“Game of Thrones” kicked off its second season with bloodshed, power struggles and struggles with power already obtained.
With the death of King Robert Baratheon, everyone and his brother was trying to claim the right to the Iron Throne. The premiere caught us up on almost every major player who is vying to be king, as well as a handful of new characters. Here’s the rundown.
In King’s Landing:
The episode opened on the world’s most terrible human, Joffrey Baratheon, celebrating his Name Day by being awful and trying to drown some poor guy by pouring wine down his throat.
At his side: the suffering Sansa Stark, who was doing her best to act loyal to her fiance/captor and not vomit at the very sight of him.
Tyrion Lannister, played by the now top-billed Peter Dinklage, enters, arrived in King’s Landing to serve as hand to the king in the stead of his father, who is fighting a war against Robb Stark. The position was last filled by poor Eddard Stark, who lost his head at the end of Season 1.
Tyrion then went on to inform his sister Queen Regent Cersei of his new position. Cersei, Joffrey’s mother, was holding a meeting with the Small Council to discuss the upcoming winter, a possible wheat shortage and a refugee issue. (Her solution? Shut the gates: “They belong in the field.” Heart of gold, this one!)
The Lannister siblings discussed a way to get back their brother Jaime, who has been taken prisoner by Robb Stark.
“You love your children. It’s your one redeeming quality — besides your cheekbones,” Tyrion told his sister before pointing out that the Stark girls are good bargaining chips in the war (a war that, P.S., they are losing.) But alas! They only have one Stark as Arya Stark is missing, having chopped off her hair to look like a boy and run off to join the Night’s Watch.
Later in the city, Cersei ran into Lord “Littlefinger” Baelish and tasked him with finding Arya. (Besides being her brother, Jaime is Cersei’s lover. So she’s a tad anxious to get him back.) Baelish decided this was a fine time to reveal a rumor he’s been hearing: That Joffrey is her son with Jaime, not with her late husband Robert. “Knowledge is power,” he taunts.
*Buzz* Sorry, wrong answer. The correct response, as Cersei quickly demonstrated, is “power is power,” as she ordered her guards to cut Baelish’s throat. She ultimately let him go.
The lesson here: Don’t mess with Cersei — unless you have some strong men close by.
Or unless you’re King Joffrey, who informed his mother that he too has heard the incest rumor. He taunted her by asking about Robert’s infidelity, positing that it happened when his father grew tired of his mother. Cersei gave her brat a completely deserved smack on the face.
But of course, he’s the king and he threatened to kill her if she hits him again. Mothers, don’t let your babies grow up to be jerky kings.
Who has been spreading the rumor that Joffrey is a product of twincest? That would be Stannis Baratheon, the brother of the late king Robert, who sent the news to “every corner of the realm.” (Stannis learned the truth from Ned Stark last season.) He’s made his own claim to the throne with the help of Melisandre, a priestess with fiery red hair and a dress to match. “The night is dark and full of terrors,” she chanted. She’s definitely one of those terrors.
Robb Stark told his prisoner, Jaime, that he too has received the incest news. Robb also let Jaime know that he’s aware Jaime pushed Bran out of a window when he saw the Lannister twins
making out getting busy.
“Three victories doesn’t make you a conqueror,” Jaime told Robb, attempting to gain the upper hand while simultaneously chained to a pole. “It’s better than three defeats,” Robb replied.
Back in King’s Landing:
The episode’s final scene merits its own section as it was one of the most horrific moments in the show’s brief history: Yes, I’m talking about the infanticide.
Spooked by the “rumor” (read: fact) that he’s the product of incest, Joffrey ordered all of his father’s illegitimate children killed. From the teens to the babies, the City Watch murdered, stabbed and drowned Robert’s bastard babes.
They could not, however, locate Gendry, who took off on the back of an ox cart with Arya as a Night’s Watch recruit.
What everyone else was up to...
Bran Stark ... was holding down Winterfell, listening to complaints from those not fighting with Robb Stark and having ominous dreams about direwolves.
Daenerys Targaryen ... was leading her starving people and dragons through a desert. Her advisor Ser Jorah Mormont (whom “Downton Abbey” viewers may recognize as the prickly Sir Richard) was trying to keep her spirits up, but things looked pretty grim.
Jon Snow was... traveling with his brothers of the Night’s Watch to search for his uncle Benjen and figure out what’s going on north of the wall. They met Craster, a creepy loner who married his daughters so he could have more daughters. “What happened to the boys?” Jon ominously asked, guaranteeing we’ll get an answer and it will probably be horrifying.
Besides giving everyone the willies, Craster told the guys that Mance Rayder, a Night’s Watch deserter, is gathering an army to lay claim to the Iron Throne. Just what this show needs — another man who wants to be king.
What did you think of the season premiere? Discuss it in the comments. If possible, please refrain from talking about anything from the books that hasn’t been addressed on the show, for spoiler reasons.