Game of Thrones – Episode 1.9 “Baelor”

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Synopsis: Varys visits Ned in the dungeon, recounting how Sansa pleaded for his life and Robb going to war. He pleads with Ned to bend the knee to Joffrey to save the kingdom from war. Catelyn meets with Walder Frey to bargain with him to let Robb’s men through Frey’s gates. The elder Mormont gives Jon his family sword, made with Valyrian steel, as thanks for saving his life. Mormont says he sent Thorne to King’s Landing to share the news of the white walkers and the show him the hand they found. Catelyn rejoins Robb and tells him Frey’s demands to support them, which include Robb marrying one of Frey’s many daughters. Robb agrees. Maester Aemon reveals he is a Targaryen to Jon. Drogo’s injuries worsen. The other Dothraki blame the witch and want to kill her but Dany won’t hear of it. A very pregnant Dany promises the witch freedom if she can save Drogo. The witch says only life can save a life and calls for Drogo’s horse. Tywin tells Tyrion that he is to fight alongside the Stone Crows on the front line. Tyrion is less than enthused. In his tent, Tyrion meets Shae, a whore. Tyrion, Bronn and Shae bond over a game of I Never and later, Shae and Tyrion spend the night together.

Jorah fights off one of the Dothraki men as he pushes Dany to the ground. After Mormont the lesser kills the man, he takes a bloody Dany to the witch, interrupting her ritual, so she can help deliver the baby that is now coming. As war begins, Tyrion gives a rousing speech and marches in to battle, where he is immediately knocked unconscious and trampled. Tyrion awakens to learn they won the battle, but only against two-thousand of Robb’s men. Where are the others, Tyrion asks? Robb returns to Catelyn with Jaime as his prisoner, where he was with the rest of the men. Arya walks through the city and sees that there’s a doins transpiring and she follows the crowd to the Sept of Baelor where Joffrey appears before the kingdom with Ned. Ned spies Arya and gives word to Yoren as he passes by. Ned confesses to treason, offers support for the new king and takes a knee. But Joffrey isn’t merciful, and calls for Ned’s head against Sansa’s and Cersei’s screams, a sentence which is quickly delivered. Yoren reaches Arya in time to shield her from the scene as Ser Ilyn draws his blade.

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Comments: Before the budgets for the show broke the bank, a lot of the war scenes took place off screen. It works well here, with Robb’s ruse to capture Jaime and Tyrion’s ineptitude used for comedic effect. Sansa’s long road to maturity begins now as all her wide-eyed optimism and faith and belief in the realm is lost in one fell swoop. The sheer shock of the final moments, that the show could actually go through with it, was crazy. Ned was our main protagonist, our hero, our leader, and we believed there would always be a way out for him. With his death, the show told the audience that no one was safe, no one will ever be safe, and if you think you know what the show is about, you don’t. I wish more attention was paid to Cersei’s position. She clearly has no love for Ned but is smart enough to know that his death makes Jaime’s survival questionable at best. 

Memorable Moments: Obviously watching that sword come down . Also, the way it played out The show clearly has no trouble with violence but opted to show Arya’s view of the birds instead as she looked away. Walder Frey in just one quick scene really showed a fully-formed character.

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Quotes:
Aemon: Love is the death of duty.

Tyrion: Surely there are ways to have me killed that would be less detrimental to the war effort.

Tyrion: I was born lucky.

 Joffrey: Bring me his head!

Foreshadowing: Walder Frey’s umbrage at the Stark’s treatment of him and his insistence on Robb marrying one of his daughters is a plot thread that will untangle in an even more hopeless episode to come.

Title: The Sept of Baelor is where Ned loses his head, but it’s also specifically the statue where Arya is and where Ned sends Yoren.

 Deaths: Ned, beheaded on Joffrey’s orders. Qotho, the Dothraki killed by Jorah.

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