This review contains spoilers.
6. A Golden Crown
Oh Viserys, it was always inevitable wasn’t it? If you must insist on threatening your sister, it’s probably best not to do it in front of her man-mountain of a husband, who has been drinking.
Everyone knows that if you threaten a Dothraki’s wife, as well as his unborn child, bad things will happen to you. Granted, you might have thought you had an ace up your sleeve, thanks to the fact that no blood is allowed to be spilt in the Dothraki capital. But you clearly did not count on this warrior being so inventive when it comes to killing…
Well that’s the episode’s title The Golden Crown explained, which has to rank as one of the most gruesome, yet inventive, kills on TV this year. .. and I’ve been watching Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
It was no surprise really. With Daenerys winning the love of the Dothraki people, the respect of Khal Drogo and the allegiance of Ser Jorah, Viserys’ anger at being sidelined was inevitably going to come to a head. It’s just a shame that his actions led to a literal meltdown, as Harry Lloyd has played the role with a magnificent balance of charm and menace.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, things are also ready to explode in King’s Landing. Ned is re-instated as the King’s Hand, but is still recovering from Jaime’s attack. Cersei meanwhile is furious at Catelyn kidnapping her brother, and the kingdom is suffering raids from the Lannister’s bannerman, Ser Gregor Clegane (aka The Mountain), who has gone rogue since his defeat at the tourney.
Trapped in the middle is King Robert, who is stuck between his best friend and his wife, and their differences. How best to resolve this? Easy. Go on a hunt! As the king so eloquently puts it, “Killing things clears my head.” This leaves Ned in charge, and, as he learns, it’s no easy task managing a kingdom.
By dispatching knights to deliver the King’s justice to Ser Gregor, Ned is essentially making a stand against the Lannisters, a family who are not only royalty but hold the purse strings of the entire kingdom. A full blown conflict is now inevitable which, he realises, places his entire family in danger – especially as Catelyn still holds Tyrion. Or does she?
Luckily for The Imp, he knows that you can always count on one thing – greed. Fortunately, the younger Lannister has enough charm and money to get him out of the most hair-raising situations. Peter Dinklage continues to be fantastic in the role, and the scene where he ‘admits’ his crimes is brilliant to watch, as was his manipulation of the Westeros legal system in order to secure his release. He uses his charm (and crudeness) to get the mercenary Bronn (yes, that is Jerome Flynn of Robson & Jerome) to be his champion and secure his release through combat, much to the anger of Catelyn and her unhinged sister.
It seems as if giving up singing has been the best decision Robson & Jerome could have made, what with Robson savaging vampires in Being Human and Jerome now stabbing knights through the neck.
As war threatens to grip the kingdom, Ned opts to send his daughters back to Winterfell for their own safety. Sansa is, of course, furious, due to her continuing affection for Prince Joffrey, but the sharper and smarter Arya sees the writing is on the wall. Still reeling from the death of Jory, her heart isn’t fully in her ‘dancing lessons’, but luckily Syrio is determined to make sure she is ready for whatever the future holds. One can only hope that when it all kicks off, Arya will remember what she is being taught, but judging from her abilities with the sword, she’ll be fine.
Things aren’t that much safer in Winterfell however, as Bran learns when he is attacked by Wildlings whilst out riding. Luckily, big brother Robb and loyal, but arrogant, man servant Theon are on hand to dispense some bloody justice!
Theon is still feeling unappreciated by the Starks, and to make matters worse, his favourite whore is leaving to seek her fortune in King’s Landing. Could things get any worse? Considering war is about to grip the Kingdom, I’d say yes.
Again this week omitted the adventures of Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch at The Wall, but the sheer amount of storylines going on meant that they weren’t really missed. My main concern is that with only four episodes left, will the writers be able to adequately wrap or set everything up for season two (Clash of Kings)?
Read our review of episode 5, The Wolf And The Lion, here.
Game Of Thrones is screened in the UK on Sky Atlantic every Monday night.