Reaction: Game of Thrones (1×08 & 1×09)

Okay. Okay. I’m typing this in the rapidly dimming light from my parked car in the library parking lot– I’m hoping the smell of children from the school next door and the smell of book glue from inside will cover my location. As it is… I think there will also be a lot of blood in the library, since the WiFi is still on and the door is open for MAXIMUM CREEPINESS. Ominous, yo.

Anyway, we’re safer splitting up like this. A building or a car between them and one, maybe two of (what’s left of) us– you stand a chance. Any more than that is too tempting. And the thing about werewolves, the kind we’ve been fighting for the past four nights– all full moons– the kind brought to the South by the Canadians, who got them across the Atlantic from the French– or maybe they were always here, the kind we’re having a hell of a time beating, is that they have only one weakness. Frogs.

…It’s the dry season. The hot ass-end of the wildfire season, actually. The moon is orange from smoke and full and smiling like a damn jack o’ lantern and it’s pissing me off because it’s MOCKING MY STRUGGLE and there are no. frogs. anywhere.

So I have my backpack. Some dry cereal, a water bottle, some bouillon cubes. A can of soda, already open and gone flat so I won’t even burp. My laptop with me, and I have a flash drive loaded up with IRC links and passcodes, a .torrent with touching video recordings of our plight, to try and get the message out, and fuck me sideways I grabbed the wrong flash drive. I grabbed the one with Game of Thrones on it.

And now it’s dark and hot and I can’t turn the car on for the air conditioner because I don’t want them to hear me and if I need to drive away, I don’t want the battery to be dead in addition to only having a quarter of a tank of gas and the engine light on. And I might be scared. I smell a little armpitty. That’s the smell of fear.

Waaaiiit… there’s wolves in Game of Thrones, right? Yes. I mean, Malamutes, but still– wolves! It’s not True Blood, or Twilight, or that new Teen Wolf guy on MTV, or An American Werewolf in London, or An American Werewolf in Paris, or even just An American in Paris (Gene Kelly could really distract me right now is what I’m saying), but, hey! Mi Canis familiaris es su Canis lupus, yeah? (Es su Canis dirus? Hmmm.) Maybe I can scrabble together something from this show after all. HBO: The New Documentary.

Let’s see, let’s see; episode seven was the week I was at WisCon, wasn’t it? It seems so long ago I was discussing magical realism and the diaspora, and now I guess I’m living it. Ha ha! Ha! Because I’m stuck in a world with day-to-day werewolves, and am totally someone with diasporas. Get it? Ha!! I laugh, but, like, silently. In my head. I need to be quiet.

…Oh no. I have to sneeze!

Focus. Right-click, open in VLC player: Episode Eight, “The Pointy End.”

Last time on DIRE WOLVES, blah, blah, Creepy Uncle Baelish can’t be trusted Ned Stark MANLY MANLY HONOR, blaaaahhhhh. Goddoggit, where is something I can use? Oh, wait, here’s li’l Arya Stark and her sword teacher. He’s teaching her about seeing beyond deception (LIKE WHEN PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY WOLVES) and applies that learning to some people who aren’t wolves, but who work for the Lannisters, so are still mighty threatening. “What do we say to the God of Death?” he asks. “Not today,” Arya replies, repeating it to herself as a mantra while she evades capture by Lannister soldiers and reward-seekers from all directions, stalled by her master’s badass fighting/maybe death? Probably death. If the Lannisters were wolves, they would have eaten him. Later, Arya stabs someone to survive! NICE! But I don’t have a knife on me. DAG!!

Sansa Stark and her… Nurse? Tutor? Nun? Are walking around a castle hallway, not a care in the world, probably wearing a lot of silver or something (pointer: it doesn’t work unless the werewolves eat it and then they explode), and then the Nurse’s “Some Shit Is Popping Off Sense” starts tingling and–

I thought I heard something just then. Like bones crunching. Or marrow being sucked from crunched bones. Or– Oh, I just sat on the cereal.

–she sends Sansa away to safety, while facing the Lannister men herself. HARDCORE! But! We don’t see if the dudes in the hallway kill the Nurse (and eat her), because, cut to Sansa, she’s intercepted by The Hound (also not a wolf, but so significantly creepy that even Baelish warned Sansa about him). Sansa knows people! People who will avenge her!! The Hound shuts this little power play down– he was sent by Queen Sarah Connor Cersei, how d’ya like them apples?

Cut to Ned Stark! In the dungeon! The Bald Eunuch (whose name I don’t know) calls Ned out on actually being really bad at politics. Sansa’s alive and un-raped, since she’s still engaged to Joffrey, and Arya’s escaped, since she’s not dead, and can’t be found. But still, what the hell, Ned? Why would you confront the Queen with her treason and adultery with her brother and her incest-begotten bastard false heir to the throne? WHY ARE YOU SO DUMB? Ned Stark’s all, “You wouldn’t understand! No one understands.” I see the whiny, self-righteous seed is strong with the Stark line as well. Jon Snow.

