With the announcement that the eighth and final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” will premiere in the United States on April 14—April 15 here in the Philippines—fans of the show described by some as “The Greatest TV show on Earth” have begun preparing for the experience. Perhaps the most popular form of preparation is to re-watch the show, some just from the start of the least season, season 7. It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without “GOT.”
Here at Super, we wish to share our preparation with you by re-watching the show from the beginning through analyses of selected episodes. But beyond the recap, we will to detail all the Easter Eggs, little references and how all the little clues tie in to the great story that George R.R. Martin—and by extension, showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff—are telling. We will tie in every little thing in these episodes with the events that will happen much later.
Yes, we will turn everyone in Three-Eyed Ravens, able to see the events on Westeros from season 1 to season 7 all at once. We will share and savor the Maester-level intelligence. This is the best, and we believe, the only way to perfectly prepare for what might be the most anticipated season of TV.
So massive, SUPER SPOILER warnings on a level never seen before.
Let us continue.
Season 2, episode 1: “The North Remembers”
It’s Joffrey’s name day in King’s Landing. We see The Hound in combat. He is really good and handily wins in front of a giddy Joffrey and a sad Sansa.
Ser Dontos the Red is introduced. Clearly drunk, the bumbling knight is a mess. Ser Meryn takes Dontos away and forces him to swallow a barrel of wine. Joffrey wants Dontos executed immediately. “You can’t,” Sansa cries. Joffrey initially balks but the Hound convinces him to cut it out. Ser Dontos is named Joffrey’s new fool at Sansa’s suggestion. A cheerful Tyrion arrives saying he’s been looking for Joffrey on the battlefield. Myrcella says she’s happy Tyrion is still alive. Sansa says, not convincingly, that her father, mother and brother are traitors. “I am loyal to my beloved Joffrey.” “Of course you are.” Tyrion stomps off, saying there’s work to be done.
Grand Master Pycelle says a raven has arrived, saying this great summer done at last, the longest summer in recent memory. It’s a small council meeting as Queen Regent Cersei is meeting with Slynt, Varys and Baelish. Cersei orders the city gates shut to the fleeing peasants from the ongoing war. A whistling Tyrion arrives. Tyrion says he is acting hand of the king in Tywin’s absence, something Cersei is outraged by. Tyrion says this is Cersei’s own fault for not stopping Joffrey from executing Ned Stark. “Now the North has risen up against us.” Robb Stark is winning; the Lannisters are losing. Tyrion says he might get the captive Jaime back, in exchange for two Stark children. Just one, Cersei says: “Arya, little animal, she disappeared.” Tyrion says instead of three Starks to trade they only have one left.
In Winterfell, Bran, who now acts as lord, is listening to Northern lords complaining about the maintenance of his holdfast. “Do you remember your vows, ser,” Bran asks pointedly.
There’s a red comet, we see this from the point of view of an animal. Bran’s warging again as his direwolf Summer. Hodor brings Bran to the forest with Osha. They debate whether the comet is boon or bane for the Starks. Good or not, “comets mean dragons,” Osha says.
In the Red Waste the Dothraki trudge through the desert, with Khaleesi walking with her small dragons. When her horse dies, she mourns because the horse was Khal Drogo’s first gift to her. Jorah counsels her. “No one will take my dragons,” she growls. It is time to take action. Jorah calls her the strength of the khal, and she says, “As you are mine.” She orders her blood riders to fan out and find the city they should head to next. She has a moment of gentleness with Rakharo. “Rakharo, you are my last hope, blood of my blood,” she tells him. “I will not fail you,” he answers, adding, “this is a bad time to start.” The riders head off in different directions. Daenerys looks up and she too sees the comet.
In the cold, the Night’s Watch members move to Craster’s keep: This settlement is well north of the Wall. The Night’s Watch arrive while ranging for Wildlings. Jon Snow is immediately put off by the cranky Craster, who is home with 19 women of various ages—all of them apparently his wives and his daughters. This realization does not sit well with Jon, especially after he has an argument with Craster who disparages Jon because his last name reveals him to be a bastard. Craster says he has not seen Benjen Stark for a long time and does not care for him. To Jon’s surprise, Jeor apologizes on behalf of Jon. He and Craster have a conversation about strategy, but Craster is very suspicious of the Night’s Watch, afraid that they’re going to touch one of his wives. Then again, the comet in the sky…
We get our first look at the newest location: Dragonstone. We also get a look at three very important characters. There is Stannis Baratheon, and Dragonstone is his base of operations. He is making his own claim to the Iron Throne. He is preparing for his campaign together with his grizzled right hand man Davos Seaworth. Notably with him is the Red Witch Melisandre.
