Game of Thrones – Episode 7

Title: Game of Thrones

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Watched: Episode 7 – May 22, 2011

Status: First Season now airing on HBO

Summary: The pivot of action and consequence

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Episode 7,  “You Win or You Die.” In a lot of ways, this episode is the biggest pivot of events in the maelstrom of plot shifts. While Game of Thrones took it’s time setting up the characters in the first four episodes, 5-7 are a whirlwind of motion. Consequences are the theme.

Because this episode is only on hbogo (for a week) and their are less summaries on the web, I’ll cover the scenes in more detail than usual. So spoiler alert (for this episode).

We open with Jamie and his father Tywin in a military camp, Lord Lannister. The excellent casting continues. They have a lengthy discussion while Lord T butchers a stag. This show uses the repeated device of putting explanatory dialogue on top of certain background but intense actions, like sex in a brothel, or Renly’s shaving. Here the butcher’s work is displayed in considerable detail, adding a nasty factor to the whole scene. We also observe just a bit of what Jaime has to deal with in his home life, and why doing the right thing hardly comes naturally to a Lannister. Oh, and the irony of Lord Tywin skinning a stag… sigil of house Baratheon, is not lost.

Next, one of the most important scenes in the book (and the series). Ned confronts Cersei in the garden, letting her know that he knows about the illegitimacy of her children. He gives her a chance to flee. Of course, he underestimates her, one should never corner a lion. All along, Ned’s honor, his need to do the RIGHT thing by a strict definition of the rules, rather than a flexible political definition, proves to be his achilles heel. This act of honorable mercy, in tipping his hand, more than anything else sets the entire war (which Robert predicted was coming) in motion.

Then we cut to Littlefinger in his whorehouse, training a newly arrived Ros and some other vixen. This earns the episode its nudity in spades. It’s also the same basic mechanic as used with the stag. Still this dialogue, where he slightly unnaturally confesses some of his youthful lessons in life to the whores, reveals a bit more of his complex character. This scene is new to the show, as the information contained here is revealed in Cat’s memory in the book.

We have more Theon exposition back at Winterfell as he attempts to tease Osha and is instead mocked. They are going to very considerable lengths to detail Theon’s background in this season, whereas in the books he barely has a role until Book 2. Osha seems too pretty to me, not hard enough looking.

Then we have Sam and Jon on the wall, where they see an riderless horse returning. They go down to find it’s uncle Benjen’s. Uh oh.

Back to King’s Landing where Renly rushes in to tell Ned that Robert’s been hurt hunting. We then see the injured king and Joff (hiss), and Ned and crew enter. The king shows off his nasty wound, and drives everyone but Ned out. He then writes a letter up making Ned Lord Protector and Reagent, and regrets his decision to have Dany killed (another decision that will have consequences!). When Ned steps out, Lord Varys (his performance is delicious) throws the blame Lancel’s way. Barristen the Bold is here too, and his character has been built up decently — although he’s the only member of the Kingsguard that is, other than Jaime.

Then across the sea, Dany and Drogo are chatting in Dothraki. Boy has their relationship changed. She’s playful and comfortable with him. But he does indicate that he thinks thrones are for sissies. And this from a man wearing way too much eye liner?!? Then Dany goes shopping at the crazy pseudo-middle-eastern bazaar. Some talk with Jormont, and he goes off to pickup his spy message from Varys’ agent — proving what we already knew, that he’s a double agent. Dany meets up with a wine seller from Westeros, and he offers to give her a special gift. But Jormont really is a double agent because he’s suspicious, and saves Dany from being poisoned. This scene has a slightly cheesy feel, as this is a whacky way to assassinate someone, as it depended on the coincidence of Dany stopping by for a drink.

Back to castle Black, where Jon and crew get a speech from the Lord Commander — again, where’s his bird? I loved the bird, and it wouldn’t have added any screen time to keep him. Save with the wolves. This bugs me considerably as in the books each of the boys at least has a completely integral relationship with their wolf, and the beasts are barely shown. In any case, Jon get appointed a steward rather than a ranger. He’s pissed. But Sam sees it for what it is, as he is to assist the Lord Commander directly. Sam is very well cast, and he’s likable, funny, and believably lousy as a solider.

Then back to King’s Landing where Renly is the first to attempt to convince Ned that practicality is more important than honor. If Joff is out of the succession, then that makes Stannis, the older brother of Renly and Robert, but not shown, the king. No one likes him. He has, as Loras said in Episode 5, “the personality of a lobster.” But Ned and his honor are on a unstoppable train. Renly presents detour #1, favor him as king.

