So this is episode 5 in the rewatch of Game of Thrones.
The idea was started on a reddit thread and since I was going to rewatch anyways, I decided what’s the harm in joining in.
This weeks thread is here: http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/204og2/spoilers_all_season_1_episode_5_the_wolf_and_the/
A comment in the thread has links to previous episode rewatch discussions.
By the time this episode aired originally, I had just started on reading “A Feast for Crows.” I read slowly through that one because it was the last of the books at that time.
I know I keep mentioning it but the show really does well in streamlining the book. My audiobook of A Game of Thrones, has its length at 33hours, and the show manages to adapt it well and streamline it to around 10hours (10x1hour episodes, roughly.)
This episode is significant because a lot things are revealed that were hinted at in the books but not fully revealed or explained.
I like the beginning of this episode because it shows the mutual respect that Barristan and Ned have for each other while still being able to hint at the possible “murder” of Ser Hugh to cover up any loose ends in Jon Arryn’s murder. Ned states he has happy to have never met Barristan on the field at the trident, while Barristan replies that Ned is too modest in his own ability. Barristan states that what was done to Ned’s father by the Mad King was a terrible crime, yet is also plainly explained by Jaime in a early episode that not on person at court or in the kingsguard said one word of protest. Ned also states that if Robert got what he wanted all the time, they would still be fighting a rebellion. Hinting at Ned’s own skill in leading men in battle because the rebellion did not start to win until Ned was able to call his banners and ride south to war against the royalists.
Robert states to Ned, that he thought when he became king he would be able to do what he wanted. Which is surprising because Robert is able to do what he likes as king whether people approve or not.
I liked that the tourney scene was still mostly intact, that the Knight of the Flowers is shown to be an excellent jouster being able to skillfully and cleverly over come the size and strength of the Mountain. The Hound jumping into combat with his brother Gregor in defense of the Ser Loras is another thing done out of character for the Hound even if it is out of spite for his brother.
Catelyn and Tyrion on the road to the vale is also well done, Tyrion notices they are not on the kingsroad on the way to Winterfell and Catelyn shows her ability for guile and subterfuge that she stated that often and loudly to throw off any pursuit of Tyrion. Tyrion cleverly deduces where they are heading and whom they are going to see, even warning Cat about how much her sister, Lysa, has changed and it not being for the bettter. Tyrion slowly starts to convince Catelyn here that he did not send an assassin after Bran, with very simple logic. After Catelyn free’s him from his restraints while the hill tribes attack their party, Tyrion selflessly defends Catelyn from a hill tribesman, making it the 3rd time (and 2nd publicly) helping a Stark. Bronn is shown to be a capable fighter.
Bran and Maester Luwin go through a nice little exposition on Family Names, Sigils, and house mottoes for various regions of westeros. The words of house Tully, in particular are mentioned. Family, Duty, Honor. Bran demonstrates his own intelligence by stumping Luwin in a simple display of logic. Luwin gives Bran some hope about being able to shoot a bow from horseback.
Dat unnecessary sex scene, the first one really. Ros and Theon after a lot of grunting and moaning, have an odd moments together where Ros insults Theon for no real reason other than impudence. The result is that we get an idea how sorta obssessed Theon is about his own status. Something he likes to flout to people, but is constantly reminded that he is a hostage/ward of the Starks. The character of Ros is used a lot in subsequent episodes with other players of the game of thrones, to get an idea of their possible motives or their goals, to the ire of many fans of the books. I rather enjoyed her development from a simple whore during the “sexposition” scenes to a leading lady of Littlefinger’s interests and a spy for Varys. It showed that anyone with intelligence could rise above their situation and become a minor player in the Game of Thrones.
Arya chasing and attempting to capture cats at Syrio’s direction to train herself to be a better “water dancer.”
Varys and Ned discuss their possible intentions and motives. Varys tries to establish his own sort of honesty and honor by revealing to Ned what poison was used on Jon Arryn and who could have possibly poisoned him. Varys subtly warns Ned about asking too many questions.
