Game of Thrones, 1.02 – The Kingsroad

Okay gang, we have a massively awesome adventure this week, so I hope everyone brought their chair donuts because we’re going to be here for a while. I want to point out that the intro this week was a little different, I don’t know if you caught the addition of the Dothraki tents, but I thought that was pretty sweet. I’m all for the whole da Vinci machine motif, and the music is pretty boss. I’m not saying the dulcimer is the best instrument there is, but it totally kicks the psaltery’s ass. Do not get me started on those slingblade Appalachian dulcimers, because it’s hammered or nothing for me.

We pick our campaign up this week with the mighty and fearsome Dothraki on the move through the grasslands of the Dothraki Sea. Daenerys was last seen “getting acquainted” with her new husband, Khal Drogo and this week we find her astride her noble steed, and I just want to interject with an “ouch” and a sympathetic wince. Her creepy boob stroking brother chats up their countryman that happens to be along for the ride.

We travel back to Winterfell to a dog pen where Tyrion Lannister the Imp has spent the night. He wakes, gets teased by his whiny nephew, Prince Joffrey, and the Imp proceeds to use his Myrmidion status to bitch slap said nephew with a +2 damage. Never mess with a cleric dwarf of top-level intelligence, kid, especially in that weak armor. Tyrion expects Joffrey to tell the Starks how sorry he is for their son’s injuries and now we realize that Bran had on the Winged Shoes of Ron’Co, imbued with a protective force. Bran isn’t dead, but he’s definitely incapacitated for several turns. We’ll set it and forget it regarding Bran until the later.

Tyrion goes off in search of a breakfast with his siblings. We are not sure if Tyrion is aware of his siblings making the two-backed beasts with regularity or not, because he is crafty. The Queen and Aaron Eckhardt, I mean, Jaime Lannister are cautious around him. The Queen makes squinty, scary faces at Tyrion and marches her very blond children away. Remember, a Queen works best when buffered by pawns in the beginning of the game. But also remember that a pawn can be promoted to Queen. What does this all mean? I don’t know. She’s wily, is what I’m saying.

Catelyn Stark sits next to Bran in his sick bed, crafting a dream catcher to hang over him. Appropriately he has a howling wolf to sing to him, as well. The Queen barges in and tells Catelyn about her first son, “dark haired like his father,” who died of a fever. Since Jon Arryn also dies of “a fever” I’m guessing that it is code for a poison she has concocted. Beware any untended drinks around Queen Lannister.

The Queen is very creepy and ominous about poor little birds without feathers and how she prays that Bran will pull through. Catelyn isn’t foolish enough to buy what the Queen’s selling, and carries on with her raffia crafts to bring her boy back to health. She softly croons, “Dream weaver, I believe you can get me through the night,” and settles in for a long stretch of hospice care.

Jon Snow, the bastard child of Ned Stark, has a blacksmith craft him a fine blade (it is no Glamdring, but it will do for the purpose it is to serve.) As he waits for the final polish, Jaime comes to taunt him and assert his dominance. The Lannisters are dicks, make no mistake. He alludes that the Night Watch, where Snow is headed, are a bunch of panty waste nimrods. Jon begins to question this decision to leave Winterfell.

Bastard Snow (and really, that might be the next name of my Icelandic tribute band) heads to his half-sister Arya’s room. She’s packing with the aid of her direwolf, and it seems that she will be traveling with her father as he accompanies the King. Snow gives the blade to her, and she names it Needle. Narrowly missing decapitation, she jumps into her brother’s arms, a last hug before the family is split apart.

Bastard Snow (maybe this would work better as a Death metal band from Finland?) goes to Bran’s sick bed to say goodbye, and Catelyn fixes him with an icy stare. She has no love for this out of wedlock boy. On one hand I can understand. If my husband went off to war (also known as Corporate America) and came back a year and change later with a baby, I’d be pretty pissed too. But after 16 years it’s time to let it go.  Snow gives his kid brother a kiss on the head and makes haste.

