Shit is most definitely going down all over Westeros as Ned Stark’s ill-advised early warning to Cersei Lannister causes muder, murder and more murder.
Poor old Ned, he’s going to go down in medieval history as the dumbest, most principled Hand ever, isn’t he? After telling Cersei he knows her kids are all her brother’s illigitimate sproglings, the Killer Queen goes into overdrive – she’s arranged King Robert’s death: not difficult when you send AlcoKing off after a wild boar drunk on copious amounts of wine.
And despite ol’ Ned trying to thwart Joffrey’s rise to the throne, he’s botched that up as well. As this latest episode of Game Of Thrones begins, Lannister swords are busily slicing through Stark’s household guard. And if anything, The Pointy End is all about the repercussions of Ned’s actions for himself and his family.
Arya finds herself on the run after Lannister guardsmen try to capture her. Curly-haired dance master Syrio fights off a handful of guards with a toy sword while Arya makes her escape. Sansa finds herself at the hands of Cersei, where the cunning woman is using her to put pressure on the Starks in Winterfell. This is where Sansa’s wonderful, Disneyesque worldview is about to be shattered.
In Winterfell, Robb Stark starts calling the banners to go to war against the Lannisters. Catelyn gives up on her bonkers perma-breastfeeding sister Lysa and catches up with Robb on the road, slightly shocked at the budding young lord he’s become. And up at the Wall, Jon Snow is mortified when he finds out his father’s been branded a traitor. But at least he gets to fight off zombies to take his mind off things.
As a series, Game Of Thrones has come together beautifully. Honestly, it’s staggering to think how much plot development has happened in only eight episodes. The Starks are scattered to the winds, Ned’s survival in King’s Landing is looking perilous, Danaerys Targaryen is growing into an ambitious Khaleesi, and the Lannisters seem to have quickly taken control of the kingdom.
And don’t forget, two major characters have already died – Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) and Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy). I’m in a horrible position though – I’ve read the first book but no further. Thing is, I’m suspicious that we haven’t seen a death scene for Drunk King Robert. Is he really dead?
Over the narrow sea, Danaerys is rewriting the rule book for the Dothraki rapers. It’s customary for the Dothraki warriors to force themselves on the women of villages they’ve overthrown. But Dany’s not a fan of this practise and orders them to stop. But the horse men are resistant to changes of this kind and they go straight to Drogo to complain.
Unexpectedly, Drogo sides with his wife, which is quite indulgent and unwise of him. This sparks an act of mutiny from an underling who brandishes a sword at him in anger. Drogo’s fury is quite something to behold. Jason Momoa deserves high praise for the ensuing execution scene – he pushes hard against the blade, cutting himself in the process, but proving exactly how fierce he is. The Dothraki smack-talk is wonderful as well, Drogo promising the soon-to-be-corpse that his body will not be burned according to custom, but left to rot. You had to be there. Ripping his tongue out through his throat was just the icing on the cake, really.
The beauty of this particular tale is that it never seems to have an endgame. Which is like real life, if you think of it. For instance, the story of Danaerys will have to ultimately converge with the Lannisters or the Starks at some point. The supernatural threat from beyond the Wall seems insignificant right now, but as the Wildling woman says, Robb Stark should be sending his men north rather than south. All of these story elements are in their infancy at this stage, and although the first season ends in two episodes time, there’s a lot more story to tell.
Of course, it’s reassuring that there are three more books (plus another out this year) to provide source material for the series. I’m already wondering what roles the minor characters might play later on – the Bran Starks, the Theon Greyjoys and people whose stories seem insignificant right now, but who might rise to prominance later on.
And if you haven’t read the books, close your eyes for this: there are at least two more major deaths to come this season. Like, really, really major. Game Of Thrones really is such an amazing fantasy series, I find myself in constant awe of the storylines, the acting and the amazing twists and turns.