I Can’t Believe They Actually Did It!
***SPOILER ALERT!!! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN GAME OF THRONES EPISODE 9, “BAELOR”.
In what has to be one of the most shocking episodes yet, Game of Thrones serves up the most upsetting and hit-you-like-a-ton-of-bricks death of the series in episode 9, “Baelor”. With the tableaus in Westeros and beyond a mess and the Iron throne firmly within the evil and conniving grasp of the Lannisters, things are going from bad to worse and it is very clear that no one is safe.
Ned is wasting away in the dungeons of the Red Keep and Varys comes to visit him, once again bearing more water for Ned. He also arrives bearing bad news of Sansa begging for mercy for her father of Joffrey and of the army Robb has gathered in the north. He counsels Ned to confess to treason, tell Robb to cease and desist with his war effort, and here’s the kicker, proclaim Joffrey as the rightful king. And all for the sake of peace. But, and this is no surprise, Ned refuses. He won’t do it to save his own skin, so Varys asks him if he’ll do it for his daughter’s. Well, even if you’re not a parent you know the answer to that.
Greyjoy is shooting down the ravens that are being sent from Walder Frey’s keep even though so far all they are carrying are inane messages of no importance to the realm. Not wanting Robb to put himself in danger, Catelyn decides she will be the one to parley a crossing agreement with Walder since he is known to her family. The obstinate lord is a disgusting old lecher who gripes about his poor treatment at the hands of Catelyn’s family, so we know this is going to cost her.
Lord Commander Mormont gifts Jon Snow with his family’s sword as a thank you for saving his life and rescuing him from the zombie. It is a great honor being that it is a sword handed down from father to son and is made of Valyrian steel. Mormont adds to the gift by putting the head of a wolf, Jon’s family sigil, upon the hilt. But in this show you know that good never comes without the bad and it isn’t long before Samwell tells Jon that Robb has gone south to war. Jon wants to be there with his brother and support the family he left behind, and knowing how strong his love for his family is, we can only wonder when Jon will bail and desert his vows and his brothers of the Watch.
When Catelyn returns she brings news that Walder Frey has granted them crossing — for a price of course. In return for crossing, extra men and holding the Trident against enemies, Robb must take one of Walder’s sons as squire with a knighthood in the offing, Arya must wed Waldon when they are of age, and Robb must wed one of Walder’s daughters. Walder definitely drives a hard bargain, but out off necessity bordering on desperation, Robb agrees. I mean, does he have a choice?
Meanwhile back at the Watch, we’re not the only ones waiting for Jon to desert his post. Blind maester Aemon sends for Jon and they begin to talk of love, family, honor and duty. Jon has little patience for this talk from the elder man until Aemon imparts a huge secret. He is a Targaryen. And not just any Targaryen. He’s the uncle of the Mad King Aerys, and while the Lannisters were busy slaughtering his family, Aemon stayed true to his duty and his vows, making him the perfect candidate to remind Jon of his oath and the choices one must make in life and of sacrifice.
All is not well in the Dothraki kingdom. Even though Drogo is the greatest warrior to ever sit a horse, it seems he will be felled by a scratch. The small wound he got in the fight last week looks like it will be his downfall. As they are riding, Drogo topples from his horse. Dany rushes to him, fierce as ever and protective over her ailing husband. Despite resistance to her commands, Dany orders the horde to make camp so Drogo can be tended. His impending death can only mean trouble for the Silver Lady.
In Tywin’s war camp, the head of the Lannister clan feasts and receives news of Robb’s progress. They don’t seem worried by the young Stark who no one believes can be successful in his campaign against the mighty Lannisters. Tyrion is informed that he will be in the vanguard the next day, and as you can imagine, Tyrion does not receive the news well. Thinking he’ll die on the morrow, Tyrion spends his last night doing what he does best.
Since Drogo’s death is certain, Ser Jorah counsels Dany to flee to safety for the sake of her son. Despite the threat to her life and that of her unborn child, Dany refuses to leave the love of her life. Ever loyal, Ser Jorah stays as well, yet there is nothing he can do when Dany commands the witch/healer to perform a Bloodmagic spell to save Drogo’s life. As with everything in life, there is a price, and desperate to save the life of the man she loves, Dany recklessly agrees no matter what that price may be. The Khal’s horse is brought in and it’s throat is slashed (what is it with the killing of horses in this show?) spraying blood over Dany, and copious amounts of blood all over Khal Drogo. Outrage erupts among the Dothraki and Dany is called a witch and accused of being cursed. While the spell is in progress, no one is enter the Khal’s tent.
