The 8th episode in the month long rewatch of all 3 seasons of Game of Thrones until the premiere of the 4th season.
The reddit discussion here:
A link to previous rewatch discussions is in the comments.
Late Update: I’ve rewatched obsessively took notes and wrote some thoughts down as I watched and after the read more break expect some spoilers.
What I always found interesting is how people will do things for the Stark’s and to either protect or sacrifice themselves for. At the begining of the episode Lannister guards storm the tower of the hand and start massacring the Stark household guards and workers, Septa Mordane hears the sound of combat and realizes what’s happen and who the obvious targets are then sacrifices herself to give Sansa more time to make it to her room and safety. While Arya and Syrio are practicing “water dancing,” Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard with some Lannister guards barge in to seize Arya, Syrio then sacrifices himself to give Arya time to run away and avoid capture. Both willingly give up their lives just to buy enough time to make a possible escape. Unfortunately for Sansa, the hound is waiting for her near her room. Arya escapes but only just so (intentional), she has to kill a stable boy who wants to turn her in for a dubious reward. These are 2 examples in this episode, but later The Hound takes some care for Sansa to ease her constant torment and even cuts down several people that were going to rape and murder Sansa while all other Kingsguard and Lannister men refuse to engage the riotous crowd that was incited by the boy king Joffery. The hound also “kidnaps” Arya to take her back to her family in riverrun, keeping her safe from the dangers of open war in the riverlands and even manages to escape with her from the massacre of the Stank bannermen during the “Red Wedding.” Tyrion ensures the safety of Sansa Stark by not letting Joffery torment her publicly while all other supposed “good men” did nothing (I.E. Varys, Littlefinger who both claim to want to help Sansa but did nothing when Joffrey is cruelly having her beaten for her brothers success in the fields against the hosts of Tywin and Jaime.)
Tyrion has also helped Jon Snow and Brandon (Bran) Stark in earlier episodes and which I have discussed in previous posts of earlier episodes.
Osha does her best to keep Bran and Rickon safe, and saves them from any possible harm from the turncloak Theon Greyjoy when he seizes Winterfell for himself.
Even the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister makes an oath to find and return the Stark daughters safe, albeit under some duress yet still even after the deaths of Robb Stark and Catelyn Stark and the burning of Winterfell, he still desires to keep his oath to Catelyn true, even naming the half of the family greatsword “Ice,” “ Oathkeeper.” When “Ice” was melted down into 2 swords, so the Lannisters could have a valyrian steel sword belong to their family again.
Back to a more of a summary of the episode now.
Varys comes to visit Ned in the Black cells of the redkeep, he tells Ned that he’s a deadman since Tyrion has escaped the custody of Catelyn. Ned states Varys just just kill him now if that’s true, but Varys curiously replies with the familiar “Not Today.” Ned asks how does Varys truly serve, and Varys simply replies he serves the realm since someone must.
The Old Bear has the 2 bodies of the rangers that Benjen Stark rode out with back into Castle Black and after some talk he orders that their bodies be brought to Maester Aemon to be investigated. Some of the Watch disagree and suggest the bodies be burned as the Wildlings do but their suggestion is ignored and the bodies are taken away. Sam notices that the bodies have no smell of decay even though they have been dead for a long time. Lord Commander Mormont gets a message from kingslanding stating the king is dead and Ned Stark has been arrested for treason and informs Jon Snow.
Sansa is being told by Cersei with the small counsel to write Robb in Winterfell and have him come before the king and swear fealty to Joffrey, their intentions are to seize Robb and use him as a hostage to ensure the North does not rise up in rebellion. Sansa is being lead on Cersei to declare that her father was a traitor. With Sansa right in front of them while they discuss her situation, they try to figure out what to do with her, Pycelle states that a traitors seed could bloom later in life to take revenge and wants her removed and her betrothment to Joffrey nulled. Varys and Littlefinger, want her kept safe as a hostage, as she is an eligible match with a famous name and a possible heir to Winterfell and the north.
Robb and Luwin read the message penned by Sansa but notice that its the Queens words, Robb has Maester Luwin call the banners and Robb prepares for war. Mirroring Ned’s own past, where he had to call his father’s bannermen to ride south in war against the crown for what was done to his father and siblings. Robb is now doing what his own father did years ago when he was about the same age, taking a host of northmen to war in the south to avenge something done to his father and sisters.
Tyrion and Bronn come to an understanding, Bronn will serve as long as Tyrion is paying well and not expecting every courtesy due. Tyrion and Bronn are then ambushed by the hill tribes of the vale, Tyrion cleverly gets them to ally him against the lords of the vale with promises of Lannister steel.
Alliser Thorne, who finds out that Ned has been arrested for treason and branded a traitor, finds Jon to taunt him about it. In a fit of rage, Jon tries to stab Thorne but is held back by his friends. Lord Commander Mormont sees it all and has Jon confined to quarters when his duties are done. Later, Jon notices Ghost is behaving strangely and lets him loose to find the trouble the direwolf is sensing. Jon is then attacked by the reanimated body of the dead night’s watchmen, Mormont walks in to find out what the commotion is and Jon takes his lantern in his bare hand burning him badly to throw at the wight and kill it.
