‘Game of Thrones’ Precap: Tywin’s Lessons, Stannis’s Money Problems, and Terrible Predictions
Superfan Crazyperson Power Rankings of the Week: Teachable Moments With Tywin!
Tywin teaches Jaime about family: What a perfect introduction to Tywin’s character, values, and virtues. “Lannisters don’t act like fools,” he says, while wearing his black leather butchering fineries and skinning a stag in his war tent. Talk about a tone-setter! Tywin calls Jaime a moron for attacking Ned Stark, then lectures his son about becoming the man he was meant to be (you know, instead of a sister-fucking Kingslayer), but the bulk of this exchange centers on protecting the family name — even if doing so means going to war to save the son Tywin hates. “Before long I’ll be dead, and you, and your brother, and your sister, and all of her children. All of us dead, all of us rotting in the ground. It’s the family name that lives on. That’s all that lives on.” While that sentiment is a Hodor-size bummer, it’s hard not to admire Tywin’s focus. “The future of our family will be determined in these next few months,” Tywin tells Jaime, clearly having no idea how many pages George R.R. Martin still has to write.
Tywin teaches Tommen about wisdom: Think Tywin’s going to mope about after seeing his eldest grandson murdered? Think again, dummy. Tywin’s going to march right into the Sept of Baelor, accost his youngest grandson, and force him to go to I’m Gonna Be a Mighty King School, quite literally over his brother’s dead body. “What makes a good king?” Tywin asks Tommen, throwing some death-stare daggers Cersei’s way after her feeble “This is hardly the time or the place” protest. Holiness? The holy king “ended up fasting himself into an early grave.” Justness? The just king “was murdered in his sleep by his own brother.” Strength? The strong king “thought winning and ruling were the same thing.” Cheerful! What do those dead assholes lack? “Wisdom?” Cue an enthusiastic “Yesssssssssss!” uttered in Tywin’s scariest Parseltongue voice, then a hypothetical war situation straight out of Westeros’s top standardized test book. And then, the payoff: “A wise king knows what he knows, and what he doesn’t … A wise, young king listens to his counselors and heeds their advice … Your brother was not a wise king … If he had been, perhaps he’d still be alive.” The moral of Grandpappy’s story: I got this, kid. Go play with your toys. I’ll play the game of thrones.
Tywin teaches Arya about legacy: “This will be my last war, win or lose,” Tywin says. He’s staring wistfully out the window at the sweeping ruins of Harrenhal; Arya’s sitting behind him, contemplating stabbing him in the jugular. “My legacy will be determined in the coming months. Do you know what ‘legacy’ means? It’s what you pass down to your children, and your children’s children. It’s what remains of you when you’re gone.” This sounds a lot like what Tywin tells Jaime about family, and it should; to Tywin, they’re one and the same. And because Prof. Lannister is a generous educator, he offers his cupbearer an extra-credit lesson in class syntax! “M’lord. Low-born girls say m’lord, not my lord. If you’re going to pose as a commoner, you should do it properly.” Full marks, buddy.
Tywin teaches Joffrey about control: “Any man who must say ‘I am the king!’ is no true king. I’ll make sure you understand that when I’ve won your war for you.” Scorchin’ wildfire burn, Tywin! “The king is tired. See him to his chambers … Grandmaester, perhaps some essence of nightshade to help him sleep?” Joffrey shrieks, “I’m. Not. TIRED!” but to no avail, slinking off with his mommy anyway as his advisers watch in awe. Yes, that’s right: With the Small Council watching, Tywin read the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms his own version of Go the Fuck to Sleep. Baller.
Tywin teaches Lady Olenna about leverage: “If you refuse to marry Loras to Cersei, I will name him to the Kingsguard … He will never marry, he will never have children, the Tyrell name will fade … So, shall I draw up the order, or do you consent to this match?” Damn, Tywin. You fierce!
Tywin teaches his children about speed: “We need to act first, and kill this union in its crib.” Colorful language, Lord Hand. Best not talk that way around Prince Oberyn, though. He’s a little touchy about imagery that evokes power players killing babies.
Tywin teaches Tyrion how to be a huge dick: “I would let myself be consumed by maggots before mocking the family name and making you heir to Casterly Rock … You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature, full of envy, lust, and low cunning … Neither gods nor men will compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.” Mean :'(
Tywin teaches the Red Keep janitors about hard work.