When Baldy is like, “I don’t understand you because you don’t make sense,” Stark’s all “Waaahhh, I’m a man against an unjust system who will be found in the right when the evidence surfaces, waaaaahhh,” because he evidently thinks this is a crime drama or a Dumas novel, or overestimates his own value in a DUDELY DUDE alternaMedieval Euro sword-and-sworcery series– but Ned’s already had some kids who aren’t too bad looking, and who’ve resisted his HONOR HONOR HONOR machinations re: arranged marriages, courtly connections, not being born out of wedlock, etc., so I think he’s probably going to die soon. Ned doesn’t know this is more like a mob show. No one cares if you’re honest as long as you know/and are loyal to the right people. Game of Thrones? Get some genre awareness. (Sansa’s pretty good at knowing what the game is, actually, but just hasn’t worked out her core team yet. Arya not so much, but she’s learned how to kill! This is a step in the right direction.) Anyway, by the time Ned grudgingly accepts that he’s going to have to play some ransom-and-blackmail games, Baldy tells him that his one bargaining chip, Tyrion Lannister, escaped Catelyn Stark already. Rats!

The Wall! WOLVES! Yes! Two corpses are being dragged in, that apparently Jon Snow’s special snowflake special Malamute found by ripping a frostbitten hand off of one of them. I thought they looked wicked frostbitten, myself, but apparently it’s not cold enough for that and, according to The Soft Educated One, Samwell, they should be totally funky and rotten and grossitating. Uh, yeah. Why did the hand just snap off then? Dude has a point. Cripes, am I going to have to watch out for Frost Giants and werewolves now?! No one listens to him saying “BURN THEM, BURN THEM, BURN THE CURSED BODIES,” because he’s not manly enough, or, like, he’s too fat? Sometimes all fat means is that you don’t have to sneak into high-traffic areas for food when werewolves are out. *snaps*

Jon Snow is summoned to his boss’s office, because LETTER NED STARK TRAITOR BLAH BLAH. Whatever. Jon does that thing, with his face? The brooding thing. Because he’s not a moron like his father, he knows how to read between the lines about who is alive, who is missing, etc. etc. based on who is mentioned in the letter.

…There’s a lot of screaming coming from the direction of the Target shopping center, but it’s otherwise quiet. I turned down the backlighting on my laptop and ducked down lower in my seat, but that’s still pretty close.

Somewhere in the castle! Sansa wants to know about her fate and her father’s fate. Queen Cersei is either really disappointed that Sansa isn’t quick enough to understand the games she needs to play kissing Cersei’s ass and being generally compliant, OR is totally okay with keeping Sansa in the dark and is just really crappy at feigning concern and sympathy for redheaded teenagers. I think it’s the second, because there is an old Council guy croaking something about rules and traitorbabies, and Cersei’s like, “*exaggerated gasp* I know! How about… you… write a letter? Omigod, awesome. Here, I can even help you write it! I’m just showing you the ropes, because I care!” Sansa seems unsure, but goes along with the whole thing, because what else can she do?

Robb Stark, somewhere to the south, also gets a letter. He decides to call in ALL THE FAVORS, which means SEVERAL THOUSAND ARMED MEN. At this point, the general moral I’m getting off of Ned Stark is that it’s okay to be a total dumbass and horrible at politicking if you’re well-liked and your kids are cute and successful enough to marry well or kill well. But you need both, because eventually “DAT ASS” is not enough of a reason for your family not to be slaughtered for your foolishness. To change that into a moral for people not as jerky as Lord Eddard: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.

Catelyn Stark is hanging with her sister, who ALSO got the letter about Ned, but didn’t show it to Cate, because she’s just being kind of dick. And how old is her kid? Is he trying to nurse? But… he has all his teeth! No entiendo. Catelyn’s sister says she won’t back the Starks in their upcoming battle with the Lannisters because she doesn’t feel very much like dying, or, you know, being inconvenienced.

You know who else doesn’t want to die? Tyrion! All up in the woods with his bodyguard/hitman Bronn (LIKE BRAWN!), Tyrion reminds him that no matter who hires him to turn against the least-loved Lannister, the Lannisters will always have deeper pockets. And Tyrion also just does not give a good goddamn about being heard/seen by the Generic White Barbarians that live in the woods, so he keeps on whistling. This naturally leads to Tyrion & Co. being set upon by Generic White Barbarians (who, as I guessed, are some kind of visual combination of ragtag raiders, Vikings, and Pictish Toughies). Tyrion charms his way out of IMMINENT DOOM. Alternate to the first moral: Everyone can be bought. Everyone! Money not enough? Pfah! More money. Still not enough? Promise power, land, underlings, prestige, whatever. Promise Donald Trump’s toupee and Steve Jobs’s stocks. Whatever you have to do. Being funny never hurt, either.

The Wall again! Jon Snow is there. Where’s the Dire Wolf at? I need to take notes. But no. Drill Sergeant Jerkface shows up like, “You sad about being such a bastard? I bet you’re sad,” and Jon Snow needs to be physically restrained from stabbing Jerkface to death to show him just how sad he is. Drill Sergeant Buttpoops thinks this will get Jon Snow hanged for sure, and why does that matter to him so much anyway? Is it because Jon Snow has such good hair? You have to let some things go. Anyway, it doesn’t work, but Jon still gets put on punishment from… indentured servitude? He has to go to his room. Uh, okay. This makes Jon EVEN MORE BROODY. Jon Snow’s sulking in his room, Zuko-style, when his dog FREAKS OUT. Or, does what my dog does when she has to go to the bathroom.

