HBO Game of Thrones Review: Episode 7 – You Win or You Die

Two major characters killed off in back to back weeks. If that hasn’t proven to you that no one is safe on this show, I don’t know what is. King Robert, who is unceremoniously killed by a wild boar, doesn’t get quite the same epic sendoff as Viserys and his golden crown from last week. His death is sort of pathetic; a fat, drunken king, whose glory days are long behind him, slashed open from neck to belly because of his own gluttony. Equally pathetic is Ned’s attempt at asserting his power as Regent against Cersei and bratty little Joffrey. Not only does Ned reveal to Cersei his intention of exposing her incestuous little secret, he refuses Renly’s offer of assistance and ignores Littlefinger’s advice; when he does finally attempt a little underhanded dealing to get the upper hand (relying on Littlefinger to bribe the city guards) it’s sort of an obvious and lame attempt. Come on, Ned; you don’t think Cersei already thought to get the guards on her side? She didn’t bat an eye when Ned told her what he knew, so she must have had some kind of backup plan waiting. In Westeros, the noble act gets you screwed. Now Ned’s been arrested for treason, and his two daughters are in even more danger than they were before. I love the Starks, but holy crap; both momma and poppa Stark have made some major mistakes. The disaster that will presumably befall them in the upcoming three episodes of the season is almost entirely of their making.

A couple more thoughts:

* Tywin Lannister, patriarch of the golden-haired clan, was just awesome in his one scene in this episode. The cold shows Jaime at the beginning of the scene was intense; he immediately places the most arrogant character in the series in his place with just a few words. Tywin’s clearly the biggest lion in the pride.

* We see Jon Snow again, taking his vows at the heart-tree with Sam. Everything seems fine, until Ghost trots up with a severed hand in his mouth. I’m guessing we’ll see a lot more of the Wall and the Night’s Watch in the next few episodes.

* It turns out that Ned was right all along about Dany and her husband’s horselord army. Drogo had no intention of invading Westeros, and Dany looked like she was almost about ready to give up and go completely native… until the botched assassination attempt pissed off Drogo, who will now spare no effort to invade the seven kingdoms and do quite a bit of pillaging and raping.

John is a TV blogger for Raked and an Entertainment and Sports contributor here at The TMR Zoo. You can follow him on Twitter at @raked_jc