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TV Open Thread: Game of Thrones – “The Wolf and the Lion”

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In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Wolf and the Lion,” the Hand’s Tournament continues, setting the tone for the escalating violence in both the pageant and the world around Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and his family. Ned watches a bit of the tournament, but he is still brooding about the death of Ser Hugh, suspicious that the man had a new suit of armor, and no apparent means to afford it.

But the King’s Hand must also get involved in wardrobe malfunctions. King Robert (Mark Addy) is too fat for his armor and Ned’s not afraid to tell him so — or that he shouldn’t joust, as any opponent will only let him win. The King’s bloodlust and itch to get into battle gear will have to be satisfied from the stands, “Let’s watch him ride, at least I can smell someone’s blood.” He’s an old soldier and seems to realize that he’s not much of a politician, but he’s also as quixotic and deadly dangerous as any tyrant, taunting others around him and just moments from going off the handle at the slightest provocation.

On the field the young Knight of Flowers, Ser Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones), resplendent in his flowery armor, gives Ned’s oldest daughter Sansa (Sophie Turner) a rose. She is obviously flattered, but doesn’t realize that the knight is having an affair with the King’s brother. For once, slimy Petyr (Aidan Gillen) holds his tongue — at least in her direction.

After the tournament Ned meets with one of the King’s council, a eunuch who warns him that the previous Hand, John Arryn, was killed by poison. He suggests Ser Hugh poisoned him. Ned isn’t politically savvy, but he’s practical, and points out that Arryn was the Hand for years, why poison him now? The eunuch’s answer: he started asking too many questions. Everyone wants to give Ned information, but he must sort out what, if any, can be trusted. He is also informed of Catelyn’s capture of Tyrion, which does not please him one bit.

The King and Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) talk frankly about the realm and their marriage. Cersei is a far from one-dimenional character. She may have married the King to win power for her family, but she once had feelings for him and still mourns the son they lost. She has also had to deal with the shadow of his former wife. She wonders if he ever was able to forget his first wife, or cared for her, “Was there ever a time for us, a moment?” He doesn’t lie to her. “No.”

On the road, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) is taking the captured Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who she is convinced tried to murder her son Bran, to her sister (John Arryn’s widow)’s lands. Her anger or paranoia has extended her suspicions to his also being involved in the death of John Arryn. Is she avoiding taking him to her home in Winterfell because she is afraid of what Ned will do or say if he finds out? Tyrion protests his innocence and tries to appeal to her common sense, and claims he was obviously framed with a very distinctive weapon. “I had nothing to do with the attempt on your son’s life.” But Catelyn isn’t listening. The party is ambushed, and Tyrion pleas to at least have her cut the ropes binding his hands so that he can defend himself, “Untie me. If I die what’s the point?” She finally does and he saves her life, helping to drive off the bandits.

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