I wrote these rewatches on the old site a few years ago, and now I’m posting them here. These recaps naturally contain spoilers.
Episode title: Baelor
Director: Alan Taylor
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: Tywin Lannister tells Tyrion at dinner that he and his barbarian allies will fight in the vanguard of the army. He returns to his tent and finds the prostitute Shae whom Bronn found for him at his request. As the three of them swap stories, Tyrion reveals that when he was sixteen, he had married a woman named Tysha that Jaime and he had rescued. When his father Tywin had discovered it, he had made Jaime confess that she was actually a hired prostitute and Tywin then made Tyrion watch as he gave her to his guards, paying her one silver for each man.
The Stark army arrives at The Twins, a fortified bridge controlled by the cranky Lord Walder Frey, a bannerman of Catelyn’s father. Walder agrees to allow the Starks to enter The Twins and join them against the Lannisters, but in return he wants Robb and Arya to marry two of his children, to which Robb reluctantly agrees. After crossing the river, Robb divides his forces, sending 2,000 men to distract Tywin’s army while the remainder sneaks up on Jaime’s army, defeating them and capturing Jaime himself. As the Stark force approaches, Tyrion leaves his tent and is trampled as they rush to war. By the time he wakes, the entire battle has been played out, and Lord Tywin reveals that the Stark host was only 2,000 men, leaving them to wonder where the other 18,000 went.
Lord Commander Mormont gives Jon Snow a sword of Valyrian steel named Longclaw, a sword originally meant for his son Jorah before his exile, as a reward from saving his life from the dead ranger. However, Jon is upset when Sam tells him about Robb’s war against the Lannisters, feeling that he should be there to help Robb. Maester Aemon summons Jon. Aemon is actually Aemon Targaryen, and he advises Jon that he must choose either his duty to the Night’s Watch or his family.
Khal Drogo falls from his saddle. Dany sends for Mirri Maz Duur to save him. Mirri tells Daenerys that there is a blood magic spell she knows, and Dany orders her use the spell, even when Mirri warns her that only death can pay for life. They sacrifice the Khal’s horse and slit its throat. Jorah Mormont fights and kills Qotho, who shoved Dany to the ground, bringing on premature labor.
Varys visits Ned in the dungeons and tells him to make a false confession and swear loyalty Joffrey, then Cersei will spare him and let him serve the Night’s Watch as his exile. Ned refuses but finally relents after Varys tells him that Sansa’s life is also at stake. With Sansa, Cersei, and Joffrey looking over him, and Ayra hidden in the crowd Ned confesses to treason. Joffrey breaks his promise and orders Ned beheaded. As Sansa watches in grief, and Arya tries to rescue Ned only to be stopped by Yoren to prevent her from seeing her father’s execution, Ned accepts his death peacefully.
My take: This is the big one. When Ned is executed, it meant anything could happen. Ned was the protagonist and Sean Bean was arguably the show’s best known star. It was a good idea to have Tyrion miss most if the battle, as it probably saved them a lit of money
Changes from the books: In the book, Walder Frey imposes one more condition on the Starks: two of his young grandsons, “Big” Walder and “Little” Walder, will be taken to Winterfell as wards. Shae in the series is from the Free Cities, to explain Sibel Kekilli’s German accent. In the books, Tyrion, Bronn, and Shae do not play the drinking game. The story about Tysha in the books is slightly different than in the series. After she was gang-raped by the soldiers, Tywin forced him to be the last. Tywin’s soldiers paid her with a silver coin each. Tyrion was ordered to give her a gold coin.
Nudity: Shae introduces herself by stripping topless and grinding herself in Tyrion
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, the Twins, Winterfell, the Wall, Vaes Dothrak
Death count: Ned Stark, beheaded by Illyn Payne on the order of Joffrey. Qotho, killed by Jorah
Quotes: Joffrey: Ser Illyn, bring me his head. Robb Stark: If we did it your way, Kingslayer, you’d win. We’re not doing it your way.
Episode title: Fire and Blood
Director: Alan Taylor
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: Bran and Rickon have the same dream about their father Ned, and Maester Luwin arrives to inform them of his death. Catelyn and Robb grieve over his death as well. Their bannermen suggest the North should secede from the Seven Kingdoms and proclaim Robb as “The King in the North”.
Joffrey leads Sansa onto a small wooden bridge at the top of a battlement and forces her to look upon the heads of her father and other members of their household mounted on spikes. As she contemplates pushing Joffrey off the bridge, she is stopped by The Hound.
Arya Stark disguises herself as a boy in order to escape with Yoren and his new recruits for the Night’s Watch. Gendry leaves with her for the Wall. Tywin orders Tyrion to go to King’s Landing in his stead as Hand of the King so they can keep Joffrey under control. Tyrion has Shae follow him to King’s Landing.
Jon Snow attempts to desert the Night’s Watch to join Robb and avenge his father, but Sam, Pyp and Grenn convince him to come back by reciting their oath. The next morning, Commander Mormont leads an expedition over the Wall to deal with the threat of the Wildlings and the White Walkers and find Benjen Stark.
Dany awakens, and learns that her unborn son died, as his life was used to save Drogo’s life. However, Drogo has been left in a vegetative state and his Khalasar abandoned him. Mirri acted in revenge for her village and its people. Dany suffocates Drogo to put him out of his misery. She builds a funeral pyre for Drogo, places her dragon eggs into the pyre and has Mirri tied to the pyre as well. She steps into the fire. The next morning Dany survived the fire unharmed, carrying three baby dragons with her
My take: The first scene confirms that this was not a dream, that Ned’s dead baby. Ned’s dead. It also sucks to be a singer in King’s Landing, but you have to know not to sing songs about the King. Ah if only Sansa would have pushed that little shit off the bridge. We get another scene chewing moment between Varys and Littlefinger.
Changes from the books: In the books, Yoren tells Arya that the man who brought Gendry to him was the same one who told him to delay leaving and be at the Sept of Baelor, because the trial of Ned Stark was supposed to result in him being sentenced to take the black and he would be going with Yoren to the Wall. That man was Varys. The punished bard is not Marillion but an unnamed fat one in the books; in the books Marillion remains at the Eyrie after Tyrion’s trial. Pycelle hires the services of Ros, and rambles on about kings. Dany is found nursing her dragons from her breast, and all her hair is burned off.
Nudity: Lancel’s naked ass. A post sex scene between Pycelle and Ros reveals her fully frontal. Dany emerges nude from the pyre
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, Vaes Dothrak
Death count: Khal Drogo, smothered by Dany. Mirri Maz Duur, burnt while tied to Drogo’s funeral pyre. Septa Mordane, confirmed beheaded
Quotes: Robb Stark: I’ll kill them all. Every one of them. I’ll kill them all. Greatjon Umber: My lords. My lords. Here’s what I say to these two kings. (spits) Renly Baratheon is nothing to me, nor Stannis neither. Why should they rule over me and mine from some flowery seat in the south? What do they know of the Wall or the Wolfswood? Even their gods are wrong. Why shouldn’t we rule ourselves again? It was the dragons we bowed to and now the dragons are dead. There sits the only King I mean to bend my knee to: the King in the North