Episode 8 – The Pointy End
Writer – George R.R. Marin
Director – Daniel Minahan
I will not have your body burned. I will not give you that honour. The beetles will feed on your eyes. The worms will crawl through your lungs. The rain will fall on your rotting skin… until nothing is left of you but bones.
Following Ned’s betrayal last episode, this one opens directly afterwards with the Lannister soldiers making mincemeat of Stark’s men. It’s a bloody affair that leaves several dead bodies in it’s wake. Most prominent is Syrio, Arya’s sword master. Like so many character Syrio has been one of those that aren’t fully important but they are there when others need them and here, Arya needs him to save her. Beating Lannister men left and right, using only a wooden sword and his dancing skills Syrio saves Arya but it costs him his own life. Escaping the mayhem, Arya finds her own sword Needle just as a fat stable boy finds her, in his attempts to take her prisoner Arya stabs him, it’s a great moment because while deliberate you can see the surprise on Arya’s face, especially since this is her first kill. Scared and confused she runs away.
The episode spent it’s running time gearing up for something big to happen in the next couple, a war is starting between the Starks and the Lannisters and both sides are getting ready to fight. On the Lannister side, Tyrion returns after being absent last episode, he’s escaped the Vale with new friend Bronn only to run into the vicious Hill Tribes. Using his wit Tyrion convinces the Hill tribes to join him and so with his new ‘army’ Tyrion finds his father and as the Hill Tribes join the Lannister army. There’s a quick scene between Tyrion and Tywin where you can see the absolute hatred the two have for each other, the poison in their words are nearly spat at each other, Tywin makes it no secret he prefers Jaime as a son while Tyrion reminds his father that he is not Jaime to no avail.
On the Stark encampment, with Ned imprisoned and rarely seen in this episode it’s Robb that takes up the rank of Lord of Winterfell and calls his father’s banner-men to arms to free Ned. I mentioned a few episodes ago that we don’t see much of Robb but now that Ned is a prisoner he’s front and centre. He’s got his father’s honour and strength and proves he’s not a ‘Green Boy’ in a pretty funny scene with GreatJon Umber but he’s still quite young, he does some things without thinking and he needs reassurance, when he and Catelyn are reunited you can tell they just want to hug each other but both know Robb must appear strong in the eyes of his men. This is Robb’s best episode to date and a sign of things to come.
With the Dothraki, Drogo has his men raid a village to take slaves to sell for ships, however Dany prevents Drogo’s men from raping the womenfolk. We know by now the Drogo will do anything for Dany and he sees her growing Queen-like fury as a sign of his son giving her strength so he obliges, something that one of Drogo’s followers, Mago, doesn’t agree with. I’ll return to this scene in a minute.
On the Wall, two dead bodies have been found but neither are rotting or smelling despite being dead for several days, weeks even. That night one of the bodies comes back to life and tries to kill Jon. Even after stabbing it the body still comes at him and Jon has to burn it to stop it. Sam explains later that this is the work of The White Walkers, this whole scene is done brilliantly because we have heard of White Walkers before so they aren’t a convenient plot device and we’ve also seen this body rising before, the opening of the pilot episode (so long ago) had the exact same thing.
And finally in King’s landing, after capturing Ned and branding him a traitor the Lannisters cleans house by removing Barristan Selmy – another secondary character who is never given the praise he deserves, dude goes out like a champ – from his post as Captain of The Kingsguard. When she sees an opportunity, Sansa has her best moment of the whole series by asking forgiveness for her father. Sansa is actually really smart here, she knows in her heart that the Lannisters are lying but she plays along with them, hoping that if she can appear to be on both sides she can save her father. When Sansa is explaining her thoughts as to why Ned tried to remove Joffery from the throne she talks a lot of sense, Ned was Robert’s friend so why betray him unless someone lied to him, Ned was hurt from Jaime’s attack and he was under the influence of painkillers so there’s every possibility that his mind wasn’t his own.
The episode ends, leaving you with some form of hope that Ned is going to be saved.
Overall, another stellar episode that’s gearing up for something big, great to see Tyrion back and to see Robb becoming a true leader.
Best scene – Drogo’s fight with Mago. Last episode we saw the leader Drago was when rallying his people, here we can see the true evidence to the claim that he is the greatest warrior ever to have lived. Using nothing but his agility Drogo dodges swing after swing of Mago sword, proving himself a true badass but dropping his own weaposn and giving a ‘kick your arse’ speech that’s even more terrifying in the Dothraki tongue. It all ends when Drogo catches the sword, slices opens Mago throat and rips his tongue out. It’s incredibly violent but what a finishing move, and all Drogo sustained was a scratch on his chest, what harm could they bring him?