Game of Thrones Recap: Kingsroad

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Another week, another GoT episode. The second episode, “Kingsroad,” further develops the intrigue, the wolves, and doing it doggy-style. Music, steampunk credits, &c. It’s classic Game of Thrones!

We open on the Dothraki procession, the new queen Daenerys tagging listlessly along. Her steward (that’s his title now, send me hate mail) tells her the Dothraki have grass and horses in abundance and then offers her some food. Grass jerky, I’m sure. She’s less than thrilled. Daenerys, eat your jerky. There are children in The Dreadfort who would LOVE SOME HORSE MEAT.

Delightfully little of Viserys this episode. Many thanks.

Tyrion wakes up remarkably lucid for someone who is literally sleeping in a kennel. You know, between the last episode and this one, I’m beginning to think the problem is that the Starks just forgot to assign him a room, or ran out. Speaking as someone who’s been drunk a few times, a kennel is sort of the last place I go to hang out, sober up, cuddle? But okay, Game of Thrones, fair point, symbology accepted: Tyrion is a bit of a mess. He remedies his embarrassment by enacting some physical violence on Prince Joffrey, which (spoiler alert!) is going to earn at least two other characters points in this episode alone.

Tyrion then upsets his brother and sister by suggesting the little boy they pushed out a window last episode may live. I’m sure they’ll let that one go, chalk it up to a job half accomplished, no big deal.

We get a scene between Jon Snow (the bastard) and Arya (the marksman/professional angry child) where he gives her a nice sword before leaving to join what are basically the warrior monks of Westeros, the Night’s Watch. It is remarkably sweet, despite him giving a ten-year-old a sword.

There’s some general Game of Throning between King Robert and Ned about the marriage of Daenerys to Drago and hand-wringing about what it all means. It is boring. I have literally zero attachment to Robert as a king, so a scene about how worried he is about the Threat Overseas is a cutting-room floor scene at best and heavy-handed allegory at worst.

Hey, speaking of Daenerys: it wouldn’t be a Game of Thrones episode without someone getting taken from behind (delightfully referred to by a maid as “how a hound takes a bitch” — on the nose!). (I myself prefer the Kama Sutra’s version: “congress of a cow.) A drum beat starts up to let us know that this is definitely a savage who is having sex right now. The writers scramble to find a way to throw another exotic naked party into the scene, but fall short. Daenerys looks uncomfortable, but also kind of bored? So I guess she’s getting used to the whole rape thing. Something about the dragon eggs turns her on, so she seeks sex therapy from one of her more experienced maids and we get a fairly standard pseudo-lesbian scene under the guise of tutelage. It is a boring excuse to have one lady on top of another and lends some credence to calling this enterprise “boy fiction.” I take it back: more discussions about who is taking whose throne, please!

Little unconscious Bran is attacked in his bedchamber by an assassin. He bloodies up Catelyn before Bran’s wolf dispatches him via a geyser of cartoon blood. Weird how all these characters keep getting this cartoon blood in them. It’s obvious to everybody this assassin was hired, since whoever hired him is beyond a moron and gave him a very fancy knife indeed. Catelyn Nancy Drews it up to the high tower and finds a long blonde hair, and then figures out everything immediately. (I guess this isn’t a procedural.) She rides out via Kingsroad for King’s Landing to tell her husband the Lannisters are involved in Bran’s recent taciturn state, and thusly we get our only mention of the title of the episode.

Daenerys clambers on top of Drago during coitus and it’s portrayed as some kind of character revelation/teaching moment. Okay. Next.

Then we get the real action of the episode: Joffrey and Sansa happen upon Arya and a local boy fencing with sticks. Joffrey finds that unattractive, and cuts the boy with his sword. At which point Arya, of course, attacks him, and her wolf joins in on the fun. She sends the wolf away to protect it. In the ensuing hearing in front of the king and queen, Arya gets vicious, Joffrey gets all whiny, and Sansa keeps quiet. Smart girl. As reward for her prudence, the queen decides to kill Sansa’s wolf in place of Arya’s. We go out on the wolf’s death, and Bran opening his eyes. All in all, a solid plot-building episode.

A note: I find it disturbing that more people are up in arms over the royals’ decision to kill the wolf than to kill the local boy. I like dogs as much as anyone, guys, but let’s keep things in perspective — killing the dog is a symbol. Killing an innocent butcher’s boy is unjustified murder. The furor over the dog rings of a classist focus and places a royal dog higher in stature than a peasant child, and I find the fandom deeply digressive in this discussion.

Indeed, the fans are predictably opinionated about a whole host of issues. They love Daenerys and Drago and can’t see anything wrong with the depiction of an grown, dark man raping a child — never mind the show’s insistence at every juncture on portraying him as an exotic (though, to be fair, not ignorant) savage overwhelming the more staid and normative Daenerys with his horse jerky and dreadlocks. The fans love Arya and hate Sansa, discounting the latter’s more subtle and probably more effective way of rising through the biased, toffee-nosed ranks of the Westeros hierarchy.

Last week’s review had a certain accumulation of fans crying foul that an outsider (c’est moi) would even dare write about a show they hadn’t read the source material for. I don’t want to turn this into a podium on fandom, but suffice to say there’s a foot race to define the “correct and proper viewer” for this show that some of the fandom is participating in, but how that group doesn’t see that courting the most viewers possible for the show, the better, is mysterious to me.

 

Natasha Simons is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, if you can imagine such a thing. She blogs here.

 


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