Game of Thrones

Season 1 Episode 7

You Win or You Die

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

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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  • Treachery and the Game of Thrones!

    I'm a little to all this Game of Thrones business but man am I glad I bought the first two seasons on Blu-Ray!! I always wondered what the hub bub was about and now I see! It's an amazing show with awesome characters, stunning locales and wonderful fantasy!

    I also bought the books as I love reading fantasy! As an avid reader of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series and after seeing much of the first season of the Legend of the Seeker I was greatly disappointed when Sam Raimi and co didn't hold true to the novels and it's great story!

    I can say that Game of Thrones is a much better adaptation of George R. R. Martin's masterpiece! I've been reading the first book along with watching the first season and I must say the creator's have done really well in holding true to the writing and showcasing it on the silver screen.

    In regards to this episode 'You Win or You Die' it has been the best of season with 'A Golden Crown' being right behind. I do have to say that although getting more background on Littlefinger was nice I do think the scene with Ros and the other wench was a little overkill but I do have to love his little devious underhandedness, should have been more careful, Ned!

    I can't to read and watch more!
  • You Win or You Die

    The Good:

    -"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."

    -"We only make peace with our enemies...that is why it is called making peace."

    -"I did warn you not to trust me."

    The Bad:

    -The scene in the brothel borders on gratuitous. Petyr's background is revealed, but the story is an interesting one even without the prostitutes practicing their trade in the corner.
  • The game of thrones begins to heat up. (There's some spoilers here, just to warn.)

    "Game of Thrones" has really surprised me. Sure, there's a lot of long dialogue driven scenes and episodes that are sometimes not as intense as one would hope. However, the last few episodes have absolutely proven that it's a show that knows one hundred percent how to tell a story, make anearly every character equally interesting and raise the stakes when it needs to be done. This episode, leaving us with three left until the finale, takes just about every plot and complicates them, but not too much to confuse or buden us. Instead, it's just some good old dramatic storytelling with only a few missteps.

    The situation in the King's Landing grows even more dire after King Robert Baratheon is gored by a boar and ends up dead by episode's end. The problem is, Joffrey would technically be the next to replace him, and as we learned last week, he's a Lannister, not a Baratheon, This means, just as cersei and Jaime originally wanted, the Lannister family would be in charge of the throne. And finally, the Targarian/King's Landing plots are dangerously close to colliding, something I've been waiting for for awhile. Baratheon's attempt to assassinate Daenerys fails, which puts Khal Drogo in a state of fury as he agrees to finally cross the narrow sea in order to attack Baratheon and take back the throne for Daenerys. This puts Westeros and the West on a path to chaos. It's also important to remember that Tywin Lannister, father of Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion, has a thirst for the throne. If there's any episode that perfectly encapsulates the idea of men and women competing in a "game" for the throne, it's this one.

    We also get, after a two episodes absence, the return of Jon Snow. I was a fan of this plot for the first four episodes and the absence was noticeable and unfortunate. However, its return was also a bit lackluster. Sure, it's intriguing that benjin has gone missing and that Jon was cast as a squire instead of a ranger (we get some funny lines here as well), but I'm still waiting for all that pent-up chaos of the first ten minutes of the premiere to pay off. Remember those zombie/vampire creatures from the premiere? I'm waiting for a reappearance.

    And I also feel like the show make a misstep in killing off Baratheon off-screen. Mark Addy did a great job in the role, so why is his character being given such low-key death? They could've handled it a bit better, despite the repercussions of it being awesome.

    The next episode brings author George R.R Martin's first writtten episode. It should be interesting to see what he does with his own work.
  • "I warned you not to trust me."


    Rarely does honor ever fail a character in a story; we are taught great things will happen to you if you stick with it. Game of Thrones isn't like the stories you grew up with that you were told as a child (that much was obvious with the lesbian sex scene near the beginning). Ned Stark is the type of character who prevails in most normal medieval stories because he fought for what he believed in. In the world of Westeros, he's the one on the wrong end of the blade on Littlefinger's dagger. In the previous episode I talked about Game of Thrones producing so much story development that we need to be relieved of it with a big splash. We got it, and in supremely dramatic fashion, not only with the story in King's Landing, but also with Daenerys Targeryan and to a lesser extent, Jon Snow and the Wall.

