We’re going to be moving around the game board a lot this week, so I hope everyone has their maps with them – it’s a good idea to laminate one, IMHO. We’ve made it almost to the southernmost edge of the land of Westeros, to King’s Landing. You see a mighty castle and city built in the Mediterranean style. Palm trees sway in the warm breeze as do the pendulous breasts of the many, many “women for hire” that roam this land.
Ned Stark has arrived with his girls. He is summoned to a meeting with the King and his men, so the girls are sent off with their nanny and personal guard. The message bearer tries to hint that Ned should maybe freshen up, put on a tie, comb his hair, and Ned blasts him with an icy glare gaining him bonus E Ps to be used in an upcoming battle.
Jaime Lannister lurks at the doorway to the meeting room and attempts a battle of wits and insults with Ned.
“Nice armor, the idea is to get it scratched, Lannister.”
“No, Stark, I’m just too awesome at fighting to ever get hit.”
“That’s because you only fight three year olds, boom!”
This battle is awarded to Ned, +50 with a bonus 10 for the “you fight like a n00b” comment. Jaime loses 10 for preening.
“Hey, Stark, you hear that?”
“The screams of your father and brother. Oh, right. This is where they were burned to death and I did nothing to stop it.”
“Gonna cry about it?”
“No, but I am going to say that it was pretty weak to later attack the king from behind like a loser-face loser.”
“Oh, if I killed him from the front, that would be okay? Tchuh.”
“No, I’m saying that it’s pretty obvious you’re weak and dumb and an opportunist when it suits you, and you smell like one too.”
Jaime gets +60 for the father taunting and rug pulling, but Ned again is awarded +40 for the reminder that Jaime fights like a n00b. Final tally, Ned with 90, Jaime limps away with 50.
On to the meeting room where we are introduced to all the king’s men: Grandmeister Flash and the Spurious Five (because it’s actually three.) The Grandmeister is an aged man with serious Run-DMC level bling around his neck, the king’s brother, Renly, who is apparently a good friend of Ned’s, and Uncle Fester, the Royal Knowledge Keeper. Always beware a bald cleric with small hands, players, especially when they are a little too keen on the health of young, pubescent boys.
Uncle Fester tells Ned how sorry he is for the troubles on the road. He means poor Prince Joffrey getting chomped on the arm, of course. Ned says that he should have prayed for the butcher’s boy. Hey, gang, remember that a kid was trampled to death? No? It seems like only Ned and Arya remember that, too.
Rounding out the rest of the group is Petyr Baelish, who went to the Alan Cummings school of impressions. I say that with admiration, players. We quickly learn that the King, who is never without a pint, a joint, and a cunt-inual supply of lady friends, has all but bankrupted the kingdom. They are seriously in debt. Ned wants to put an end to this, and is becoming increasingly dismayed at learning Bartheon isn’t the man he once knew. Ned lets them all know that Daddy’s home and it’s time to tighten belts. And blow out those candles, it’s broad daylight outside, you’re burning oil.
The Queen is in her chamber with her son Whiny McHurtsalot putting Vaseline on his boo boo. It’s a perfect bite mark, and it’s almost gone, and he still flinches (she missed the chance for two rabbit punches for flinching) because he is so super wounded and hurt oh my god, why doesn’t anyone sing me a madrigal about my paaaaain? he cries.
The Queen shifts her protective pawn on the chessboard and lets him in on a little secret: when he becomes King, he can tell people whatever he wants to be known as truth, and it will be known that he single-handedly fought off a manticore with no more than a blade of grass and lived to tell the tale, should he wish it. What he wishes is to not have to marry Sansa, because she knows the prince is a foul, ferret-faced little titty-baby. Tsk, tsk, says his doting mother, he can knock boots with any of the many, many, many whores that coat the town like a cheap suit, and just hook up with Sansa to make pretty babies.
It is interesting that she’s raised such a weakling for a child, given how ruthless and calculating she is. She teaches him that “a good king knows when to save his strength and when to attack his enemies.” Joffrey takes this to mean that the Starks are their enemies, and the Queen does not disavow it.
Sansa and Arya are with the nanny, and they fight about Sansa not telling the truth about Micah and Prince CriesABunch. Arya is sent away by Ned who is not equipped for daughters. (He needs to up with armor with a protective shield against bratty behavior and name-calling.) To make up for killing her puppy, Daddy brings Sansa a dolly. She rolls her eyes as only a thirteen year old can, tells him he’s stupid, the doll is stupid, everyone is just stupid, and flounces off to her room to listen to emo music (the psaltery is totally the emo instrument of the dark ages) and write in her diary about how stupid everyone is.