“OH DOH DOH DOH DOH, WHOOZA GOOD DOGGIE? WHOOZA GOOD DOGGIE? YOU ARE, GHOST. DOOBOOJOOBOOBOO.” Oh, wait, that’s not what Jon Snow says. He grabs his sword and goes out the door that his wolf is jumping at, tells Ghost to stay outside, and goes inside of the door his wolf has clearly marked as Full of Danger.

Anyway, guess what’s in the door? ZOMBIES! Only not regular zombies. They’re strong and impervious to stabbing, like Frankenstein’s monster, and are highly flammable, like Frankenstein’s monster, but Jon Snow burns his hand finding that out. He saves his boss, though. Guess who’s ungrounded?

Speaking of brooding kids, there’s some noises coming from the school. Not dying noises though, and like hell I’m getting out of this car. I don’t want to get on the highway and run out of gas, but if things start getting hinkey over here, screw this.

BOOM, the Dothraki Caravan. Our favorite Amalgamate Brown Barbarians (totally different from the White Barbarians; and who still haven’t decided if they’re going to be doppelMongols or something more problematically/plot-conveniently “barbaric”, “butch”, “backwards”, and “brown”) have raided a largeish sheep village and are taking supplies. And raping everything with orifices that they don’t plan on eating. Daenerys decides she doesn’t like seeing women beaten and raped and treated like crap. Ser Jorah says, “You have a soft heart, but this is how things are, Khaleesi.”

“THE HELL IT IS,” says Daenerys. “I’M THE MOTHERFUCKING KHALEESI, MOTHERFUCKER, AND YOU FINNA TRY ME.” She makes Jorah pull a Dothraki guy off of one of the shepherding women, then call dibs on ALL the women who haven’t been killed. WHAT WHAT.

Rapey McRaperscum, whose name is Mago, goes to whine to Khal Drogo (who has learned to appreciate Chairs of Manly Significance and is stationed on the biggest one he could find, next to a pile of heads) that his woman is out of line. Daenerys walks in, like, “Yo, dawg, I heard you like raping, so I put some women’s rights in your raping, because fuck you,” only in Dothraki, for impact. Drogo rather patiently tries to explain that sexual terrorism is a natural part of Dudes At War, at which point Dae is all, “Did I stutter?

This pleases Drogo, which is really cool, but he has to frame Dae’s badassedness in masculine terms for everybody present to understand his love for boss chicks. “She has low-swinging big-ass lady balls! My son is a horse that’s going to rape this entire planet! Yeah!” Mago does not like this development, and accuses Khal Drogo of being whipped by a foreign whore, and therefore unfit to lead.

Which Drogo is having nothing of. “DON’T STEP TO ME UNLESS YOUR SHIT IS CORRECT,” he grunts out in a Manly way (paraphrased), pushing another guy who jumped up to kill Mago aside. Mago swings a Barbarian Blade at Drogo (it’s not a Proper Broadsword, and is therefore a weapon of Minorities), and Drogo just, like… flexes into it. Like, “UNGH, WHO’S MORE MANLY NOW?!” Drogo pulls out two daggers dramatically, and makes a big point of dropping them (“PSSH, DON’T NEED ‘EM, SUCKA”), then talks some excellent shit about the gross ways in which Mago’s body will decompose since his body won’t be burned after the Khal kills him with his bare hands.

Mago, either because Drogo is that badass, or because his game has been thrown off by thinking about saggy grey rotten maggot-ridden skin being rained on in a sheep village, or both, keeps missing after his one landed hit on the Khal’s hairless pec– and Drogo grabs Mago’s arm, slits his throat with his own sword, then reaches into Mago’s neck and rips out his trachea and tongue through the gaping throat-wound. Then tosses the neck meat onto the head pile and reclines on his throne, wiping his bloody hands off on his bloody, oiled torso.

The moral of the story is: be more like Khal Drogo.

Daenerys runs up immediately, going, “Oh no, my sun and stars! Baby, you’re hurt!” Drogo’s all, “Moon of my life, girl, this ain’t no thang,” because he is a Man, and Men bleed out before seeking medical attention. What? Wait, what? Ssssn. Machismo. New moral: be more like Khal Drogo, but have medical attention on hand, don’t be so arrogant, geez. One of the women the Khaleesi/Silver Lady saved is Mirri Maz Dur, who is a “God’s Wife” and also a Brown Barbarian (but different than the Dothraki), and therefore knows all kinds of magic, including cleaning wounds and stitches. Whooooooo! But no one seems to like her very much or want to let her and her soap contaminate all of their or their Khal’s masculine horsiness.

The moral of the story is: if you’re writing a story where there is a medium-to-large empire of people who are also dependent on culturally significant livestock for most of their conquest and status symbols, at very least they are going to have some large animal vets. I call bs.

