Ned wakes up in bed with the king and queen standing in front of him. He is not in prison, or dead, but he has angered the queen and he’s badly injured. Cersei tells a false story of him coming out of a brothel, drunk, and attacking her brother, but Robert isn’t fooled. Still, all he wants is peace between his wife and his best friend.
Once Cersei leaves, Robert asks Ned to take his old job back. He wants Ned to send a raven to get Cersei’s brother Tyrion returned and settle his feud with the Lannisters once and for all. Robert gets all sentimental, telling Ned that he never loved his own brothers; Ned was the brother he chose. Subtext, so please put up with my wife and her annoying family for my sake! Robert tells Ned that he needs him now, to run things for him while Robert is out hunting boar. If Ned is to be Robert’s adviser, then he’ll advise – so he again raises the issue of what to do about Daenerys Targaryen. And again Robert is pissed. He wants her dead, that’s the end of the discussion. He tells Ned to take back the ceremonial pin of the Hand of the King. “And if you ever take it off again, I swear to god I’ll pin it on Jaime Lannister.” That should be enough to keep Ned in line!
Alone in her room, Dany places one of the dragon eggs on hot coals. Though very old, she is testing the egg to see if fire will somehow unleash the dragon inside. Nothing happens. After some time, she picks it up again. Her handmaiden is alarmed; Dany’ll burn herself! She grabs the egg away from Dany and burns her own hands. But Dany’s hands are unaffected by the heat. Hmmm.
We hear cawing and see Bran standing, aiming an arrow. So it’s dream sequence time! Again, he follows the three-eyed-raven as it lands on a statute of a direwolf then continues on towards the Stark family crypt. Bran awakes suddenly to see Hodor bring in the saddle manufactured based on Tyrion’s drawings. Bran is ecstatic to be back riding again! His brother Robb and Theon watch him.
Theon asks when Robb is going to tell Bran (about the Lannister’s attack on Ned and his men, including the murder of Jory). Theon tells Robb that he should make the Lannisters pay for what they did. Jaime is heading towards the Lannister home in Casterly Rock and Robb should go there to avenge the family’s honor. Robb tells Theon, basically, to butt out, it’s not his duty because it’s not his house. Suddenly, they realize they don’t see or hear Bran and Robb is concerned. But Theon was wounded by Robb’s words and he walks off saying it’s not his house.
Bran is riding out to an area called the Wolfswood, the forest outside of Winterfell. There he is attacked by wildlings, the people who normally live beyond the Wall in the north. They want his silver pin and his horse and anything else of value he might have on him. When they find out he is a Stark, the female of the group realizes that he’s related to Benjen Stark of the Night’s Watch. She thinks they’ve struck gold; imagine what Mance Rayder would give for him. But her compatriots disagree, they’re not going back up North, even to trade the boy in. “We’re going as south as south goes. There ain’t no white walkers down in Dorne.”
Robb to the rescue. “Drop that knife!” A fight ensues. Robb kills the first wildling, then gets caught up by the girl. Meanwhile a third grabs Bran off his horse and holds him with a knife up to his throat. It’s a standoff. Robb lowers his weapon, lest his brother be killed. Suddenly, the man holding Bran is shot with an arrow in the back. Theon had returned. Instead of being grateful, though, Robb is angry that Theon risked Bran’s life. The woman begs for her life and offers to serve them and Robb decides to spare her life.
Tyrion wakes up in the high prison and immediately calls for the jailer, Mord. Tyrion has a proposition. The Lannisters are rich, rich beyond imagining, and this money can be his if he helps Tyrion. But Mord doesn’t quite understand the concept of virtual versus actual ownership and he walks out.
There is only one god and his name is death. And there is only one thing we say to death: Not today. That is the lesson Syrio Forel gives Arya today during her lesson. He knows she is distracted, upset at the murder of Jory and the wounding of her father. But Syrio wants her to learn to put all that aside when it’s time to fight.
This week on Bizarre Foods, Dany must eat the heart of a stallion at some religious Dothraki ceremony which is intended to reveal the future of her unborn child. Her brother doubts she’ll be able to do it, but Jorah has faith in her. She manages to keep the food down and it is proclaimed that her son will be the stallion that mounts the world, the Khal that will unite all the people. Dany speaks at the ceremony, announcing in the Dothraki tongue that her son will be called Rhaego. The people all chant and shower her with love. Viserys in concerned.
