Game of Thrones S1E10 “Fire and Blood”
It’s become commonplace in television for the big event of a season to occur in the penultimate episode and use the season finale to show you character’s reactions to this big event and set up further plot lines for the following season. “Fire and Blood” does not stray Game of Thrones off the beaten path as the aftermath of Lord Eddard Stark’s death takes center stage. That’s not to say, however, that there is not drastic aftermath involved because there is plenty of that in “Fire and Blood”. Tyrion and Robb both find themselves sailing into new waters, Jon makes a final decision on his self-conflict between honor and family, and Dany loses an old hope while gaining a new one as we wrap up this first season of Game of Thrones.
Before we get into any of that, it’s only fitting that we start where we left off in “Baelor”, King’s Landing. Joffrey is back to doing Joffrey things, making a bard pick between losing his hands and his tongue (that’s an interesting would you rather). After he’s had his fun there, he calls on Sansa to follow him as he has something to show her. Unfortunately for Sansa, it’s not a very pretty sight. Joffrey orders her to look at Ned’s head on its spike and obviously the whole affair is mortifying for Sansa. Sansa is still devastated that Joffrey broke his promise to her of showing mercy to her father but in Joffrey’s mind, he did no wrong, a clean death was mercy. Sansa’s done with Joffrey and when he insists that her brother Robb’s head will be next on the list, she retorts that perhaps Robb will bring her Joffrey’s head instead. Joffrey orders Ser Meryn to beat her for this comment. After this, Sansa visibly contemplates pushing Joffrey off the bridge they’re on which seems to have the architectural oversight of not having any guard rails. Before she can act, Sandor stops her and cleans her face of the blood from Ser Meryn’s hit. Sandor tells her to do what Joffrey asks of her for her own safety. For poor Sansa, whatever that turns out to be, it isn’t going to be nice. It was hard to root for her early on, but at this point you just have to feel sorry for her, being in effect a prisoner of Joffrey and the Lannisters is a cruel fate.
Last we checked in on Sansa’s sister Arya, Yoren had saved her from having to personally see her father get beheaded. Yoren plans on bringing her north with his other Night’s Watch recruits and dropping her back off at Winterfell on the way up, but with the Lannisters still looking for her, that’s going to involve some disguise work. Yoren cuts her hair and tells her to pretend she’s a boy and go by the name Arry. It’s a long way from King’s Landing to Winterfell and it doesn’t help that she’s going to be sharing the road with some bullies. She stands up to these bullies with the attitude that we all know she has and someone else finishes the job of scaring them away, Robert’s bastard Gendry, back from “Cripples Bastards and Broken Things” sticks up for Arya. If she sticks around Gendry, the trek up will probably be a little bit easier.
The Riverlands continues to be home of both the Stark and Lannister camp and this is where he head next, starting with Stark. Cat and Robb are obviously both in grief at the shocking loss of Ned but there isn’t too much time to feel sorry about themselves because a certain truth that Ned found out has gone public. With the knowledge that Joffrey and his siblings are bastards now being known, both of Robert’s brothers have declared their intent to take the Iron Throne. As Robb and his men decide whether they should pledge to and join causes with Renly or Stannis, an alternative option comes to the forefront. Why not declare northern independence and make Robb King in the North? The north was its own kingdom in the past and only became part of the Seven Kingdoms at the threat of dragons burning the north to the ground. With the dragons gone, and an ally king in Robert dead, why not go back to independence? This is exactly what they do as the northern lords declare Robb King in the North. A mission to save Ned Stark, has become a full blown revolution as the mission for Robb now becomes saving his sisters and getting Joffrey to acknowledge The North as its own country. What a turn of events.
Over at the Lannister camp, the discussion is much different. The Starks are convincingly winning the war at this point and even level headed Tywin is enraged at the fact that the Starks have Jaime. Suing for peace is suggested but Tyrion wisely points out that they lost all chances of suing for peace by chopping off Ned’s head. Tywin acknowledges this and decides that they’re in for a whole lot more fighting. Tywin decides to regroup with the rest of his force over at Harrenhall (an absolute albatross of a castle that will be seen in season two), for Tyrion though, Tywin has a different task in mind. Remember now that Tywin is the hand of the king but it’s quite difficult to do hand of the king duties while you’re at war. Tywin sends Tyrion to King’s Landing to serve as acting hand of the king in his absence. In a rare positive exchange between father and son, Tywin admits that Tyrion is his best child when it comes to politicking and grants Tyrion free reign to make sure the members of the small council, Joffrey, and even Cersei don’t do anything stupid again. It’s kind of sad that these two don’t get along very well because Tyrion is the kind of kid that Tywin always wanted, a politically able son who can bring glory to House Lannister, not a glorified bodyguard like Jaime or an outright crazy person like Cersei. In any case, it should be fun to watch Tyrion run things in King’s Landing next season. I am very much looking forward to that.
Up at the wall, Jon finally makes his decision in the battle of honor vs family. Honor comes out on top but it was certainly an interesting road to get there. It actually appeared that Jon was going to go the family route. After hearing of his father’s death, Jon decides to head south to meet up with Robb and join the cause, much to Sam’s dismay. Sam rounds up the rest of the crew and chases after Jon. After Sam gets hit full speed by a low hanging branch (is anyone really surprised he was too slow to duck?), Jon decides to go check on his friend. Sam and the rest of bunch convince Jon to come back by reciting their oath again and they all head on back to Castle Black.