Without Drogo to support her, the Khaleesi has no power. Drogo isn’t even dead yet and the jackals are fighting over the crown. The warriors are defying her and Qotho, one of Drogo’s cadre, is about to defy her orders to stay out of the tent. Once again it is an armored Ser Jorah to the rescue. He kills the warrior who defied and injured Dany, but even so, he cannot stop the baby from coming. Because she had been pushed roughly to the ground and landed on her distended belly, Dany has gone into early labor. Ominous growling sounds are coming from the Khal’s tent and you can just imagine the demons swirling around in there. Lifting her into his arms, Ser Jorah approaches Khal Drogo’s tent even though no one is supposed to enter while the witch performs the Bloodmagic.
Tyrion gets a rude awakening and is thrust into battle. Robb Stark and his army is a mile north. Seconds after riling up his barbarians, Tyrion is accidently knocked out and knocked to the ground where he spends the entire battle passed out. When he awakens it is to a Lannister victory.
An anxious Catelyn Stark awaits the return of her son and when she sees him riding up her joy and relief at the sight of him is palpable. Robb has returned but he’s not alone. He has a very valuable and unexpected prisoner — Jaime Lannister. Finally! One for the good guys!
Jaime, who likes to think he’s clever, but if you ask me he isn’t quite as clever as Tyrion, proposes that he and Robb end the war with little bloodshed by fighting mano-a-mano. Usually I’m all for single combat between two warriors. However, not in this case since I do not trust that Jaime Lannister will be honorable with so much at stake. And I do not think Robb could beat him and there is too much riding on it for Robb to succumb to pride and fight Jaime. Luckily Robb refuses, showing wisdom beyond his years. Battle has changed Robb. He has left boyhood behind forever. He knowingly sent 2000 men to their deaths as part of a ruse to trick the Lannisters. He succeeded, yet he knows that even though they won the battle and outsmarted their arch rival this time, the war is far from over.
Arya is in the streets trying to survive when her father is brought to the Sept of Baelor in chains. Ned sees Arya in the crowd, and ever the loving and protective father, tells one of the men of the Watch that she is at the statue of Baelor so she can be brought to safety. Shockingly Ned confesses to treason and proclaims Joffrey the rightful king infront of Cersei, Sansa, Joffrey, the council, and the huge crowd that has gathered infront of the raised dias. The deal is that he will be stripped of all title and nobility and exiled to the Watch for the rest of his days in return for his confession.
It seems everything is going perfectly, just as Cersei planned it. Except Joffrey turns out to be a wild card. Breaking free of the puppet strings and showing what a vile little runt he truly is, Joffrey orders Ned’s death. Ned searches the crowd for one more glance of Arya, but she is no longer at the feet of Baelor. With one swift strike of the executioner’s sword, the noble Eddard Stark of Winterfell is unjustly murdered at the hands of the Lannisters.
For me, the heart of this show was just extinguished. Ned was the moral compass of this story so far. With him gone, I feel like these characters will be lost for a while. I can’t help but think of his children. Arya will be affected the most by his death I think, and I wonder if silly Sansa will be so eager to marry Joffrey now. She witnessed everything. This has to turn her against all things Lannister for sure now, otherwise she is just as heartless as Cersei and Joffrey and she deserves whatever she gets.
And Ned, the most noble man in this entire work of fiction. How horrible is it that he will go down in Westeros history with the false admission of his treachery on his lips. No matter what else he did in life, if the Lannisters have their way(for isn’t history written by the victors?) he will forever be known as a traitor to the crown who died a traitor’s death by the blade of Ice, his own family’s sword. The horror of it all has left me reeling.
At least he was brave and bowed his head, facing his fate with noble courage. Ned, honorable to the bitter end. One thing is for sure. All hell is going to break loose in the North and it will be unleashed upon the Lannisters.
What did you think of the episode? Was it as shocking and upsetting for you as it was for me?
Will you be tuning in next week for the finale? Of course you will, and I’ll see you there!