Ned walks into Arya’s room and sees that she has a sword. He decides that if she’s going to keep it, she’ll need to learn how to use it. He also tries to tell her that she shouldn’t be so hard on Sansa, as she is going to have to marry the prince, and it’s not like she can already start fighting with him. “Sansa is going through… changes, things all young ladies go through. You’ll find hair in new places, your body will change, and you’ll want to cry and scream a lot. Also, even though it doesn’t exist in this world, you will crave diet soda, nachos, and chocolate. All at the same time.”
We move back to Winterfell where Bran lies in bed with a hilarious crone telling him tales of kings and shepherds freezing to death, mothers suffocating their babies to keep them from starving, and how when winter comes, and it’s coming, the snows can be 100 feet deep and the darkness lasts for decades. Bran looks moody, so she stops and asks him if this is the kind of story he likes, he nods, she replies, “As you wish,” and continues to tell him of a giant that rhymed and a lisping Sicilian.
The older Stark brother, Robb, comes in and sends her away (but she was just getting to the cliffs of insanity and giant roaming spiders that belong to the Wight Walkers! No one told me there would be giant spiders, I am not happy.) and asks Bran how he’s feeling.
“Like I fell from a tower. Oh, and I can’t remember what happened, and I’m paralyzed. Life is pretty sweet. Say, why don’t you go look pitiful elsewhere and let a boy get his rest, huh?”
Flash down to King’s Landing as Lady Cate Stark has arrived, and any chance of anonymity is gone as guards are waiting for her. She’s taken to a brothel, because they are everywhere, where Petyr Baelish awaits her. And it’s fairly obvious that he’s been carrying a torch for her all this time. She demands to know how he knew she was coming, and Uncle Fester titters behind a curtain and waggles his fingertips in a naughty-boy way.
Fester wants to know if she brought the dagger, the one that she grabbed with her mother trucking bare hands, wrenching it away from the would-be assassin. She has, yet Mr. I Know Everything knows nothing about this weapon. But, oho! Baelish does for it is his! Bum bum bum! Not so fast, players, because he lost that dagger in a bet. To whom did he lose it? To none other than Tyrion Lannister, of course.
NOW is the time for a proper bum bum buuum!
Traveling to the furthest reaches of the map, we land at The Wall. The very Imp cum Dagger Owner is watching Lord Snow training with the other acolytes of the Night’s Watch and Snow has clearly leveled up before the others. None can touch him, and Tyrion takes this all in. A Knight brings a rolled up note, just delivered by raven and addressed to Snow, and hands it to Tyrion. This dwarf is a wily one.
Grandmeister Flash, back in King’s Landing, hands a rolled note over to Ned, telling him it has just come from Winterfell. I don’t think I’m alone when I say, “What is in these damn notes?” Baelish tells Ned he should tell his wife about the note.
“My wife’s not here.”
“OH. She isn’t, hmm? Innnnteresting.”
Ned gives him such a pinch, and they head off to find Lady Cate.
Back at the wall, the chump acolytes gang up on an unsuspecting Snow, ready to pound his face into something resembling Dothraki-doo when Tyrion opens the door and polishes his nails. He also threatens their lives, so they back off. Tyrion clearly wants Jon Snow on his team. But to what purpose?
Cate tells Ned of the suspected Lannister plot against Bran, he kisses her passionately and sends her on her way back home, his heart growing heavier by the minute. Nothing is as it seems.
The King is in his chambers drinking, eating, and telling stories of all the men he’s killed to his chief war advisor. Jaime Lannister, lurking at doorways which seems to be his skill set, is brought in to tell his story of his first kill. Jaime, however, had an impressive first time, filled with love, gentle kisses, and a beheading. He’s not just a pretty face, he’s just made tactical moves ever since to maintain that pretty face.
We cross the Narrow Sea to the land of the Dothraki, who are continually on the move. Daenerys, also known as Khalisi now that she’s the Dothraki Queen, sees her husband whipping a slave and calls a halt to think things through in a field of tall grasses. Her brother, incensed at being made to halt, gets ready to strike her when the Khal’s guardsman puts the choke on him with a whip. Daenerys is beginning to see the power she has in this forced relationship. She does grant her brother mercy.