Melisandre worships the new god, the Lord of Light, and she sees that Stannis has been chosen to lead by the Lord of Light. “For the night is dark and full of terrors,” they chant. Others are suspicious of this new religion; Stannis himself doesn’t care as he sees the religion as a way of furthering his own pragmatic causes. On the top of his priorities is to end the other Baratheon rebellion: his younger brother Renly is leading his own campaign to claim the Iron Throne. After a ceremony to burning effigies of the old gods, Stannis comments on Ned Stark’s letter, calling others who claim the throne—Renly, Joffrey and Robb–thieves.” They’ll bend the knee or I’ll destroy them,” he warns. Maester Cressen, Stannis’ maester, tries to murder Melisandre, but this backfires spectacularly, as he winds up dead from his own poison while Melisandre calmly drinks the same thing but survives.
Back in the North, Robb Stark’s army is growing as he wins one battle after another. He has also dragged Jaime from one camp to another as his own campaign progresses. Robb is outraged when he realizes that Jaime is the person who threw Bran out the window back in Winterfell as a means to cover up the fact that Jaime was indeed sleeping with his own sister Cersei. Robb brings in his personal dire wolf, Grey Wind, just to threaten Jaime a bit in the cage. “Three victories don’t make you a conqueror,” Jamie snarks. “It’s better than three defeats,” Robb snarks back.
Back in King’s Landing, Tyrion has decided to keep Shae in the city though Tywin instructed him not to. Tyrion and Shae are really, really getting along.
Meanwhile, Cersei is meeting with Littlefinger as she wants Littlefinger to discern where Arya Stark has gone off to. Littlefinger balks at this as he thinks this is a task beneath him. It’s something Varys should do. Cersei mockingly notes that even though Littlefinger does not belong to a great house, he has carved a sigil for himself, a mockingbird. “Appropriate, isn’t it, for a self-made man with many songs to sing,” she asks. He mouths out about brothers and sisters in the same house having strange affections, saying he has one truth: “Knowledge is power.” Cersei asks the guards to seize him, cut his throat, then changes her mind, all to prove a point: “Power is power.”
Back in the field, Robb takes to the captive Lannister cousin Ser Alton, and makes his demands for peace: Return his sisters, return Ned’s bones and the remains of those who served him, and Joffrey and Cersei must renounce all claims on the North. Joffrey and all who serve him must never set foot in the North or they will meet the same fate as Ned. “I will litter the South with Lannister dead,
Robb also decides to court the Iron Islands by sending Theon to try and convince his father Balon Greyjoy and his 200 ships to support Robb. Catelyn is upset, worried about her two daughters in King’s Landing. She wants to go home. Robb asks his mother to come to an agreement with Renly in the Stormlands. “There’s a king in every corner now,” she notes.
Joffrey is re-arranging the furnishings in the throne room when he speaks to Cersei. “It’s not a claim, the throne is mine.” Apparently, Joffrey has gotten wind of Stannis’ statements regarding Robert javing bastards in King’s Landing. He accosts Cersei about this, and Cersei snaps, hitting Joffrey across the face. A stunned and angry Joffrey snarls, “what you did is punishable by death. You will never do it again. Never.” A seething Cersei realizes Joffrey is moving beyond her control.
In Ros’s brothel, Janos Slynt arrives, leading the Goldcloaks in a search for Robert’s bastard son. They’re killing all the dark-haired boys they can find. “Kill all the bastards!” Cut to the surviving bastard, Gendry (with his bulls-head helmet), who is part of a group Yoren is bringing to Castle Black. And who else is in the group? Arya Stark, who’s been mistaken for a boy by the other kids. We last see them in a cart, traveling up the Kingsroad.
