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"Lord Snow" is the third episode of the first season of Game of Thrones. It first aired on May 1, 2011. The episode was written by executive producers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by Brian Kirk.

Plot

Jon Snow attempts to find his footing at Castle Black amidst hostility and suspicion from his fellow members of the Night's Watch. Eddard Stark and his daughters arrive at King's Landing. Catelyn renews an old friendship with a member of the court, while Daenerys and Viserys journey onwards to the Dothraki capital of Vaes Dothrak. Lucius hunts and meets a new adversary.

Summary

In the Seven Kingdoms

The royal party reaches King's Landing. Almost immediately, Lord Eddard Stark is asked to attend a meeting of the king's small council. Along the way, Eddard encounters a Gold Cloak named Carmine Grayburn, whose father, Lord Hendrick Grayburn, is a good friend and bannerman of Eddard's, and has a short but pleasant conversation with him. After that he encounters Jaime Lannister in the throne room. Jaime is still unhappy that Eddard judged him dishonorable for killing the Mad King, the murderer of Eddard's father and brother. Jaime is unrepentant about it. Eddard meets the council members: Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, the king's Master of Coin and a friend of Eddard's wife from childhood; Grand Maester Pycelle, the king's adviser in all matters scientific and academic; Lord Renly Baratheon, the youngest of the king's two brothers and Master of Laws; Lord Eyron Morvayn, an old friend of Eddard's who simply acts as an advisor; and Varys, a eunuch and the Master of Whisperers (the head of the king's intelligence network).

Varys tells Eddard that the council members heard about his "troubles on the Kingsroad" and that they pray for Joffrey's recovery. Eddard grimly responds "It's a shame no one prayed for the butcher's boy", which visibly upsets Varys.

Eddard is stunned to learn that the crown is six million Gold Dragons in debt, half of which is to Lord Tywin Lannister. To make matters worse, King Robert has just ordered a lavish tournament to celebrate Eddard's appointment as Hand of the King. He resolves to advise Robert to cancel the tournament, but the council is doubtful that the King will listen.

Queen Cersei talks to Joffrey about the incident on the river. She tells him that when he is king, the truth will be whatever he decides it will be. Joffrey thinks there will be trouble with the Starks, and promises that when he is king, he will double their taxes, force them to contribute to a standing army and, should they object, crush them and install someone loyal, such as his great-uncle Kevan, as Warden of the North. Cersei points out that the North is too vast and wild to be militarily conquered by outsiders, and a king needs to be more clever. She also advises him to be kind to his betrothed Sansa Stark to avoid stirring up trouble for later, and concludes that "Anyone who isn't us is an enemy."

Arya and Sansa are still at odds over the incident with Joffrey and her direwolf. Eddard explains that Sansa was put in a difficult position by the king and queen, and while she shouldn't have lied, winning the long-term approval of Joffrey, her future husband, was important. Arya is unhappy with the situation, but Eddard mollifies her by allowing her to practice with her sword, Needle.

At WinterfellBran has awoken, but has no memory of his accident. His injuries have left him bed-ridden and unlikely to walk again. Old Nan, the oldest servant in the castle, tells Bran stories to pass the time, but he doesn't want her usual heroic stories about the likes of Ser Duncan the Tall. She instead speaks of the White Walkers and the coming of a vast winter that will blanket the world. When Robb pays a visit, Bran asks his brother if it is true that his legs are crushed and that he will never walk again. Robb reluctantly says this is so. Bran remarks that he would rather be dead.

Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik arrive at King's Landing and attempt to sneak into the city, but are spotted by one of Littlefinger's men. They are taken to meet Littlefinger at a brothel he owns, where Lord Varys is also waiting: one of his 'little birds' told him they were coming. Catelyn is angered by the way they've been treated, but asks Littlefinger for aid in finding the people who tried to have Bran killed. Littlefinger is able to answer this quickly: the elaborate dagger wielded by the assassin used to be his, but he lost it in a gamble with Tyrion Lannister.

Littlefinger fetches Eddard to meet his wife, but Eddard suspects a trick and pushes Littlefinger up against a wall outside the brothel wanting to know what his game is. Catelyn then appears, and Eddard is pacified. After hearing her news, he vows to find the truth and expose the Lannisters to Robert. Littlefinger agrees to be his ally in this, for the affection he once bore Catelyn as a youngster.

At Helgen, Lucius Dragen is hunting a prisoner who recently tried to escape from the dungeons. Apparently, Lucius intentionally let the man loose to see how far he could run. After Lucius and his men chase the prisoner and eventually tackle him by throwing a rope around his neck, Lucius remarks that he is impressed by the hostage's skills but nonetheless, he kills him.

