That's the sum of my response to last night's Game of Thrones episode. Spoiler alert: Ned Stark dies. Double spoiler: He is beheaded in front of a jeering crowd AND his daughters, but Arya is forced to look away. Truth is, he's been kind of dead since the beginning. He never played the game! His wife, on the other hand, seems way more cut out for the whole business. She's already engaged to some other lord somewhere - and that was before her husband died.
Khal Drogo is on his deathbed and Khaleesi is about to give birth. Things are falling apart on that side of the world as she realizes the little power she actually has. However, her loyal friend has just killed her main threat and challenger, and her son will most likely be pronounced the new King. So things aren't so grim for her - if she can survive childbirth.
That - the instability of power - seems to be the order of the day. Power is never guaranteed, and neither is survival. Cersei thought she was maintaining her own by putting Joffrey on the throne. That's until he decides, as King, to show Ned Stark no mercy and rather kill him than keep him alive for political reasons. Being as young and stupid as he is, he's not really thinking of politics at all. Mommy didn't raise him as well as she thought.
Meanwhile, her brother Jaime Lannister has been captured by the Stark-led army. What will become of him once the clan find out their father has been murdered? And in the front of his daughters no less. Will Sansa stand by her man or remain loyal to her kin? If she's smart, she'll play nice until she gets the chance to use her proximity to hurt them (as a spy for Robb Stark, maybe?)
Kind of aside from all the craziness going on, I really liked Tyrion's little drinking game and the truth it brought out of him. The whore he buys is smarter and more perceptive than he thinks, which leads him to open up about his past and reveal to her and his "friend" how he lost his virginity to - and then, naively in love, married - a prostitute that, unknowingly to him, had been hired by his brother. His father had then made him watch as she services his guards. What trauma!
So much of GoT is about trauma - the things we witness that change us forever, that prevent us from loving again or trusting again. I am so curious to see what becomes of Arya. She's one of my favorite characters simply because I have no idea what will happen to her, but I know she won't let it be anything "normal" or boring. I'm not going to lie; I was a Xena fan as a child, and I love woman warriors, for better or for worse. But I think Arya would make a great one. And she's got the childhood to prove it.
I love how the women in the series are just as powerful as the men – and are also tested just as much as the men. Khaleesi and Cersei, for example, are now going to have to use their smarts and cunning to survive their new, less-promising positions. Lady Stark, while just losing a husband, is gaining more power, and if her son Robb succeeds in defeating the Lannisters, she'll have much more of it. What revenge is at hand? Then there's Arya and Sansa, whose futures are both very foggy. They'll be divergent, no doubt, but I think both (and not just Arya) will end up being loyal to their families.
We didn't get any white walkers this episode. I was happy to see one south of the Wall last week. Jon Snow is still snuggled away at the Wall, learning how to make the hard decisions. Will he join Robb at war? Or stay at the Wall, tending to more supernatural horrors and possibly letting his family be defeated by the Lannisters?
We got lots of questions this episode - to add to the ones already mentioned: What action will Little Finger and Varys take at these sudden turn of events? - and one big fat answer: Ned does not survive. It was sad to see Ned "confess" his treason and give up the honor he held onto so loyally. He does so in the name of those he loves but that doesn't save him - not even that could save him anymore, after so many turned-down opportunities. It was just too little, too late.
One more episode!