Sunday, 25 January 2015

You Win or You Die

Hello everyone,

"You Win or You Die" : this is the title of the seventh episode of the first season of the television series Game of Thrones.

I've started watching this series not so long ago, and this is the last episode I've watched. In this post, I'm just going to write a little summary of what happens in this episode, because it helps me understand it (there are too many characters and too many things happening at the same time !).

Like previous episodes, "You Win or You Die" interweaves action happening in multiple separate locations within and around the Kingdom of Westeros. While the dramatic center of this episode is in the capital of King's Landing, where the title quote is issued, ongoing events at The Wall and Winterfell in the north and with the Dothraki across the Narrow Sea continue, and events at the Lannister army's camp are depicted as well.

At the Lannister camp
Lord Tywin Lannister has a talk with his son Jaime while the former is skinning a stag, symbolic animal of the house Baratheon.
While Tywin chastises Jaime for causing the recent troubles with the Starks, he nevertheless believes this war is the perfect opportunity for the Lannisters to set up a dynasty as the new rulers of the Seven Kingdoms. Tywin gives half of his forces to Jaime to attack Riverrun, an area ruled by House Tully and Lady Catelyn's childhood home, in retaliation for Catelyn's seizure of Tyrion.

At Winterfell
The captured wildling Osha, now a servant of the Starks, is harassed by Theon Greyjoy who warns her that if she had been arrested in his homeland the Iron Islands, she would have suffered a worse fate. As Maester Luwin tells Theon to leave her alone after witnessing Theon's sexual advance on her, he asks Osha why she and other wildlings are coming south from the Wall. She reveals they were fleeing from the White Walkers, who have apparently returned after millennia of slumber and opines that every army in the Seven Kingdoms should be marching north to confront that threat.

At the Wall
Benjen Stark's horse returns from north of the Wall without him, much to the worry of his nephew, Jon Snow. Later, to Jon's disappointment and anger, he is told he has been assigned as a steward to the Lord Commander instead of a ranger, like his uncle. Jon suspects Ser Alliser Thorne's involvement, as revenge for Jon defying him; however, his friend Sam believes that this assignment may mean he is being groomed for command. As Jon and Sam take their vows near a heart tree, Jon's direwolf brings him a dismembered hand.

Across the Narrow Sea
Daenerys Targaryen attempts to convince Khal Drogo to return to her homeland and reclaim the throne of the Seven Kingdoms, but he is not interested.
While Daenerys and her entourage go sightseeing at a market, Ser Jorah Mormont receives a pardon for him to return to the Seven Kingdoms from an informant of Lord Varys. Jorah realizes this means the order to assassinate Daenerys has been officially issued and quickly 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.

At King's Landing
Ned confronts Queen 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. Cersei defends her affair with Jaime, comparing it to the ancient Targaryen practice of wedding brothers to sisters and saying she tried to love Robert, but he refused to love her because he was still in love with Ned's deceased sister, Lyanna. Ned shows Cersei mercy and tells her to leave the capital with her children before he tells Robert the truth.

Unexpectedly, Lord Renly Baratheon 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. Robert signs the will without reading this change in wording and begs Ned to make Joffrey a better man.

Fearing Cersei and the Lannisters will use this time to their advantage, 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 Baratheon, Robert and Renly's brother. Ned writes a letter to Stannis informing him of the situation, dispatching it to Dragonstone, Stannis's island fortress. Ned also reveals to Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish the truth of Joffrey's heritage, to which Littlefinger suggests they allow Joffrey and the Lannisters to take the throne, and if Joffrey proves to be an unfit ruler, they can use the truth to overthrow him and make Renly the king instead. Ned refuses such treason, asking Littlefinger to secure the support of the City Watch to overpower Cersei's men-at-arms if they attempt to seize the throne.

By the time Robert dies, Renly has fled the capital, and Joffrey has already ordered his own coronation within a fortnight. As Ned and his allies enter the throne room, he gives Ser Barristan Selmy Robert's will to read out aloud. Cersei refuses to follow Robert's will and tears it up, ordering Barristan to seize Ned. Ned orders his men to arrest Cersei and Joffrey. As both sides prepare to fight, 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.

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Have a great day :)

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