Robb Stark is at Winterfell with everybody who pledged loyalty to his father, and is having some difficulty delegating battlefield assignments and ranks since he’s such a young buck and all. One old, particularly grizzled guy starts making ultimatums, and when Robb calls him out on his oath and insinuates legitimized vengeance, the guy pulls a knife. Psyche! Robb has a Dire Wolf, too! And it wants fingers! FINGERS FOR DINNER! Instead of bleeding copiously, or being fallen upon to be rent apart and eaten, or falling victim to the fever that precedes turning into a werewolf himself, Grizzly just laughs. Amputation! It’s hilarious! You win this time, Robb.

Robb says goodbye to little Bran, who is optimistic for the future, but Littlest Stark, who was listening in, is not. Bran has some feelings about this, so the next morning he goes out to a tree to pray to the Old Gods who have been carved into it, where he meets a White Barbarian who had attacked him before, but who is also learned in [Pre-Christian Western European Polytheistic Religion of Choice]. Anyway, she’s cryptic and refers to Robb needing to go to the north instead of go to battle to the south, because “Winter is coming.” Dun dun duuuunnnnnn!

Speaking of which, at The Wall, people are finally listening to Sam. Good! He says he read about the ice zombies in a book, which I’m just going to go on ahead and assume was written by one Mary Shelley. Apparently, there are EVEN BADDER monsters called White Walkers, which, when they touch you, turn you into a frostbitten walking corpse hellbent on murder and destruction that cannot and will not be stopped, short of being incinerated. And the White Walkers have been hibernating for, like, ever, so if there are zombies afoot, things are going downhill fast. “I hope the Wall is high enough,” Sam says. WHAT? Dude, I’m in a four-door sedan. I mean, your 50-story wall could be higher, but I guess I just need to avoid things that are White, or that Walk. Dang it.

Robb Stark (With Grizzly of the Eight Fingers! And a crapton of soldiers!) has gone on the move, and is camped out planning battle strategy when Mama Catelyn Stark finds him. It seems Catelyn is actually the well-liked one, and the Stark men are just sort of tolerated, because she’s very warmly received, and her diplomatically worded requests are obeyed without hesitation. Cate and Robb, like Jon Snow, can also both read between the lines in Cersei’s/Sansa’s letter, but unlike Jon Snow, have decided not to lay in bed and whine about it.

Tyrion and his new gang roll up on the Lannister camp and have some awkward introductions all around. Tyrion and Tywin trade barbs and updates on current events, but when Tyrion has to ask his dad for money, Tywin abruptly tells his son’s motley crew that he’ll raise Tyrion’s offer if he can defer payment, and when they ask for Tyrion himself as collateral, Tywin is more than willing to oblige. Urk. Btw, Peter Dinklage is kicking ass with his acting job here. He’s conveying some pretty intense swagger, a touch of self-loathing, a deep-seated sarcasm, and a convincing edge of panicky desperation in dealing with both war and, even worse, his father. It’s a really impressive execution of a very nuanced character.

Back at the Stark camp, Robb’s men catch a Lannister spy, who counted 20,000 men before being caught. That’s a lot of people whose bosses owed Ned Stark some favors, man! Robb decides to be merciful, because he either has a MASSIVE SENSE OF OVERCONFIDENCE or a MASSIVE SENSE OF HONOR AND MERCY, both idiot traits of his idiot father, seeing as they are values favored only by people who tend to win all their battles despite the luxuries of letting spies go without trying to buy or murder them. For someone who is probably losing, that’s a lot of assumption based on structures of privilege.

At King’s Landing, “internal restructuring” is going on, and there aren’t any unions, so there are a lot of metaphorical pink slips flying around. The knight who is the head of the army is brutally sacked, to be replaced with Jaime (when I see his name I keep wanting to pronounce it hai-may, but then I think about the Blue Beetle and get sad) when he gets back home from wherever he’s at, and will stay conveniently near his sister. SQUICK. The knight is emotionally shattered, and strips off his armor right there in the throne room, broken and without purpose. Sansa sees this and realizes her future in-laws are playing hardball, so she works up her nerve to plead for her father’s life even harder, in a public appeal.

Basically, if Ned confesses, recants, and he and all the other Starks declare fealty to Joffrey, maybe we forget this whole unfortunate business, hmm? “He’ll swear the fuck out of that fealty,” Sansa promises, catching on just enough to know who the new bosses are, but not enough to realize that she probably shouldn’t be depending on her father, who got her in this mess to begin with.

I keep hearing these low buzzing noises. I don’t like it. It’s making me sleepy. The air still reeks of smoke, and I hear tires squeal a few blocks away. Deep breaths, Gena.

Right-click, open in VLC player: Episode Nine, “Baelor.”

We meet up with Ned Stark in prison! Surprise, surprise. The Bald Eunuch, who was present for the whole debacle with Sansa, lets Ned know what’s up and what he needs to do, which is lucky, because I think Sansa was just hoping her father would pick up on context clues and intuitively know what to say and to whom in order to save his and his family’s lives. Hahaha, no. She is about to be disappointed by some patriarchs.

