I'm waiting for this fantasy soap opera to give me some sort of payoff and so far, it has been little but sex. shock value, and gratuitous violence, although there are some genuinely high spots (like Episodes 2 and 3). But wait, could there be payoff around ?
Yeah, there are mild spoilers from here out....as there is...some reorganization...of the cast.
Episode 6: "A Golden Crown"
This episode opens up with a convalescing Ned with King Robert and Incest Queen. The king backhands the queen when she gets out of line (with the implication this is far from the first time; this guy has been shown to have a temper) and then tells Ned that the resignation is rejected - Ned will be the King's Hand, and the King is going hunting, so Ned is in charge. Ned then has to sit on that Iron Throne with a busted leg.
Meanwhile, Tyrion is still trapped in MilkMaid Mountaintop in a five-sided cell and nearly falls off the open side. He lures his jailer with the promise of gold and wants an audience with the MilkMaid under the pretext of confessing his crimes. MilkMaid covers her breasts this episode, but she's still mad as a hatter and gets mad as a hornet when Tyrion decides to read off a litany of small sins from his childhood. He then demands a trial, choosing a trial by combat and invoking his right to have a champion. Some middle-aged guy steps in on his behalf of Tyrion, while a young knight fights on behalf of Mama Stark and the MilkMaid. Predictably, the young knight loses because Tyrion is a main character and an expert trickster. Notably, Tyrion keeps his promise and gives the guard his purse after going free. Maybe he'll forgive the Starks and use them as allies.
That is if the Starks aren't stupid enough to trip themselves up even more, and so far, it seems they are that stupid. Ned, with the King's authority, Ned issues two dumb directives. The first is to go after The Mountain (the intimidating joust dude), after he allegedly went on a rampage; this is a guy who killed a horse in front of the king just because he lost a joust...he's going to be tough to bring down. The second is to order that Tyrion Lannister be brought to the capital to answer for his crime of trying to kill Bran.
Speaking of Bran, in the woods, Bran Stark is practicing with his special saddle that allows him to ride and is with his brother and the brother's right hand man. Of course, more random hoodlums are attack the Starks, but defeated in large part due to the Stark's personal archer and assistant. And they take one of these attackers hostage.
By the way, a woman rides on the back of a cart and gives the Stark's archer a peep show...the type of peep that comes from between her legs.
But back to the capital, where Arya's still being trained in the art of swordfighting, the most contrived series of scenes so far takes place.
- Joffrey, who has been strangely quiet and in the background for the past few episodes, visits Sansa, apologizes and declares his love and intent to have children with her. I guess this is supposed to connect with his mother's advice literally three episodes ago, but it still comes off as odd.
- Ned speaks to his daughters after issuing the decree about Tyrion, telling them they have to leave. Sansa blurts out that she wants to bear children with gold hair with Joffrey.
- Ned then has a realization, runs to the royal lineage book and notices that every head of Robert's house has had dark hair, and so have all of Robert's love children.
Ned's deduction is that Joffrey is not Robert's biological son.
Now this is supposed to come across as some big shock or whatever, but it's so clumsily done, you'd half expect Joffrey to have pulled a Xanatos gambit to lead Ned to that conclusion. Seriously, what does this change? Robert's the king and he clearly knows this and is accepting of the situation for the sake of the throne. All he has to do is maintain that Joffrey is his son and that's that. What good is this information, really, except to give Robert's brother a leg up on the throne?
However, finally, there is some resolution in the land of the horseback riders. Daenerys has to eat a bloody heart and everyone cheers her. Daenery's brother, Viserys (I just looked it up after seeing this episode, thankfully, because Google's auto-complete spoils it), goes off the deep end, stealing her dragon eggs. The advisor/translator tells him to put the eggs back, but he refuses. Then, in a monumental display of stupid entitlement, he charges into the sacred structure Daenerys, Kal Drago, and all the horseback people are in with a sword. He threatens the horseback people and Daenerys unborn child, and tries to pull a Highlander-style "you can't hurt me on holy ground." Kal Drago has had enough of his stupidity and does what the audience has likely wanted since episode 1...melts a not insignificant amount of gold and pours the molten gold all over his head, burning him alive.
And nothing of value was lost.
I figured he'd die because I didn't recognize him, but I didn't think it'd be that fast. I thought he'd at least get to push Daenerys off a horse. Here's hoping that he got someone pregnant or else the Targaren house is gone genetically, since Daenerys is clearly due for a miscarriage (and will probably become barren given how awful this show is).
- Why didn't any of the Stark boys take their direwolf pets into the woods? Bran's wolf saved Bran's life. It was only Arya's wolf that was killed, I thought.
- Flower Knight's boyfriend is the King's brother? That explains all the plotting and scheming. I thought he was just a squire.
- At this point, I'm actively rooting for Kal Drago to decide to storm the capital and take over. He seems like he'd be a better ruler than any of this sorry lot.
- Hot Take. Jon Snow is Robert's bastard son. He has the trademark black hair, and Ned is the type that would raise his best friend's kid instead of letting him live a fatherless existence. The only difference is Jon Snow actually seems to have morals (thanks to Ned) and actively does not want to accidentally father any kids, but it would be ironic if a lecherous king had a celibate bastard. Obviously he has no claim to the throne, but still, coupled with his absence in this episode, it's a rather obvious direction to take the character.