Game of Thrones Rewatch: Season One Episode Seven “You Win or You Die” and Episode Eight “The Pointy End”

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: You Win Or You Die

Director: Daniel Minahan

Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

Summary: Lord Tywin Lannister has a talk with his son Jaime, chastising him for causing the war with the Starks. Tywin gives half of his forces to Jaime to attack Riverrun, home of House Tully.

Theon harrasses the captured wildling Osha. Maester Luwin asks her why she and other wildlings are coming south from the Wall. She reveals they were fleeing from the White Walkers. Benjen Stark’s horse returns from north of the Wall without him, much to the worry of his nephew, Jon Snow. Later, Jon is assigned as a steward to the Lord Commander instead of a ranger, like his uncle. Sam believes that this assignment may mean he is being groomed for command. Jon and Sam take their vows near a heart tree, and Ghost brings him a dismembered hand.


Dany and her entourage go sightseeing at a market, and Jorah receives a pardon for him to return to the Seven Kingdoms. He realizes that Danys is to be assassinated and saves her from a wine merchant who tries to poison her. Drogo, angered by the attempt on his wife’s life, vows to his followers that he will lead his people to cross the Narrow Sea to invade the Seven Kingdoms as revenge and reclaim the Iron Throne for his unborn son.


Ned confronts Cersei, telling her that he knows Prince Joffrey and his siblings are not King Robert’s children, but were incestuously fathered by her brother Jaime. Ned shows Cersei mercy and tells her to leave the capital with her children before he tells Robert the truth. Renly returns and informs Ned that during the hunt Robert was mortally wounded by a boar. On his deathbed, Robert dictates his will to Ned, in which Robert makes Ned the Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm until Joffrey comes of age. Ned writes down Robert’s words, but instead of using “Joffrey,” Ned writes “my rightful heir,” making the succession ambiguous.


Renly tries to convince Ned they should raise an army and launch a coup d’état; however, Ned refuses him. Ned wants to assure the crown passes to the rightful heir: Stannis. Ned writes a letter to Stannis informing him of the situation, dispatching it to Dragonstone, Stannis’s island fortress. Ned also reveals to Littlefinger the truth of Joffrey’s heritage, and asks Littlefinger to secure the support of the City Watch to overpower Cersei’s men-at-arms if they attempt to seize the throne. Robert dies, Renly flees, and Joffrey has already ordered his own coronation. As Ned and his allies enter the throne room, he gives Ser Barristan Selmy Robert’s will to read out aloud. Cersei tears it up, ordering Barristan to seize Ned. Ned orders his men to arrest Cersei and Joffrey. The City Watch slaughters the Stark men while Littlefinger holds Ned with a knife at his throat, telling Ned that he should have listened to Littlefinger’s advice about distrusting him.

My take: Right off the bat, we’re introduced to Charles Dance as Tywin, one of the best villains in recent history. Ned makes his fatal mistake here, giving Cersei time to form her plans. This episode also has the most egregious example of “sexploitation” this season. Jason Moama brings it in a monologue completely in Dothraki. We lose Mark Addy, wonderful as King Robert

Changes from the books: Benjen’s horse returns in the series, in the book there is no such scene. The prostitute scene is exclusive to the series as well as the scene with Osha, Theon and Lewin. The beginning scene introducing Tywin is also exclusive to the series. In the books, Stannis has already figured out the truth about Jamie and Cersei.

Nudity: Ros and another prostitute are instructed in whoring by Littlefinger while he gives a monologue. The assassin is seen walking nude behind the horses

Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, the Eyrie, Winterfell, the Wall, Vaes Dothrak

Death count: King Robert Baratheon gored by a boar. Wine-seller sentenced to walk naked tied to a horse until he dies. At least twenty of Ned’s men killed by tbe gold cloaks


Quotes: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”- Cersei

“Hear my words, and bear witness to my vow. Night gathers, and now my Watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the Sword in the Darkness, I am the Watcher on the Walls, I am the Shield that guards the Realms of Men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this Night, and all the Nights to come.”- Jon and Sam