Viserys is done with the Dothraki. He packs up the three dragon eggs and plans to head out. He can sell them to buy himself a ship and a very large army; he’s not waiting around for Khal Drogo to give him what he wants. Jorah comes in as he’s packing up. Viserys tells Jorah that he’s carried the future of the Targaryen dynasty on his shoulders since he was five, yet he’s never received the outpouring of love and respect that his sister just got in that room. So he’s taking what’s his and splitting. Viserys tells Jorah to step aside, but Jorah refuses. He can go, but he’s leaving Dany’s eggs.
Tyrion tries to reason with Mord again. “Sometimes possession is an abstract concept.” He goes on to explain that when he was captured, they took his purse but the gold in the purse is still his and it can be Mord’s if he helps Tyrion. He’s not having much luck, so he tries another way. “Have you heard the expression, rich as a Lannister?” He butters him up, you’re a smart man, of course you’ve heard that. “I am a Lannister.” He adds another well known truism of the Lannisters, “A Lannister always pay their debts.” Now, if Mord can connect the dots, Tyrion should be home free. Rich, always pay there debts. All he’s asking is for Mord to deliver a message for him. The message – that he wishes to confess his crimes.
In one of the rare cases where the man defending himself does NOT have a fool for a lawyer, Tyrion is masterful:
Where do I begin, my lords and ladies? I am a vile man, I confess it. My crimes and sins are beyond counting. I have lied and cheated, gambled and whored. I’m not particularly good at violence, but I’m good at convincing others to do violence for me. You want specifics, I suppose. When I was seven, I saw a servant girl bathing in the river. I stole her robe and she was forced to return to the castle naked and in tears. I close my eyes, but I can still see her tits bouncing…
When I was ten, I stuffed my uncle’s boots with goat shit. When confronted with my crime, I blamed a squire. Poor boy was flogged, and I escaped justice. When I was twelve I milked my eel into a pot of turtle stew. I flogged the one-eyed snake, I skinned my sausage. I made the bald man cry into the turtle stew, which I do believe my sister ate. At least I hope she did. I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel…
Needless to say, that’s not the confession Catelyn was looking for, but that’s all she’s getting. She has charged him with hiring a man to assassinate her son and conspiring to kill Jon Arryn. Tyrion swears he knows nothing about those crimes. He demands a real trial.
Lady Lysa tells him about trials up in the Vale. First, she has the moon door opened, and Tyrion now looks down, way, way down, through a hole in the floor. In the Vale, her seven-year-old, still sucking at his mommy’s teat son Lord Robin listens to the evidence and then the accused will leave through one of the two doors. Looking at her son, it’s unlikely he’d find someone innocent and deprive himself of the fun of watching someone fly.
Tyrion has a better idea. He demands a trial by combat. The audience titters, how can he win a battle? Various knights volunteer to take arms against the Imp on behalf of Lady Arryn, but one says it would not be right to fight Tyrion because of his size. Tyrion agrees and asks for a champion to fight on his behalf, his brother Jaime Lannister. Slick move, but one that won’t work. He has to pick someone actually present. It looks like his plan has backfired, until one man volunteers (for a price, the Lannisters always pay their debts after all) to fight on behalf of Tyrion. Not that he looks all that excited about the prospect, but a gig’s a gig.
At the hunt, the king’s squire Lancel Lannister is keeping the king’s thirst at bay with constant wine refreshment while he, Renly and Barristan are in search of boar. As Robert drinks more, he wants to talk about the great old days, but younger brother Renly is tired of his chatter. The great old days saw the realm at war, thousands dead and a mad man on the throne killing women and children. The great old days before that saw dragons setting men on fire. Robert tells his brother to remember who he’s speaking to. Renly heads off and Robert continues the hunt, after having even more wine.
Ned is sitting on the Iron Throne, doing the king’s business in his absence, joined by two from the small council, Littlefinger and Grand Maester Pycelle. Some men from the Riverlands come to say that their villages were burned down, their women and children savagely murdered by men led by a large knight. They weren’t thieves, just a ravaging horde bent on wanton destruction. They left a calling card, dead fish. Littlefinger mentions that fish are the sigil of the House Tully, Catelyn’s family. And the large knight they describe sounds like the Mountain, who has been called Tywin Lannister’s mad dog. Littlefinger assumes that the attack was in retaliation for Catelyn taking Tyrion Lannister.
Ned sends Lord Beric Dondarrion and a hundred knights to execute the Mountain in the king’s name. He also orders Pycelle to send a raven to Casterly Rock, demanding Lord Tywin’s presence in court to answer for the crimes of his bannermen or be branded an enemy of the crown and a traitor to the realm. Littlefinger tries to dissuade Ned from going after the richest man in the realm saying gold wins wars. But Ned wants justice.