    It was one event after another; Ned Stark confronts Cersei about her incestuous relationship with her twin brother Jaime Lannister, King Robert dies, Ghost finds a severed hand, Renly means to seize the throne, Khal Drogo vows to rule Westeros, and of course, Ned Stark is betrayed by Littlefinger. The suspense just built up into one final explosion, and of course the brilliant acting should never fail to be mentioned. The poisoner at the markets did a remarkable job selling his part, better than how it was done in the books. Samwell Tarly, despite his cowardice, shows redeeming qualities that especially shines in this episode. And although the show has made you hate them, Joffrey does a wonderful job of portraying a guy you would want to see die a million deaths, and Littlefinger always walks a stride that makes it impossible to read his character. This episode could have done for a season finale, and yet there are 3 more left.

  • 107

    When you play the Game of Thrones you either win or die.....but you be entertained is not guaranteed. I did not plan on watching this show, but I heard the hype and decided to give it a shot. It was okay, and this episode was okay, but I am just not getting into these characters. There was not one scene that really stood out tonight and I think the actors are being overlooked by the great set design. There are some good actors on the show, some good acting on display tonight, but nothing is that great and I feel like if I didn't watch this show anymore I wouldn't be missing out on anything. Not a good feeling for a show.

    Maybe it will get better next week, but I know that tonight's ep was fairly mediocre.
  • You Win or You Die


    You Win or You Die was a perfect episode of Game of Thrones because it had so much character and plot development, action and drama, intrigue and suspense! I liked how every thing played out in this episode. It was great to see the Lannister patriarch givingSer Jaime Lannister advice on how a true Lannister should act in such a circumstance while skinning an elk. I also liked how Lord Stark confronted the Queen and gave her an ultimatum only to have to confront those loyal to her in the end. I thought the tree that Snow and his fat friend swore their Knight Watch oath under was cool. Joffrey was quite the little momma's boy on the throne and I look forward to seeing how the throne room show down plays out because when you play the Game of Thrones you play to Win!!!!!!!

  • Spoiler Alert! There are no good guys in this show, except maybe Ned Stark.....

    The follow-up to this episode were a little slow, but now the game begins in earnest!

    I really don't know who I want to win. Okay, I know who I want to lose - the Lannisters, hands down. Although I did sort of sympathize with Cersei, especially when her loutish husband started knocking her about, and I certainly understand her motivations a little better now than I did at first. Still, the Lannisters are in general a distasteful lot (except Tyrion, who is a delight to watch.

    There are so many people in the running for the throne, including characters we haven't met yet, but of the major players, I have to say I kinda want Daenerys and her big bad husband to at least give the other contestants a run for their money (though I did wince when Khal Drogo said "I will rape their women" - uh, let's not say we did?). I've loved watching Daenerys morph from a frightened victim to a bad-ass barbarian queen. And she has dragon blood! She would be more than a match for Cersei, I'm sure. I'd really like to see those to meet actually.

    Ned Stark is probably the only good guy in the mix, which may or may not get him killed in short order. Having never read the books, I don't know if he does or not, but I'd be really bummed if he did. Part of me wishes he had just gone back home to live peacefully in the North with his brood of kids, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for him. It seems that for every major character that is killed off in this show (Viserys, King Rob) a new one is added (Theon Greyjoy, mysterious waif who tried to kill Bran). I can't wait to see how this complex narrative unfolds.
  • About as close you can get to smart yet exciting TV.

    At this age of instant gratification and dumbed-down situations and conversations, where everything has to be explained to the viewer and where virtually everyone has the same reactions to everything socially acceptable or unacceptable, here (thank god!!!) we were reminded that indeed there is smart yet high adrenaline writing out there, and that it can trickle onto your TV set.
    Let me single some out: Robert getting injured and dying off-screen. WOW! When did you last see that? Shades of Kurosawa, ladies and gents.
    Conversation between Ned and Cersei: the no-muss acceptance that Ned knows Cersei's secret was unbelievably good; no unnecessary reactions, eye-widening etc. Just strong characters.
    Oh, and with this episode Drogo finally came to true life as a character. His passionate vow in the centre of the tent was excellent; I could see him as bloody version of Conan.
    All in all, we really cannot ask for more from 45 minutes of television.
    I realise a great fiction writer wrote this, so it's to be expected, but HBO staff should indeed be commended for transforming this to the screen in the way they did.
    Eagerly waiting for more!!
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Modern and smart medieval fantasy