Ser Jorah, the fellow countryman that is accompanying them, is clearly siding with Daenerys because he, too, is a wily and crafty man. Brother Boob Stroker is left behind as the rest return to the group, and he’s made to walk along the horsemen like a slave. That’s what you get for being a creepy, crazy cretin trying to control your sister’s chesticles, hombre. And with no insult meant to Brian Froud (award yourself a bonus roll if you know the reference) but Viserys looks like a crazed version of Kira the Gelfling. A landstrider would come in handy for Viserys about now.
Snow finally takes his first trip up to the top of The Wall, and the large elevator is human-cranked. And the man cranking it is nothing like Conan at The Wheel of Pain, so kudos to him for his +9 strength. Snow’s Uncle Benjen is there waiting for him. He is a First Ranger and will soon travel through the long tunnel underground to go to the land of the north where the Wild Things are. His excursion could be two months long. We catch a glimpse of the snowy forest and distant mountains that make up the North.
Tyrion and the Night’s Watch recruiter are boozing it up at the base of the wall, swapping stories and cutting up. Benjen glowers at Tyrion, knowing what the Imp thinks of the Knights in general. Tyrion throws out meaningless compliments, followed by the negating “but.” But I don’t believe in the bugaboos of Predafremen Cannibals said to live in the north, he states. Benjen is quick to remind him that he’s a portly little lord who has never had his velvet-encased ass on the line, and that people who know nothing about a topic should shut up talking about it.
“You’ve never been north of the wall, so don’t tell me what’s there.”
Tyrion sucks that down, then goes back to fraternizing with the recruiter. He’ll head out and ride along with Yoren, making haste to leave the icy wasteland.
In the Dothraki camp, Daenerys gets a language lesson from her special maid, who then feels her up. Daenerys pretends to be shocked and the maid tells her that she’s clearly pregnant, duh. Daenerys takes a few moments to process this.
Ser Jorah is sharpening swords with the head of the Khal’s guard, both of them helping each other learn the other’s language. The maid comes in, demands that better food be given the Khalisi, and finally blurts out that Khalisi is pregnant, so no more cheval for her, The Daenerys Need Food. Jorah is quite taken aback, and tells the guard to butcher a goat; he’s leaving to somewhere else ASAP, and he’ll meet back up with the Dothraki at the next camp.
Back at the wall, Snow is now teaching his former bullies how to be better fighters (is this ever a wise thing to do? Hollywood seems to forget all of the bully movies they’ve made) and Tyrion marks this in his mental checklist. The older Knights corner Tyrion to tell him how desperate things are becoming. Winter is coming, the only men at the wall are the old men and the young, untrained fools, and their numbers are dwindling. They don’t have enough to eat, there aren’t enough of them to defend all of the strategic points along the wall, and since Tyrion happens to be related to the Queen…. Perhaps he could pull some strings?
In case it’s not been made clear, winter is coming.
Back in the Dothraki camp, Daenerys has her Yankee Candle collection burning (scent: Sweat & Sand with Dragon Egg also lit) as she lies atop her husband. These two worked it out, it seems, and are quite happy with one another. She tells him that she believes she is carrying a son, and Khal Drogo couldn’t be happier. It seems that once you tame that wild beast he’s all hugs and light kisses. Well played, Khalisi.
At The Wall, Tyrion has his piss into the wilds of the North and crosses that off his bucket list. Snow approaches and nervoulsy asks him that if he happens to pass through Winterfell (and of course he will) could he be ever so kind as to tell Bran that Snow misses him and loves him and will bring him back a snowball when he can? It seems that word of Bran’s paralysis has made it to the North and the Imp keeps a positive viewpoint: “If you’re going to be a cripple, better to be a rich one.”
Pragmatic, almost to a fault, this one.
In King’s Landing Arya is called to her first sword lesson with Inigo Montoya. He teaches her how to stand properly, to weild her weapon with honor, and how to strike fear into the heart of men: “Hello. My name is Arya Stark. You killed Sansa’s direwolf. Prepare to die.” He then works on her parry, her thrust, and as she seems to get the hang of it, he laughs, tells her that he is not left handed, and goes on the attack.
Ned comes into the room to observe and sees the natural talent his little girl has, but before he can feel pride, a wave of PTSD-related flashbacks from his own war experiences wash over him and he remembers what we all know: winter is coming.
Next week: we will learn if Ned is indeed the rook in this game as he goes face to face with the Queen and Daenerys starts to get a hang of this leadership thing. Hopefully we’ll find out who Jorah is off like a shot to gossip about the baby to come.
[Guys, I am just sold on this show. I haven’t been this antsy for new episodes of something since Southland.)