When the Eunuch explains that since he grew up with actors, he’s learned that everyone plays their part, and sometimes you have to Method act, Stark snaps at him because apparently that’s a bad thing? What the hell? Is the Eunuch’s castration being contextualized as deviant/femme because of his personal background not being heteronormatively butch? Ned. NED. What, what, WHAT are you doing?? Stark insists the Eunuch has learned the actor’s trade too well, because if only he’d grown up with warriors, he’d know about honor, and that life has no meaning! You see, Ned is already dead. (“Hokuto no ken!!”) The Eunuch is unimpressed, and reminds Papa Stark that he has kids who aren’t already shambling cadavers inside.

MESSENGER CROWS! Er, ravens. So that’s how the mail is getting everywhere. Huh. Anyway, the Stark Army is busy shooting down this guy Lord Frey’s ravens because he keeps trying to send messages to the Lannister Army regarding the Starks’ numbers, movements, tactics, supplies, etc. even though technically he’s supposed to be on their side due to some ties to Catelyn’s family. As I suspected: no one actually likes Ned Stark, there’s just a lot of people who think he’s kind of okay, maybe fought with him on the battlefield, but they do actually like his family. Catelyn’s no punk, so while all the men are like, “Dang, I hope we have more arrows than Lord Frey has birds,” Cate’s going in to solve this with WORDS.

ARGUS FILCH! Lord Frey is Argus Filch, guys! He’s also shrewd and a creeper, has several unfortunate-looking children, and is on his umpteenth marriage to a 15-year-old. Where’s Mrs. Norris at? Lord Frey isn’t particularly interested in Catelyn unless she’s there to remedy his low social status, since her father looked down at Frey when he wasn’t outright ignoring/forgetting him. Oh.

…I feel like I’m being watched, and that buzzing sound– it’s more like breathing. I don’t like this one bit. There’s a quiet hissing as well. I just have to make it until daylight, when it’s safe. I just have to stay in the car until then.

HEY, here’s something about a wolf! Oh, it’s just a sword pommel. At the Wall, Jon Snow looks perpetually pained. This time, he’s actually PHYSICALLY hurt in addition to his CONSTANT EMOTIONAL TURMOIL. No matter. His new boss gave him a pimped out Sword of Father-Son Succession thanks to his quick-thinking ice-zombie-fighting skills. Normally, it would go to his son… Ser Jorah! (That guy! The one who’s always hanging out with Dae!!) Except S.J.’s essentially disowned himself, such was his shame. Jon’s boss had a new handle made so that none of the other kids will think it’s theirs when it’s in the kindergarten coat rack. Somewhere, Dr. Frankenstein is PISSED.

BLAH BLAH BLAH SWORDS, and THAWING OUT THE ZOMBIE HAND?! What part of THAT sounded like a good idea?! Well, they’re sending it to Joffrey, anyway. Zombie werewolf Cousin Thing. Great.

Aaaaand they’re all dicking around with the sword, except for the guys who used to be cool, but aren’t friends with the new cool guy, and are now uncool. They stare bitterly. Also, Samwell, who’s the guy I should really be taking notes from by reading warmonger’s private letters and being read-up on monsters that threaten me conveniently in time to protect myself. OH WAIT, I DON’T HAVE THAT OPTION. Stupid sword. Stupid Wall. Stupid crows. Ravens. Whatever.

The Starks! Catelyn’s way of solving her family’s crisis is to give one of Frey’s sons a job, and sell off two of her children in marriage to another two of Frey’s. Arya is going to be so maaaaad. OH, but I guess ROBB gets to CONSEEEEEENT, and PIIIIIICK his spouse. I mean, on the one hand, BOSS PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS, but on the other so-much-bigger-it’s-Hellboy-esque hand, I am so glad I live in the 21st century, you guys. All I have to worry about is werewolves.

At the Wall, Jon Snow gets an Honor vs. LOOOOOOOOVE speech from Blind Master Aemon. It’s very reminiscent of the Harry Potter “choose between what is easy and what is right” speech, except that Harry Potter actually values familial care and devotion. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS JON SNOW. Except this one guy, who actually… does! Turns out, this lecture is a code saying maybe you should consider love and other people important, despite the prevailing culture’s highest value being LOYALTY TO THE KIIIIIIING. The old man is also former royalty. Targaryen! Like Daenerys! I guess he’d know about things more important than loyalty to a King who killed his entire family and instated himself on the throne, eh? Kings come and go, but your family can only be slaughtered once. Anyhoo, it means Jon Snow should listen to what he has to say, since royal old people give much better lessons than regular old people, and the whole exchange hints that Jon Snow has some kind of Greatness Within, as is common for these stories.

The Dothraki! …Whoa. Dude. Khal Drogo is SICK, yo. He’s septic. Gross. And again I call bullshit– y’all know about cleaning wounds and medicine and stuff, even if it’s not butch, or else how do you have so many horses and sheeps and dragons and wolves and things? Whatever. There’s some manly posturing over horses and riding that is actually more about fevers and not listening to women. Daenerys may need to tie everybody to their fucking beds and stand there watching this ENTIRE MOTHERFUCKER BURN before anyone will obey her. She’s the blood of the dragon, goddammit! Ser Jorah does not support this plan, and suggests he and Dae skip town, because when Drogo dies, the Dothraki will kill him, her, and her fetus/baby.

