Game of Thrones
Season Two, Episode 1.
Original Air date: 4/1/2012
The North Remembers.

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Nakeesha J. Seneb

There’s a bloody tourney happening for the king’s name day and the Hound is killing for the king’s pleasure. A drunk is bumbling about, preparing to fight. For his amusement, Joffrey kegs him like their at a college frat party, until Sansa steps in. She’s clearly appalled, but she catches herself. “It’s bad luck to kill a man on your name day,” she cautions her betrothed. To our surprise, the Hound backs her up, and the drunk’s life is spared to become a court jester. Tyrion arrives fresh off the battlefields where Joffrey’ sabsence was noticed. Tyrion gives his condolences to Sansa for the loss of her father.Sansa insists that her father was a traitor, but her eyes tell a different story than the words from her mouth.

While the young king plays, Cersei is meeting with the small council. There is a concern that food, supplies, and housing will be low during the long winter that is coming. Her solution? Shut the gates to the peasants. Enter Tyrion. He’s now serving as the Hand of the King in their father’s absence. A brilliant bout of sibling rivalry plays out with Tyrion claiming victory after the line: “You love your children, your one redeeming quality –that and your cheek bones.” It would seem that the two have switched places in their father’s eyes. Having cut off Ned Stark’s head and allowed Arya to escape, which gives them less leverage to reclaim Jaime, Cersei is now the disappointment of the family.

In Winterfell, Bran, the young Lord of Winterfell, is weary of hearing the complaints of the landowners; especially when they show disrespect towards his brother, Rob, out fighting a war for all their safety. Later Bran dreams. His dreams are from the POV of a wolf out in the woods. There’s a comet in the sky. The dream-wolf looks down into water and sees his reflection causing Bran to awaken. Bran takes Hodor and Osha, the Wildling woman, to the place of his dreams. They all see the comet in the sky. Osha insists comets mean dragons. Bran reminds her that all the dragons are dead.

The same comet streaks over a desert sky where a small and weary caravan is led by a girl with a dragon resting on her shoulders. Daenerys. Up ahead, Daenerys’ horse sways and keels over. She mourns the steed, noting that it was the first gift Drogo had given her. It too is now gone. She looks out at the vast wasteland before them. What is there to do for her to save her people? She sends three scouts in three different directions to look for options. She makes a point to single out Rakharo before he takes off.

The comet streaks over a darkening sky with snow covered mountains. Jon Snow and the men of Night’s Watch have stopped at a settlement overflowing with girls, and one man. His name is Craster and the girls are his daughter-wives. Craster tells the Night’s men that all the Wildings have joined Mance Raydar. Raydar, an ex-watchmen himself, is building an army and calling himself the King-Beyond-the-Wall.

On a beach in a territory we have not yet seen, a ritual of fire is led by a woman in red. There is a call by a man dressed in priestly robs to stop the ritual. He feels she’s defaming the old gods. No one rises to stop her, no one including Stannis Baratheon. This is the island of Dragonstone where he has his strong hold. He pulls a sword of fire from the ground and later denounces Joffrey as a child of incest then stakes his claim to the Iron Throne. He drafts a letter stating thus to all corners of the kingdom. The priest and another advisor, Davos Seaworth, urge Stannis to make peace with his brother Renly, who has also laid claim to the throne. It is the woman in red, Melisandre, who speaks for the would-be king. Having had enough of her ministrations, the priest offers her a drink. The drink is poisoned. He takes a sip first, sacrificing himself to rid Stannis of her influence. Melisandre takes her time putting the cup to her lips, as she does watches sees blood spilling out his mouth. The priest falls to the ground dead. She drinks up, unscathed. “The night is dark and full of terrors,” she says. “But the fire burns them all away.”

In the Northern camp, Rob approaches his captive, Jamie Lannister, whom he insists on keeping close by. Not because he doesn’t trust his bannerman with his life; he simply doesn’t trust his bannerman with the rich and influential life of the Lannister heir. Jamie repeatedly tries to insult “the boy.” Only, Rob reminds this kings layer that he was captured and defeated by a boy. Rob has received Stannis’ letter and queries Jamie of its validity. In the end, its Rob’s wolf that has the last word with Jamie.

Back at King’s Landing, a little sparing session occurs between Cersei and Lord Baylish when she asks a favor of him. She needs him to find Arya. Cersei takes a shot at Baylish’s past and his rise as a self-made lord. Baylish muses on the awkward affections between a brother and sister. Knowledge is power, he insists. Cersei tests this theory by having guards seize him and threaten his life. In the end, Cersei proves that power is power.

Back at the Northern Camp, Rob is giving the terms of a peace treaty to a cousin in the Lannister clan. The terms include the return of his sisters and his father’s remains, for Joffrey to renounce the throne, and for that lot to stay out of the northern lands. When the envoy leaves, Theon voices what everyone already knows. Those terms will be rejected. Theon offers to go to his own father and bring his ships into the war. Rob is hesitant and goes to talk over the plan with his mother. Catelyn Stark is against the idea. Afterall, Balon Greyjoy lead a rebellion against her husband. Rob insists its necessary and then asks his mother to go and negotiate with Renly Baratheon. In the end, Catelyn has to agree that all in all it’s a good plan. You can see pride her eyes at her son’s leadership.

Back at King’s Landing another mommy-son meeting is taking place. Joffrey confronts his mother about the rumors of his parentage. She dismisses it cooly. But then Joffrey asks her about the late king’s night-time affairs and the number of bastards he produced. Cersei strikes her son, she strikes him in a room full of people. A tense moment plays out when both she and the audience feels her mistake. She looks into the eyes of the monster she created. Just as cooly as she dismissed the rumors of incest, he dismisses her without harm. For now.

In Little Finger’s brothel, lessons on how to give and receive orgasms are under study when soldiers enter. They find one of the workers who Ned noted in the last season had given birth to one of the late king’s bastards. The soldiers take the baby from its mother’s arms and slice it through. All over the city, this action plays out with young and older children. But one is missing: Gendry. Having joined the Night’s Watch, he’s on the King’s Road and is headed to the wall. Beside him on the cart is a boy…wait, no! That’s Arya.