That scene with Tommen? The one about wisdom? Here’s how it ended: “Now, as the king, you will have to marry … to further the family line. Do you know how that happens? … Has anyone explained the detail to you? … It’s all relatively straightforward.” AND THAT’S ALL WE HEARD. THRONES CREATORS, WHAT THE SHIT?! YOU JUST GAVE YOUR ENTIRE VIEWERSHIP TYWIN TEACHABLE MOMENT BLUE BALLS! HE WAS GOING TO TELL TOMMEN HOW SEX WORKS. HE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT SWORDS AND SHEATHS, QUILLS AND INK POTS. HE MIGHT HAVE UTTERED THE WORDS “LADYPARTS” OR “UNDERTHINGS.” AND YOU DEPRIVED US OF THAT. DID YOU LEARN NOTHING FROM TYWIN ABOUT LEGACY? THIS IS NOW YOURS. MAY THE OTHERS TAKE YOU!
BONUS! Borderline Weird Mallory Rubin Game of Thrones Memorabilia of the Week:
Musical Interlude: Bronn’s Got a Really Lovely Singing Voice for a Knight
“Despite being popular among baby boomers, Robson & Jerome were viewed by critics as being devoid of artistic merit. Stephen Thomas Erlewine in AllMusic wrote that they ‘offered nothing new musically,’ and recalled: ‘Such grand success made them the target of derision for much of the music press, who criticized the duo’s manufactured, polished covers of pop and rock classics as nostalgia mongering…Robson & Jerome became the target of a number of attacks.'”
Stannis Baratheon Needs Gold. Also Some Solid Personal References.
Game of Bad Predictions
Andy Greenwald: As a self-proclaimed illiterate — at least when it comes to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, anyway — writing about Game of Thrones tends to put me in a very strange position. Though a large part of recapping involves looking backward, there’s still a significant portion that requires forward thinking, and I enjoy idly speculating on where we might be headed considering the rough places we’ve already been. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much idle about Game of Thrones, particularly when it comes to prognostication. Because unlike with all other shows, the stories here are already written. And thus people know before I do that I am often very, very wrong.
Rather than run from this, I will now wear it like a badge of pride — my chopped-down dreams hanging from my neck like Jaime Lannister’s sword hand for all to see. Two weeks ago I biffed on the identity of Joffrey’s asssasin. Last week in this very space I looked at the two directional choices facing Bran Stark and, in the words of a very old bearded man, chose poorly. But if my favorite character on Game of Thrones is Salladhor Saan, the convention-flouting sex pirate, I ought to bring more of his devil-may-care spirit to my writing. With that in mind, here are some predictions for Sunday’s episode (and beyond) that I absolutely stand behind:
• In his first act as king, Tommen Baratheon stands on the steps of the sept and, with a loud and steady voice, decrees the following royal commands:
1. Herewith, the Hand of the King is a lifetime appointment. Provided that one of the Hand’s duties involves taking the king out for lemon cakes at least once a week and maybe also having a catch.
2. Furthermore, all Knights of the Realm, particularly handsome and/or strong ones, shall fight their battles left-handed.
3. Incest is now legal and to be celebrated in all of the Seven Kingdoms, also you look so handsome up there my brave boy but you have a bit of pie on your cheek — MOM!
• Rather that continue on to the Vale, Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark instead choose to roam the Riverlands, sampling regional renditions of rabbit stew. (Apparently, in some quarters, people use “spoons” to eat it!) To pass the time, Arya begins taking notes on the taste of each dish along with more general thoughts on the hospitality and service they receive from their hosts in the moments before the Hound hits them over the head with a rock and robs them. Eventually, when the war ends, these notes will be the foundation of a hugely successful travel guide that Arya decides to call “Yelp” after the sound most hosts make just before the Hound hits them over the head with a rock and robs them.
• Littlefinger spends the rest of the season making extremely broad sex puns about boats to Sansa — “Care to examine below deck?” “My mainsail is already hoisted” “Nice aft” etc. — and giggling.
• We follow Davos’s strongly worded letter all the way to the Iron Bank of Braavos. There we are introduced to a whole new coterie of fearsome, terrifyingly nicknamed characters, including Pervin “The Forecloser” Forel, Nnamdi “Subprime” Octavio, and J’lel “Rounding Error” Trant. There are also free lollipops.