It’s time for the trial by combat. The moon door is opened and the two men face off. Fighting for the Vale is Ser Vardis Egen, fighting for Tyrion Lannister is Bronn, the man he first met in the Inn at the Crossroads who had sold him his room for the night. Ser Vardis is heavily armored, with a helm and a shield. Bronn is light on his feet and unencumbered. He uses speed and agility to run Ser Vardis ragged, exhausting the knight. He wounds him, then delivers a fatal blow before pushing him through the moon door.
Tyrion is unchained, has his gold returned to him, pays his debt to Mord and leaves with Bronn.
Sansa is having some typical teen betrothed-to-a-maniac-against-her-will angst and is getting snippy with her Septa during their sewing bee, when her intended walks in. He apologizes for his monstrous behavior and presents her with a gold necklace. He acts so sincere and contrite, Sansa seems smitten once again. She is his lady and she’ll be queen someday and he’ll never disrespect her, never be cruel to her. It’s right out of the abusive royal boyfriend handbook, so call me dubious.
As Theon is out riding, he sees Ros the prostitute in the back of a wagon. She says she’s going to King’s Landing. She heard that Jaime Lannister attacked Ned Stark in the middle of the capital and she assumes the whole realm will be at war soon (brains and beauty?). There’s nothing for her in Winterfell (it’s not like Theon would make an honest woman out of her), so she’s heading to the capital.
Back at the capital, Ned wants to send his daughters back home to Winterfell for their safety. Neither wants to leave. Arya is enjoying her lessons with Syrio and Sansa is in love again. As Sansa is defending Joffrey, she says something that gets Ned’s attention. She calls Joffrey a lion and talks about them having blond-haired children together some day. Arya reminds her sister that Joffrey’s a stag, not a lion, and that seems to settle the matter for Ned. He’s finally figured out the secret that Jon Arryn died for. But if he needed to get hit over the head with the truth, Sansa adds, “he’s nothing like that old drunk king.” Ned goes to the book on lineage of the old families and sees it at last – Baratheon sons all black of hair, until Joffrey, the golden-haired.
At the Temple of the Dosh Kaleen, the Dothraki are having a great time celebrating the Khaleesi’s pregnancy and all the great things it will bring. Everyone is happy…except for Viserys. He comes in drunk and ready to make a scene. He pulls his sword, despite the fact that he is violating Dothraki law by doing so in a temple. He’s also carrying on about being a king and a dragon. Both Jorah and Dany try to save him from himself, but he’s too drunk, too angry and too convinced of his own invincibility. He knows they Dothraki can’t kill him there; they cannot shed blood in their sacred city.
He says he wants what he was promised. He wants his gold crown. Drogo pays up or Viserys will take Dany back from him. As for the baby, he says he’ll cut it out and leave it for him. All the time, Irri is translating what Viserys is saying for Drogo. Drogo speaks and Dany translates for Viserys. Drogo agrees. Viserys shall have a golden crown that men shall tremble to behold. And that is exactly what he receives.
Where we are:
The Starks: Catelyn and Ser Rodrik will likely be leaving the Eyrie soon, probably for Winterfell, now that Tyrion was set free. Ned is taking the girls back to Winterfell for their safety (against their objections). Bran was slightly wounded by the wildlings, but he and his brothers are safe in Winterfell. Jory Cassel, Rodrik’s son, died defending Ned at the hands of Jaime Lannister.
The Baratheons: Robert is out hunting, having brought Ned back into the fold. He and Cersei have a tense relationship, that he’s done little to help soften. Joffrey is pledging to be a good boyfriend from here on out. Renly is tired of his older brother and has been told by his lover that he should be king instead of Robert.
The Lannisters: Tyrion won his trial by combat and is free once again. Jaime has headed back to Casterly Rock after his fight in the town square with Ned and the killing of Ned’s men. Lance, the squire, is still serving the king. Lord Tywin Lannister has been summoned by Ned, on behalf of the king, to come to King’s Landing to answer for the slaughter of the Riverlands by Ser Gregor Clegane (the Mountain). The Mountain has been stripped of all rights and titles and has a death sentence hanging over his head.
The Targaryens: Viserys finally got his golden crown, possibly the first person to die of irony. Dany is loved by the Dothraki and her husband, and carries a future king inside her. But King Robert has issued an order that she be killed.
Robert: I’m the king and I get what I want.
Tyrion (to Mord after he tells him he has lots of gold and Mord looks confused): Well I don’t have it here.
Lysa (to Bronn): You don’t fight with honor.
Bronn (looking down the moon door): No. He did.
Robin: Can I make the little man fly now?
Tyrion: Not this little man. This little man is going home.
Sansa (about Joffrey): I don’t want someone brave and gentle and strong. I want him!
Daenerys (about Viserys): He was no dragon.