“I did warn you not to trust me.”
Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) announces his loyalties loud and clear for all the Red Keep to hear, as he presses a weapon against Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) throat, effectively putting an end to the Northerner’s run in King’s Landing in one masterfully crafted betrayal. In that moment, one imagines the thoughts racing through Lord Stark’s soon-to-be-severed head. How did everything go so wrong, so fast?
The seventh episode of Game of Thrones‘ first season, “You Win or You Die,” makes massive strides toward bringing the Warden of the North closer and closer to his southern demise, thanks to a flurry of factors, not the least of which are Ned’s own actions. In the episode, King Robert (Mark Addy) passes away, succumbing to a vicious wound sustained while hunting a boar. Following his old friend’s death, Ned sets about making moves to restore order to the realm, with an eye toward installing Robert’s “rightful heir,” his brother Stannis (Stephen Dillane), on the Iron Throne.
But two other possible paths forward present themselves: Renly (Gethin Anthony) pitches himself as a contender to rule the realm, while Littlefinger suggests a truce between the Starks and Lannisters so Ned can help Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) grow into a responsible leader. There’s also a third, unspoken option: Ned knows Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is secretly a Targaryen; why not retreat North and put the wheels into motion to rally the realm behind his secret dragon-blooded nephew?
This week’s installment of “Winter Was Here,” the Game of Thrones rewatch podcast from Post Show Recaps co-hosts Rob Cesternino (of Survivor and Rob Has a Podcast fame) and THR‘s Westeros guru Josh Wigler (that’s me!), returns to the moment Ned makes his fateful decision, which will ultimately lead to his brutal death in just a couple of episodes.
Other topics covered during this week’s podcast include:
• Why this episode is so instructive of the show’s sense of morality.
• The first appearance of Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, and how his opening remarks to Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) may provide a roadmap for his family’s future.
• Whether Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) is as kind-hearted as his reputation would have you believe.
• The first mention of Eastwatch, which would go on to become one of the most important locations in Game of Thrones season seven.
• The return of Littlefinger’s Valyrian dagger, an important instrument in his own fate.
• An acknowledgment of the passing of Roy Dotrice, a Game of Thrones veteran and the narrator of the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks.
• And more!
Listen to the podcast in the player below: