makes it. She also gives part of her character away, her own situation with Robert where he prefers anyone but Cersei. We also get the idea of how badly a ruler Joffrey will be, with his plan to deal with the north. We also get a the first mention of how really paranoid Cersei is, that she sees everyone not her children is a possible enemy.
Ned has trouble relating with his daughters but Sansa especially, he seems to do well enough with Arya. However, he still thinks of Arya as a lady in training. Part of that changes with his discovery of Arya’s ‘Needle.’
Arya’s list starts here, she names the hound, the king and the queen, and joffrey. Arya’s simple question of how can Ned let Sansa marry some like Joffrey, is something that Ned struggles to answer. Instead he shifts the nature of it to not being at war with each other. This is one of the first area’s where the book is better then the show, in the books Ned’s talk with Arya is basically the same but states the importance of how wolves deal with danger. That the lone wolf dies, yet the pack survives.
Let me tell you something about wolves, child. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths. So if you must hate, Arya, hate those who would truly do us harm
Ned also starts Arya on the path of learning how to use a sword here, hiring the former sword of the sea lord of Braavos, Syrio Forel, to teach her the braavosi style of swordplay.
You really have to admire how well the show runners are with layering back story of certain events like the scene with Bran and Nan about the fear of winter, the long night, and the white walkers. Extremely well done. It’s established that Bran doesn’t remember what happened but tell’s everyone he fell. To me this means, Bran does not want to remember and is willing to do anything rather than face what happened and it’s result for him.
With Catelyn arriving in Kingslanding, you really get the idea of how informed, and subtle, Littlefinger is. He has her brought to one his brothels to keep her safe and out of notice of others at court.
In the same scene, you really understand why Varys is master of whispers and how far reaching his “little birds” are.
The chaos that is brought on by Littlefinger’s misdirection about the ownership of the dagger used on the attempt on Bran’s life is something that drastically affects how the resulting conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters play out. Major implications of who really started the conflict off is laid out in the end of “A Storm of Swords” as well as the real identity of the person responsible on the attempt on Bran.
The scene with Jon Snow, Alliser Thorne, and the other watch recruits really shows how different Jon is compared with everyone, and how important volunteer recruits from highborne familys are with their training and education. The disdain that Thorne has for the recruits and Jon Snow in particular is demonstrated with Thorne throwing the recruits against the very accomplished swordsman and combatant that Jon Snow is.
Jon Snow’s realization of the other recruits situations compared to his own and gives him something to think of. Jon Snow also shows his anger towards Ned and Benjen that they knew what being a member of the Night’s Watch was going to be like and did nothing to warn him. Except, that Benjen, Jaime Lannister, and Tyrion all cautioned Jon against his decision to take the black.
The scene with Jaime and Cersei is one of the first scenes that are from books further in the series.
Ned warns Catelyn of her temper, something that plays out later in the season.
I liked the scene with Robert, Barristan and Jaime sharing stories of their first kills. Mark Addy excellent here as Robert, you get an very well explained backstory on Robert’s Rebellion and how his own situation plays out. Robert calls Jaime’s father, the mighty Tywin, getting the implication of how powerful the Lannister’s and their patriarch Tywin is. I loved how the scene ends with Jaime’s delivery of the last words of Aerys Targaryen, and it’s implication have very different meanings for Robert and Jaime.
Another satisfying scene with Dany, Jorah, and Viserys. It really shows how obsessed and out of touch with reality Viserys is. He is surrounded by men under the command of Khal Drogo and his Khaleesi and yet he presumes himself above them all.
I really like the scene with Benjen and Jon Snow, telling his better then no one and that on the wall a man gets what he earns when he earns it. Benjen is the First Ranger and has duties that take him north of the wall.
I really enjoyed the Benjen, Yoren, and Tyrion scene. Benjen gets it through to Tyrion that only the rangers of the watch really know what’s north of the watch and southrons like Tyrion should not presume to tell the watch anything.
This is my 6th time rewatching the first season, and only now I realize that Irri is braiding Dany’s hair and what the braid is supposed to symbolize, a victory over something. Her own over her brother. And her son with Khal Drogo is revealed.
One of the best things of the show is the portrayal of Jorah Mormont by Iain Glenn, he does such a remarkable job. He delivers his story excellently, you get the immediate impression he is a skilled Knight, that knows warfare and tactics of battle, hints of his own tragic story of exile, his regard for his father (who many do no realize is Jeor Mormont Lord commander of the Night’s Watch), and if you read the books this is the first hint of his betrayal towards his khaleesi. His Queen, his khaleesi, a woman he has demonstrated his loyalty to over Viserys.
I liked that the show runners put Jon ability to teach swordplay is front and center early on.
A great scene Tyrion and Maester Aemon and Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. It establishes that there is more then just the wildlings to fear north of the wall now, and that the Night’s watch is ill prepared to combat it all when winter comes. Tyrion begins to see how fragile the situation is at the wall.
Dany tells Drogo that she carries a son.
I always like the scenes with Jon and Tyrion.
and finally Arya and Syrio! One of GRRM greatest strengths is creating very compelling characters and Syrio is definitely one them, his interactions and teaching of Arya is some of the best things the show does as well as better with what was in the book.
Ned’s “stark” reaction to the world that Arya is about to enter by learning how to fight is so great, Sean Bean was a great Ned Stark.