Since Game of Thrones started, I thought about the ending of the book and wondered if the TV show could possibly come close to the greatness that is that final moment. Considering how well the rest of the series has been, I should have known we wouldn’t be disappointed tonight.

Last week’s episode ended with a bang as Eddard Stark lost his head. As shocking as it was to see the main character die, tonight’s episode was evidence that there’s still plenty of story to play out and a lot of unfinished business to attend to.

King’s Landing
Joffrey’s a weasel, plain and simple and it’s clear that he’s enjoying having the power to make things happen, regardless of how cruel they may be. Last week he had Ned’s head cut off. Tonight he had a singer’s tongue cut out because he didn’t appreciate the man’s song. He also made Sansa look at her father’s head, which is hung on a wall with other chopped off heads. Poor Sansa’s rude awakening has come. She seems on the brink of killing Joffrey, which she almost did until the Hound stopped her.

While Joffrey was throwing his power around, Cersei is worrying about her brother-slash-boyfriend Jaime, who’s in the Stark’s custody. She’s also passing the time (presumably) having sex with her age-inappropriate/relative-inappropriate cousin Lancel.

Littlefinger and Varys chatted about their motivations and Varys’ lack of penis. While they admitted to admiring each other, there was an undertone of distrust between the two, which is fair considering both would freely admit they shouldn’t be trusted by the other.

Arya’s been taken by the Knight’s Watchmen, who chopped her hair off and told her to pretend to be a boy, in an effort to keep her alive. Seeing as Arya’s been confused for a boy all season, pretending to be one shouldn’t be that difficult for now. Arya’s skill with her sword proved useful when a few other wall-bound boys tried to mess with her. The last we saw of her, she was headed north, having befriended one tall, muscular boy.

Tyrion’s Assignment
In an attempt to deal with the mess Joffrey is making, Tywin is sending Tyrion to King’s Landing to serve as Hand of the King in his place. Something tells me Cersei won’t love that, but she’s not doing a very good job of advising her son. Tywin told Tyrion not to bring his whore but Tyrion appears to be disregarding that order and will have Shae with him when he goes to start his new job.

It was interesting to see Tyrion and Tywin’s conversation, knowing what we do about their relationship. There may be some part of Tyrion that wants to please his father and gain his approval, while the other part of him may resent his father and decide that destroying the family name could be the best revenge for a lifetime of being treated like half a person. In the end, I think Tyrion will try to do what’s best for Tyrion.

Starks
Bran’s three-eyed crow dream led him down to the crypts, where he met up with Osha and later Rickon, who was chasing his dog down there. They were down there when the news arrived that Eddard was dead, which suggests that Bran (and the wolves) may be a bit psychic.

Catelynn’s reaction to the news that her husband was dead was to clutch her chest and cry, and then to be there for Robb, who was taking his grief out on a tree and on his sword. Catelynn assured Robb that they would “kill them all” after they got Arya and Sansa back. Sounds like a solid plan to me! Catelynn also learned the truth about Bran’s fall during a confrontation with Jaime, who showed no remorse when he admitted to pushing the boy, but would not elaborate on why.

Robb’s men, including Greyjoy, swore allegiance to him, declaring him the king of the north. This title isn’t likely to go over well with Joffrey or with Renly, who’s also trying to claim the realm.

On the Wall
Jon was all set to abandon his post, track down his brother and put a sword through Joffrey. That too sounded like a solid plan, but it would make him a deserter and we know what happens to deserters. He left for the South but his fellow nights watchmen caught up with him and not only reminded him that he took vows, but traded off reciting the vows to remind Jon of his purpose.

Killing Joffrey won’t bring Ned back, it’s true and Robb is on the mission to make sure justice is served. Meanwhile, Jon is headed north because, while things may be a mess to the south, there’s something bad going on north of the wall. Dead bodies are coming back to life and Benjen is still missing. With his priorities straightened out, Jon joins his new family as they go on what could be a one-way trip north to find out what’s going on.

Meanwhile, Out East…
Sansa wasn’t the only one with a rude awakening. Daenerys woke up to learn that her baby was stillborn and horribly deformed, with what sounded like dragon-like features and worms. Gross. Drogo is alive, as was promised, but in a catatonic state. Angry at the realization that she traded the life of her child for a half-living husband, Dany confronted the witch. Apparently, the woman was less into paying Dany back for saving her life as she was paying Drogo back for what he and his people did to her village.

Down but not defeated, Dany said goodbye to Drogo and tearfully smothered him with a pillow, after which she regrouped, collecting what was left of the people who were willing to stay behind (most of whom were the slaves she rescued) and inviting them to stay or go as they pleased. She offered them a new future as free people. Some left, and others stayed and sat down to watch the ceremony. Dany set Drogo on a pyre, along with her dragon eggs and had the witch tied to it. Death pays for life, right? She lit the thing on fire and while Drogo’s body burned and the witch howled in pain, Dany walked into the fire without a shred of fear on her face. Fire cannot burn the dragon.

The final moments of the episode revealed Daenerys, naked among the ruins with three baby dragons climbing all over her.

And that ends the season. As I’ve only begun to read A Clash of Kings, all I can do is speculate on what’s to come, but if it’s half as good as Game of Thrones, we have a lot to look forward to! Jon's headed north. Robb's on the rampage with a solid group of people supporting him, including Catelynn and Theon Greyjoy. Sansa's being held captive, while Arya's posing as a boy and headed toward the wall. And Tyrion's bound for King's Landing where he just might be able to whisper some sense into Joffrey's ear and perhaps even get Jaime back.

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