Synopsis: Chaos erupts in the Red Keep as Arya trains with Syrio. When Meryn Trant and his men come for her Syrio holds them off as Arya escapes. The Hound comes for Sansa. Arya grabs needle but accidentally kills a stable boy as she runs. In the dungeon, Varys visits Ned. At Castle Black, the Nightswatch learn of the death of King Robert, as the threat of the white walkers becomes more ominous. Cersei forces Sansa to write a letter to Robb and Catelyn to swear fealty to King Joffrey. The letter reaches Robb, but rather than fealty, he decides to mobilize his troops against the new king. Catelyn asks her sister to support them in the coming war but Lysa will not send her knights.
As Tyrion and Bronn venture back home, they are attacked by the Stone Crows, a band of thugs. Tyrion talks his way out of murder by promising them gold when they reach Tywin and his men. Thorne taunts Jon and he attacks him. Mormont confines him to quarters. While there, Ghost flips out and Jon chases him to the master’s chambers where a recently dead man is a lot more spry and trying to kill the lord commander. Jon slices him up but it isn’t until Jon sets the assailant aflame that he felled. Dany has trouble with the Dothraki’s way of raping as they pillage, and when Drogo supports her, he comes under fire from Mago for being weak. Drogo and Mago’s fight ends with Drogo wounded, but literally holding Mago’s tongue. Dany calls on one of the women she just saved, a witch, to heal Drogo. As Robb rallies his troops, he is challenged by Greatjon, who loses a couple fingers to Grey Wind before showing support. Robb says goodbye to Bran and tells him he’s master of Winterfell now. Samwell shares what he’s learned about the white walkers, and prays the wall is high enough to keep them away. Catelyn meets up with Robb, Theon and the troops at their encampment, as they make plans to face Tywin’s army. Tyrion and Bronn and their captors meet up with Tywin’s camp. Tyrion learns of Robert’s death, and the reign of Joffrey. Robb catches a Lannister spy but sets him free letting him live if he tells Tywin that his twenty-thousand troops are coming for him. Holding court, Joffrey forces retirement to Barrstan Selmy, who drops his armor and sword before storming out. Before King Joffrey, Sansa pleads for mercy for her father. Joffrey says he will be merciful if Ned bows before his king.
Comments: First episode written by series author and mastermind George R. R. Martin. A lot of movement here with Tyrion joining Tywin’s camp, and Catelyn joining Robb. Robb is growing into his role as leader. Nice to see a little face time for Grey Wind and Ghost. For those that hadn’t read the books, the episode ends on a hopeful note as there is a pathway for Ned to survive. Greatjon’s about face with Robb is great both in the first moment and later on when his support brings others on board. Joffrey as king is both fascinating and frustrating, as its clearly not uncommon for unqualified, petulant, violent manboys to be heads of state. He clearly slides into the role of most-hated character and lets the audience focus their attention on his comeuppance and removal.
Memorable Moments: Greatjon’s challenge and change of heart with Robb. Arya’s escape and ability to land on her feet is a good omen.
Tyrion (when asked how he would like to die): In my own bed at the age of eighty, with a belly full of wine and a girl’s mouth around my cock.
Robb: Tell Lord Tywin, winter is coming for him. Twenty thousand northerners marching South to find out if he really does shit gold.
Tyrion: If the day ever comes when you’re tempted to sell me out, remember this: whatever the price, I’ll beat it. I like living.
Foreshadowing: Jon doesn’t seem affected when he grabs the lantern. Perhaps a hint at his true heritage. Osha predicts bad things for Robb if he goes south. She might have something there. Sam’s comment about the wall being high enough is a hint to the season 7 finale’s final moment.
Title: Spoken by Jon Snow back in episode 2, in reference to which end of the knife goes in the enemy.
Deaths: Vayon Poole, skewered with a spear. Syrio likely, though off-screen. Also off-screen is Septa Mordane, as revealed later. Mago, as Drogo rips his tongue from his throat.