Ned Stark enters and has a “chin up” conversation with Catelyn, essentially telling her that she needs to dig deep and find strength to keep the family and castle together while he’s gone gallivanting with the King. He awards her an extra damage roll to be used at her discretion, and you’ll see that it will come in handy.

We will bid adieu to the Stark and Snow families in Winterfell as the traveling parties approach the Traffic Stones of Ponderance and part. Ned tells his son that when they next see one another, he will tell Snow all that he wants to know about his mother. My guess is that she is the Witch Queen of Clandestine Bone’age.

The King takes a rest with a magnificent feast laid out on covered tables in a flower-strewn field, because he’s the goddamn king. A note is delivered to him telling him of Daenerys’ marriage to Khal Drogo. He fears war for he has become old and portly and wants not to be in discomfort or far from a joint of meat (by the looks of him.) Ned reminds him that the Dothraki have no boats and are beyond the sea, and Berserkers are lousy swimmers who shouldn’t be a concern. (Muscle weighs more than fat, they are going to sink like stones if they step foot in the Narrow Sea.)  We learn that Creepy Boob Stroking Brother’s family is responsible for the death of Ned’s sister, who the King loved. War is coming, players.

But what of the fair (and sore) Daenerys back in the land of the Dothraki? The common folk skin their rabbits and pound the hides to be used later as Khal pounds her hide to be used as he wishes. She takes her mind away from the gutting she’s getting by staring longingly at the dragon eggs, her wedding gift. At least someone put candles everywhere, it’s as romantic as she’s going to get for now. Until then, wish that you were a bird so you could fly far, far away.

Catelyn, back in Winterfell, watches over Bran when her financial advisor reminds her that taxes are due. As she rebukes him (taxes and death, Cate, the only things certain. Oooh, too soon? Wait, Bran’s not dead. Never mind.) we hear the direwolves howling outside. But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is a fire to distract from the son! Except that Catelyn isn’t going anywhere, and everyone else rushes off to stop the fire.

That fire was no accident. An assassin appears with a deadly blade and attempts to kill Bran. Catelyn uses her extra damage roll, throws a D10 and rebukes the assassin by grabbing the blade with her bare hands. Mess with her, you will not. As she fights him off, Bran’s direwolf races in and rips out the man’s throat like a boss. He then curls up, bloody maw and all, around his boy and serves as protection. Good boy! Who’s a good direwolf? You are!

Back in the land of rabbit season, Daenerys is being attended to by her ladies in waiting, or “bitches” as I’m sure is the proper Dothraki terminology. They tell her tales of dragons from moons, and other religious things, when one of the ladies catches Daenerys’ eye. Her servant offers to teach her how to seduce Drogo, because she has ninja skills, slut skills, and make a man climax skills. I don’t think I’m alone when I say, “Yes, please!”

The traveling Night Watchlings finally crest a ridge and there before them is the great Wall of the North. It’s pretty massive and looks vaguely like a Michael Whelan painting. Appropriate, since he does the vast majority of fantasy book covers. I mean, the wall stretches before the eye, almost incomprehensible in its enormity. Its creation is the greatest feat of these people, and they stand in awe before it. I would not like to be the person that has to climb the fire escape-style ladder to the top.

In Winterfell Catelyn rightfully assumes that someone is attempting to murder her son for the second time. She explores the tower from which Bran fell and discovers a long, single strand of blond hair. Oho! She gathers her most trusted friends and family members and tells them of the suspected plot that she ascribes to the Lannisters. It’s guessed that Bran must have seen something he shouldn’t have (none of us should see that, they’re twins! That’s like masturbating. But you know, with your sibling.) It’s decided that Catelyn will ride with her security chief to her husband and tell him what’s suspected.

Daenerys and her helper are helping themselves to a nice lesson in “Feel Good 101.” She learns that there is more to humping than doggie-style and is a little shocked to think that she could eventually train to Reverse Cowgirl. Let’s just stick with standard Cowgirl, Daenerys, shall we? Candles are lit (Yankee Candle flavor “Pelt”) and Khal comes in to peg his bride because he’s so very tender and emotional with her.

