Game of Thrones is one of the most potent TV series of all time; from the beginning of the show, it had a great impact upon all TV for the rest of the series. Scene Siren is everything you need to know about the big and little screen so where better to start than rewatching Game of Thrones and analysing each episode up until that Marmite last episode? I will be discussing the good, the bad and the ugly and I hope you will enjoy the ride!
Directed by: Tim Van Patten
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Following on from the success of the pilot episode, the events of The Kingsroad take place a little while after the first. Ned Stark and his daughters, Sansa and Arya are accompanying the entourage to King’s Landing so that he can fulfil his new role as Hand of the King while Jon Snow travels to the Wall. At home in Winterfell, Catelyn Stark watches over Bran who still lays unconscious after his fall. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen arrives at her new home with the Dothraki, Vaes Dothrak. The episode didn’t lose any interest with the audience from the pilot as it had the same viewing figures as the first.
Trigger warning for this article: Animal death and mentions of sexual assault.
- A symbolic moment – Lady being executed for Nymeria’s ‘crime’.
The Stark family is one of the most important families in the Game of Thrones universe, if not the most important. They are the catalyst for the events that happen throughout Westeros and are one of the long-standing families within the shows. The Kingsroad opens up some of the conflict that is nestled within the family that was hinted at in Winter is Coming, namely the conflict that is arising between Sansa and Arya. Although they are sisters, they are both incredibly different – Sansa is wide-eyed, naive and thinks that all of her problems will be solved if she finds herself a handsome prince. Arya, though younger, is more level-headed even if she is quicker to anger. When Nymeria attacks Joffrey to protect the girls, Cersei calls for the wolf’s execution but Nymeria fled the scene. So, Cersei states that Sansa’s dire wolf, Lady, must suffer the punishment all the same.
Animal cruelty is something that I obviously don’t like talking about on this website and is thankfully something that isn’t too prevalent in Game of Thrones. However, this is a symbolic moment. The dire wolf is the sigil of the Stark family and Cersei ordering Ned to kill one of them is a full surrender of himself and his family, showing that he is truly at the beck and call of his new role. He is no longer in charge of his own future and it marks just the first in a long line of losses in the Stark legacy.
2. A moment that made me feel something – Tyrion slapping Joffrey.
Normally, this section would include (and likely will in future) the sadder parts of the episode and while these were certainly there, the most resonant moment within the episode for me had to be when Tyrion slapped Joffrey not once, not twice but three times. In front of his bodyguard, no less! I remember this being the moment upon first watch that I fell in love with Tyrion – I loved how he didn’t care about the repercussions and it played nicely along the chat he has with Jon later about who he is as a person. It also begins to stir the pot about the tension that grows throughout the series between Tyrion and Joffrey.
Despite Joffrey thinking he has all the power in the world and is untouchable, Tyrion puts him firmly back in his place. When Joffrey recovers from the slap, he looks as weak and vulnerable as a child as opposed to his previous arrogance where he shows little empathy for Bran’s state. Which leads nicely onto my next point.
3. A moment that developed a villain – Joffrey bullying the butcher’s boy.
Joffrey is the character that everyone loves to hate. While he is definitely one of the most vile characters in television history, there is no denying that he is one of the best villains in it, too. His complete lack of empathy and the shocking decisions that he makes throughout the show are sign enough that he is vile but he is also unpredictable in a lot of ways. In the last episode, the audience could see his true colours but Sansa was enamoured with him – purely because he was a handsome prince.
But in this episode, she starts to see what he is really like when he bullies the butcher’s boy and cuts his cheek. It doesn’t seem to detract her too much from him, however, but it certainly solidifies to the audience that he is one to be looking at in the future episodes.
4. A moment that developed a character – Cersei and Catelyn having a motherly chat
This episode is quite Lannister-heavy in comparison to the first which focussed a lot on the Starks. All we have been shown of Cersei in the last episode was that she’s entitled, much like her son, and isn’t all too happy in her marriage with Rob as she’s having an affair with her twin brother, Jaime. But one character trait that remains prevalent throughout her entire character arc is that she is a mother before anything – she loves her children with everything that she has, even if they make questionable choices.
She knows that she is the reason that Catelyn’s son is in the state that he is in and while she doesn’t want to actively own up to it – for obvious reasons – you can see that there is a sense of empathy that pours from her. I think she respects Catelyn, even if she hates the rest of the Starks or finds them beneath her, at least. This is a nice moment that they put into the episode to show that she does have some humanity within her.
5. A moment that developed a relationship – Dany and Drogo turn a new leaf
I don’t want these articles to refer to the books too much as there would be too much to talk about what they do in the books/what they don’t do in the TV show. I want to present Game of Thrones as its own entity but I would be remiss to not talk about the unnecessary need the writers have to present sexual assault. The first sexual interaction that Dany and Drogo have in the book is consensual (as consensual as something can be given the circumstances) but in the TV show, she is assaulted and then in the beginning of this episode, they present it as assault. This is something that has been criticised throughout the series and rightly so.
Rant over, this moment where Dany seizes back control over their relationship is one that is a great moment for their relationship and also for Dany’s power in herself. She realises that she can use the situation to gain what she wants – she has already made friends with her handmaidens and isn’t reliant upon Viserys anymore. By regaining power over Drogo, it’s the first step she takes before her campaign for the throne begins.
Overall, this episode is about the different journeys that the characters are taking towards their end goals – or the Kingsroad. For Ned Stark, he has to relinquish his own morals in order to fulfil his duty to the kingdom. For Jon Snow, he has to relinquish his family in order to follow his desire to go to the Wall. For Dany, she has to learn how to turn the power back onto herself in order to make life bearable – at this current moment, she isn’t planning to rule, that’s Viserys’ plan. But it shows her strength of character.
Are there any other TV series you’re interested in seeing an episode-by-episode analysis of? If so, let me know in the comments below! What did you think of this episode? Be sure to follow this site so that you can see the next episode.