“And to my son, the stallion who will mount the world, I will also pledge a gift. I will give him the iron chair that his mother’s father sat upon. I will give him Seven Kingdoms. I, Drogo, will do this. I will take my Khalasar west to where the world ends and ride wooden horses across the black salt water as no Khal has done before! (the Dothraki begin chanting war cries) I will kill the men in iron suits and tear down their stone houses! I will rape their women, take their children as slaves and bring their broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak! This, I vow, I, Drogo, son of Bharbo. I swear before the Mother of Mountains as the stars look down in witness! As the stars look down in witness!” – Drogo



Episode title: The Pointy End

Director: Daniel Minahan

Written by: George R. R. Martin

Summary: As Tyrion and Bronn head towards Tywin Lannister’s camp, they are surrounded by one of the barbarian hill tribes of the Vale. Tyrion convinces them to serve as his escorts by promising them gold, weapons and an army to help them seize the Vale of Arryn. Tywin agrees to keep Tyrion’s promises if the hill tribes join the fight against the Starks.


Ned Stark is imprisoned. The Lannisters capture Sansa and slaughter the rest of the Stark household. Arya escapes after Syrio holds off the Lannister men. She stabs a stable boy who is trying to detain her for the Queen. Cersei convinces Sansa that to save her father’s life, she must write a letter to her brother Robb imploring him to come to King’s Landing and swear fealty to Joffrey. Joffrey rewards Janos Slynt, the Captain of the City Watch, with a lordship while Tywin Lannister is named the new Hand of the King. Joffrey also relieves Ser Barristan Selmy as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and gives his post to Jaime Lannister. Selmy throws his sword at Joffrey’s feet and storms out in disgust. Sansa takes the opportunity to publicly plead for her father’s life, and Joffrey agrees to show mercy if Ned will confess to treason and accept him as the rightful king.

After receiving his sister’s letter, Robb to call his family’s bannermen to war against the Lannisters. Robb and his army march South and are later joined by his mother Catelyn, who has left the Vale.


Jon, Sam, and their party return to the Wall after finding two frozen corpses. Lord Commander Mormont recognizes them as Benjen Stark’s fellow rangers and orders their bodies examined. Mormont informs Jon about events in the south and warns him to keep his commitment to the Night’s Watch. Jon loses his temper after Ser Alliser Thorne mocks Eddard Stark’s treason. Enraged, Jon charges at Thorne with a knife but is held back by his companions and confined to his quarters by Mormont. Later that night, Jon’s direwolf Ghost behaves strangely, prompting Jon to investigate Mormont’s quarters. As Jon enters, he is attacked by one of the dead rangers, returned to life as a wight. As Mormont enters, Jon throws a lantern at the wight, setting the wight ablaze and finally destroying it.

The Dothraki sack a village in order to gather funds for the ships they need to invade the Seven Kingdoms. Dany orders the women not to be raped. Mago, the leading raider, challenges the Khal to a duel, in which he is swiftly killed by Drogo. Daenerys worries about a cut Drogo received in the fight, and the Khal reluctantly allows one of the spared villagers, a healer by the name of Mirri Maz Duur, to treat his wounds.


My take: Syrio shows exactly how much of a badass he is by taking out four men with a wooden sword before sacrificing himself to let Arya escape. Varys essentially places the blame for Robert’s death squarely on Ned’s shoulders. Drogo is so badass that he fights and kills Mago unarmed.

Changes from the books: In the book Sansa has already gone to Cersei to inform her that the Starks are leaving, and she is escorted to the tower before the massacre happens, while in the series she us told to lock herself in her room. In the book, Tyrion tells Bronn about his first wife, a scene that happens later in the series. In the books, Drogo was injured in a battle with another Khal. The duel was added to show off Drogo’s fighting prowess.

Nudity: Hodor’s huge penis

Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, the Eyrie, Winterfell, the Wall, Vaes Dothrak

Death count: A stable boy killed by Arya with Needle. Mago, killed by Drogo. Syrio, presumably killed by Meryn Trount. Several members of the Stark household- at least seven shown. Two members of the Night’s Watch found dead who later turn into wights.


Quotes: Shaggar: How would you like to die, Tyrion, son of Tywin?

Tyrion: In my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine and a girls mouth around my cock.

Syrio Forel: What do we say to the god of death?

Arya Stark: Not today.

Greatjon: Your meat?… Is bloody tough.