    Is Game of Thrones just an other Good versus Evil battle ? I doubt it because I don't think George R. R. Martin is that naive and titling his work A Song of Ice and Fire was just a way to appeal our Manichaean reptilian brain. After all there's a reason why J. R. R. Tolkien set his fantasy writings in Middle-earth. Smoking dragons wouldn't be able to burn villages if they weren't able to fly. That's for the air. Is there a common ground for all these families ? And what if the Gods were only toying their creation from deep down the sea ? Atlantis, Greek and Norse mythologies… The perfect number for the most pivotal episode so far. Se7en wicked steps to lose it and feel alive :
    1. Digest the recap to freshen up your dry memory and dive in the most wonderful opening of all title sequences.
    2. Chop up an animal corpse from beginning to end in front of the camera and give a visceral lecture on family values to Jaime Lannister.
    3. Let the Littlefinger talk while teaching an exotic prostitute how to please the curvy nature of a Caucasian beauty.
    4. Alert Jon Snow, hint at a possible beginning of the end and unveil an intriguing destiny. Bonus : Dungeons & Dragons joke.
    5. Forge A Golden Crown for Daenerys dear brother then melt Ned's fate in the most unpredictable shapes.
    6. Learn Dothraki to make sure you understand what Khal Drogo says because Jason Momoa's performance was both gentle and furious !

    The 7th is obvious, it's yours.
  • It's a shame, really, that my favorite scene of the episode was the opening scene. It is a heavy discussion between Jaime Lannister and his father, Tywin. This scene was brand new, seen as neither of these characters is a POV character in the books.

    Game of Thrones Episode 7

    You Win or You Die It's a shame, really, that my favorite scene of the episode was the opening scene. It is a heavy discussion between Jaime Lannister and his father, Tywin. This scene was brand new, seen as neither of these characters is a POV character in the books. At this point in the books, we would only hear what Jaime was up to through the voices of other characters, and so an introspection into his actual doings was a nice touch. I think the introduction to the patriarch of House Lannister was portrayed very nicely. He seems to be the only person who can put Jaime into check. This scene also allowed us to view the full extent of House Lannister's desires. We already have a strong knowledge of House Stark, so seeing 'the other side' was welcome. I have to say, the lesbian scene was rather bizarre. I know that Littlefinger is a strange little man, but I think this scene was actually too much. I found myself trying to listen to his monologue, but very distracted doing so. I know that he was referring to Catelyn Stark as his long lost love that got away, but I couldn't help but feel that it wasn't as obvious as it should have been in the show. I think the only reason that I knew to whom he was referring is because I am familiar with the source material. I did, however, like how they kept Roz the whore involved with the story. Although she is new to the TV show, she has provided a very nice character arc for Theon Greyjoy, something I'll touch on in a moment. I also really like Aidan Gillen's (Littlefinger) work. I think he is bringing a very watchable aura to an otherwise disgustingly vile and creepy character. I haven't touched much on Theon in the past reviews, and although he only had one scene in the episode, AND it wasn't even a scene Roz, I still think it is worthy of note (also Dean told me to). Theon was never fleshed out in the books as well as other characters were, and so he was made to seem a greedy, unloved ward of the Starks. Roz has given Theon new meaning. With Roz, he has always had something to really live for at Winterfell. Yet now that she has gone South to whore it up in King's Landing, he has reason to become more angrily sullen and brooding than he already was. This was evident in his treatment of Osha, the woman who threatened Bran's life in the last episode, and is now Winterfell's newly acquired house slave. His one love is now gone, and not only is he upset, but he is horny. Maester Luwin to the rescue, I guess… You know it's a shame to see Mark Addy's King Robert Baratheon go so soon, but he certainly had a good run while he lasted. He did some very nice acting work and made a fat drunkard of a king immensely enjoyable, if not even loveable. His scenes with Sean Bean have been a wonderful thing to observe, especially from an acting standpoint. I think he went out with a bang, though, and even with a slightly humorous touch, ever true to the character. I think the story line has become more and more clear to the new audience, and we're finally at the part where the show has officially become an addiction. I've been told by several people who are new to the GOT universe that they are angry when each episode ends. I'll take this as a good sign. Back up north, it was nice to revisit the wall, and see how Jon Snow, Sam, and the other members of the Night's Watch are doing. This was the first time we really saw some strong emotion out of Jon, as he got angry with being placed as a personal Steward to Commander Mormont. He reveals that he has always considered himself a soldier, and that to be placed as a steward is insulting. This also gave more of a chance to flesh out Sam's character as well. I feel it is important to devote some time to little character developments, not just for good storytelling, but also because everything that occurs at the wall is such a sideplot from the rest of the story, at least for now. What I mean is that if the characters up at the wall are not interesting enough, then viewers will get irritated every time their story has to be told. In this fashion, it makes sense to build Jon as slightly whiney at first, because just like he has to grow into himself, viewers have to grow into him as well. Let's cut back down to King's Landing, where Eddard is faced with hard times. Thrown into turmoil with Robert's impending death, Ned needs to decide the best course of action for the kingdom, and act quickly. This is where I find Sean Bean's acting so wonderfully subtle. This man is effectively deciding the fate of an entire kingdom, and yet Bean knows that every single second on camera counts for something. You can see it in his face. His every facial twitch is intriguing. Although the show has barely begun to explore the fantasy elements of this 'fantasy genre,' the human nature evoked from the wonderful storytelling, writing, and acting cannot be compared to anything else on television. If your king were going to die within 24 hours, and you needed to decide the order of succession for claim to the throne, yet you weren't related to any of the claimants to the throne, how would you react? To me, the answer is like Sean Bean. I'm not entirely sure how the show plans to structure its episodes. Because the story is so serialized, as the show goes on, more and more storylines will unfold, which will mean that if every episode tries to include every plotline, the story will become disjointed. After spending several expository episodes introducing the characters and the world of Westeros (and across the Narrow Sea), it's begun to focus more on only two or three stories per episode. I like this. I think this will make for more cohesive storytelling in the long run. I do wonder if episodes will try to have similar themes among the storylines. In this sense, I gathered that this episode was about choosing where you stand. Ned, of course, needs to make his choice between being loyal to Robert, siding with Littlefinger, giving into Renly, or just plain doing the right thing. Jon seems hard pressed to choose whether to take his vows as a man of the night's watch, or abandon the wall. Kahl Drogo has finally vowed to lead his people across the Narrow Sea to reclaim the Iron Throne, and rule with Daenerys by his side, and "rape their women," as he muses in his Dothraki tongue. So if I had to pin a theme to this episode, I'd say it was 'choice.' A shocking choice, made by Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) does not seem to bode well for Ned, as evidenced by a knife placed at Ned's throat. What's going to happen next? New viewers, any thoughts?

