“Game of Thrones”: Baelor

By Scott Kayser

“The war is far from over.” These were the words of Robb Stark, even after a victory of sorts against the Lannisters. And very fitting words they were, more so than Robb knew at the time. With his father to live up to, Robb is proving to be an extremely worthy leader. Robb seems willing to do most anything to win the war, including agreeing to the marriage of an ugly Frey girl. Just one of the terms for Robb to secure passage across the Trident. In a smart strategy to distract the Lannisters, albeit at the cost of 2,000 Stark men, Robb with the other leaders of the Stark army were able to capture Jaime Lannister himself. A very satisfying moment by any means, although my joy at Jaime’s capture was long lived.

Although I’ve always been a fan of stories that don’t end happy and clichéd, Game of Thrones pulled a low blow at the end of this week’s episode. Putting his honor aside, Stark plead guilty to his crimes to the King and Queen. A difficult admission to the people who had held him captive, killed his men, and crippled his son. Yet the King didn’t follow through on his promise to release Stark to the Night’s Watch where he could live in exile and instead ordered his beheading. The death of Lord Eddard Stark was hard to watch, especially at the orders of King Joffrey. In fact, I could barely believe it was happening. I kept waiting for someone to reach the King with news of Jaime’s capture or some sort of miracle to prevent Stark’s death. And it didn’t come. Stark has been one of my favorite characters to watch and my grief at his loss is enormous. Just as it was tough for me to watch, both Sansa and Arya were present at their father’s death, both fighting, desperate to stop the execution. I’ll note that even the Queen was upset with Joffrey’s decision. I didn’t think it was possible for my hatred for that boy to increase but it has reached all new heights. I’m curious to see the reactions to Stark’s death in next week’s episode as we didn’t have any time to evaluate them at the end of the episode. Surely, the family centric Starks will be hit hard by this.

I have a feeling that Jon will take his father’s death extremely hard. Still stuck up at the Wall, Jon Snow received recognition for his rescue of Commander Mormont from the zombie in the form of Mormont’s family sword, Long Claw. I didn’t put it together til now but Commander Mormont is in fact Ser Jorah’s father, which means Long Claw originally belonged to him.  I’m glad to see Jon fitting in at the Wall and creating a family of sorts with his comrades. Yet upon learning that his brother had gone to war to get his father and sisters back, Jon became restless, anxious for his family and desperate to help them. In a conversation with Master Eamon, Jon contemplated the decision between his duty at the Wall and the love of his family. This test of his honor wasn’t easy and when claiming no one knew his struggle, we were treated to the reveal that Master Eamon was in fact, Eamon Targaryen. The story of his struggles when his entire family was murdered was tough. We shall see what Jon decides to choose for himself, especially since he wasn’t seen for the rest of the episode.

If you’ve been following my reviews, you probably know that I’m very curious as to the role magic plays in the Westeros. This week we got to see that magic can be harnessed by people through spells. After succumbing to the infection of his wound from last week’s episode, Khal Drogo was knocking on death’s door. Fearful for the life of her husband and fearful of losing everything she has gained through her marriage, Daenerys ordered that the gypsy she saved use her spell to save Khal’s life. In a brutal sacrifice, a horse was slaughtered over Khal and the spell was began. The sounds coming from the tent and the warnings of the gypsy have me terrified of what will become of the Khal as a result of the spell. And in a fight between Jorah and a Dothraki man, Daenerys fell and went into labor. She was brought into the tent for the gypsy to deliver the baby. I’m afraid for what will become of the baby as it comes into the world as these seemingly evil spells are being performed around it. I really don’t know what to expect for the fate of Drogo, but I’m fairly certain Daenerys will be forced to leave the Dothraki if he doesn’t survive.

One highlight of the episode for me was the drinking game between Tyrion, Bronn, and his new prostitute. During this game, we learned of a tragic story in which Tyrion was tricked into marrying a whore and being forced to watch his father’s guards have their way with her. An incredibly tragic story that leads me to believe Tyrion’s loyalty to the Lannisters won’t always stand strong, as his father and brother have treated him so poorly. I’m also really enjoying the ‘friendship’ forming between Tyrion and Bronn. The way they interact is quite comical.

While it was sad to see Ned Stark go, I’m sure this will provide a catalyst for further conflict and showdowns, not necessarily in next week’s finale but certainly in the next season. This week’s episode, “Baelor,” was definitely one of the best episodes yet. Solid action, some great reveals, and great plot development. There was little I can find wrong with this episode, even if this episode came at the cost of Ned Stark.

Grade: A

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