But Ned sends a message to Stannis. Then enter Littlefinger to present door #2, make peace with the Lannisters and rule the kingdom as Joff’s Reagent — and Littlefinger’s assistance. Really, this is a pretty attractive looking door, and Littlefinger sells it so well. But alas.

Jon and Sam swear before the old gods. But first we see Ghost for about two seconds, and he’s cute, but where’s he been? The tree itself, with its bleeding eyed face is cool. The words of the oath suitable bleak. Loved it. The man hugs at the end were a bit cheesy though.

Dany and Jormont talk about the failed assassin’s unpleasant fate and Drogo enters.  He is another consequence, as Drogo swears before his gods and the stars to cross the narrow sea and give his bride her father’s throne back. Nicely done, and the Dothraki oath swearing was awesome. Lesson: if you attempt to kill your rival queen, don’t fail.

Then Ned is told of Robert’s death, and he plans with Littlefinger to get the guards anyway so that when he confronts the queen, he has some muscle. They then proceed into the throne room for a nice confrontation, which plays out very nicely. More consequences come back to haunt everyone as the straightforward and honorable Ned is out maneuvered again — caught in the snare of his own honor. Leaving us on a pretty serious cliffhanger. Joff is such a twat, I can’t wait for his wedding.

Absent this week: Tyrion, Cat, Bran, Arya, Sansa. The Lord Commander’s bird and all the direwolves except for two seconds of Ghost.

Overall the episode is great, packed with action and consequences again. We again have four out of the five threads (and really mostly the three: Dany, King’s Landing, and Jon). The note taking distracted me a little, I need to sit down and watch it again without all that.

Reviews of previous episodes: [ Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3Episode 4Episode 5, Episode 6 ]

and of Episode 8, 9 or 10.

Or my review of A Dance With Dragons.

Or find out about my own fantasy novel, The Darkening Dream.

17 comments on “Game of Thrones – Episode 7

  1. […] The next episode, 7 is available a week early on hbogo! So my review here. […]

    • nathan says:

      Yep, I knew that one day old Ned Starks unyielding honor will get him killed. Kings Landing is nothing but a pit of dishonorable snakes. He should have known that. He had so many chances but his honor got in the way of his judgement. He should have never told Cersi that he knows the truth. That probably gave her time to have the King Killed before he returns from the hunt. As soon as he found the truth out he should have sent for the king at once to tell him. Then when the King lay Dying, when his brother Renly appoaches Ned and offers to combine his forces with Ned and Strike the Lannisters before its too late. His honor gets in the way again and refuses to “drag children from their beds in the middle of the night” and also because he feels that Stannis is the rightful Heir. at this point Ned has only two choices: Support Joffrey or get the Hell out of Kingslanding because Littlefinger and everyone else is on the side of the Lannisters. He, ofcourse does neither and it turns out his Honor has cost him dearly

  2. […] For my reviews of other episodes by number: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] […]

  3. NSBZero says:

    “This scene has a slightly cheesy feel, as this is a whacky way to assassinate someone, as it depended on the coincidence of Dany stopping buy for a drink.”

    The plan WAS thought up by King Robert, though, so using alcohol as bait for a monarch probably seemed like a foolproof plan.

  4. Neumannium says:

    Who is Gof? Do you mean Joffrey (Joff)?

  5. h_e_n_r_y says:

    This is my first time around here, so I’d like to thank you for this and all the other excellent episode reviews. Yours was the only review I found for Episode 7, and I’m extremely glad I did. Otherwise, it would have been unfairly lost in the 100s of other GoT ‘Reviews.’

    Also, Thank You 1 million times for giving the world Crash Bandicoot.

  6. nathan says:

    Yep, I knew that one day old Ned Starks unyielding honor will get him killed. Kings Landing is nothing but a pit of dishonorable snakes. He should have known that. He had so many chances but his honor got in the way of his judgement. He should have never told Cersi that he knows the truth. That probably gave her time to have the King Killed before he returns from the hunt. As soon as he found the truth out he should have sent for the king at once to tell him. Then when the King lay Dying, when his brother Renly appoaches Ned and offers to combine his forces with Ned and Strike the Lannisters before its too late. His honor gets in the way again and refuses to “drag children from their beds in the middle of the night.” at this point Ned has only two choices: Support Joffrey or get the Hell out of Kingslanding because Littlefinger and everyone else is on the side of the Lannisters. He ofcourse does neither and it turns out his Honor has cost him dearly

  7. […] Reviews of previous episodes: [ Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7 ] […]

  8. […] of previous episodes: [ Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode […]

  9. […] of previous episodes: [ Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode […]

  10. […] [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10] […]

  11. […] [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10] […]

  12. […] [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10] […]

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