Game Of Thrones Season One, Episode Nine – Baelor
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Written by: David Beinoff and D.B. Weiss
Starring: Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Sean Bean, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Aidan Gillen, Jack Gleeson, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Issac Hempstead-Wright, Harry Lloyd, Richard Madden, Rory McCann, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Conleth Hill
Game of Thrones has been a slow burn.
There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I much prefer shows that have a tendency to draw things out and build on previous episodes. All the best television series (The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad) do this and when done properly, the results can be astonishing. The latest episode, “Baelor,” was no exception to this rule. The stakes have slowly been rising over the past couple of weeks and it was time for the dominoes to begin to fall.
And boy do they fall.
Let’s start with that ending. Since the beginning of the show, writers David Beinoff and D.B. Weiss (and George R.R. Martin as well, considering he’s the author of the books) have made it clear that no one character is safe, everyone is subject to the possibility of danger.
However, it’s incredibly rare and bold to see a show essentially kill off its main character. Sean Bean is a fantastic actor who really brought something to role of Ned Stark, but I had a feeling the former Hand of the King wasn’t much for this world when the light of Varys’ (Conleth Hill) torch flickered as he made his exit after talking to Ned.
The thing that gets me, more than anything else, is how tragic Ned’s end was. Not only was it unexpected, but both Stark girls had to bare witness to the end of their father (technically Arya [Maisie Williams] didn’t see the actual event, but she was there when it happened). There’s that quiet and calm moment where Ned realizes that Arya isn’t watching, he takes a breath and then he’s gone.
And it makes for fantastic, gripping, and emotional television.
While the events in King’s Landings will be talked about for years to come, “Baelor” had plenty of other events transpire in order to move all the pieces into play for the finale. Robb Stark (Richard Madden), more so than Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), has stepped up to the plate and become the man his father needed him to be. In a bold tactical move, Robb sends 2,000 men to battle Lannister troops, but at the cost of each of those lives. It really places the battle for the thrones into an even darker context.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who continues to be one of my favorite characters, gets some backstory detailing and providing context for why he is the way he is. It truly is a terrible thing, but explains perfectly how the Imp ended up where he is.
Across the sea, in one of the most intense and distributing scenes thus far, things take a turn for the dark as Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) deal with the Witch divides the Dothraki people as she works to save Drogo (Jason Momoa). Even with the steps she takes, it’s clear that her control is slipping quickly and if Drogo doesn’t make it through, not even Jorah (Iain Glen) will be able to protect her from the wrath of the Dothraki.
The stakes couldn’t be higher as this stage of the game draws to a close and I’m incredibly eager to see what comes next.
– I wish I hadn’t read Alan Sepinwall’s review of this week’s episode/I wish I was smart enough to come up with the near-perfect comparison he makes between the idea of The Wire being “a novel for television” and Game of Thrones following in that same tradition.
– Interesting revelation on the Wall this week, but I’ve got a feeling that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) won’t be going to help his family in the south.
– I can’t begin to stress how amazing of an actress the young Maisie Williams is. She constantly surprises me week after week and brings in another fantastic performance this week.
– I feel bad for Robb’s future arranged marriage, considering things have now gone south with Ned’s rescue plan.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. I know I wasn’t consistent in keeping up with my reviews throughout the season, but I’ll make sure I place some of my overall thoughts on the first season in next week’s season finale review. Until then, what did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments below.