Um. There’s a lot of howling going on. Since I’m unarmed and have lost some faith in emulating Jason Momoa, and have no interest in emulating any of the Lannisters or Starks, I’ll just make sure (for the fifth time) that my car doors are locked and try not to think about how it will feel to be eaten alive.

The Lannisters! Tyrion tries desperately not to die, because, being a half-man, he is like a woman in that his fate is controlled by others! Assigned to the front lines, booooo. Tywin also makes it pretty clear that he expects Tyrion to die, because they both know he’s a crap soldier. Except he and Bronn get hookers. Yay? The woman brought to Tyrion’s tent, Shae, is delightfully sarcastic and calculating, which pleases Tyrion, because even though he has a little bit of a complex regarding his horrible family, he’s actually secretly in love with his own awesomeness. Whatever. At least she’s getting paid, not like the shepherd women Daenerys saved from rape and murder by… enslaving them? Hmmm. Colonialism: not actually that awesome. Heads up.

EWWWWWWWWWW, gangrenous stankwounds! The Khaleesi is totally unfamiliar with these bizarre non-family-line based methods of ruling that mean when Drogo kicks the bucket she is useless to the Dothraki, even though she’s so toooootally pregnant. She also doesn’t care. She just wants her sun and stars to get better. D’aw. Mirri Maz Dur says she has to do blood magic now instead of… medicine? Because we’ve just gone TOO FAR for medicine. (Pointed look to all the Dothraki men offscreen.) She asks for Drogo’s horse, who I guess smells what’s up, because he’s like, “NOOOOOOO, THIS IS SOME OL’ BUUUUUULLLLLSHIIIIIIIIIIT!” Which it is, for the horse, because he gets his throat slit. Horses bleed a lot, guys. And Mirri is also like a shaman? Because there is going to be a lot of singing and summoning of the dancing dead, and it is TOO LATE to go back now, so everyone should probably leave the tent.

This one other Dothraki guy who’s been talking a lot of mess (Dude! Don’t you remember Mago?!) doesn’t want any of this HEATHEN WITCHCRAFT NONSENSE, and knocks Daenarys down, where she hits the ground really hard, abdomen-first. Jorah kills the guy, but the damage has already been done. This either kick-starts labor or a miscarriage, and none of the Dothraki midwives will tend to the Khaleesi because Dae is MARKED. Gossips!! So Jorah has to carry Dae back into the HORSE DEATH TENT, to the only person the Dothraki have left who knows how to deliver a baby. GASP!

Slumber party at the Lannisters’! Tyrion and Bronn and Shae are playing your standard-issue Games That Risk Bodily Harm. Fire, knives, you know. In between the pillow fights. Tyrion thinks they all play too rough, but also doesn’t want to play Bloody Mary because Mary I isn’t even a twinkle in Henry VIII’s eye yet, and I suspect Henry VIII doesn’t exist in Westenros. Neither do England, Ireland, Spain, or the Vatican, but hey. Instead, they play a truth-telling game, sort of Never Have I Ever meets Bullshit. Because Tyrion is Dr. House, he’s speculating on everyone’s life while drily airing his own brokenness in a way nobody is allowed to laugh at until everyone is drunk. Tyrion drinks if what he guesses about Bronn or Shae is wrong, and they drink if he’s right. Either way, wine is flowing. Hooray! Tyrion’s also spectacularly losing to Shae, because she’s secretly Metal, and a High Class Laydee. But mostly Metal. “Don’t talk about my mother and father, ever,” she says after Tyrion’s multiple wrong guesses regarding her various potential low births, “or I will carve your eyes from your head.”

I swear I heard something laugh as I typed that. Can werewolves read, do you think? I thought they just turn into wolf-wolves, but if they’re wolfpersons they might be as smart as people. They might have thumbs. …Only six more hours to go, and then it’s sunrise. Six more hours.

Then she suckers Tyrion into airing his brokenness in a way that’s not actually funny, and that opens him up to emotional vulnerability. “Those aren’t the rules,” Tyrion protests. Shae could not give less of a fuck, and wants to know about the time Tyrion fell in love. As it turns out, when he was a teenager, Tyrion and his brother Jaime were out and stopped a girl from getting raped. While Jaime Lannister pursued the would-be rapists, Tyrion and the girl, Taisha, got mad drunk, chatted, screwed, and then married the same night; all because she was nice to him. It turned out Taisha was a plant hired by Jaime to make Tyrion fall in love with her, and Tywin, who also paid her, makes Tyrion watch as Taisha, who is also a prostitute, has sex with ALL THE DUDES, for so much money that she can’t even hold it in her hands. Why didn’t they give her a bag? Just to make Tyrion cry? But he was stupid and young and in love, so his heart shriveled up like the Grinch’s from the salty salty salt of his salty salty tears of sadness.