Mormont lets Jon in on a little secret the next morning as he’s serving him breakfast. The secret? He knows Jon’s secret. No death penalty for Jon, it turns out that “one day desertions” are pretty common. In fact, Jon’s not even the worst offender in this regard as he didn’t also break his celibacy vow. Most one day desertions are to the brothel in the nearby Mole’s Town. In any case, the important thing is that Jon is back now and he’s back for good. Mormont’s got big news. With all the suspicious news recently with the wildlings leaving their towns, reports of wights and such, Mormont has decided to lead an expedition beyond the wall to get to the bottom of all of this. In what turns out to be quite the riveting speech, Mormont convinces Jon that this something that needs to be done as Mormont, Jon, Sam, and most of the rest of the Night’s Watch walk out of that tunnel and head north. What will they find? Who knows, but it looks like we’ll get much more on the white walker threat in season two with this northern expedition looming for next season.
Lastly, we check in with Dany across the Narrow Sea. Last episode, Jorah brought Dany into Mirri’s tent as she was the only one that would deliver Dany’s son. Dany wakes up and we finally find out what happens here. Dany’s child was a stillborn child, an awful sounding one at that, full of grave worms and made of lizards skin. It turns out that the price of Drogo’s life was not bought with the life of his horse, it was bought with his son’s life. Realizing the price she pays, Dany wants to see what exactly it is that she bought and while it’s tough to be worse than losing your child, Drogo comes pretty close. Mirri has put Drogo in a persistent vegetative state and says he will only return to normal when “the sun rises in the west and sets in the east” among other ridiculous and impossible things. When Dany asks why Mirri would do this after she saved her, Mirri asks what it is Dany saved her from? She had already been brutally raped and her town had been massacred. Dany’s son would have done the same to many more villages in the future so she really did the world a favor.
Dany can’t stand to see her husband live this meaningless life any longer so she smothers Drogo giving him the release of death that she probably should have given him earlier. As Jorah pointed out, the Dothraki only have respect for strength so the majority of the khalasar has already left. Jorah and the small remnants of the once mighty khalasar gather as Dany builds a pyre for her now departed husband. She places her dragon eggs next to Drogo and puts Mirri on the other side of the pyre, sentencing her to death by flames. Dany watches as her husband turns to ashes and Mirri screams in agony and then does something shocking. Dany walks into the pyre and the screen cuts to the following day as Jorah and the remaining Dothraki stare in shock at what has happened. Dany emerges unburnt, proving she was the last dragon and not her brother. And in even more shocking news, her dragon eggs have hatched giving her three baby dragons. Yes her situation looks dire right now, but it’s hard to think about how she, Jorah, and the rest of the khalasar are going to get out of this when three dragons have just come into existence. A powerful image to end the season on and a powerful ending to an incredible season for Dany, who probably had the most character development of anyone in this first season. A lot of this episode may have been aftermath from Ned’s death, but you can’t say it didn’t leave you wanting more.
What may have been the best scene in the episode is one that I actually struggled to fit in with the narrative flow of the review. Cat confronting Jaime and getting some closure there was great to watch. Jaime admits to pushing Bran out the tower window but stops short of telling Cat why he did it so it’s only a half win for Cat. Cat also says that the reason the world is full of indecency and evil is because of men like Jaime. Jaime says that there is only him. Powerful and true words as it seems everyone in this show is at least morally gray.
We lose our fourth starring cast member as Jason Momoa’s Khal Drogo is smothered to death. Poor Drogo, you know he wanted to go out a warrior, not smothered helplessly by a pillow.
There seems to be something to Bran’s dreams as he correctly saw that his father was going to die before it actually happened. Apparently Rickon shares this truth dream thing as well.
Before sending Tyrion to King’s Landing, Tywin explicitly told Tyrion not to bring Shae with him. Tyrion went ahead and ignored that command.
You want to know which son is Tywin’s favorite? Compare his reaction of Tyrion being captured against Jaime being captured.
Grand Maester Pycelle is faking the whole slow weak old man thing. Take that as you may.
Robert’s former squire and Cersei’s cousin Lancel is picking up the slack for Jaime in the bedroom for Cersei. Cersei just needs her incest.
Sean Bean was credited for the episode even though his head on a spike was the only part of him that made an appearance, and it didn’t even really look like him.
Quote of the day comes from Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, or rather speech of the day. I told you that I really liked it. “I will not sit meekly by and wait for the snows. I mean to find out what’s happening. The Night’s Watch will ride in force against the wildlings, the White Walkers, and whatever else is out there. And we will find Benjen Stark, alive or dead. I will command them myself. So I will only ask you once, Lord Snow, are you a brother of the Night’s Watch, or a bastard boy who wants to play at war?”
“Fire and Blood” sees tragic news spread across the Seven Kingdoms as the following reactions provide set up for what should be an exciting second season.
Episode Grade A-
Season Grade A-