The meeting of Illyrio and Varys is the first of the out right reveals of the show compared to the books. In the books, their meeting is still held but because Arya does not know either person, we only get vague descriptions of both. The identities were hinted at but not fully revealed, though many suspected it was them. Their motives to create a future conflict for a possible invasion from Khal Drogo and his khaleesi, Dany. Varys also reveals how close Ned is to uncovering the reason for Jon Arryn’s murder and that Ned will be harder to kill than Jon Arryn.
Littlefinger and Varys trade barbs with each other while trying to get one up on another. They both question the loyalties of one another, Littlefinger believes he get’s one up on Varys on the reveal of his meeting with Illyrio. Varys’ demeanor changes at that reveal unsure of what LF might know but is confident that he knows nothing after not knowing the purpose of Robert attending a small counsel meeting.
Arya shows her resourcefulness by being able to remain unnoticed, get some useful information, and able to escape a dangerous situation. Something she finds useful later on in subsequent episodes/books. She reveals to her father that his life is in danger but does not take her seriously because she was chasing cats at the time.
Yoren’s warning to Ned about Catelyn seizing Tyrion on the kingsroad out loyalty to his black bother Benjen mostly is nicely still intact. His meeting with is also significant because Ned allows him access to the black cells and the rest of the dungeons for recruits for the Night’s Watch. This is how Yoren gets Rorge, Biter, and Jaqen H’ghar as recruits who all play important parts later for Arya. Rorge and Biter also play important parts for Brienne of Tarth as well.
The Vale is shown, as well as the Eyrie, yet sadly no Brynden “Blackfish” Tulley.
The small counsel meeting is the first major conflict between Robert and Ned. Robert’s fear of being overthrown is illustrated. Jorah Mormont is outed as a spy for Varys. Ned advises there is nothing to fear from the Dothraki at the moment and refuses to be part of killing Dany. All of the small counsel agree with Robert because he is the king and it is what he wishes, despite it being morally wrong. Ned gives up his position as Hand of the King. Robert slings insults at Ned as Ned walks out of the small counsel.
Littlefinger tempts Ned to stay an hour longer to meet the last person Jon Arryn saw while he as alive.
Lysa Arryn and Robin Arryn get their first appearances. Lysa blames Tyrion for the murder of Jon Arryn, piling on another ridiculous charge against Tyrion. Although, it momentarily takes Tyrion out of the game. The scene also illustrates how unhinged mother and son are.
The second reveal. Renly and Loras being gay for each other. It was subtlety alluded to in the books but not explicitly stated in the books. Loras also gives Renly the idea that he should rule, not Robert or Joffrey or Stannis. The wealth and power of the Tyrells are stated, with Loras claims will be behind Renly in his bid for the throne. It is this scene where I think Renly made the first move against his own brother Stannis, even though Stannis is responsible for Renly’s death. Stannis did not make the first move against his own brother.
The scene is Robert and Cersei is a great scene, Robert says it’s a neat trick of Cersei that she opens her mouth and her fathers words come out, giving Cersei false confidence in her own ability. She think’s she is a female version of her father Tywin. Robert explains that 1 army can be greater then 5 when that army is united in purpose. He demonstrates his own knowledge of strategy and tactics by deducing how a force of Dothraki could take westeros. There is also more allusion to Lyanna, asking what harm could she do to either of them now. A nod I think to the R+L=J theory. Robert states plainly that his marriage really never stood a chance. It is here where I think Cersei plots against the life of Robert to gain the throne for her son Joffrey and herself as Queen Regent as well as the Lannisters.
Ned learns of another royal bastard, this time a daughter of a whore of Littlefinger. He tries to puzzle out why Jon Arryn is tracking down Robert’s bastard children.
Ned vs Jaime, I think is much better than it as in the books. In the books, Ned falls from his horse and breaks his leg when Jory turns to fight the Lannister guard. Here we can see how capable Ned is in single combat, with his style being very direct and practical, and how gifted a swordsman Jaime is, being very graceful and skillful. The fight is ruined by a spear to the leg of Ned by a Lannister guard, to the disappointment of Jaime.
That is 2 episodes in a row with great endings.