This is the episode that "aired" on the Internet a week before it was on HBO. Thanks a lot. Like this show doesn't have enough spoiler issues, right? Sheesh. Anyway, it's finally out there, so let's get to it. The credits have King's Landing, The Eyrie, Winterfell, The Wall, and Vaes Dothrak. It would be great if there was an episode that just had five completely different cities we'd never heard of. Out of nowhere, they just set an episode north of the Wall among whatever lives out there. Or maybe there's one of those stories where it's all about how the larger story affects some peasants we've never heard of. I guess I'm just resisting the steady, logical progression of the story. I'm used to things being more jumpy and broken up because regular shows don't have as much of a plan.
Somewhere with red tents. Jaime is reading Ned's pronouncement about how Tywin is branded an enemy of the crows. He muses about Ned's bad judgment as the man he's talking to, an older wiry gentleman, butchers a stag. Taste the symbolism! This is clearly Tywin, and he's the kind of person who butchers his own stags, if you know what I mean. He also thinks that Jaime showed some bad judgment of his own in attacking Ned, which matches my own perception of the guy. He tells Jaime that Lannisters don't act like fools, which I'm not totally on board with. Jaime says that he had to attack Ned because Ned's wife took his brother, so Tywin shifts gears and asks why Ned's still alive. For all the people on this show who try to act Machiavellian, Tywin's the only one who follows Machiavelli's actual suggestion of killing your enemies instead of leaving them alive to cause trouble. Jaime says that he couldn't kill Ned because one of his men stabbed him in the leg, so it wouldn't have been clean. Tywin doesn't care much about being clean (which is represented visually by Tywin being all covered in stag blood by this point) and suggests that Jaime cares too much about what people think about him. The guy with perfect hair and shiny armor? Heaven forfend! Tywin says, "The Lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." Then he assigns thirty thousand soldiers to Jaime and tells him to go march on Catelyn's girlhood home, because every day that Tyrion is a prisoner, the Lannisters lose respect. Jaime points out that worrying about respect is a little like caring what people think of you, because nothing shows good judgment like smarting off at Tywin Lannister. I really like how this guy's been on screen like three minutes and is clearly someone who gets things done. He's not all drunk and useless like Robert, nor is he tied down by rules and principles like Ned Stark. But he does have one principle, which is that he and all his children will be dead eventually. He wants to make sure that the family name endures and continues to mean something, which means that personal glory is secondary. By now, he has fully skinned the stag (symbolism!) and tells Jaime that he's blessed to belong to the most powerful family in the Kingdoms. And yet, Jaime's been a glorified bodyguard for two kings, which doesn't match Tywin's idea of what he should be doing. He would prefer that Jaime ensure the strength of the dynasty, rather than letting it collapse like the Targaryens. Man, I feel bad for the Targaryens. If you go back a few generations, this is probably not what they had in mind. Tywin delivers more motivation and goes back to his butchering.