Tonight’s episode offered a few crucial tidbits about the history and links of some of the characters’ stories. While we might not have moved very far during this second hour of Game of Thrones, there was much to be learned about who these people are and what kind of baggage they’re carrying with them.

Grudges
Before we get to the present, let’s talk for a minute about some of the bits of information that were dropped in conversation just to make sure everyone’s caught up on the history lesson we got in bits and pieces tonight:

Jorah Mormant (the man offering smiles, allegiance and words of support to Daenerys), has an old grudge with Ned Stark, who exiled him for slave-trading long ago. Meanwhile, Ned Stark and King Robert have cause to hate the Targaryens (which by default, includes Daenerys) because of something Rhaegar Targaryen did to Lyanna Stark, who was Ned’s sister and the love of Robert’s life. These grudges exist on an emotional level as much as they do on a political one. I think that came through in the way Robert talked about the Targaryens.

We also learned, through a conversation between Jon and Tyrion, that Jaime killed the king he was sworn to protect and Cersei went on to marry the new king. If you didn’t already think the Lannisters were shady folk (and how could you not, having witnessed the incestuous side to the twins' relationship during last week’s episode), there’s that to take into account. Things don’t just fall into place for them. They have a way of pushing them into place (or out a window) if it suits their needs.

Bran
Bran’s alive! The fall from the window put him in a coma and he’ll likely be crippled but he is alive, much to the quiet chagrin of Cersei and Jaime. Cersei’s conversation with Catelyn about the loss of her own son to fever and how it affected her family is a true measure of the woman’s duplicity. The fact that she can look Catelyn in the eye and talk about loss, all the while knowing that her brother-slash-boyfriend is the one that nearly killed the woman’s son, shows her lack of decency.

Another attempt on Bran’s life was taken later, but Catelyn was there and after getting cut by the knife that was meant to be used to kill Bran, Bran’s direwolf showed up and tore the would-be killer’s throat out, after which it jumped up onto Bran’s bed and licked him. Kind of gross, considering its muzzle was likely covered with a fresh coat of throat-blood but sort of sweet, nonetheless.

Taking the Black
On the subject of Lannisters, the difference between Jaime and Tyrion goes beyond stature. While Jaime seemed to take pleasure in making light of Jon’s decision to join the Night’s Watch, Tyrion not only continued to offer some helpful words of advice on how to exist with a stunted social status, he also decided to join Jon on the trip north.

Jon’s goodbyes were a great way to emphasize the relationship he has with the members of his family. On saying goodbye to a comatose Bran, Catelyn ordered Jon to leave. She can’t stand the sight of him or what he represents to her family. This is one of the things I love about the characters in this story. Catelyn’s a good, strong woman but she’s human and it’s not easy for her to look upon the son of her husband and some other woman. She doesn’t see Jon as a person so much as the one major thing that’s wrong with her family. It’s sad for both of them.

Jon’s goodbye to Arya included giving her a skinny sword that he had made especially for her. Arya named it Needle, which is fitting as she’s likely to be much more skilled with that needle than she is the one used to make dresses. Arya and Jon’s goodbye was sad and its evident the two have a close relationship, perhaps due at least in part to being outsiders in their own way.

Jon shared another emotional goodbye with his half-brother Rob, which was followed by Ned assuring Jon that they would talk about his mother the next time they saw each other. Given the dangers that lie ahead for both of them, you’d think they’d want to take a few minutes to hammer that conversation out now, but they parted ways leaving us to wonder what the story is with Jon’s mother and why Jon doesn’t already know it.

Joffrey
Tonight was not a good night for the young prince. Joffrey was not only slapped repeatedly by Tyrion (Hilarious.), but he was showed up by Arya later on when he tried to throw his weight around to impress Sansa. Joffrey and Sansa came across Arya playfully dueling with a boy from town. Joffrey thought it would be a good idea to bully the kid, cutting his face in the process, which prompted Arya to defend him and Nymeria, Arya’s direwolf, to bite his wrist.

Given what Bran’s wolf did to the guy trying to kill him, the bite to the wrist was probably little more than a warning shot. Joffrey’s pride seemed to be wounded worse than his wrist and Cersei demanded justice. As Arya ordered Nymeria to run away, justice was exacted on Sansa’s direwolf Lady. Ned was the one to put the direwolf down. That sucked and I may need to rewatch Tyrion slapping Joffrey a few times in an attempt to get the sound of Lady’s yelp out of my ears.

Meanwhile, out East…
Tired of riding all day and being ridden by her giant of a husband all night, Daenerys makes an effort to learn how to please her man. Some of the inspiration comes from her dragon eggs, which she stares at a lot. Having read the book, I can't say that her desire to earn some power in the relationship comes through in the show quite the same as it does in the book. In the book, I got the sense that Dany finds strength in herself and who she is as a Targaryen and it’s that that allows her to take her husband in hand and make him see her as a person. Her efforts to learn ways to please Drogo during tonight's episode didn't come across quite the same way but we did get to the same place in the end when Dany insisted on showing Kahl Drogo that she has a front and a face too. He seemed to appreciate that after a few seconds of sex combined with actual eye-contact.

And that about wraps it up for the night. The final moment of the episode showed Bran opening his eyes. Catelyn has reason to believe someone tried to have him killed twice. This came after finding a hair near the place where he fell, which let’s face it, is a bit CSI: Winterfell. I think in the book it was the knife used in the second attempt that tipped her off. Perhaps her investigating the scene of the crime as opposed to a conversation about finely made cutlery seemed more interesting. Regardless, she knows something’s up and she’s off to search for more clues. Bran’s awake but does he remember what happened to him? Until next week…

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