Tyrion’s kind of down remembering this, and Bronn is just like, “That’s rough, buddy,” and avoids eye contact. Shae says he’s stupid. “You should have known she was a whore. A girl who is nearly raped doesn’t invite a man into her bed two hours later.” Tyrion concedes that he was, in fact, stupid, but still also young and in love, which I think Shae finds kind of pathetically endearing, so Bronn excuses himself while the two get ready to get busy.

Tyrion wakes up late the next morning, and Bronn’s like, “Dude. War?” Tyrion tells his new favorite prostitute, “If I die, weep for me.” “You will be dead. How will you know?” Shae replies without really waking up. “I’ll know,” Tyrion says quietly, more to himself. Wow, I hope if he’s found love again, this woman is legit and not an elaborate prank set up by his cheeseblock family. I actually like Tyrion.

Surprisingly, Tyrion is pretty good at inspirational speeches, because he knows what inspires people is land ownership and riches. He promptly gets knocked upside the head and trampled because he’s less good at getting out of the way when bludgeon-swinging people run into battle. He ends up on an injury cart (“Bring out your dead!”) because he’s been pretty seriously concussed, but is still alive because the Lannisters won their first skirmish. It’s not the end of the war, though. The Starks have divided their forces to provide a diversion that was actually a smallish wall made entirely of people about to die and make a corpse barrier against the Lannisters. This first battle was only against 2,000 soldiers. The other 18,000 were headed in a different direction– towards Jaime Lannister’s camp!

That plan wasn’t as boneheaded as it sounded, because Robb had a strategy to sneak-attack Lannister Camp #2, and, bonus! They kidnapped Jaime Lannister on the way! Robb calls him “King Slayer,” and doesn’t want to negotiate or have a man-to-man battle, because 1) Robb would lose, and 2) Jaime is more valuable as a bargaining chip. However, THIS IS WARRRR, but WAR IS PAIIIINNNN. Robb is as melodramatic as his half-brother in the “MY PAIN HAS GREAT DEPTH, I HAVE GREAT HONOR AND LOYALTY” realm, and waxes poetic for a little bit.

King’s Landing! Arya’s cat-chasing practice pays off, and she catches a pigeon to eat. I hope she knows how to clean and cook that. She hasn’t learned how to steal bread yet, though, and is amazingly dirty, given that she’s only been on the run a day or so. Then it turns out everybody is going someplace. SURPRISE! It’s to see the Hand of the King brought before the Great Sept of Baelor and the King. Arya knows that means her dad, so she joins the crowd, but is slightly over-conspicuous, climbing on the actual statue of Baelor.

Ned sees her, and hollers “Baelor!” to another Knight of the Watch that he spies to get him protect his daughter. Sansa, like everybody else with a modicum of sense in this show, hopes/plans on people having some concept of self-preservation and her father being less of a dope to save himself and his family. Which, surprisingly, is accurate. Ned Stark has a fake confession and everything, and is ready for his banishment to the Wall so long as his family gets to live. Arya has got her father’s streak of DUDELY LOYALIST HONOR and can’t believe what she is hearing! But Sansa’s just hoping everything goes so that no one dies horribly in public.

Joffrey throws a monkey wrench in that plan by saying that Cersei and Sansa may have the soft hearts of women to go along with such a plan, but there will be no mercy from the King for treason, even though Ned’s made a full confession. Sansa FREAKS, Arya is grabbed by the Knight, Yoren, who makes her not get herself killed and not watch her father get his head chopped off, while Cersei is like, “…WE WILL TALK ABOUT THIS LATER HOW DARE YOU SHAME ME IN PUBLIC.” And Sansa’s and Arya’s hearts break, and Cersei has to realize her son may be too spoiled to be useful to her, and maybe even too spoiled for her to be useful to him.

And that’s it. That’s the end. My laptop battery is low, and I glanced in my rearview mirror just now– the library door has been closed.

There haven’t been any people nearby. I’m in the only occupied car in the parking lot.

Just now, I adjusted my side mirrors to check my car. The hissing sound was the air being let out of my tires.

…Six more hours ’til morning.

ETA: Welcome to Blog Like It’s the Apocalypse 2011! 😀


  1. Maria says

    Uh. TEXT ME.

    Anyways, thank you for posting this! You know I was getting kinda over this series, mostly because of the fantears over Ned Stark. I AM hoping that it gets picked up for another season though (if there will be TV in this new world, which I’m not convinced of), because Sansa is STILL my favorite character.

  2. says



    Anyhow, I’m not off the series; the fantears over Ned are my favorite. FAVORITE. Like– really? You people are so used to boring predictable narratives that, like a baby that has been surprised by someone saying BOO!, you are falling apart? I am not impressed. I like the books a bunch, & I like the show just fine for trying to capture them.

  3. Maria says



    Anyhow, I’m not off the series; the fantears over Ned are my favorite.FAVORITE.Like– really?You people are so used to boring predictable narratives that, like a baby that has been surprised by someone saying BOO!, you are falling apart?I am not impressed.I like the books a bunch, & I like the show just fine for trying to capture them.