The settings introduced in this episode’s opening credits: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, Winterfell, The Wall and Vaes Dothrak
The episode title, “The North remembers,” is taken from the Stark bannermen cry. This is very similar to their plaintive “Winter is coming.” The Lannisters, for example, have “A Lannister always pays his debts.” This is taken up as a war cry by the Starks in their battle against the Lannisters,–they “remember” the execution of Ned Stark. This cry grows in intensity as more and more of the Starks are killed. There are two particularly important moments when this is said again. The first is when a woman in Winterfell whispers it to Sansa (Sophie Turner) during her incarceration by Ramsey Bolton (that doesn’t work out) and the triumphant moment when Arya (Maisie Williams) whispers it as Walder Frey is killed. In many ways, the episode title serves to warn that the stakes are going to be raised now that the Starks are marching on the South.
After the events of the last episode of the first season, Joffrey is king—but away from the frontline. Here he is, like Nero at Rome, celebrating while other people (Tyrion and Tywin) are doing the fighting for him. The name day is the Westerosi equivalent of a birthday. Joffrey is poised here to become the psychopath we all loathe. His first real act of craziness was the execution of Ned Stark; from here on, he will act more and more unhinged. This is the great streak of work by Jack Gleeson.
Sansa is now starting to realize that she has gotten herself into a terrible situation—and her father killed. She sticks to the idea that Joffrey will marry her to keep her going somehow, but we know this is the start of the end of Sansa ‘s ambitions at King’s Landing: Natalie Dormer’s Margaery Tyrell is on her way. In the meantime, Sansa struggles to keep some sanity around her. This is why she saves Ser Dontos’ (Tony Way) life by suggesting Joffrey name Dontos his fool. Dontos, of course, will play an important part when Sansa escapes King’s Landing. In Martin’s books, Dontos is no fool. He is part of a plan.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage, who is top billing in the credits) arrives after the fighting of last season. He is confident because he had done well on the front line, aided by Bronn (Jerome Flynn). Even Tywin is somewhat impressed. Tywin is also, uh, disappointed by the execution of Ned Stark, thus naming Tyrion acting Hand while Tywin is still leading the Lannister cause in the field. We know that despite Tyrion’s cheer, the Lannisters are indeed losing to neophyte Robb Stark’s (Richard Madden) northern men.
The naming of Tyrion as acting Hand is no surprising change of heart by Tywin. He is simply pitting one child (Tyrion) against another (Cersei, Lena Heady). Plus, Tywin genuinely believes, correctly, that Joffrey is indeed crazy.
Tyrion’s crashing of the small council meeting rattles Cersei because she simply didn’t see this coming. Tyrion drops the hint about saving Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)—but then we realize he doesn’t know that Arya had escaped. The chances of them getting Jaime back shrink greatly—they only have Sansa left. Of course, they never actually get Jaime back—he returns later—and Sansa will escape.
The bit of civility between Sansa and Tyrion is important because these are two relatively good people in terrible positions. Tyrion will wind up married to Sansa later, leading to both their flights from King’s Landing.
The comet has traditionally been a sign of superstition in medieval times. It is used the same here, though in our history (with Halley’s Comet, for example) it considered more a bad sign than a good one. The comet we see here is seen by all the characters; all of them are dragged into the quagmire of events. It really doesn’t work out for anyone.
With Robb out fighting, Sansa in King’s Landing and Arya in who knows where, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright, still tiny) is now Lord of Winterfell. Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter) is instructing him in the day-to-day operations of Winterfell. But this episode firmly establishes Bran’s supernatural bonafides. He is warging through Summer, and this is the path that will lead him to the Three-Eyed Raven and Professor X’s wheelchair. He strikes his classic pose here on Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn) back. Osha (Natalia Tena, also known as Tonks from Harry Potter) now ranges freely with them, showing that they no longer see the wildling woman as a threat. Interestingly enough, it is Osha’s interpretation of the comet that proves true: the dragons have indeed come back to Westeros. Bran’s reaction—that all the dragons are long dead—is the predominant sentiment of any Westerosi, until Viserion, Drogon and Rhaegal make their terrifying return.
After we saw the dragons born from what were thought to be inert eggs as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) emerged unharmed from Drogo’s funeral pyre, they now travel with the diminished Dothraki. That’s little Viserion on Dany’s shoulder; the other two are in the cage.
