Okay, let's have a look at these credits. King's Landing, check. There's a stag there, by the way, which is presumably because that's the signature animal of King Robert. And then something new has been added! There's a mountain called "The Eyrie." I'm just glad paying attention to the credits paid off! Then we go off to Winterfell, where I think I can see a wolf's head. Up to the Wall, which doesn't get a totem animal. And finally, over to Vaes Dothrak, which has that horse arch. Got it!
Our story begins in King's Landing, which seems peaceful enough. Perhaps... deceptively so? Actually, it's almost definitely less peaceful than it seems. It would probably have to be on fire to accurately represent what's going on. Lord Stark strides through the tournament grounds and then enters a tent, where Ser Hugh lies dead. I guess that's supposed to be somehow surprising, but I thought he died at the joust itself. He had that giant shard of wood sticking out his neck, and I don't know how efficient the medical profession is on this show. We're reminded that Ser Hugh was wearing his knightly armor for the first time, and also that he had no family. Well, we might not have known that last bit already. I'll be honest with you; I have not been paying nearly as much attention to the genealogy aspect of this show as it thinks I have. I figure there are families that are important and families I don't need to care about yet, you know? Lord Stark seems to think that Ser Hugh was set up to fight the Mountain, but he's told the knights draw straws to pick opponents. Ah, he asks, but who holds the straws? Is he suggesting some kind of professional sleight-of-straw man?
Having dealt with that, Ned walks away from the tent in the company of Ser Barristan, who's that older knight who King Robert was reminiscing with that one time. You remember, he's the guy I misidentified as the Hound. His full name is "Selmy Barristan," which means that I am constantly confusing him with an extremely minor science fiction author with the awesome name of "Manly Bannister." I have fascinating stories to tell about the printing press that Manly Bannister used for his zine, but I guess this probably isn't the right place. Frankly, I'm having trouble finding the right place for all my Manly Bannister anecdotes. It's possible I just like saying "Manly Bannister."
Anyway, Barristan used to be Ned's enemy, which we know because he reminds Ned of that time they fought as enemies. Slick! Ned says that his father told him that Barristan was the best fighter he ever saw, and now that they've exchanged some manly reminiscing, it's time to forward the plot a little bit. So it's established that Ser Hugh's armor was suspiciously nice for someone who until recently was just Jon Arryn's squire. Barristan suggests that maybe Arryn left him some money, but it doesn't sound like he means it. And in other news, King Robert wants to enter the joust tonight. Ned guarantees that's not going to happen, but apparently Robert has a reputation for ignoring the sound advice his Hand gives him.
Ned next checks in on Lord Robert himself, who is currently shouting at his squire, who appears to be a Lannister. It's probably Lancel again. All these yellow-hairs look alike to me. Probably-Lancel is attempting to help Robert get into his armor, but it's not going very well. Robert's theory is that his armor has shrunk. Also that Probably-Lancel is somehow doing it wrong. He seems pleased when Ned walks in, because now he has a new person to shout at about how incompetent his squire is: "Look at this idiot. One ball and no brains!" Ned, who has no time for soothing his king's ego, just tells Robert he's too fat for his armor. Robert acts mad, but then he and Ned laugh. Then Lancel smiles a little, and Robert snarls at him about finding it funny. Lancel denies it, but then he's in trouble for not finding the Hand's joke funny. Finally, Robert sends him out to get the breastplate stretcher. And that's clearly not a real thing, because Ned and Robert laugh at poor, stupid Lancel as soon as he's out of the tent.
Now, back to business: Ned tells Robert he can't joust. But Robert vows that he'd win! Yes, explains Ned, because nobody's going to hit the king. "You're telling me those cowards would let me win?" By George, I think he's got it! Robert wants Ned to have a drink with him, and it takes a direct order. Ned, just loosen up a little and have a damn drink, okay? It's the only way Robert's going to share some backstory with us. And here it is: he married Cersei because Jon Arryn told him to, the idea being that he'd get her whole family on his side. Also, he's all whiny about being king but not getting to do whatever he wants. He starts to leave, and Ned has to remind him to button up his shirt. Apparently a big, hairy belly isn't considered kingly around here. Robert tries out a new catchphrase: "Come bow before your king. Bow, ya shits!"
Joust time! Our first contestant is Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. He enjoys burning his brother's face off, killing Ser Hugh of the Vale, and Jazzercise. He bows to the king. Ned has decided to join his family for today's events (when you hear that someone died in yesterday's lists, that probably makes you want to see what's going to happen today), but Arya seems to be missing. Sansa says she's at her dancing lessons. And here's our second contestant: It's the Knight of the Flowers! He has a silly name, but he apparently beat Jaime Lannister once (that's when Tyrion is supposed to have won that dagger from Littlefinger. And you thought I hadn't been paying attention!) so he's no Ser Hugh of the Vale. The Knight of the Flowers (that's a long name, which I may well abbreviate to "Flowers" at some point) gives Sansa a rose, and she is instantly charmed by his courtly manners and long, floppity hair. He nods to the Mountain and they take up their positions. Sansa wails that her new floppity-haired crush is going to get killed by the Mountain. Littlefinger, meanwhile, bets with Renly Baratheon on the joust. Littlefinger speculates about what he's going to buy with his winnings, and Renly suggests that he get a friend. Zing! And now the joust! The Knight of the Flowers unseats the Mountain, and the crowd goes wild! Renly smirks at Littlefinger and says how nice it would have been for him to have a friend. Littlefinger, with the air of someone who thought of this line the previous night and was just waiting for the opportunity to deliver it, answers, "And tell me, Lord Renly. When will you be having your friend?" It's a gay joke! Because the friend he meant was the Knight of the Flowers.
The Mountain gets off his horse (I guess I should call it a "mount" or a "steed" to keep with the High Fantasy tone, but it's clearly a horse) and calls for his ludicrously oversized sword. And then, while Flowers is bowing to the crowd, the Mountain DECAPITATES HIS HORSE! With one stroke! There's horse blood going everywhere, and the crowd freaks out. Then the Mountain comes after Flowers (which sounds like a bit of a mismatch when I put it that way), and they have as much of a swordfight as they can, given that greatswords are really, really long. Mostly what happens is that the Mountain takes mighty swings, which Flowers blocks. The Hound jumps in and fights the Mountain off. They're both pretty big, so they can manage a few swings. King Robert shouts, "Stop this madness in the name of your king!" The Hound is kneeling in submission before Robert even finishes the sentence, which is pretty impressive. I mean, if you're fighting a giant armored dude named "The Mountain" who's also your brother, it's probably hard to change gears that quickly. The Mountain also stops fighting, but he stalks off instead of kneeling. Flowers gets up and tells the Hound, "I owe you my life, Ser." The Hound gruffly answers that he's no "Ser." Then he raises the Knight of the Flowers's hand in victory, the way a boxing referee does with a champion. Everyone applauds!
That's enough of King's Landing for now. The heck with that place, am I right? Let's go to som