    Heh, maybe they just wanted something simple in these crazy, crazy times. It’d be nice to think that somewhere out there, good gets a chance to live.

    Gena, I still haven’t heard from you. Remember, glass breaks, but you can always pull the seats forward and roll into the trunk.

  4. Shaun says

    I read this whole article before I read the byline and was like, “Maria’s feeling punchy today…”


    It was picked up for a new season after ONE episode. And the best part, no Ned to distract us! Endless (insert our favorite characters who survive the finale)!

  5. says

    The sun’s up, but the air is still rank. I don’t feel very well, actually, but I’ll be walking home– the car is totally trashed. It’s like… shredded. Or gutted. And I’m just wondering how I ended up across the street on the roof of the bank, but I got down and back to the library well enough.

    Anyway, all my food is gone, of course, so it’s just my laptop, my backpack, and me (where are my shoes?). Wish me luck.

    • Maria says

      Well, if Game of Thrones has taught me anything it’s that all of that is NOT a sign of anything important happening, and you probably have several months of plodding plot development before anything ~magick~ happens.

  6. Robin says

    I’m not so much weeping fantears over Ned as headdesking over his lack of political sense. Dude could’ve learned a thing or three from his wife about that stuff. I suppose there’s a reason that House Stark is known as loyal subjects of the crown rather than actual rivals for it, though.

    And yes, Catelyn’s nephew was totally trying to nurse even though he’s, like, nine. Cat’s sister clearly went banoonoos when the king killed her husband, and she’s taken her son with her. That kid is going to need so much therapy. Or he would if they had therapists in Westeros, but it doesn’t seem like they do. So he’ll probably just be locked up or slain for being a big weirdo.

    The whole accepting-medical-attention-is-a-sign-of-weakness thing among the Dothraki is kind of infuriating. I understand the literary / historical tradition behind it, but come on. Nomadic tribes in our world have enough basic medical knowledge to not let wounds fester. Even if they don’t like crossing the sea, the Dothraki have regular enough contact with the peoples of Westeros that they should have picked up some bandages or something. Hell, if they want to be manly about it, they can disinfect their wounds with whatever alcohol they’ve got around and then take a big slug of it. Plus, they passed up an opportunity to have a gnarly maggots-eating-infected-flesh scene. What’s up with that?

    Tyrion continues to be made of awesome, and knowing that his braggadocio comes from a place of squishy romance and familial neglect is even better. The rest of the Lannisters continually underestimate him simply because he’s short, and I have a feeling (not having read the books yet) that it’s going to be their undoing. And, yes, Peter Dinklage is definitely The Star of this show. (Though Emelia Clarke is pretty dang impressive herself.)

  7. Maria says

    I will say that it’s interesting how the non-normative in GoT is always two steps away from the irrational — breast feeding til way older than we see in the US is more common in other parts of the world, so it’s interesting to see something like that be a signifier of her insanity. Like, there’s no way you could reverse genders for Lysa, and part of me wonders if that’s a sign her particular storyline is misogynistic.

    One of the other survivors in my building is nursing, actually, and she’s been joking that her toddler is the only one of us who is guaranteed to get his full share of vitamins and minerals and whatever… We’re all scavenging for food.

  8. says

    Haha, this recap is awesome! You win all the things.

    Not gonna lie, I got a little verklempt over Ned’s death – well, not really over Ned’s death itself, more over Arya and Sansa’s reactions to having their daddy killed in front of them. :(

  9. Shaun says


    Well. TECHNICALLY a man could breastfeed a child/infant. It’s happened before, and this is a fantasy setting where the same taboos may not be as strong. I’ll be shocked the day I see it, though.

  10. M.C. says

    Oh Ned, for once in your life you stop being stupid and do the clever thing and get killed for it. lol

    Also I have a crush on Shae now. “What kind of accent is this” “Foreign.” rofl

    As for the rest of the episode I agree with this: Khal Drogo’s horse was the only reason I watched the show. I thought he was the main character, he has been in every episode… HBO fucked up big time. I can’t believe they would just kill him off like that, how fucking rude. i’ve watched all his movies since seabiscuit, he is the best actor on the show and no one else compares. this show is going to fucking blow now!

  11. Maria says


    HAVE YOU? LEARNED NOTHING FROM OUR BLOGGING??? DON’T TRUST THE BEASTS OF THE WORLD. There’s is EVIL — EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!! — afoot, and even actor horses can turn against you.

  12. M.C. says


    That’s exactly why I’m siding with the beasts. And once they take over the world, they will not only spare my life but also give me Italy to reward me for my loyalty.

  13. Chai Latte says

    This was probably the funniest review of GoT episodes I’ve seen so far. I heart you to infinity for calling Ned’s bullshit as you see it (because NED YOU ARE NOT VERY POLITICALLY ASTUTE, and dammit, RENLY WAS RIGHT. You need DIPLOMATS, too.)

    And thank you for praising Sansa–she gets so much hate, but she is my favorite character in the series–yes, the books, too, I find her delightful in both.

    And the Hound. There needs to be more of him. I mean, he perfected the art of Standing Around. We now know that he can stand around LIKE A BOSS, but let’s put him to work, shall we?

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