When back at the castle, Lucius converses with Albar, a representative from House Bracken. Apparently, several months prior, a member of the house known as Rickar Bracken mysteriously disappeared when Lucius personally invited him to Helgen. Albar states that his house is suspicious towards Lucius and he even throws offensive and sarcastic remarks at him. Although Lucius remains his cool, his anger overflows and he sticks an ice pick through his frontal lobes. The nobleman has trouble to contain his emotions and speech and blurs out random words while uncontrollably laughing. Mira Dragen, who is also present, removes the ice pick, leading to his death. Lucius jokingly reminds her that technically, she killed him. Lucius' brother Erik is also an unfortunate witness to this and threatens to tell their father, which doesn't seem to bother Lucius.

At Castle Black, the primary redoubt of the Night's Watch in the shadow of the WallJon Snow shows his worth to the trainer, Ser Alliser Thorne, by besting several fellow members of the Watch in the practice yard. Thorne is disgusted at the poor performance of the others, but has no praise for Jon either, dubbing him Lord Snow, and describing him as "the least useless person here". An older Night's Watchman named Jaran introduces himself to Jon and tells him to try and ignore Thorne, as he was a bully to everyone, and also gives him some advice on how to adapt to life at the Wall.

Watching over the new recruits with Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, Tyrion notes Thorne's stern and unusual ways, but Jeor doesn't care as he only requires Thorne to turn the "thieves and runaways" into men of the Night's Watch. Ravens arrive at Castle Black and King's Landing with news of Bran's recovery. In the capital Cersei fears he will expose their secret, but Jaime comforts her. Later on, several of the other recruits gang up on Jon, but the situation is defused by Tyrion. Tyrion points out to Jon that none of the other recruits had the benefit of a skilled master-at-arms to train them, and Jon is alienating them through his stand-offish attitude and superior combat skills.

Elsewhere, Robert swaps old war stories with Ser Barristan Selmy, a distinguished and famous knight and the commander of the Kingsguard. Summoning Jaime Lannister, Robert jokingly questions him about Aerys Targaryen's death, wondering if the Mad King died begging for mercy, but Jaime rather coldly replies that the master he betrayed died screaming the same words he'd been saying since the siege of King's Landing began: "Burn them all".

At Castle Black, Benjen Stark meets Jon atop the Wall and tells him he is going on a ranging in the Haunted Forest. He refuses to take Jon with him, telling him he isn't ready, and that here rank and nobility means nothing: every man must earn everything he gets. Before departing, Benjen stops by the eating area to farewell Yoren, a fellow Night's Watchmen who scouts for new recruits in the capital. There, Benjen scolds Tyrion for his naivety regarding what is north of the Wall and states he has no authority to say what is or isn't beyond the Wall as he hasn't been out there himself.

Later, Tyrion discusses north of the Wall with Jeor Mormont and his chief adviser, the ancient and blind Maester Aemon. Jeor asks for Tyrion to intercede at court and get the Watch more men, as they are dangerously under-strength. Aemon warns that the Stark words are right: a terrible winter is coming and more dangerous things than just wildlings might come with it; after all, one of their number swore that the White Walkers had returned... right up to the moment Ned Stark cut his head off. Tyrion admits his skepticism that supernatural creatures might exist, but agrees to bring word to his queen.

Before departing for King's Landing, Tyrion fulfils an old ambition by climbing to the top of the Wall and urinating off the edge of it. He and Jon share a moment of fellowship before he departs for the capital in the company of Yoren.

In King's Landing, Eddard has contracted a swordmaster, Syrio Forel, the former First Sword of Braavos, to teach Arya how to use her sword properly. Arya is thrilled, and 'the dance' begins. As Eddard watches them practice, his pleasure at seeing Arya happy sours when he realizes that a conflict between the Starks and Lannisters may be inevitable; his daughter may well be training herself for war.

Across the Narrow Sea

Daenerys commands the khalasar to halt on a whim, exercising her growing authority and power. Viserys does not take well to being commanded and threatens his sister. He is strangled by Rakharo, a Dothraki warrior wielding a whip. Daenerys calms the situation and Viserys is forced to walk, a sign of shame amongst the horse-riding Dothraki. Later, Irri tells Daenerys that she is pregnant. Daenerys relays the news to Khal Drogo and tells him she thinks it will be a boy as they lie naked in each others arms. Ser Jorah Mormont and Rakharo compare the Westerosi and Dothraki ways of battle; of the heavily-armored but slow knights versus the lightly-armored but fast-moving horse-warriors. Jorah has heard of Rakharo's father, a great warrior, but admits that he disgraced his own father, a man of great honor. When he learns that Daenerys is pregnant, he announces he must split off from the column to ride to the Free City of Qohor, but will rejoin them before they reach Vaes Dothrak.

Recap

Main: Lord Snow recap

A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.

Appearances

Characters

First

Mentioned

Deaths

  • Escaped prisoner, beheaded by Grond.
  • Albar, rammed through the head with an ice pick.

Cast

Starring

Also Starring

Guest starring

Cast notes

  • 19 of 24 cast members for the first season appear in this episode.
  • Grond only appears briefly and does not have any lines of dialogue.