    Ta for now!
  • Calm before the storm.

    Another great episode of Thrones, another handful of twists and great character moments. The tension between Ned and Cersei finally comes to a head, and on a lesser show Ned would have been granted rule of the kingdom. One of the best things about the books, and therefore the show, is that the plot is often brutally realistic and unsentimental. Good people die and bad people persevere, and basically nothing you expect to happen actually does. The episode did an excellent job of showing the motivations behind several of the players in King's Landing, and Ned remains maddeningly noble. It's not a fault of the show, its just who Ned is. In a lesser program, maybe something by Disney, Ned would probably lock away the Lannisters and become ruler. Well, not so. As just as Ned is, he is also kind of blind to how his actions put him in danger, relying on the fact that he does what is right. King's Landing is the focus of this episode, and offers a great amount of development, but there are other characters featured as well. Jon is finally back after a few episodes, getting assigned the duty of a steward. Clearly he isn't happy, but Sam points out that he may well be in line for Lord Commander one day. The scene as they swear their oath before the heart tree was very well done, voices in unison. The tree itself was very well crafted, and we got more GHOST
  • Better and better!

    Each episode gets more and more exiting, each decision made, or question answered thrusts towards a bigger decision or question, and so on. This episode finally unearths some buried secrets and the steam the characters have been building gets hotter. I gotta admit it, got very exited before each face off, and now i like this series even more. It's frigging amazing. This episode turns the tide totally, there's some unique scenes regarding the khal and while i knew traitors are everywhere i still sort of got surprised. What i hve learned though is that, in Game of Thrones everything can change in a second, the element of surprise is ever so present and keeps you seated at all times. (well at for me). Enjoy!
  • Watch the Throne (Spoilers Follow)

    Ned confronts Cersei regarding the illegitimacy of her children and how she must flee before Robert returns from his hunt as he will dish out justice upon them. But Robert was drunk and became fatally wounded by a boar no less and names Ned Lord Protector until Joffrey can take the throne, but Ned fudges the letter to hand it off to Stannis Baratheon instead. With promises from Littlefinger that he can get the City Watch to back Ned up and take the Throne from Joffrey Ned approaches the throne room and is doomed to be tricked at the hands of Littlefinger who still lusts for Catelyn. Meanwhile Jon takes his oath of the Night's Watch after seeing his Uncle Benjen's horse reach the wall without him riding. He isn't given the position of a ranger but instead a steward to the leader of the Night's Watch as a pampering for him to one day take over hopefully and there is no going back now since punishment for desertion is death. Jorah recieves news of his pardon from the King and now he can leave but also foils the assassination attempt on Daenerys via wine tasting and this inspires Khal Drogo to give his unborn sun the throne upon which his bride's father once sat upon and will move to invade Westeros in a really disturbingly effective scene since we haven't seen much of the warrior side of Khal Drogo yet until now. This s**t just got real, so what's going to happen with Ned and everyone at King's Landing? What a way to leave us wanting more HBO and we only have three episodes left until the end of the season so let's sit back and enjoy the ride from here on out as the Game of Thrones has truly begun.