In Essos, the Dothraki under Khal Drogo are preparing for the invasion of Westeros but sacking cities for plunder and slaves to sell for ships and supplies. A harsh necessity for their situation because they don’t believe in money, have no ships, grow no crops for supplies, and nothing to trade. Dany, who is clearly not comfortable with war or its costs objects to how things are being done but has nothing to suggest to do otherwise. She claims a lot of women as hers sparing them from being raped further. She “saves” the life of Mirri Maz Duur. She seeks Drogo out to sort out any problems she created by claiming so many women, Drogo tries to explain to her what they are doing is necessary to be able to attack westeros. A blood rider, Mago, doesn’t like that a foreigner is giving orders and that their Khal is listening to them, and a fight breaks out, Drogo lets Mago cut him with his arakh while explaining how his body will not be burnt (and how it will rot) so Mago cannot enter the nightlands, Drogo shows his skill in single combat by evading the strikes of Mago unarmed and then disarms Mago and using his arakh to slice his throat then ripping out his tongue. Dany concerned with the large open wound on Drogo has him let Mirri Maz Duur tend to his wounds, blindly trusting her to do it. Not realizing that Mirri Maz Duur is going to betray her later costing her the life of her lord husband and her son Rhaego.
Robb has is banners in the feast hall of Winterfell, with all the lords sworn to winterfell at the table with him to discuss the impending war. “The great” Jon Umber, demands his men should in the vanguard with himself leading it. Robb says Galbart Glover of deepwood motte will lead the van and the great Jon states he will lead it or he will take his men and go back home. Robb, proving to be a stern honorable leader, states that he is welcome to do so but after he will be rooted out, his keep razed and he will be hanged as an oathbreaker. The great Jon is insulted and pulls his sword out, only to have Greywind leap at him and bite off some of the fingers of one of his hands. The whole winterfell hall stands and is ready to draw swords but Robb showing his own skill in diplomacy and politics suggests that baring steel against a liege lord is treason, so the great Jon was doubtlessly offering to cut the meat on Robb’s plate. Jon Umber realizing that the entire host of men have their swords drawn on him and his men and that his temper and pride got the best of him, agrees statings Robbs meat is bloody tough. Thus Robb is able to keep the men of house Umber and earn the respect of the men by showing some common sense. Robb then wakes Bran up in the middle of the night to state his departure and that Bran must now be the Stark in Winterfell and lord in his stead. Rickon appears after Robb departs, and Bran tries to reassure him everything will be ok and they will all return eventually, Rickon says no they wont, foreshadowing that Rob/Ned/Catelyn and possibly Arya and Sansa will not be returning to winterfell.
Bran and Osha have a talk about how the old gods answer prayers, Osha forebodingly states that Robb is marching the wrong way, that he should be marching to the wall to deal with things worse then Giants and mammoths north of the wall.
At the Wall, Sam states that the dead were touched by the White Walkers/Others and became wights (reanimated dead.) That is why their eyes turned blue and can only be destroyed by fire. That the White Walkers have been sleeping for thousands of years and when they wake up, he hopes the wall is enough to stop them.
Catelyn finds the northern army at the neck, and comes before Robb and his war counsel discussing possible strategies. She and Robb are both visibly happy to see each other but refrain from anything more then that so Robb does not come off as weak in front of his men. They discuss that there only hope is Robb being successful in the field against the Lannisters to be able to keep Ned and his sisters safe from harm.
Tyrion and is company of tribesman find the Lannister encampment and after some talk present themselves to Tywin. Tyrion who handled his own capture by Catelyn, imprisonment by Lysa Arryn, and ambush of the hill tribes with a visible confidence, dreads to see his father now. Tyrion and the leaders of the hilltribes (and Bronn) are introduced formally to Tywin. Tyrion says that it was kind of Tywin to go to war for him, Tywin insisting that the honor of the house was at stake. Tyrion learns that King Robert is dead, that Joffrey is King, Ned is in the dungeons of kingslanding, and that Robb Stark has called his banners. Tywin then states one battle and Robb Stark will run back to Winterfell with his tail between his legs, Tyrion is not so sure of that though. They all learn that Robb has moved his army south from the Neck, and Tywin thinks that Robb is playing straight into his hands.
Robb is with his war counsel debating strategy with his commanders, to either break the siege of Riverrun and recruit help from the lords of the riverlands or to march straight to Tywin and find suitable ground to nullify the strength of his mounted knights and cavalry. A Lannister scout is caught and brought before Robb, Rob has him deliver a insulting message back to Tywin along with a wrong impression of what Robb intends to do. Making it the second time, Robb uses disinformation to out maneuver this foes, the first being leaving Winterfell in the night to throw off any Lannister spies. His decision to let the scout go, is one of mercy and respect for the courage the scout had but also to disinform the Lannisters, but is protested by Jon Umber who questions his decision.
In Kings landing, Barristan Selmy is asked to come before the king and be relieved of command and removed from the Kingsguard, who will have “a hall to die in and men to bury him.” All in a plot to have Jaime named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and to have the Hound be named to the kingsguard. The first of the bad decisions that both Cersei and Joffrey make in their attempt to rule. Barristan states he lived as a knight and will die as one, then throws his sword down and storms out proudly.
Sansa is at court to plea for mercy for her father’s life, Pycelle vehemently states that treason must be stamped out, but Sansa drops to her knees to beg for her father’s life, Varys notes that Sansa’s own sweet innocence is endearing and that wisdom oft comes from the mouths of babes. Varys’ intentions seem to baffle Littlefinger, who remains quiet on the issue of Ned Stark. Joffrey moved by Sansa’s plea agrees mercy for Ned but only if he confesses publicly and states publicly that Joffrey is the rightful King.