Game of Thrones Review: “The Pointy End”

Alright, as much as I would love to jump right into this review, there’s something I have to discuss briefly first that everyone should hear.

We have had a HUGE problem lately on these posts with people posting spoilers for upcoming episodes of Game of Thrones because this show is based on a book series that has already been written and read, and it follows it very closely. From what I can tell, these are people who either A) Don’t understand that we don’t want to know giant plot points about a show we like or B) Are smug and satisfied that they’ve read the books and we haven’t and want to taunt us with information. Or C) are assholes. A, B and C are not mutually exclusive.

I come to you on bended knee like Sansa did to King Jauffre in this episode to plead for mercy. There’s nothing I can do to actually stop random people from posting spoilers. If you’ve posted here before, you are approved to post from here on out for anyone to immediately see, and I would hope our regular readers would have the decency not to do such things. But visitors posting spoilers that can’t be seen by the public until I approve them still affects ME as I see all such comments regardless, and have to in order to delete them. I really do love this show, and I’m pretty certain this kind of dickishness has already ruined some giant plot points about the series for me. Please, just stop doing this, I beseech you.

Now that my plea is set forth, onward to the actual episode:

Please, please, please no more spoilers.

You know it’s a busy week when we have plot lines from every single group of characters on the show. And even more impressive is that it was all done with Ned Stark himself getting only a few seconds of screen time. Sometimes you forget what an ensemble this truly is.

Ned has been imprisoned for his act of “treason” to dare try and steal the throne away from Jauffrey. Ravens have been dispatched the countryside over, and all members of his family now know of what’s happened at King’s Landing.

Jon Snow receives a letter, and his first instinct is to march off singlehandedly, but is kept in place by his watch commander, where he soon discovers a pressing detail of the looming White Walker threat. They can turn people into zombies.

Skeptical zombie is not amused with your swordplay.

Yes, this plotline gets stranger and stranger. Apparently when White Walkers touch someone, they become zombiefied, as proven by the reanimated Knights Watch men who started lumbering around the commander’s quarters. This White Walker threat would seem to be the most pressing if they possess that sort of dark magic, but the kingdom is too busy with other dangerous nuisances.

There appears to be a two fronted war about to take place as Khal Drogo readies his forces across the sea. They’re pillaging villages to get slaves to sell for the gold it will take to have their army sail across the sea. I’ve no idea what the whole “Khaleesi adopts a harem” plotline was about, but I’m guessing that will come up more later. It was nice to see Drogo fight for a change instead of sitting on his ass scowling like he usually does. Hard to believe that he and Daenyrs have turned into that kind of couple no one wants to be around because they always call each other baby names and it makes everyone feel awkward.

But the most pressing conflict is the one that doesn’t need to scale a wall or cross a sea. It’s more or less full on war between the Lannisters and the Starks and Rob is forced to gather all those loyal to his father and march against the vastly superior armies of Jamie and Tywin Lannister. We didn’t get to see any action this episode, but I have to imagine we’ll see a pretty large battle next time. Can he possibly win? He’s outnumbered, and this is his first command while the Lannisters have tons of combat experience under their belts. I’m not sure why he let that spy go. I guess he has the same weakness as his father, honor that supersedes intelligence.

“Don’t worry, I’m going to send him back so he can tell Tywin Lannister he’s a cock.”

Even Tyrion Lannister is back, and once again talks himself out of a certain death by promising riches to those who would aide him. I was a little surprised at how lax the security was at the Lannister camp where they didn’t seem to mind a horde of barbarians creeping in their back door, and I’m wondering how long these hill people will be sticking around for.

I was a bit disappointed that since the title of the episode was an Arya reference, that she wasn’t featured a bit more. The scene with her “dance teacher” taking on an entire armed contingent of guards with only a wooden sword was amazing. I hope he didn’t actually die, but I think that’s what was implied. Arya is now the only Stark family member not connected to any of the others (other than Sansa, currently being cradled by the Lannisters), and I have to wonder where she will go now, and who she will meet up with.