The Dothraki are in trouble, though, hungrily and perhaps aimlessly wandering through the desert. Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) is concerned that they will be mistreated regardless of where they go, making their wandering literally potentially lethal. The death of Dany’s horse is the definitive sign that Khal Drogo’s reign is truly over. It’s time to do something different.
This is the defining and unfortunately last living moment for Rakharo. He is played by Elyes Gabel, who would later appear as a scientist in “World War Z” and as the lead genius on the TV show “Scorpion.” Rakharo has been very loyal to Dany in the first season and this moment shows he is determined to be successful on the mission Dany sends him on. The brief exchange hints that Rakharo could be considered in the running for khal, though it is a terrible time for this. Truth be told, Dany’s handmaiden Irri is actually besotted with Rakharo. Rakharo will not survive the Red Waste. In a later episode, his horse returns to the group with Rakharo’s decapitated head. He had been found and killed by another khal who despised that Dany was the khaleesi.
This mission is important because it would, eventually, lead them out of the Red Waste and set the stage for Dany’s rise in this continent, but not without much pain and suffering. The dragons, of course, will make all the difference.
Craster (Robert Pugh) is the latest entry in the running competition for the most loathsome person in Westeros, a competition that currently includes Walder Frey and Joffrey. Ramsey Bolton will join later on. Craster is a wildling who provides information to Jeor (James Cosmo). He doesn’t know it yet, but this visit to Craster is the beginning of the end for Jeor in the Night’s Watch. The consequences of this trip will come back to bite him later.
Craster, of course, is sleeping with his daughters to produce more daughters. The most significant event happening in this setting at this time is the low-key introduction to one of the show’s most resilient character: Gilly (the amazing Hannah Murray). At this point, she seems just like another one of Craster’s daughter/wives, but she will actually prove to be a deciding factor in what happens to Craster and Jeor. She winds up Sam’s (John Bradley) muse throughout Westeros.
Though Jon is devoted to the Knight Commander, he is uneasy with the tacit agreement between Jeor and Craster. It’s the kind of thing that will get in the way of Jon becoming Knight Commander himself.
Jon asks the crucial question: What happens to the male babies? We know Craster keeps the female babies to raise as his wives. This question ties in with the bizarre observation of how Craster manages to survive in the wild. The truth is terrible, as we later learn: Craster has an agreement with the White Walkers. Whenever there is a male child, Craster leaves it out in the cold for the White Walkers to pick up and transform into White Walkers. Jon will find this out soon enough and—to his horror—discover that Jeor knows it too.
This is important in seeing that Jeor, as honourable as he is, is a very pragmatic man who makes deals that he would usually not be comfortable with as the Knight Commander. But there is a limit to what he can achieve, as he finds out soon out there in Craster’s Keep.
Dragonstone is the new location, and we can see it is a castle out near the sea. We meet three very important characters moving forward. First is Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). He is the brother of the late Robert Baratheon and the man that Ned Stark sent a raven to last season, declaring Stannis to be the rightful king because Joffrey is the product of incest between Cersei and Jaime. It is he who will make the most serious attempt at dethroning Joffrey.
A fan favorite, Davos (Liam Cunningham) is a survivor. A former smuggler who is also loyal to Stannis, he will be witness to many, many strange things and change allegiances before all is true.
Melisandre makes a splashy first appearance and will make very important plot decisions in the next seasons. In fact, she is actually more important to the plot that Stannis is. Most notably, she will kill Renly and bring Jon Snow back to life. It’s also interesting because the actress Candice van Houten was originally recruited to play Cersei but had to turn down the role when she got pregnant. When the role for Melisandre opened up, Van Houten was more than happy to join the cast. Seeing how Headey as Cersei and Von Houten as Melisandre both slay in their parts, it all works out. Red is the color of the day, as the comet and Melisandre’s color both mark this episode.
The most important piece of furniture aside from the Iron Throne shows up here: The strategic carved table of Westeros in Dragonstone. Dany will look at this table when she arrives there and the table, with its little tokens representing the different families, becomes a symbol for the show itself.
