Fans of George R. R. Martin's book series probably have no trouble following along with the lavish Game of Thrones series, but those new to the material might have had a hard time telling Westeros from Winterfell. If you're a longtime fan, you'll definitely want to check out The Escapist's commentary on the series, but if you're a confused newbie, fear not! We'll be here with your weekly recap to help you keep it all straight. Or at least as straight as we can keep anything involving the Lannisters, anyway. We'll be doing these recaps each week. Let's go!
There were times when it looked like perhaps the conflict between the Lannisters and the Starks might be resolved, but they passed the metaphorical Rubicon this week and barreled head on into the war that's been brewing ever since Cat captured Tyrion.
Things are not going very well for Daenerys and her beloved Khal Drogo. The wound Drogo received defending his bride's decision to protect several women from being raped by horse lords has begun to fester. The infection makes him so ill that he actually falls from his horse, which starts his tribe rumbling that they need a new Khal. Mirri Maz Duur has used her best medicine, but Drogo's hours appear to be numbered. Ser Jorah urges Daenerys to run away with him, because once Drogo is dead, she is no longer Khaleesi, and whoever claims position as the new Khal will probably kill her and most definitely kill her son before he takes his first breath. Dany refuses to leave her husband, and instead begs Mirri to do whatever it takes to save Drogo's life. Mirri does know some blood magic that might just do the trick, but it will require a sacrifice - only life can be exchanged for death. She slashes Drogo's horse's throat and warns that no-one may enter the tent while she works the spell. Ser Jorah ignores that warning, carrying Dany into the tent after she suddenly goes into labor and the Dothraki midwives refuse to treat her.
Things are equally sticky for Sansa, who is stuck at King's Landing and utterly on her own. The Stark retainers are all dead, her sister Arya is missing, and her father is locked up in the dungeon and being called a traitor. Cersei tells Sansa that she knows the girl is innocent of any wrong doing, but that she can't possibly marry her off to Joffrey after what Ned has done. Sansa begs her to reconsider, and promises that she'll be the most perfect queen ever, and Cersei decides to take her at her word - if she sends a letter home to Winterfell persuading her brother Robb to come to King's Landing and pledge fealty to Joffrey, that is.
Robb is more than happy to accept the invitation, as it turns out, but makes a horrible breach of manners by bringing along some uninvited guests - 20,000 soldiers. His bannermen are a bit unsure of his ability to lead at first, but Robb is his father's son and takes no shit from anyone - a fact Lord Umber discovers at the cost of two of his fingers. Robb and his army run into Catelyn as she makes her way back to Winterfell. She left the Eyrie after her sister informed her that she wouldn't be sending any knights in support of Robb's cause. Cat isn't exactly thrilled to see her baby boy at the head of an army, but recognizes that there's no other choice. If Tywin Lannister wins this conflict, he will kill Robb, Cat, Arya, Bran, all of them, so the Northerners are just going to have to put their heads down and do the best they can, despite being horribly outnumbered.
Things get a bit sticky at The Trident, a whopping great river in between the Stark and Lannister armies. The only way across is through The Crossing, Lord Frey's holding. Catelyn goes to Lord Frey to negotiate for use of the bridge, and after making it clear that he couldn't give a rat's ass about the Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons, or Tullys, he demands a very steep price for passage over the bridge: Robb will marry one of his daughters, Arya will marry one of his sons when they both come of age, and his kid Oliver must become Robb's squire. Robb chokes that one down, crosses the bridge, and catches Jaime's army off guard with a simple trick. Robb decided to show mercy on a Lannister spy that was caught counting Northern soldiers and let him go. Even his mother thought that was a dumb thing to do, but it was all part of his plan to send Tywin's forces off in the wrong direction. Tywin thought he'd be encountering all 20,000 of Robb's men, but instead only got 2,000; the rest were beating the snot out of Jaime's crew and capturing the Kingslayer himself.