Earl’s take on episode 2:
The Kingsroad is the second episode of season one and it’s mainly an episode about travel. On the Kingsroad we have King Robert, Cersei, Jamie, Joffrey, Ned, Sansa, and Arya making their way south from Winterfell to Kings Landing. On their journey south, Joffrey was attacked by Arya’s direwolf, Nymeria, and the Hound killed Arya’s friend Mycah. Arya’s direwolf runs off but Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, was killed in retribution.
This comes after Sansa does not confess to the Queen about Joffrey’s aggression in the incident. Ned, being the man of honor that he is, kills Sansa’s direwolf. This causes great pain in Sansa, but at the moment of Ned slashing at Lady’s neck, his son Bran wakes from the coma that he was in, from when he was shoved off the tower by Jamie Lannister.
Jon and Tyrion are also on the road as Jon goes off to join The Nights Watch and Tyrion goes with him to observe the Wall. There they bond over their shared angst at the World, and Jon discovers that the Nights Watch is not all that he thought it would be.
Another person feeling disappointed in her travels is Daenerys Targaryen, who is now the wife of Khal Drogo, and the Khaleesi to the Dothraki. Daenerys is having a difficult time adjusting to her new role but she receives comfort from Jorah the Andal and from the dragon eggs that Magister Illyrio presented to her at her wedding.
Theme of the episode
Earl: For me, the theme of this episode is all about travel. In The Kingsroad the characters are all moving towards something. For Ned and the Stark girls it’s all about heading towards Kings Landing and the new lives they will have there. Sansa is set upon marrying Joffrey, Arya and Ned are both weary of what is to come and both are likely missing their lives in Winterfell but accepting the fate of what is to come.
The acceptance of fate is something that Daenerys is also struggling with. Daenerys Targaryen is someone who does not know herself or her power. She married Khal Drogo because her brother craves an army to take over a world she does not know. Daenerys does not know how to communicate with her husband or her people. She seeks solace in the dragon eggs, because of what the dragons means to her House, but at this point she has no clue how to move forward in her new life.
Jon also comes to a moment of acceptance of his circumstances. He still does not know who his mother is after Ned declined to discuss it with him. Well, he will find out next time, but let’s not hold our breath here. Jon is a man of The Night’s Watch. Something he might have held in high honor due to his Uncle Benjen being a member, but he’ll soon find out that the order has been neglected and that he’ll be serving with men and boys far below his expectations.
Shauna: To me, I think finding a place in this world that these characters find themselves was the overarching theme of this episode. We see many characters (Jon, Tyrion, Ned, Arya, Sansa, Daenerys) leave their homes and venture into the unknown, trying to forge new ties.
Jon leaves a place that really wasn’t home to him and tries to find a new one in the Night’s Watch. Sansa and Arya are leaving Winterfell to go to King’s Landing, with Sansa hoping to add the Baratheons as family as Joffrey’s bride and future queen. She is very much interested in shedding her Northernness and is ready to embrace whatever it is that will align her with Joffrey. As always, the editing is done quite smartly here, with Sansa jealously looking on as the Southern girls tidy their hair (we will see her adopt that hairstyle rather quickly).
Arya, however, is going to her new place with a token of Winterfell and family (her brother) with her. This sword, as we will see, will serve as a beacon of Arya’s “Starkness” as the story progresses.
Daenerys in this episode is the most surprising in the choices she makes in order to assimilate into the Dothraki world. We have not seen much gentleness and civility in the world she finds herself, yet she strives to find common ground with her new husband. She enlists Doreah, a pleasure slave bought by Viserys, to teach her how to please the Khal. Now, it may seem to many, that this is a continuation of the male dominance occurring in this thread of the story, but I disagree. I think that Dany realizes that she needs to be seen as equal in the eyes of her husband, and only then, can she wield some kind of influence in this relationship. The first step is to not submit, and she does just that. As we all know, this is the catalyst that starts the change in her to become the Khalessi we know and love today.
Earl: Although there is a bit more detail about this in the books, Arya and Jon have a close relationship. There are more alike than the other Stark children, and that kinship is something that keeps them together. What we do see in this episode is when Jon hands Arya a sword he had commissioned for her. A sword Arya will call Needle.
In that embrace between Jon and Arya we do get the sense that Jon does care for Arya before all others. To this point we have seen Jon have warm scenes with Robb, Ned, and Benjen but there is something in this scene with Arya that shows that despite him being put down by Lady Stark for his status, and not feeling like he really belongs in the World, that in Arya he has a true friend. A true sibling.
Shauna: It’s one of my favorite scenes and really shows how much these two love each other. I look forward to seeing this reunion in Season 7.
Questions you had or questions that may have been answered better with second viewing and observations:
Earl: I do have one question after watching this episode and that is why did Illyrio give the dragon eggs to Daenerys?
After hosting both Targaryens, I’d imagine that a gift so symbolic to their house would have gone to Viserys. After watching Dany with the eggs, I couldn’t help but ask myself that question.
Shauna: I wondered that myself. Illyrio could not have possibly known that they were hatch, but I agree, I think he gave it to her for sentimental value.
Characters We Meet:
Mycah is Arya’s friend. He’s the butcher’s boy and someone who Arya was swinging wooden swords with. Upon discovery by Joffrey, he challenges Mycah to a fight because he witnessed Mycah striking Arya who is a member of nobility. Mycah does not harm Joffrey but he meets his death when the Hound rides him down in the forest.
Ser Ilyn Payne is in the service of the King but he might as well be in service to the Lannisters. He’s an imposing, silent figure. We do not get much from Ser Ilyn in this episode but upon first glance you get the impression that he’s capable of inflicting serious harm.
Rast is a new member of The Nights Watch. He comes from the dungeons in Kings Landing and he was given a choice of castration or to join the Watch. He chose the Watch.
Dorreah, Irri, and Jhiqui are Daenerys three handmaidens. The ladies in waiting care for Daenerys and are her companions.
The assassin, for we do not get his name, was sent to Winterfell to finish off the job of killing Bran. Likely sent by Cersei and/or Jamie the assassin fails in his quest due to the intervention of Catelyn Stark and Bran’s direwolf Summer.
Sandor ‘The Hound” Clegane: We thought it best to have him explain his House:
Valar Morghulis, Valar Doharis.
S & E