Game of Thrones

Season 1 Episode 7

You Win or You Die

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 29, 2011 on HBO

Episode Recap

Jaime is with his father, Tywin, at a Lannister military camp as the elder Lannister skins a stag and scolds his son for his actions regarding Ned Stark. Ned needs to die and Tyrion needs to be freed. All any family has is their name, which will live on long after the individual family members have died. The Lannisters need to be feared, and they can't be feared if they're perceived as weak.

Ned tells Cersei that he knows about her relationship with Jaime, and that it was the reason for Bran's fall. Cersei points out that the Targaryens kept their bloodlines pure by only marrying within the family. Cersei then explains how much she had a crush on Robert and how thrilled she felt when she got betrothed to him. But he destroyed it all by calling her "Lyanna" on their wedding night. Ned admonishes her to leave King's Landing with her children, because he will tell Robert the truth after the king returns from his hunt. Cersei says Ned made a mistake not taking the throne for himself when he had the chance seventeen years ago, but Ned says that was no mistake on his part. Cersei warns Ned that when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.

Littlefinger is coaching Ros in the ways of pleasuring men along with another whore, but when Ros suggests that he joins them in a threesome, he refuses her as he is saving himself for someone else. He was in love with a girl once, but he lost her in a duel. And so even if he can't win battles by fighting, he could still win by manipulation.

The Wildling woman, Osha, has been taken in at Winterfell to work as a servant, and Theon enjoys talking to her and taunting her a little. She isn't impressed with Theon's attempts at being a lord, though. Maester Luwin interrupts Theon's advances and Theon leaves. Luwin asks Osha why she is there and she mentions that she and the others had been trying to get as far south as possible to get away from the dangers north of the Wall.

Jon and Sam are at the Wall, and Jon spots a riderless horse coming to Castle Black. He recognizes the horse as belonging to his uncle, Benjen. None of the Rangers that went with Benjen have returned.

Ned is approached by Renly, who has his hands and tunic covered in blood. Robert has been injured by a boar. Ned goes to Robert's bedside, with Joffrey and Cersei already there. They seem oddly upset by the injury, with Cersei calling Robert "my sweet". Robert orders everyone to leave except Ned, and then requests that his old friend write up the order granting Joffrey the throne as soon as he comes of age. Until then, Ned must rule in Joffrey's place as both Regent and Protector of the Realm.

Instead of Joffrey's name, Ned writes down "rightful heir", as he knows Joffrey isn't Robert's son. Robert signs the will without reading it. Robert also tells Ned that he was the only person who was right about Daenerys. She is no threat to the Seven Kingdoms and Robert would prefer that she not have to die. As Ned leaves, Varys tells him that Robert's squire, Lancel Lannister, was the one who kept giving the king wine. So was there something in the drink that made Robert even more careless? Ned orders Varys to rescind any orders about Daenerys, but Varys says that it's probably too late to do anything. She's most likely dead already.

Daenerys and Drogo have a tender moment, as she braids his hair and explains about the "iron chair" which is the seat of the king of the Seven Kingdoms. Drogo doesn't seem very interested in crossing the Narrow Sea in order to take the throne. Later in the market, Daenerys discusses how best to make Drogo understand why they need to head to King's Landing with Ser Jorah. Jorah goes off to check for any letters, and he gets one. A royal pardon, which means he can go home now to Bear Island.

A wine merchant catches Daenerys' interest, and he offers her a taste of his finest. Jorah raises suspicions about the wine, however, and asks that the merchant taste it first. The merchant flees but is captured.

Back at the Wall, the Night's Watch recruits are finally going to take the oath to become full-fledged members of the Watch. As Jon keeps the old gods, he will be allowed to take his vow at the heart tree at the closest weirwood, a mile north off the Wall. Sam also requests that he take his oath at the heart tree. The Seven did not answer his prayers so maybe the old ones might?

The new members get their assignments, and Jon is upset that he's been chosen to be Lord Commander Mormont's personal steward. He should be a ranger, like his uncle. Sam points out that Jon won't only be Mormont's servant, he'll also be privy to everything that goes on at Castle Black. He'll take letters and attend meetings too. It's clear to Sam that Jon is being groomed to be a commander.

Ned speaks with Renly, refusing to take the Queen and her children into custody and take over the throne. Ned does think that the throne should go to Stannis, Robert's eldest younger brother. Renly disagrees, saying he would be a better ruler than Stannis. Ned disagrees and later sends a message to Stannis, insisting that the rider give the message to Stannis personally.

Littlefinger arrives and wants to see Joffrey ascend to the throne and for the Lannisters and the Starks to make peace with each other. He also says that if the plan doesn't work, they can always reveal Joffrey's true parentage to the world. Ned has to call on Littlefinger's promise to Catelyn to make sure Ned is protected. Littlefinger says that there's always the City Watch, the men in gold cloaks who are sworn to protect the King's peace. And if there's a dispute over who really is king, then the Watch will follow the one who pays them, and that man is Littlefinger.

Jon and Sam head for the weirwood beyond the Wall to take their oaths. Ghost accompanies Jon and runs off into the wood. After the vows are taken, Ghost hurries back to Jon, and the direwolf has a frozen human hand in his mouth.

Daenerys' would-be assassin is tied to a pole in a tent, and Drogo worriedly rushes in to check on his wife. He swears a gift for his unborn son, the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. The incident has finally given Drogo cause to cross the Narrow Sea and invade Westeros. The Dothraki then leave Vaes Dothrak, with the assassin naked and tied to Daenerys' horse. He'll be forced to run alongside until he dies.

Robert has died and Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne. Varys tells Ned that Renly has left the city, so there are no other would-be heirs in King's Landing. Ned gives Robert's message to Ser Barristan to open. He reads it aloud, and the message declares Ned to take control until the heir comes of age. When Barristan hands the letter to Cersei, she tears it up. There is a new king now, and the old king's words hold no merit.

Ned gives the orders to the City Watch to arrest Cersei and Joffrey. The Kingsguard and the Hound get ready to fight, but Ned doesn't want any bloodshed. Suddenly, the City Watch attack Ned's men and kill them while Littlefinger sneaks behind Ned and holds a knife to his throat saying, "I did warn you not to trust me".

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