I have a hunch she may join up with that old Lannister guard who I predicted would turn into an ally. He resented being forced into early retirement, and I don’t think it was a particularly wise move to publically humiliate such a supremely skilled warrior. I’m also surprised they didn’t execute him on the spot for his insolence. I think he’ll prove to be a valuable Stark ally soon enough.

That would be the pointy end.

The episode ends with Sansa pleading with Jauffre for mercy for her father. He says she can have her wish if she gets him to confess his falsehoods. Will Jauffre ever find out who his true father is? What will be his reaction when he does so? What would yours be? If he’s lucky, he’ll be dead before he ever discovers the truth.

Great episode, and my respect for this show is ever increasing. And there wasn’t even any nudity this week! Well, no female nudity at least. Who the hell was that guy? Next week is sure to be action packed and I can’t wait to see what happens. SEE what happens, NOT READ ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS HERE. Again, please, don’t post spoilers.


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  1. This episode didn’t have a trace of fat to it. Every scene was needed and moved the story ahead. George RR Martin actually wrote this episode himself and it really seemed to nail what the characters are all about, which considering he knows his characters best is not a surprise but it makes me wish he wrote every episode now.

  2. I posted this before on the stupid Ned meme post, but too late to get a response (flamed I’m sure) so I’m reposting to see if anyone else has this reaction, too.
    I never read the books and don’t plan to, but this series is going nowhere. Everything that happened has been telegraphed to happen for like 3 episodes minimum. Lannisters take over the throne. Yeah, that was kind of expected and Ned is so stupid you have to remind him to breathe. War brewing between Starks and Lannisters. They basically told you in episode 1. King’s brother wants to be king. Amazing, except he said it 3 episodes ago. What kills me is that the show then treats it like it’s a big plot twist. If a character says “I’m going to do X” and then 3 episodes later turns around and does it, it’s not shocking. You’re kind of waiting for it.
    So we’re now I think 7 episodes in, and nothing has changed. Lannisters making Starks look like a fool. Blonde chick orders around a bunch of shirtless extras from the 500 movies, says ‘Khaleesi’ a lot and is really pretty annoying. Silent petulant guy is cold, silent and petulant. Quick – which episode was I describing? The only good thing is Peter Dinklage, and he’s good in pretty much anything. Heck he was good in ‘Elf’ so that’s not saving this show.

  3. Sadly I’ve been subjected to spoilers too. It’s incredibly hard to go about daily internet business without stumbling over spoilerific articles and comments. Which is why I enjoy this weekly article, no spoilers, just interesting thoughts and theories!

  4. I’m pretty sure Rob told his mother that they only had 13,000 soldiers for battle. The spy said he counted 20,000. I think Rob released him so that he’d give the Lannisters bad intel.

    He appears to be very cunning that lad.

  5. Not a spoiler>>>

    The Lannister guard you mention is actually a member of the Kingsguard, Barristan the Bold. He is sworn to protect the King and is not associated with any major house, hence his indecision when confronted with Stark’s claim that the Joffrey is not the true heir.

    And yes, he is a badass.

  6. Negative 1, what do you think happens next? Because you can obviously see everything 3 episodes in advance… Try not to wiki it.

    the movie is 300, not 500. So all ready I knock you down a couple pegs on your insight into the show as you cant even get your facts straight.

  7. Now that I am reading the book (and trying to catch up to the current episode…not an easy task) I really do wish there were more episodes because the character development is a bit rushed. Anyway, this was a great episode and I think at this point I am emotionally invested into the show. Am I the only one who truly hates Sansa? How much more of an air head could she be? I hope she is killed off soon. Meh. Ok that may have been harsh, but seriously I feel like she is going to be what Kate was to Lost… a pointless character that gets everyone in trouble or killed because she an idiot and is only thinking of herself.

    I also think that even though Dany and Drogo have become that mushy pansy couple that makes you want to puke… They have great potential. Many women have been known to be the catalyst to major events throughout history. I am excited. She is probably my favorite character. I think she is going to become one of the most powerful players in the series.

