Game of Thrones 1.07: You Win or You Die


Episode 7 starts off with another major character (wow, it’s not until you break it down into episodes that one realizes just how frequently characters are introduced in this series). Tywin Lannister appears straight off the bat and…he looks nothing like how I pictured him. This is particularly noteworthy because while reading the novels, I seem to recall seeing a social media post that Tywin looked exactly like how someone had pictured him in the books. I always pictured him as having a large amount of bright yellow hair and a big bushy mustache. I wish I could tell exactly what Tywin was butchering in this scene; I’d like it to have some sort of symbolic significance, and indeed it very well could be a stag, if only we could see more of it.

This episode, though, is pretty much about Ned. Dany has just had a major episode and has a bit of a filler episode (though I don’t really feel any of this is filler; it seems when discussing TV shows this has been a common way of describing character development episodes in arcs that don’t have true filler). Ned confronts Cersei with the information he discovered last episode, because he has proven by now that he is an utter fool. I kind of empathize with Ned; years ago I might have been trusting enough to think that Cersei had any kind of honor. At the pace of the TV show, with Littlefinger constantly reminding Ned how he should not be trusting people and how many things are stacked against him, telling Cersei what he knows while Robert is not in the room feels like a suicidal move.

One thing that strikes my curiosity here: when Cersei says the name “Lyanna” we quickly cut to Ned’s reaction, knowing he will feel sorry for a woman whose husband never truly loved her. We’ve heard of actors and directors in the past being told secrets about plots for the future, and indeed not long ago it made news that Alan Rickman was told early on about the plot twist involving his character. Is it possible that Sean Bean knew the identity of Jon Snow’s mother from the word “Go”? It very well may be.

This is pretty much the plot of the remainder of the episode. King Robert’s death focuses on it, as he tells Ned to write about “my son Joffrey” and instead Ned writes “my rightful heir”. The question of whether Joffrey, Stannis, or Renly should be the new king is brought up several times, and by several parties. This ends with Lannister and Stark forces – those loyal to the Queen and those loyal to the Hand, with feelings about the crown itself mixed between both – at one another’s throats, with Littlefinger as the one to finally capture Ned.

Speaking of Littlefinger, this is where we truly start to see the influence of Roz. Her subplot was added specifically for the show, and while she started off as a way to add characterization to Theon Greyjoy, here she exists primarily to further Littlefinger’s plot. In this case, she gives him someone to rant his backstory to, which makes his actions at the end particularly noteworthy.

When I first experienced this scene, I assumed that Littlefinger was acting for pretty simple reasons. Cersei had the upper hand, and even if Stark won this fight, his supporters wouldn’t last long. Hence, it would be simple self-preservation to take the side of the Lannisters over Ned Stark. Taking a more holistic view of his story, though – particularly in the light of the story about Cat and Ned’s older brother (though neither are named in the rant) – one starts to wonder if instead, Petyr is simply doing his best to rid himself of a competitor, in order to best get himself into Caitlyn’s bed.

From here, there are some small bits to discuss about Daenerys’s plot. Jorah receives his pardon (presumably for aiding in the assassination of Dany) and immediately prevents the khaleesi’s assassination. It wasn’t long ago that Viserys talked about “the way you look at my sister”, so it’s pretty clear what Mormont’s motives are here. Still, it’s a small scene in the grand scheme of things. What may be potentially larger is the look on Dany’s face after she realizes what a terrible thing convincing Drogo to capture the Iron Throne for her truly was, when he talks about how he “will rape their women and enslave their children”. Dany wants to rule, but ruling anything other than a mobile army is not something that exists in Drogo’s culture.

What do you think?

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