Game of Thrones: You Win or You Die   First Watch 
February 27, 2015 12:43 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

While the King is away hunting wild boar, Ned reveals Jon Arryn's discovery to Queen Cersei and suggests she leave the city before Robert returns. In response to his son Tyrion's capture, Tywin, the Lannister patriarch, orders Jamie to attack Riverrun, Lady Catelyn Stark's childhood home. The King returns, badly injured. Jon Snow and Sam Tarley take their vows and become members of the Night's Watch. Across the Narrow Sea, Ser Jorah receives a pardon from Varys.

"When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground." ~ Cersei Lannister

Longer Summary (contains spoilers)
Lord Tywin Lannister is introduced in an extended scene showing him skinning a dead stag as he 'tells his elder son, Jaime, that this conflict will decide the fate of their family; they will either forge a dynasty that will last a thousand years or cease to exist, as the Targaryens had done. He orders Jaime to become the man he was meant to be, and to take thirty thousand men and besiege Riverrun, Catelyn's childhood home and the seat of House Tully. Jaime asks why Tywin would risk so much for Tyrion, the son he hates. Tywin explains that Tyrion is still a Lannister and any affront to their family must be punished or it makes them look weak.'

As revealed in the previous episode, Ned has now discovered the secret that Jon Arryn probably died for: Cersei's children are from Jamie, not Robert. When the King returns, mortally injured, Ned changes his final order, designating the Iron Throne to Robert's "rightful heir" rather than "Joffrey Baratheon." Renly urges Ned to seize power, but he refuses. The King dies. A showdown occurs in the throne room. Littlefinger betrays Ned. "I did warn you not to trust me."

At the wall, Jon Snow becomes a steward to Lord Mormont, rather than a ranger. He takes his vows, and becomes a member of the Night's Watch. In Vaes Dothrak, Jorah Mormont receives a pardon in Robert Baratheon's name, from one of Varys' informants. He realizes that this likely means an order has been made to assassinate Daenerys -- an attempt he identifies and foils.

Introduced In This Episode
* Lord Tywin Lannister. Head of House Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands and former Hand of the King to the late King Aerys Targaryan II.

Notes from here.
* Tyrion, Catelyn, Sansa and Arya do not appear in this episode.
* Final appearance of King Robert Baratheon, First of His Name.
* The stag shown being skinned by Tywin Lannister was real.
posted by zarq (4 comments total)
Lord Tywin Lannister is introduced in an extended scene showing him skinning a dead stag...

Such a subtle jab at House Baratheon, and foreshadowing for the later events. That whole exchange was great, and not at all mirrored in the book. It was one of the moments which made me really appreciate the work of the show, creating new moments in the general realm of the broader story.

But one thing that was in the book that wasn't covered here was how much John Snow protected Samwell, and he basically saved Sam from an early death, or banishment from the Night's Watch as unsuitable, when he persuaded Maester Aemon take Sam as a personal assistant, because he was so learned. Then Sam helps John see that by being the personal assistant to Lord Commander Mormont, John was being groomed to be a commander himself. Of course, there's only so much character relatively minor bonding you can include in a 10 hour re-telling of a 800 page story.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:29 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think they at least managed to show that Jon and Sam are bonding as friends who respect and value each other, and we did see some of Jon protecting Sam, even if it wasn't as much as it was in the books.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:04 PM on February 27, 2015

This was the second episode where a major character dies (the first being Viserys in the previous ep) and man, it took me by surprise. You knew Viserys was a dead man the moment he threatened his sister's baby, but the King.... totally didn't see that coming. Mark Addy was great in the role and I didn't recognize him at first. Robert's (mostly) likeable and easy for the audience to relate to. Seems like a fun guy to get drunk or go into battle with. Not much for standing on ceremony.

King Robert Baratheon. Killed by a pig.
posted by zarq at 11:41 AM on March 2, 2015

Robert's (mostly) likeable and easy for the audience to relate to.

I... kinda didn't see him that way. He's boorish and base and gross.

Which is interesting in itself, I guess. Robert felt to me like a thinly-veiled Henry VIII; a stereotype of a certain kind of king. That he dies, and that he dies in such a mundane way, is a signal: Martin isn't necessarily going to trade in stereotypes.

Also, I think the series is not just about the struggle for power; it's also about how power affects you once you reach it. Robert's power made him self-indulgent and lazy; Ned's power made him self-righteous and noble.

I like how in the scenes with Robert and Ned there's both clear affection and a feeling that they've grown apart: they're most at ease with each other when they're reminiscing about the old days, least at ease when they're in conflict on how to handle current-day issues.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:17 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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