  8. “This story is going nowhere”… Yea, at least 3 major armies gearing up to battle, mystical beings from the north apparently getting ready to show themselves after thousands of years, a family split and in turmoil, questioning loyalties and wondering how they’ll survive… what the fuck…

    How much more has to be going on for this to “go somewhere”? For fucks sake there’s 5 books…

  9. Love this show and I am currently reading the book also, way behind compared to the show, but anyone who is even remotely interested in the books, read them, They are actually better then the show IMO.

    I loved seeing Drogo rip that dude up for talking bad about his lady, finally get to see what all the hype was about regarding Drogo’s fighting skill. The whole her saving the villagers from rape thing was pretty lame, I do enjoy Danny’s parts most of the time, but didn’t really care for that, I guess something will happen with it in the future.

    Dinkledge is the man and better win some awards for his potrayal of Tyrion, he is dead on perfect with the part and is exactly what you would picture tyrion to be in the books. Enjoyed the scene with him and Bronn strolling thru the woods.

    Cat’s sister is crazy and that little kid freaks me out, less him please!

    Love Jon Snow’s storyline at the wall and find it very interesting as you really start to see how distant from the regular world the night watch is, there one and only concern is that wall, I am really starting to enjoy Sam also and really starting to hate Thorne, which i guess is the point.

    Syrio is the freaking man, taking out all those guys with a wooden sword, I reall hope he isn’t dead, remember what we tell the god of death “not today”

    Robb is a very smart kid and I just loved when he told them to call the banners (greyjoys face was priceless when he said that) and the scene with all the ravens flying was awesome.

    Also Greatjon Umber (the guy who got his fingers chomped off from greywind and then laughed about it) is the man and that guy is just straight BAMF

    My theory on why Robb let that scout go….

    1. I remember the 13000 men comment to his mother and I think that he wanted to spread bad intel.

    2. Robb does have some mercy in him like his father.

    3. Robb gives the scout a message for Tywin Lannister, that 20,000 men march to him to see if he really poops (hehe) gold, that sounds like he is poking the lion alittle bit to try and cause a misstep from Tywin

    all in all there is only two episodes left and I cant wait to see what happens, even starting to read the books after the show as not ruined the books for me, and i again highly recommend them to everyone.

  10. As for why Robb let the spy go, the spy didn’t know how to count. Robb admitted that he was going south with 18,000 men. The spy said 20,000 or more. Letting the spy go is a case of misinformation that can be useful. Making your enemy think your force of arms is greater than it actually is is a classic battle tactic.

  11. @everyone

    Great job on no spoilers!

    But yeah, I thought about that misinformation thing with the spy as the 20,000 number seemed to be wrong. How do you accidentally count too HIGH though? And how is it an advantage to have him report back that Rob has MORE men than he actually does? I doubt the Lannisters would run away in either case, and when they show up and there’s a few thousand less men, then bully for them.

    It seemed like he SHOULD have had a good reason for letting that guy go, I’m just not convinced about what that is yet.

  12. @Paul, What if the spy goes back and tells them the wrong number and the Lannisters send all of their troops in the wrong direction? It seemed as though they were not settled on which angle to strike from. This could be a great tactic just like Nick said.

  13. Re: Rob and the spy. Weren’t they discussing two different strategies just before the spy was caught? One was to attack Tywin and the other to go after Jaime. Then Rob sent the spy back to Tywin with a message that they were coming for him. I haven’t read ahead, but I think there might be a sneaky plan somewhere in there…

    Also, I have never tried to count thousands of people who refuse to sit still while I try to keep track of them… some of them even have the nerve to be dressed in identical clothing and go in and out of tents! I suspect its harder than it looks. Even today with high tech video equipment we have trouble accurately counting crowds of protesters. And I’m not talking about how some people feel the need to artificially inflate those numbers.

    And I respectfully disagree about some of the Dany comments. If anything, I see this as her coming into her own as a power to be reckoned with. All her life she was subservient to her brother. But now she is rid of him, ate a horse heart, can’t be burned, tamed the most dangerous man on that side of the Narrow Sea, and is standing up to well armed rapists. Perhaps its a sign that her heritage of power and leadership is coming into bloom. That she can lead like her ancestors, but it will be her own more merciful version of power.