Notes

  • The episode takes its title from a mocking nickname given to Jon Snow by Ser Alliser Thorne.
  • This episode is dedicated to the memory of Margaret John, who plays Old Nan, who sadly passed away on 2 February 2011 after a brief illness.
  • This is the first episode in which Lucius Dragen kills a character on-screen.
  • During the Small Council scene, Renly hands Ned Stark a scroll containing the announcement of the tournament and the prizes for the winners, which he then reads off as "40,000 Gold Dragons for the champion, 20,000 for the runner-up, and 20,000 for the best archer". Pycelle then asks if the crown can afford 80,000 Gold Dragons in prize money. If you pause when Ned first unrolls the scroll, its contents are actually clearly legible: it goes on to say that there is a 20,000 Gold Dragon prize for "Combat with Swords and Clubs", which makes for a total tournament debt of 100,000 Gold Dragons. It is unclear why this discrepancy occurred.
  • The Dothraki word that Irri is heard teaching Daenerys, "athjahakar", is the Dothraki word for "pride". It is derived from "jahak", the long braid worn by Dothraki warriors which they take great pride in, as they only cut their braids when defeated.
  • When the Royal Steward greets Eddard Stark, and says that Grand Maester Pycelle has called a meeting of the Small Council, the steward mispronounces "maester" as "my-stir"; the correct pronunciation is actually "may-stir". This was reportedly a common mistake on set which took the cast some time to get accustomed to.
  • When Joffrey complains to Cersei that every lord in the realm commanding his own soldiers raised from his feudal lands, he comments that he feels this is primitive, "no better than the Hill tribes." This is the first mention of the hill tribes of the Mountains of the Moon which ring the Vale of Arryn, though they won't be encountered on-screen until two episodes after this, in "The Wolf and the Lion".
  • Joffrey also mentions "uncle Kevan": Kevan Lannister first appears on-screen five episodes from this in "The Pointy End". Of course, Joffrey is speaking loosely, as Kevan is actually his mother's uncle, his great-uncle (it's common in real-life to refer to great-uncles as just "uncle").
  • Old Nan offers to tell Bran a story about Ser Duncan the Tall. Duncan, also known as "Dunk", is one of the main characters in the Tales of Dunk and Egg prequel novellas, which being 89 years before the events of Game of Thrones (there are time skips between novellas in the series, and George R.R. Martin has said that he wants to continue them all the way up to the deaths of the characters, about 50 years before Game of Thrones). Ser Duncan visited Winterfell in one of his adventures, and it is speculated that Old Nan met him in her youth.
  • The scene between Robert, Barristan, and Jaime, the scene between Tyrion, Yoren, and Benjen, and the scene between Jorah, Rakharo and Irri, were written at the last minute because the rough-cut of the episode was running short, and filmed in post-production re-shoots. Note that all of these scenes are interior shots which didn't need to be filmed on-location.
  • It is never revealed in the show who is the real owner of the dagger, and who sent the assassin to kill Bran. In the novel "A Clash of Kings" Catelyn is told to whom the dagger belonged; in the novel "A Storm of Swords" two characters figure out, based on circumstantial evidence, who sent the assassin.

Commentary

Actors Isaac Hempstead Wright, Maisie Williams, and Sophie Turner provide an audio commentary for the episode on the DVD and Blu-ray releases.

  • The young actors sing along with the main theme during the title sequence.
  • Sean Bean was noted by the younger actors for secreting chocolate bars on his person and sneaking them to his young co-stars during filming.
  • Conleth Hill apparently enjoyed trying to put Sophie Turner off during her close-ups.
  • English-accented Sophie Turner and Irish-accented Jack Gleeson would imitate one another's accents for amusement between takes.
  • Isaac Hempstead Wright's only scene with Jack Gleeson was a mock battle scene in the pilot, where Bran and Tommen have a mock fight while Joffrey and Robb watch on (this scene occurred in the book). This was not used in the final episode.
  • The argument between Arya and Sansa at the breakfast table was Sophie Turner's first scene filmed for the first season. Maisie Williams dented the table with the knife so badly it had to be rotated several times to hide the marks from the camera.
  • Mark Addy spooked one of the horses in the King's arrival scene in the first episode with his laugh, while he was talking to Bran.
  • Mark Addy's prosthetic beard was apparently easily removable so he could eat lunch without ruining it.
  • Eugene Simon taught Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner some magic tricks between takes.
  • Emilia Clarke was allowed to pick one of four horses for Daenerys's use in the series.
  • Harry Lloyd was responsible for introducing iPhone game Fruit Ninja to the cast. It went on to become a craze on set, with cast and crew competing to see who could get the highest score.
  • Joseph Mawle told Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner that if acting was easy, everyone would be doing it, so not to be worried if they found scenes hard because the producers had reasons for choosing them and they would be able to do the job.
  • The producers considered asking Miltos Yerolemou to shave his hair off to match the appearance of Syrio Forel in the books, but decided he looked better with his hair. Author George R.R. Martin himself would later say in another Season 1 commentary that he didn't care about such minor differences, being more concerned with the satisfying performance of the actor.

Transcript

Click here for the full transcript.

Memorable Quotes

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