Robb doesn’t know for sure that Jaime was the one who threw Bran out the window, but he makes sense of this after receiving the raven from Stannis. He figures it out and that’s why he can’t help but threaten Jaime with Grey Wind. It’s very early, but Robb may be becoming just a little overconfident with the quick victories, as the experienced Jaime observes. Jaime will be spending a lot of time in cages in the near future, but this is all part of his redemption arc.
Robb does know he needs help, which is why he sends Theon (Alfie Allen) to parlay with Balon Greyjoy (bad idea) and his mother to parlay with Renly. At this point, they don’t know that Arya is gone from King’s Landing and assume that they might be able to get both daughters back by trading Jaime (not gonna happen). Robb knows Joffrey will not agree to these terms. He knows the war will continue.
Though the North is in the title, the really important things happen in King’s Landing. The comfort shared by Shae (Sibel Kekilli) and Tyrion lull us into thinking this will work out. It won’t because Tyrion’s luck with women is horrendous and Tywin would never let Tyrion be happy, period.
The exchange between Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and Cersei is enlightening because it reveals that Littlefinger aspires to be considered head of a great house—his own—and that Cersei will always look at him as a vassal. Cersei’s great quote, “power is power,” reveals that she doesn’t realize just how sneaky Littlefinger has been and will be. She thinks she has it all because she is Queen Regent but Littlefinger will never forget this particular encounter. It should be pointed out that the mockingbird is the perfect sigil for Littlefinger—a bird who deceives other birds by singing their distinctive songs.
Joffrey is changing the decorations in the throne room because he wants it to reflect how he sees himself. This glorified delusion is indicative of the psychopath in him. His attack on his mother shows he sees himself as beyond her control. This is indeed the last time she will hit him. You can see on her face that she is shaken by this resistance from Joffrey. But there is also relief, as she realizes Joffrey has not heard one rumor—that Joffrey, Tommen (Callum Wharry) and Myrcella (Aimee Richardson) are the incestuous products of Cersei and Jaime—but has heard the other—that Robert had many bastards with prostitutes in King’s Landing. It adds up that Joffrey would never consider the first rumor to be true because it would mean that he is not the rightful king. Of course, he believes he is the rightful king. That’s just how crazy he is. You can see on Cersei’s face that she cannot believe that Joffrey doesn’t want to send soldiers to find Arya so they can get Jaime back—Joffrey simply doesn’t know that Jaime is actually his father.
The second rumor ties into the worst thing that happens in this episode. That is Littlefinger’s brothel, and Ros (Esme Blanco) is telling Marei (Josephine Gillan) the exact same thing that Littlefinger told her when Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter) and the Goldcloaks arrive. There are orders to kill all of Robert’s bastard children in King’s Landing, and there are a lot of them. To be fair, it’s not clear that the Goldcloaks are killing children confirmed to be Robert’s heirs (again, there seems to be a lot of them) or just killing all the black-haired male children, but the result the same. Like King Herod’s edict in the New Testament, the Goldcloaks (despite their own squeamishness) carry out the order that we know from the books was given by Cersei.
One will escape of course. Gendry (Joe Dempsie) is already on his way to Castle Black to join the Night’s Watch. Gendry is a weird character on the show, because the creatives seem to forget about him, and then remember him, so he pops in and out of the plot. Gendry will survive all this—heck, he even survives the freaking White Walkers and Melisandre—and currently winds up in Jon Snow’s retinue. Don’t forget, he has Baratheon blood in him, and actually has his own claim to the throne.
But finally we get the scene with Arya in the wagon. It is good to see her at the end of this episode. She is on her way to Castle Black as well (she will never get there) in Yoren’s company. What ostensibly began simply as Yoren’s favour to Ned to save Arya from King’s Landing actually leads Arya on her journey to Braavos to become an assassin. She and Needle with wreck havoc.
This episode is full of terrors, full of foreboding, as the show is coming off a critically acclaimed, widely watched first season and thus has a lot to live up to. Despite the horrors in this episode, all of this essentially just set up for what happens in season 2 and 3. The dramatis personae—everyone from Stannis to Gilly—has been introduced. The locations (hello Dragonstone) have been revealed or hinted at (Mereen). “The North Remembers” is “Game of Thrones” saying hello, again.