Daenerys casts a level 7 encounter Gaze into Nothing and blinds him as she climbs on top of him and shows him that she is quickly moving beyond being a Padawan. I suspect there will be a lot of Daenerys and Drogos at Comic Con this year, who wants to take that bet? Drogo not only lets her lead the way, he realizes that he can enjoy looking into the face of his mate as well. Aww. Three cheers for the international language, screw the Common Tongue. (Extraordinary tongue, am I right? Boom!)

The King’s group stops in a village to recharge and Sansa Stark, the pretty redheaded daughter of Ned, gets caught between two rough men but is saved by the smarmy Prince Joffrey. He leads her on what he thinks is a romantic walk of roofied wine and tales of his awesomeness (Charisma -1000.) This Joffrey kid really is just dreadful.

But it’s time for a side quest. You and your friend the butcher’s son are practicing your quarterstaff skills (after a week in the dojo you’ll be ready with the strength of a grizzly, the reflexes of a puma, and the wisdom of a man.) A ferret-faced princeling appears with your sister and taunts you. He represents the worst in entitlement, bratty, puling, the kind of guy that will call a bigger person names then invoke his title to spare his own life. Your natural instinct is to pound his face. Roll to choose between aggressive strength or defensive grace. Kidding. Your weapon options are: your quarterstaff, your rage, or your direwolf. As you’ve bonded with your puppy, your direwolf’s natural instinct is to rip off the hand of the foul-faced proto-king.

The butcher boy, however sympathetic he might be, looks like the ginger-version of a boy on my block that is a mouth-breathing, lunch-stealing bully, so I’m having a hard time feeling sympathy for him, as I’ve wished many a time to have him trapped with a blade pressed to his sweaty, pasty, meaty cheek. The bully on my block, that is, not the butcher’s son with whom I am not personally acquainted.

Off topic, sorry. The Prince is quickly revealed to be a sniveling, putrescent weakling, disarmed by Arya. She throws his lesser sword into the lake, where I can only presume that a lady awaits at the bottom to collect it and then throw it back to her. If a watery tart tosses a sword at you, you can expect to wield supreme executive power.

In the meantime, Arya knows that she’s in deep diredoo and runs off into the woods. She orders her pet Nymeria to run away and not follow her, knowing the Prince will kill her beloved wolf. She is eventually found and dragged before the King, the Queen smirking with her foul little weasel of a son standing sentinel. After a bout of she said, he lied, the King wants to just wash his hands of the whole affair with the sensible statement of “children bicker, it’s enough.”

The Queen will not stand for such insolence and orders Sansa to tell everyone what happened. Torn between wanting to marry a prince and her family, she cops out with the roofie defense. “I can’t remember!” Sansa, you’re better than that. Show the people on the corncob doll where the bad boy was hit. The decision is made for Ned to punish his daughter, the King will punish his son (and tosses out “You let that little girl disarm you?”) and that’s it.

Not so fast, everyone. The Queen shows her hand and orders Sansa’s direwolf to be executed, since they can’t find Nymeria. Oh, she is a cold, cruel woman. Sansa is beside herself, and I wonder how that will play out if the two kids get married. Ned takes on the horrible responsibility of killing the direwolf. Let’s all hold each other, friends, because bad tidings are upon us and the outlook is bleak.

Stark goes to the shed where Lady the direwolf is tethered and passes the King’s man. The poor little butcher boy is lying dead on the back of a horse, clearly beaten and trampled to death. No punches pulled here. Ned sinks beside Lady and gives her a sweet hug and ear rub, then stabs the direwolf. As she cries out her last yelp, Bran’s eyes immediately open back in Winterfell. Bum bum buuuum!


What a horrible place to leave our story, but we must. Next week we’ll see Jon Snow prove his mettle, and hopefully control will change hands between the Starks and Lannisters, and maybe catch a glimpse of the Predefremen Wight Walkers. We’ve only just begun the chess match, folks.