• The boy who was orphaned by Ygritte in the last episode dedicates the rest of his life to sharing with the world his mother’s greatest gift: boiling potatoes. From the chilly North to the wild deserts of Dorne, he travels, like a starchy Johnny Appleseed, teaching confused and unenlightened Westerosi about the magical combination of heat, water, and potatoes. Eventually, this holy trinity becomes the basis for a new religion, replacing the Seven and besting the Fire God because potatoes, unlike illegitimate, murderous smoke babies, are delicious. People get super fat, though.
• Tyrion actually did kill Joffrey. In the next episode he confesses and is quickly decapitated. Tommen proves himself to be a good and wise king. While Daenerys continues her pissing contest to the East, the Seven Kingdoms are quietly reunited. The rest of the season is just various Lannisters standing around awkwardly, looking at their watches and flashing apologetic grins.
Coloring Activity Page: What’s the New King Thinking?
Joffrey’s Terrifying Stone Corpse-Eyes, They’re Watching You
Emily Yoshida: Of all the things that went down in that sept last week, I know what y’all are itching to talk about the most: Westerosi burial rites! Among the very first details in Game of Thrones that sucked me into the world-building of Westeros were those painted stone-eyes placed on Jon Arryn’s face in the pilot (which was also the scene in which we first met Jaime and Cersei: always chilling with the dead bodies, those two). After conferring with the book readers in my life (and the wikis, more on that in a moment), we came to the conclusion that the stone-eyes were an invention of the show, which is an interesting touch (Benioff and Weiss: always adding in more rape and cryptic burial customs, those two).
The most obvious real-world equivalent is Charon’s obol, the ancient Greco-Roman tradition of placing a coin in the mouth of the dead (so that they could pay the fare to cross the River Styx, duh), which spread throughout much of the Western world, even finding an iteration in early Christian burial rites. The Egyptians also buried their dead with lots of doodads to help them in their journeys to the afterlife. But I couldn’t find any evidence that any culture put anything on the eyes of its dead — even evidence that it may have been a part of ancient Jewish customs (coins have been found in the eye sockets of remains in Judea) is up for debate. So if Benioff and Weiss (and/or their art department) dreamed up the eye-stones on their own, kudos: It is a very evocative touch. What do you suppose they’re meant to do? Remind the living that the dead see all? Help Joff find his way to that big eternal feast with the Seven in the sky? Hopefully his parents’ corpse-side activities managed to jostle them off, sending him tumbling blindly into all seven hells.
I’d also like to note that my ASOIAF-side research of this topic led to a major character’s death being spoiled for me, and I am VERY UPSET ABOUT IT. The things I do for love (of fictional burial customs).
Here’s the Original Shooting Script of That Controversial Scene, OK, Not Really, But Play Along for a Minute
Meanwhile, Inside the Walled City of Meereen
Mark Lisanti: “Bad news, guys.”
“They killed our champion.”
“What? Did he let loose the Urine of Intimidation?”
“Did he charge at them with the Lance of Total Destruction?”
“Then what the hell happened? Those always work! We usually don’t even need the lance after the urine!”
“Well, their champion threw a knife into the horse’s eye.”
“… and then cut our champion’s throat.”
“The unwashed bastards! Call forth the Rain of Arrows, that will surely repel them.”
“We tried that. The invaders just stepped back out of range, unfortunately. No one’s ever done that before.”
“Get better arrows! Maybe with the poison on the tips?”
“There’s no time for that.”
“What do we do now? There is a standing army of 10,000 eunuchs outside.”
“First we reaffirm our commitment to slavery. We must be strong.”
“About that … ”
“Oh, by the Drowned God’s soggy beard, what?”
“She’s offering to free them. Launched a whole bunch of barrels over the wall full of broken slave collars.”
“I can’t even with this woman. Where does she get off?”
“You have to admit, pretty powerful symbolic gesture.”
“I didn’t want to suggest this, but it seems we have no choice.”
“Now would be the time for an out-of-the-box idea.”
“Send out the Shitter of Hellfire.”
“Brilliant! Send out the Shitter of Hellfire!”
“He has never been defeated!”
“Oh, let’s make sure he emphasizes the tattoo on his backside as he unleashes his unspeakable fury.”
“The one where’s he’s buggering the three dead dragons?”
“Yes, that one.”
“May the impenetrable city of Meereen stand forever!”
Musical Outro: Peter Dinklage, Peter Dinklage