    Also, if the Dothraki were in fact intended to be loosely based off of Native American cultures then the nicknames might make sense. They often named each other based on things they observed in nature such as animals or the weather.

  14. I think you guys are missing the main point about why Robb let the spy go. Earlier in the episode they were discussing how if they attack Jamie at the Riverlands (?) they will be able to have the element of surprise because he will be preoccupied and they will also get more allies to join them if they win. I think Robb sent that message to Tywin because he wants to come off as a young arrogant fool, which Tywin already seemed to think, that would attack a much superior army that is expecting him.

  15. This was my favorite episode to date, and it felt like the hour just flew by. I loved the sending of the ravens, which is a fantastic visual. Barristan’s forced retirement, Syrio defending Arya, Rickon making an appearance to Bran, all good stuff.

    The only scene I didn’t care for was Arya’s killing of the stableboy, as it seemed rushed and abrupt.

    Joffrey is so punch-in-the-face-worthy.×08-the-pointy-end-game-of-thrones-22640084-1024-576.jpg

    Paul, is it okay to mention the name of the Kingsguard who opposed Syrio with the Lannister household guards? He’s named in the book by this point, and I’m assuming it’s not mentioned in the show simply because of the already large cast of named characters.

  16. The scene of conversation between Tyrion and his father is pure genius, I loved it.
    “The boy does have a certain belligerence. You’d like him”
    As for Syrio – maybe the god of death sometimes just doesn’t listen, add to that the fact that the first sword of Braavos does not run and my theory is he died heroically. Too bad, he was awesome.

  17. That picture of Joffery on the throne just makes me angry. Do you think they cast an actor with no lips to make it look like Joffery has an incest related birth defect?

  18. jrock, you’re correct that Jaime is in the Riverlands. I only watched the episode once, but i believe he is besieging Riverrun, where Catelyn’s family is from. Two episodes ago we learned that Gregor Clegane, the Mountain That Rides, has also been raiding the Riverlands.

  19. I love reading this blog after every episode. I have read the books and know everything that happens, and I have to say i’m really enjoying reading all the theories on what is an isn’t going to happen.

    It’s added a whole new element to the story to hear how others are thinking the story is going to go. The funniest one being “negative 1” and their comments on how everything is entirely predictable. I have a feeling they’re gonna have a brain explosion ala Scanners if they stick with this show.

  20. Drogo dropping both daggers before taking on Mago was all win. Finally got to see just how badass he really is. Sucks we only have two more episodes left this season.

  21. Don’t you have a friend, acquaintance who has read the books and is watching the show, and who can screen and delete all spoilery posts and then send you … instant message (for instance?) and say “thumbs up”, and you can read all that are approved.
    Btw. I think a post of mine got deleted ? I am not sure, maybe I forgot to post (it happens…). If the first is true, that means that I am an asshole (though I cannot have been a large asshole or I’d have noticed), in that case I am sorry.

  22. I rewatched the scene , it is 18 000 not 13 000 in Robb’s army. I am a little bit muffed. Are the West that much more powerful (more than 3 times! Jesus Christ!) that the North. I mean, Wow.

  23. The North is much larger than the Westerlands, but thinly populated. I’m under the impression the rich Lannisters can more quickly raise or hire their own levies than the North could.

    For context, this non-spoiler map is a fan-made depiction of the political boundaries between the kingdoms. The specific places listed are the five largest cities of Westeros, not seats of the major houses.

    Aside from the Dothraki scenes, most of the episodes so far have been spent in the North, the Vale (Mountains of the Moon), and King’s Landing. The inn where Catelyn captured Tyrion is in the Riverlands.

    Characters we’ve seen in the show that come from lands not shown yet include:
    *Catelyn Stark (nee Tully) is from the Riverlands
    *Lannisters and Cleganes (Hound & Mountain) are from the Westerlands
    *Renly Baratheon (youngest brother of Robert) is from the Stormlands
    *Loras Tyrell (Renly’s lover) is from the Reach

    *Stannis Baratheon (the middle of the 3 brothers, and Ned’s choice to be the king) has been mentioned a few times but not shown yet. He is at Dragonstone, the middle of the three islands of the Crownlands.

