Lord Snow might not have contained any monumental developments, but it continued to build the world of Game of Thrones in some fascinating ways.
Arya was my favorite thing about this hour. Maisie Williams is just splendid in the role, capably conveying the young Stark’s rebellious streak and inherent charm. Lord Snow sees the introduction of her “dance” or sword-fighting teacher, Syrio Forel, and he makes an immediate impression: he’s hilarious right off the bat. I genuinely can’t wait to see more of him!
Lord Snow also affords Littlefinger a lot of screen time. Aidan Gillen is good, but I don’t find the sleazy character to be as intriguing as the writers would hope. He’s obviously still infatuated with Catelyn Stark, which adds a nice element to his dynamic with Ned as he helps him uncover the Lannister conspiracy.
And then there’s The Wall. When I originally watched season one years ago, I never really appreciated John Snow’s journey. In fact, I’d often find myself bored by it. But now? I’m rooting for the bastard underdog to prove himself, especially when his adept fighting skills aren’t enough to earn him the respect he deserves in the Night’s Watch. Having Tyrion at The Wall also imbues the subplot with a welcome dose of humor as he banters with Ned’s brother (and first Ranger of the Watch) Benjen Stark.
Now let’s discuss the ending, which genuinely gave me goosebumps. It starts with Ned proudly watching Arya’s training until suddenly, his smile slowly begins to transform into a look of nervousness and fear. We then begin to hear sounds of war and swords clashing, signifying the horrifying future that’s in store for a daughter who is so hellbent on being a fighter. It’s just so chilling and perfect.
Bits & Beheadings
– How vicious is Jaime casually mentioning Ned’s father and brother being slaughtered by the Mad King?
– Bran’s nan telling him the story of the White Walkers was wonderfully creepy (read it below in its entirety).
– The fact that Bran is now paralyzed? Heartbreaking.
– The assassin’s dagger is made of Valyrian Steel – a rare and ancient form of metal that never loses its edge and never needs sharpening.
– Ned meets with the council members in this episode: Littlefinger (the King’s Master of Coin), Grand Maester Pycell (the King’s Scientific and Academic Advisor), Lord Renly Baratheon (the King’s brother and Master of Law), and Varyus, a eunuch and the Master of Whisperers (the King’s intelligence network). It’s quite overwhelming the first time you watch it.
– The scene with Robert Baratheon insulting Jamie and asking him about his first kill (as well as Ser Barristan Selemy’s first kill) was very unsettling. It’s funny, but Baratheon should be a despicable character, but something about Mark Addy’s performance makes him ridiculously amusing.
– Stunning visual: Jon taking the lift to the top of The Wall. Good thing he’s not afraid of heights!
– So if Dany is pregnant, why doesn’t she seem particularly sad? It’s not like the pregnancy was the result of the most romantic circumstances.
– Iain Glen is just so darn likeable as Ser Jorah, Daenery’s trusted confidante.
– Tyrion did indeed fulfill his goal of pissing off the edge of the world. That made me laugh.
Kings & Quips
Jaime: Tell me… If I’d stabbed the Mad King in the belly instead of the back, would you admire me more?
Cersei: If you don’t like her, you only need to see her on formal occasions and when the time comes, to make little princes and princesses. And if you’d rather fuck painted whores, you’ll fuck painted whores. And if you’d rather lie with noble virgins, so be it.
Cersei: A good King knows when to save his strength… and when to destroy his enemies.
Joffrey: So you agree… The Starks are our enemies?
Cersei: Everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.
Arya: It’s called Needle.
Ned: A blade with a name. And who were you hoping to skewer with Needle? Your sister? Do you know the first thing about sword fighting?
Arya: Stick ’em with the pointy end.
Ned: That’s the essence of it.
Old Nan: Oh, my sweet summer child. What do you know about fear? Fear is for the winter, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides for years and children are born and live and die all in darkness. That is the time for fear, my little Lord, when the White Walkers move through the woods. Thousands of years ago there came a night that lasted a generation. Kings froze to death in their castles, same as the shepherds in their huts. And women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept and felt the tears freeze on their cheeks. So is this the sort of story that you like? In that darkness, the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders big as hounds!
Jaime: I think we can outfox a 10-year-old.
Cersei: And my husband?
Jaime: I’ll go to war with him if I have to. They can write a ballad about us: “The War for Cersei’s cunt.”
Cersei: Let me go.
Cersei: Let me go.
Jaime: The boy won’t talk. And if he does, I’ll kill him. Him, Ned Stark, the King… the whole bloody lot of them, until you and I are the only people left in this world.
Robert: They never tell you how they all shit themselves. They don’t put that part in the songs
Robert: Your outlaw… Any last words?
Jaime: I cut his head off, so no.
Tyrion: And how do a bear’s balls taste?
Yoren: A bit chewy. And what about you, my Lord? What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten?
Tyrion: Do Dornish girls count?
Jon: Don’t stand so still. It’s harder to hit a moving target. Except for you. You move too much. I could just hold my sword out and let you do the work for me.
Tyrion: If you’re going to be a cripple, it’s better to be a rich cripple.
Syrio Forel: You must listen to me, boy.
Arya: I’m a girl.
Syrio Forel: Boy, girl… You are a sword.
It might seem like a filler hour, but with sharp dialogue and some welcome character development, this is an excellent episode.