Rewind the Realm: Season 1, “You Win or You Die”

Hello all you field dressed stags, and welcome back to Rewind the Realm where it is my TERRIBLE DESTINY to recap all the tragedies, triumphs, and downright irritating narrative choices of this, my favorite show. In last week’s episode Detective Ned had finally cracked the case and was going to confront Mayor Bobby with the knowledge of his wife’s betrayal, only to be waylaid by Sheriff Jaime and laid low by one of his deputies. Sorry for the mixed metaphors. This week we finally meet one of the most important (and overrated) players in the Game. But will Detective Ned survive to see justice done? Or will those wily Lannisters slip through his grasp? Let’s find out!

Jaime on the Run

Jaime, having fled from King’s Landing, goes crying to his daddy. He makes his way through a Lannister camp that is clearly already preparing for war, because Tywin has been looking for any excuse to kill some folks pretty much his entire life. Remember, this is a man whose concept of justice involves trapping the entire population of a city in a cave and flooding it, drowning every single person. How has no one called him on his shit yet? Seriously.

He’s very unsubtly field dressing a stag and he and Jaime talk about the relative merits of being popular. Pro-tip: Tywin doesn’t care. See: Drowning a bunch of kids. Jaime does even though he’s a total edgelord who pretends he doesn’t. Anyway, Tywin gives him 30 thousand men because the population of Westeros is insane and tells him to go get Tyrion back. He also talks a lot about how Lannisters shouldn’t act like fools, which is rich coming from the most foolish Lannister of the bunch. We’ll talk about that later.

In Winterfell

Theon gets real creepy with Osha. In the book his sister’s name is Asha and it makes it really weird that he sexually harasses a woman named Osha. Especially considering that he sexually assaults his sister in book 2. Theon’s story is weird ya’ll.
Maestar Luwin shows up and tells him to stop being a creep and then Osha tells them she was running from White Walkers. Maestar Luwin, of course, rolls his eyes and tells her to stop being a stupid savage. Pro-tip: don’t be sexist. We cut to:

The Wall

Sam and Jon are standing on top of the Wall watching Benjen’s horse return. Jon gets sad and wants to know where Benjen is. We all did Jon but it’s too bad the answer was stupid. Also Sam starts to talk about the meaning of the number of horn blasts that watchers use but gets cut off before he can say that three blasts means White Walkers. I see your foreshadowing show. You can’t fool me!
Later we see them gather to say their vows and for some reason Jon gets to wear a frilly brown thing instead of the frilly black thing all the other Night’s Watch bros are wearing. I can only imagine that this is a bit of INCREDIBLY SUBTLE FORESHADOWING on the part of the director and/or D&D. They receive their assignments and Jon throws a shitty tantrum when he’s named a Steward. Guys, Jon kind of sucks. Sam calms him down by telling him he’s likely being groomed to rule but man…what a whiny baby. Then he and Sam go to recite their vows at a heart tree (cus Sam doesn’t believe in the Seven due to how shitty his dad was) and Ghost brings them a hand. Whose hand is that? Do we ever find out whose hand that is? Ghost why do you have a human hand? What have you been doing!?

jonfrill
Why does Jon get to be fabulous?

Also, GRRM is totally channeling the Green Lantern vow with the NW vows. What a nerd.

Vaes Dothrak

Khal Drogo does not care about Westeros. Viserys probably didn’t help with that. Dany tries to convince him to go but he’s like “giiiiirl our son is too good for chairs. Chairs are for pussies.”

chairs

Jorah gets a message saying he’s been pardoned and can come back to Westeros but his creepy old man boner for A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL is too strong and he decides to stay, foiling a really poor assassination attempt. The wine seller is very clearly confused by Jorah’s intervention but nobody notices this. They drag him behind some horses, naked as punishment. At no point does the wine seller say anything about Jorah being a spy. You’d think he’d do that as a last act of petty revenge. Dude didn’t want to kill princesses; he just wanted to make wine.

Drogo is now angry enough to decide he wants to invade Westeros after all. All of this was a very expert play by Varys who loses all of this cunning post S5. Such a shame.

King’s Landing

The bulk of the episode takes place in King’s Landing and we get to watch as Detective Ned makes a series of deadly blunders. First, he confronts Cersei about the incest. She doesn’t give a fuck. Instead of putting her in jail until he can speak with Robert, he urges her to flee. She smirks at him and name drops the series and Ned, so shocked by her meta commentary, lets her go. Oh Ned.
Also in this scene: Robert was a shitty husband literally from their wedding night.

We’re then shown a really long scene in one of Littlefinger’s brothels where Ros and another prostitute make sexy with each other while Littlefinger tells them how to manipulate men. It’s a gratuitous scene but, unlike a lot of scenes of this nature that we’ll get over the course of the series, it’s actually a pretty decent scene showing us that Littlefinger is more dangerous than we’ve been led to believe. He also says that he has always, and will always love Catelyn. A sentiment very intentionally undercut by the fact that he’s saying this while watching two prostitutes have sex and trying to teach them how to use love as a weapon. Oh Littlefinger, if only you could see your own irony.

HOLY SHIT ROBERT’S DYING. He was gored by a boar. Ned rushes to see him and Cersei is there. Robert, who knows he’s dying, brags that at least he killed the boar. Ned, instead of doing the sensible thing and telling Robert about Cersei’s betrayal right then and there, clears the room so that Robert can name him Protector of the Realm while there are literally no witnesses. He writes up Robert’s will – conspicuously leaving out Joffrey’s name – and still doesn’t tell him about Cersei. Ned, sweety, do your duty.

Varys sets up a potential second case for Detective Ned by telling him that Lancel was likely poisoning the king on the hunt. But there’s no time to consider this because Renly is trying to convince him to stage a coup. Ned declines and STILL DOESN’T TELL ANYONE ABOUT CERSEI and instead writes a letter to Stannis. Unbenknownst to us, Renly uses this time to run off and declare himself king like an asshole. Had Renly not been an asshole and swayed the Tyrells to fight for Stannis instead of for him, the realm would have been spared a whole hell of a lot of deaths. You’re the worst, Renly.

renly
The. Worst.

Littlefinger urges him to swear fealty to Joffrey and rule from the sidelines but Ned refuses to make peace with the Lannisters and Littlefinger wisely points out that you can only make peace with enemies, that’s why it’s called making peace.

Robert dies and Ned is summoned to the throne room. He has Robert’s edict naming him Protector of the Realm but Cersei just tears it in two. Sidebar – Ned’s backup in this scene is Janos Slynt. Gross. Ned’s men get killed because Littlefinger betrays him. Then he pulls a knife on Ned and tells him he never should have trusted him just like he told Ned when he first showed up, thus setting up a recursion paradox wherein Ned, having trusted Littlefinger when he said not to trust him, doesn’t trust him and therefore trusts him. The whole of Westeros is trapped in a time loop that slowly spreads across the world and eventually the universe until it breaks through the barrier between worlds and makes its way to our universe and traps me in a never ending loop of recapping the series. So thanks a lot Littlefinger. Ya prick!

Poor Ned. He fell into that classic noir hero trap of being a fundamentally good man in a fundamentally broken world. He placed his trust in the wrong people (ie, anybody) and paid the price for it. But will he make it out to fight for justice again? Chances are you already know! But who cares. I’ll tell you all about it in the next entry anyway. See you then!

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