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FIRST WATCH: “Game of Thrones” Season 1, Episode 9 “Baelor” Review

Quick and Dirty Plot:

In this episode, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) learns of his father’s imprisonment. Torn on what to do, Jon considers abandoning the Night’s Watch. He is talked into staying by his ride-or-die BFF, Sam (John Bradley). Meanwhile, his brother Robb (Richard Madden) is preparing to go to war with the Lannisters because of his dad and literally does not have anything prepared for his teenage sisters who are also in King’s Landing. Men. Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) has joined Robb and negotiates further assistance by marrying off Robb and Arya (Maisie Williams) to Mr. Filch’s (David Bradley) children. 

The Lannisters are also preparing for battle, with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) finally making it to Tywin’s (Charles Dance) camp. Tyrion has brought his entourage of barbarians. Tyrion is getting the feeling that his father wants him to die in battle so he spends time with some lady named Shae (Sibel Kekilli) before he expects himself to die.

With the Dothraki, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is beginning to lose the Dothraki’s interest and respect. To make matters worse, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) is suffering from what WebMD says is sepsis and is actively dying. With her power waning, Daenerys enlists a witch lady to heal Khal Drogo. Some Dothraki take umbrage to this. Jorah (Iain Glen) has to take matters into his own hands and defend Daenerys. During a confrontation, Jorah kills some dude (heck yes) but then Daenerys goes into labor (oh no). 

Photo Credit: HBO

Imprisoned in King’s Landing, Ned (Sean Bean) is visited by Varys (Conleth Hill), who pleads with the disgraced nobleman to just submit for the sake of his family. At first, Ned is prepared to die, but hearing about the lengths sweet, wonderful Sansa (Sophie Turner) is going to and the fact that no one has an idea where Arya is, Ned agrees to call himself a traitor and proclaim Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) as the rightful heir.

The Lannisters go to battle with the Starks. Tywin expects there to be 20,000 men. Tyrion is knocked out by his barbarian entourage. When he wakes up, Bronn tells him that Team Lannister won. He then learns from Tywin that the Lannister forces were only met by 2,000 men. The ploy by the Starks works. The remaining 18,000 were elsewhere, fighting and capturing Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Take that, Lannisters!

To fulfill this, Ned is brought in front of the citizens of King’s Landing. On his way up, he sees Arya in the crowd. His friend, Yorin (Francis Magee), sees Arya too, and he goes to her. In front of the crowd, Ned declares himself a traitor and that Joffrey is the King. Joffrey then remarks that Sansa and Cersei (Lena Headey) had begged to spare Ned’s life. Instead, Joffrey decides that this is weak and that Ned, as a traitor, should be punished for his crimes. As the citizens of King’s Landing chant “Baelor! Baelor!” Ned is brought to his knees and beheaded. And that’s how the EPISODE ENDS.


To say I screamed at my television would be an understatement. WHAT THE WHAT?!? There is so much to unpack here. Good grief. Let’s start with the small stuff and work our way through it all.

Jon. At the Wall. Wants to be with his family. I mean, I get it. But does Jon not remember the oath he took at that creepy tree? He has to stay. I did appreciate that his friends/new family came to get him. I don’t think Jon fully understands how much the other Night’s Watchmen care about him. Though, I think this was a start. 

I could not believe everything that was happening with Daenerys. First of all, this was the first episode in which she looked pregnant. She’s been pregnant for most of the season. Why was she now just showing? Secondly, this episode is a setup for the end of the season for her. I am dreading it. She and Khal were doing so well together. She had stability. A family. She’s about to lose pretty much everything, and it’s going to be horrible to watch her go through that. At least she has Jorah, who is seriously so dope. 

I was not looking forward to all of the battle sequences, so I am glad Tyrion was knocked out so we could see a before-and-after. I feel really bad for Tyrion. His family is the worst to him. Why does he still hang around them? The money and security, I guess. But they are ready to just send him out to possibly die without second thought. Tyrion’s allegiance to his family is going to be interesting to watch. I know, at some point, he goes out to do his own thing. What that is exactly, I don’t know. I’ll learn that as the series progresses. I just find it horrible how he’s the black sheep of the family and he knows how disposable he is to the rest of his family.

Photo Credit: HBO

I am glad the Starks got the upper hand. It is interesting to see Robb lead. His mom is smarter than he is, but at least he listens. He also understands the price of war. He said that after he sent 2,000 men to their grave. But it did pay off. They took Jaime as a prisoner of war. I know they don’t kill him, which is a shame. Jaime stirs up way too much trouble. He is my least favorite of all of the Lannisters. Sorry to that man, but it’s true. The one thing about Robb that really annoys me is how concerned he is about Ned and not Arya or Sansa. Like, Ned is a big boy who made big boy mistakes. Your sisters are teenagers/pre-teens and could be facing some dire consequences from your father’s actions. Maybe care a little bit about them.

Okay, on to Ned. Geeeezzzz, y’all. I was not prepared. I knew it was going to happen. I knew it! But, still. My pulse? Racing. My stomach? Queasy. How utterly horrifying that Ned was straight up beheaded IN FRONT OF HIS DAUGHTERS. I knew he was going to die. I did not realize that Arya was going to be in the crowd or that Sansa would be RIGHT there. Like, is there a therapist in Westeros for her to see? She will need it. I was also endlessly disturbed by the crowd. They were there to watch a man die for funsies. Knowing what happens to the people of King’s Landing at the end of the series, they kind of get what they deserve. They were chanting “Baelor!” They share some of the culpability with Joffrey, in my opinion. Truly, I was gobsmacked at their mob mentality.

That whole scene was just brilliantly done. The suspense was palpable. The fact that there is one episode left, like, how do you top that? What craziness is in store for this final episode of season one? There are going to be major repercussions from this. I just don’t know how the Starks are going to respond. How did y’all watch this episode and then wait a week to watch the next one?! More power to you.

In Memoriam:

Ned Stark — cue “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Oh Ned. Oh dear Ned. You deserved better. You were finally ready to play the game. You did it for your family. Now I understand why the Starks hate the Lannisters. I hate them too. I am mad that this one Buzzfeed quiz claims I’m a Lannister. I will never be a Lannister; not after what they did to you, Ned. Sean Bean, thanks for giving us such an iconic character. I hope that you can portray someone in a fantasy project that makes it to the end. 

Out-of-Context Quotes:

  • Ned is willing to die? Your daughter is trying to save you! You have like two dozen kids to think about!
  • Catelyn namedrops her father a lot. Who are you? Draco Malfoy?
  • Daenerys is loyal AF to Khal.
  • Jorah is a BOSS. Kill this dude!
  • Well, that’s awkward. I’d leave too, Bronn.
  • Ned and Arya see each other. OH NO.
  • Littlefinger can choke.
  • Poor Sansa!
  • DAMN!
  • That’s how the episode ends?!
Photo Credit: HBO

“Game of Thrones” is available to watch on HBO and HBO Max.

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Featured image credit: HBO

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