This week an astute viewer might catch a little gem before the intro finished. Episode eight, "The Pointy End", was penned by none other than the writer of the novels from which the show is adapted. Who better than the original creator, George R.R. Martin, to breath even fuller life into the story? Fans of the novels might want also want to check out Greg's commentary on this episode, otherwise I'll be taking over for Susan this week as she's out at E3.
In the last episode, it ended with LITTLEFINGER and the CITY WATCH betraying NED STARK and company. This episode continues there, opening on SYRIO and ARYA. The two are practicing their "dancing lessons", currently unaware of the Lannisters attacking the Stark household and retainers elsewhere in the Red Keep. The SEPTA however guesses as to what's happening, and quickly orders SANSA to go to her room and stay there. Our last image of this catty old woman is staring down bloody Lannister swordsmen.
Syrio proves to be much more a match for Lannister swords than some stern looks, deftly disabling four men with little more than a wooden stick. This allows Arya to flee, but only to discover the carnage of the slaughter near the stables. She recovers NEEDLE from her trunk and escapes the castle, though not before clumsily and accidentally stabbing a stable boy who was trying to hand her over to the queen. Later, CERSEI, Littlefinger, GRAND MAESTER PYCELLE and VARYS are all grilling Sansa to urge her brother and mother to keep the peace. Sadly, her feelings and infatuations with JOFFREY and her family are easily manipulated into writing the letters.
In the dungeon, Ned has a surprise visit from Varys, who has snuck in wearing the guise of a guard. Ned questions why the spymaster did not do the honorable thing. It seems like that one would answer itself, but he responds that he is no hero and that ultimately someone must serve the realm while everyone is serving only themselves. Which does make a strange bit of sense, even Ned was ultimately serving his honor rather than doing what was really best for the country.
There still are some who are willing to set aside for the rest of the realm. At Castle Black, SAM makes the observation that dead rangers they've found should smell worse for men dead several days. Do frozen bodies really rot though? The commander orders them examined by the maester. Afterwards, MORMONT breaks the news to JON about what's happening in the South with his family, urging him above all to not do anything stupid. Now that he's taking his vow, if Jon left Castle Black he would be killed on site as a deserter, much as the watchmen in the opening episode. Jon somewhat promptly does something stupid; he attacks ALLISER THORNE with the kitchen knife after he provokes Jon. The Lord Commander confines him to quarters.
ROBB STARK is even faster to action than his bastard brother. Learning that his father has been taken prisoner, he "calls the banners". MAESTER LUWIN sends out a torrent of ravens to carry the letters to all the lords pledged to house Stark. The young Stark unproven in battle has little to stand upon when commanding these men, but dire wolves however prove to be excellent negotiators when GREY WIND bites a few fingers from an unruly JON "GREATJON" UMBER, who is remarkably much more agreeable after losing a pair of digits. The Vale and LYSA ARRYN are much less willing to fight. Lysa is not willing to risk her creepy son's safety, much to CATELYN STARK'S dismay. Also in the Vale, we see BRONN and TYRION cheerfully quipping. Well, maybe Bronn a little less so, but Tyrion promises the sellsword a few things: gold, women, even golden women, that he could always need someone with a facility for murder and most importantly no matter what price is offered to Bronn, he'd always beat it. Tyrion further uses his wit, humor and promises to secure the aid of the mountain tribes that befall them.