    *Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish comes from The Fingers, the rocky peninsulas along the eastern shore of the Vale / Mountains of the Moon.

  24. @Diarmuid212, defmincex13

    Look, I hope I am wrong. Really. I’ve watched every episode of this so far and I don’t want it to be a waste of time. But what are the major arcs to what I’ll refer to as the three main stories? Ned Stark was the Lannisters’ bitch in the second episode, and has been since. You want a prediction based on that? He’ll still be their bitch during the season finale. Either a.) they kill him or b.) he escapes, but they’ll still be in power. His arc will have been from 2nd in command and a Lannister whipping boy to not in command and a Lannister whipping boy. Lannisters’ arc – pulling the strings of power for the whole empire to pulling the strings of power for the whole empire. Do you notice a pattern? That’s way better than the blonde chick, who has gone from Queen of the Shirtless to Queen of the Shirtless, although she’s rolled over in bed. Or the Knight of the Watch, who was brooding in a cold castle and is now brooding in a different, though still cold, castle.
    The main problem as I see it is that with 3 storylines that have nothing to do with one another, you need 3 protagonists. The blonde chick has zero personality, so it’s tough to identify with her, the Knight of the Watch has literally done the same thing in every single episode, so it’s tough to call his arc ‘growth as a character’ even though it has been an only internal struggle (remember, he’s only been in basic training so far) and who do you root for in the Lannister/Stark ‘feud’ (one sided as it has been). Ned Stark is so dumb you expect him to drool as he speaks. He can’t possibly be the protagonist, and yet the Lannisters whole character is ‘evil rich people you hate’. So who do you identify with? When they tossed him in jail, why should you care? He made like 8 mistakes in a half-hour to get there.
    Why don’t you look at the verbs in your post describing the season. “Gearing up” “apparently getting ready” “questioning”. Not a whole lot of anything, just staying the same but preparing to be different. Not actually being different, preparing. There has been no give and take. I’ve watched 7 episodes of the only protagonist with an antagonist to play off of get his a** handed to him in every little conflict. Is he ‘gearing up’ to not get his a** kicked once? The other two protagonists have no antagonists and are ostensibly growing as characters. How have they grown? What has changed?
    Everyone who defends this show keeps saying ‘yeah but in the books wait until you see…’ but why would anyone stick around to do so? Like I said, I haven’t read the books and don’t plan to, so I’m just commenting on the TV series as it has been shown. Maybe scope is an issue, I’m sure it’s tough to get 700 pages into 9 or 10 hours of TV. Still, I am rapidly becoming frustrated with this show.

  25. I will admit that that question was worded very oddly.
    When Robb was gathering his bannermen at the table (when Grey Wind bit the man’s hands), his other allies were as follows:
    -Lord Rickard, head of house Karstark (sigil a sun)
    -Roose Bolton, head of House Bolton (sigil a flayed man)
    -Maege Mormont, sister of the Lord Commander Jeor Mormont of the Night’s Watch (sigil a bear). If you were wondering why the names are similar, Jorah Mormont (the knight with Dany) is Jeor’s son
    -GreatJon Umber, member of house Umber (sigil is a giant being held down by chains)

    That seems to be the minor characters that were cut from the show (except for Greatjon Umber, AKA Mr. Fingers bitten off). There should have also been an appearance from Catelyn Stark’s uncle, the Blackfish.
    With regards to female nudity, if they had followed what happened in the book, Bran would have gotten the fright of his life as Osha (Tonks from Harry Potter) would surface from the water beside him completely nude. With regards to the random naked man, Hoder is distantly related to the old story teller that scared Bran in episode 3. Hoder is pretty slow and serves as legs for Bran. He forgets things quite a bit and forgot to clothe himself after he finished bathing

  26. A great list hun23, as many of those characters are quite important in my opinion.

    Of special note is Bryden Tully, the Blackfish, Catelyn and Lysa’s Uncle who was The Knight of the Bloody Gate (the entrance to the Vale). Catelyn visited him on the way up to the Eyrie and on the way back out of the Vale, as she was leaving, the Blackfish decided he wanted to go with Catelyn when he saw that Lysa would not rise up to fight against the Lannisters.

