Film and TV

Game Of Thrones: "A Golden Crown"

They could just as easily have called this episode "Exit the Dragon."

If we compare House Targaryen to the Brady Bunch daughters - which I'm going to do because I've been sick all weekend and don't have a lot of energy - then Rhaegar, killed by Robert on the Trident, was Marcia. Viserys was formerly Jan, jealous of his older sibling's accomplishments but in a position to rise up to supremacy. He wasn't prepared for the Cindy of the group (Danaerys) to steal the spotlight, and instead of getting a football to the nose, he got a pot of molten gold poured over his skull.

In retrospect, he probably should have opted for that curly brunette wig.

If we thought there was going to be immediate fallout to the Jaime-Ned altercation last week, that would seem to be delayed. Jaime, we learn, is making for Casterly Rock, the seat of Lannister power. And while Cersei is pissed about Catelyn's seizure of Tyrion (and Ned's "aggression" against her other brother), Robert isn't hearing of it. In fact, he demonstrates just what a winner he is by belting Cersei.

Of course, Robert Baratheon isn't the first guy to become an asshole once he gets a taste of power. Look what happened to Corey Feldman.

Robert also refuses Ned's resignation, telling him he gets to rule in his stead while he goes off on a hunt (nothing bad will come of this, surely). And while listening to complaints, Ned learns the Lannisters have set reavers led by Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane upon the riverlands (Catelyn's family being guardians of the river the math). Ned sentences the Mountain to death and summons Tywin Lannister to answer for his crimes. A bold move, as Littlefinger reminds him. Ned, ever the honorable one, is not dissuaded.

This is a pretty Danaerys heavy episode, or it feels that way after a big fat nothing last week. And though it's already been established that she doesn't feel pain from fire like mere non-dragons, why oh why, would she be putting those dragon eggs in the fire?

She also has to choke down a whole horse's heart to make sure her unborn child is a strong son. If only we'd known the benefits of eating horse organs before, a cousin of mine wouldn't had to have gone through six daughters to get a boy.

Meanwhile, Viserys looks to steal the eggs and sell them to raise an army. Jorah stops him, but when he gets drunk and bares steel in the Dothraki's sacred city, even Danaerys recognizes his goose is cooked. Khal Drogo relents and agrees to give him his "golden crown." Bye bye, Viserys. Family reunions would have been awkward anyway, what with all the boob touching.

Back at Winterfell, Bran gets his new saddle and promptly rides into trouble, coming across a group of wildlings from beyond the Wall fleeing the white walkers. Robb and Theon make short work of most of them (sparing the girl), but not before once again establishing the fact that young Theon has no reason to be loyal to the Starks.

Tyrion demands justice for his alleged crimes, and rather than trust his fate to the judgment of the still-breastfeeding Lord Robert, he requests trial by combat. Bronn agrees to stand for him, and though lightly armored, the sellsword tires out his opponent (Ser Vardys) and kills him, winning Tyrion his freedom. It's a small victory, as Faith No More might say, for he and Bronn now have to make their way through the mountains alone.

There is a telling moment afterward, however, when Lysa accuses Bronn of fighting without honor. Bronn doesn't argue, and points out his fallen opponent was the honorable one. Chivalry and virtue don't get you very far in Westeros.

And let me just say, having seen the rise of unwelcome computer generated gore in movies like Centurion and 300, it's refreshing when a production uses authentic fake blood in the the killing scenes. If they could squeeze some Ray Harryhausen stop-motion in there once or twice, I'd die a happy man.

Back in King's Landing, it appears Sansa is still an idiot, as she buys Joffrey's apology for his past "monstrous" behavior and believes him when he promises never to do it again. She might as well start practicing saying "he didn't mean to hit me" for the gold cloaks.

When Ned tells her (and Arya) he's sending them back to Riverfell for their own safety, something she says about giving Joffrey babies with blond hair strikes a chord with Ned. Checking the book Jon Arryn checked out, he realizes all Baratheons are born with black hair. Except King Robert's kids. Huh.

Next week: Ned confronts Cersei with his findings, and maybe we finally find out what's going on with Jon Snow up on the Wall.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar