Directed by: Daniel Minahan
Written by: Jane Espenson, David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
A TCC RATING OF:
A Golden Crown opens in King's Landing, where Eddard awakens in his chambers after passing out in the street with his leg wound. He is confronted by Cersei and Robert, who demand that he let Jamie go and tell his wife to release Tyrion. Robert also gives him back his status as Hand of the King. Arya also continues her sword training.
Across the sea, in the Dothraki capital, Daenerys puts one of the old unhatched dinosaur eggs over a fire and then picks it up without getting burned, but it burns her servant.
Meanwhile, in Winterfell, Bran is riding around on his new saddle, but wanders away from his brother Rob, and Theon. He is set upon by bandits, but gets rescued. All of the bandits are killed except one woman who is taken as a prisoner. The bandits were talking about white walkers before getting killed however, and only Bran heard them.
Back at the Dothraki capital, Daenerys eats an entire heart as part of a Dothraki ritual. A shawoman is prophesizing that she is pregnant with a boy, who will grow up to unite all the lands. Viserys realizes the Dothraki have completely embraced Daenerys and that he is fucked. He sneaks into her chambers to steal the dragon eggs so he can sell them, but Sir Jorah stops him and won't let him take the eggs. Viserys leaves the eggs there and leaves.
Meanwhile, at Catelyn's sister's castle, The Eyrie, Tyrion manages to bribe his guard to send message to Lady Arryn that he wants to confess his crimes. At the big hearing, Tyrion makes a joke out of it, telling childhood stories, and then talks his way into having a trial by combat where he and Lady Arryn both name their champions to fight in their place. The badass who travelled with Tyrion and Catelyn en route to The Eyrie volunteers to fight for Tyrion, and if he is victorious, Tyrion goes free.
Returning to King's Landing, we see the King's hunting party, where Lord Renley storms away, angry about King Robert's misogyny. Eddard is overseeing some kind of hearing, where a man says his village was pillaged and destroyed by a man Eddard and Lord Baelish identify as Lord Gregor. We find out Lord Gregor is often referred to as working under Tywin Lannister, father of Jamie, Cersei, and Tyrion. Eddard declares Lord Gregor stripped of all his titles, and an enemy of the state. Tasks a knight with getting 100 men and bringing him to justice, and sends a raven to Tywin summoning him to court. Joffrey Baratheon goes to see Sansa, asks for her forgiveness, puts on the moves, and they kiss.
Back at The Eyrie, Tyrion's champion beats down Lady Arryn's champion, and Tyrion walks out a free man.
Meanwhile, at Winterfell, Theon comes across his favorite whore leaving town for King's Landing. She tells him she heard Jamie attacked Eddard and that war is inevitably coming.
Over at King's Landing, Eddard tells his daughters, Sansa and Arya to pack up for the move back to Winterfell. They object but he will have none of it. He hears Sansa say something about bearing Joffrey's blonde-headed babies and has an idea. He goes back to his book outlining the lineages of each house and sees that every man in the Baratheon line was black-haired, except Joffrey. He now assumes Joffrey is not Robert's real son.
Lastly, Viserys interrupts a feast the Dothraki are having, threatens Daenerys' baby, and demands he get the army that was promised to him from Khal Drogo. He is not afraid because the Dothraki apparently cannot spill blood in their city. The Khal has him grabbed by two men, and pours molten gold all over his head, giving him the crown he so desired, and killing him in the process.
Now for the review, this was another awesome episode. Two weeks in a row now we have been treated to fantastic episodes. The pace has really picked up, both in terms of action and political intrigue. The political feud between the Lannisters and the Starks is quickly reaching boiling point, and some sort of civil war seems almost inevitable.
The biggest problem that the show still has is that there are a lot of characters in a lot of different places so we do not get a lot of time spent with them. There was not a single mention or scene of Jon Snow or The Wall, and the Eyrie plot seemed to resolve very quickly. A lot of the character development is not shown, and thus isn't entirely believable at times.
That said, if I had to choose between the fast paced and exhilarating episodes of the past two weeks or the slow, meandering episodes of the three previous weeks, I would choose the more exciting style. Eddard is really pushing the story forward, using his power as Hand of the King to force things.
Another complaint I have with the show, which could just be a result of me being misled intentionally, is that the dichotomy between good and evil seems too clear. I am a big fan of moral ambiguity, which is why The Shield is so great. It seems evident that the Lannisters (Jamie & Cersei) are pretty bad people, and that Eddard is the noble figure trying to bring them to justice. I would love to see some ambiguity introduced in that dichotomy later in the season, but nothing's perfect.