    A character they also briefly mentioned that is very important is Lord Walder Frey of the Crossing (the “Late” Lord Frey because he showed up to Robert’s Rebellion after it had already been won). He was not at the Northern war council though, he is just a river Lord that holds a key chokepoint in the Riverlands that sits between the North and the South…

  27. The “old lannister guard” isn’t.

    Barristan Selmy is the captain of the kingsguard. Or was, rather.

    He is not a lannister.

    They serve the king directly, and therefore in theory have no allegiances… which is why cersei lannister is trying to put Jaime in charge. With Jaime in charge she will have undue power over them via his influence. She is consolidating her power base.

    It is the same reason the leader of the goldcloaks was awarded in the same episode.

  28. It’s Joffrey and Robb. Not trying to be snarky, just thought you’d prefer accuracy. Have a smiley face to know I’m not an asshole.


  29. Maybe Robb is misdirecting Tywin into thinking he’s attacking him, then sending his army around to attack Jamie’s Army… He did say that he was going to attack Tiwyn didn’t he? Some misdirection, maybe Jamie’s Army sends some reinforcements to Tywin and then he gets owned?

  30. negative 1:

    The problem is that you’re looking at single-season, single-book story arcs. The “big picture” is obvious even without spoilers: we’ve got Baratheons (Renly and Stannis), Lannisters (Cersei, Jaime, Joffrey, Tywin, and Tyrion), and Starks (Ned and Robb) and who-knows-who-else fighting over the throne while the REAL dangers lurk far away in the north (the White Walkers, now awakening as “Winter is coming”) and across the Narrow Sea (the Dothraki, now roused). But the players for the throne are squandering their resources fighting each other while neglecting the Wall (look back at Tyrion’s assessment of its status) and making the Dothraki angry (by attempting to assassinate Dani). Stupid Ned Stark ain’t the only one making enemies and ignoring the chances to avert the doom heading their way from the ends of the world.

    As far as character development is concerned, Jon certainly has a long way to go, but he’s already learned that (1) being raised as a noble Stark counts for nada at the Wall, where he has to make friends/allies/at least non-enemies with people from other houses and from other classes of society; (2) glamorous kid dreams of glory are going to have to be forgotten when he’s taken from that comfy noble lifestyle and dumped into a life that, frankly, sucks–no women, no loot, no respect, no glory, and oh, by the way, you’re now you’re a valet, Jon; and (3) if he’s ever going to make something of himself here, he’s going to have to develop qualities that Ned didn’t train him for, such as learning to value Sam’s book knowledge.

    I’ll skip over Dani’s character development, since most people seem to regard it as obvious, but in your remaining story-arc (Ned vs. the Lannisters), I think that GRRM has successfully tricked you into thinking that Ned Stark is the protagonist. Ned is the noble guy who may be doomed (per your post) because he DOESN’T adapt, but that suggests that he is a tragic hero, no? But if his tragedy plays out as you forecast but the story does not end (you already know that there are more books and seasons ahead), that must mean that GRRM has tricked you into thinking this is one kind of story when in fact it’s something else entirely . . . . In short, you might want to consider the possibilities inherent in other characters, whether they appear “good” or “bad” now, and contemplate the consequences if this is in fact THEIR stories rather than Ned’s. Even in the Stark family, you have a host of candidates, but there are obviously others (look at the lovely relationships between Tywin and his sons, of whom he is so paternally supportive *grin*!).

    Hope this gets you to continue watching into Season II (and perhaps III-X, since the later books will have to get multiple seasons!) and that at some point you’ll actually get the GRRM “moment” when you throw the book across the room, realizing that what you thought all along was wrong and that you’re going to have to rethink it all. That’s what the readers like in the novel (which is all a single story, not separate “series” novels) and which we hope the HBO folks manage to achieve in their genre as well.

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