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Recap / Game of Thrones S1E5 "The Wolf and the Lion"

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As dawn breaks on the second day of the tourney in King's Landing, Lord Eddard Stark, Hand of the King, comes down to visit the corpse of Ser Hugh of the Vale, slain the day before in a joust with Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. Ned is not only concerned over the body receiving proper treatment, but is curious as to how this boy Hugh, knighted only a few months ago, could afford a new suit of armor. However, Ned is soon distracted from his detecting by the news that Robert plans to enter the lists. Ned is able to dissuade him only by pointing out that all the knights in the kingdom will lose to him in the hopes of currying favor. (He's also too fat for his jousting armor.) Ned also gets another disquieting clue by noticing that Robert's squire Lancel is, of course, a Lannister, foisted on him by Cersei.

The next tilt shown is between Ser Gregor Clegane against Ser Loras Tyrell, called "The Knight of Flowers", by universal acclaim the prettiest knight in the Seven Kingdoms. He wins by riding a mare in heat, causing Clegane to have trouble controlling his stallion. Whilst Littlefinger and Sansa debate whether this makes Loras a Combat Pragmatist or a cheater, The Mountain, turning out to be a massively Sore Loser, deals with his recalcitrant horse by hacking off its head and then going after his opponent. He is stopped only by the intervention of his brother The Hound, and then the booming commands of his king. For his decisive action, Sandor Clegane is proclaimed the hero of the day.

On the eastern road, Tyrion is unhooded and discovers that Catelyn is taking him to the Eyrie, ruling seat of her sister, Jon Arryn's widow Lysa, despite having announced ("often, and loudly") that they were making for Winterfell. The ragged party, including a sellsword named Bronn and the singer from earlier, Marillion, are almost immediately waylaid by one of the Mountain Clans of the Vale, and Tyrion first shows his Badass Bookworm side by beating one of them to death with a shield. Tyrion ends the battle in much better state than he began: no longer tied up, a bit of rapport with Bronn, and doubts planted in Catelyn's mind after he points out, correctly, that had he sent a mercenary after Bran, he would not have armed the man with his own blade.

At Winterfell, Bran plays Mister Exposition as Maester Luwin quizzes him on the major houses of Westeros. Bran's resentment over his now-Missing Mom comes out, but there's a spark of hope as well when Maester Luwin mentions that the Dothraki are excellent mounted archers. Theon, meanwhile, works out his resentments over his family issues by mounting Ros from behind. He's a hostage of House Stark and hasn't seen his actual family for more than a decade. This will be important next season.

In King's Landing, Ned consults with Varys. Varys, as per usual, bears bad news: the king is in great danger and Eddard Stark is the only one who can save him. Varys, like the queen, has bided his time to try and get the measure of their new Hand, and Varys (at least) has come to trust him. He reveals that Lord Arryn was killed by a poison called "the tears of Lys," and implies that the poisoner was the former squire, Ser Hugh. When asked why Lord Arryn was killed now and not any time in the seventeen years of his Handship, Varys only replies, "He started asking questions."

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Red Keep, Arya is chasing a cat as per her instructions from Syrio. It flees into a storage basement crowded with dragon skulls—hey, remember Viserys's ruminations last episode? There's the answer!—and then ducks into the shadows when two strangers walk by holding a cryptic conversation. It's Varys—and Magister Illyrio, the man who sheltered the Targaryen siblings in Pentos! Conspiracy! They recap what has happened so far with between the wolf and the lion, discuss whether Khal Drogo is ready to invade, and imply that Ned's sleuthing might put him in danger. Arya hurriedly returns to their house to warn her father—and is mistaken twice for a boy in the process—but can only recount bits of the conversation, since she didn't understand half of it, lacks the context for the rest, and has no idea who the conspirators were. (In the book, she can only describe them via appearance since she's never met either of them, and Varys, a Master of Disguise to begin with, is unrecognizable anyway. Unobservant readers might never have figured out their identities at all.) And while she manages to blurt out that they suggested killing Ned, death threats aren't really news to him. In the end, she is led away by Jory whilst Yoren, who was present for Catelyn's little kidnapping enterprise at the end of the last episode, drops in and updates Ned on what he saw.

Varys, meanwhile, goes on to have a conversation with Littlefinger in front of the Iron Throne, in which Baelish reveals he knows about Illyrio's brief visit and Varys taunts him with his knowledge of the weird fetishes Littlefinger's brothels accomodate, not to mention his instigating Catelyn Stark's capture of Tyrion Lannister. Each has the other over a barrel, and both of them know it, but neither is able to act on their threats before real news arrives from abroad. "The WHORE is pregnant," Robert growls. The information is from Varys's spy, Ser Jorah Mormont, a slaver and a man of questionable repute, but Robert is too angry to be wise. He gives orders to have the Targaryens slain, and though the Hand argues strenously against it, the Small Council falls in line. When Eddard sees that he will have no support, he resigns his Handship in protest, and departs the chamber with Robert's furious rants echoing behind him.

Having reached the the Eyrie, Catelyn's audience with her younger sister Lysa goes rather differently than anyone expected—except maybe Tyrion, who warned her that Lysa has changed since Catelyn last saw her. For one, Lysa is absolutely paranoid and is cowering in the Vale from perceived enemies. For two, her son is a spoiled and creepy brat—he's eight and she's still breastfeeding him. Lysa tells Catelyn that her letter was a warning, not an invitation... but now that she's got Tyrion, she accuses him of slaying Lord Arryn as well. ("Oh!, did I kill him too?" Tyrion replies with enviable sarcasm—he basically hits every note short of telling Lysa to go drink some Hershey's syrup so the kid can have chocolate milk. "I've been a very busy man.") Tyrion is locked up in the sky cells despite Catelyn's protests.

We return to King's Landing, just in time for Loras and Renly to have a Shirtless Scene! Loras is shaving Renly's chest! They're both petulant, whining and complaining about how unfair life is! Loras thinks Renly would be a much better king! Renly gets faint at the sight of blood! ...Seven hells, Loras is going down on Renly! Unlike the books, we're not gonna need Word of Gay about these guys any time soon! Boy, that's some noisy stuff going on down there! ...Sorry, where were we?

Whilst Ned packs furiously, Robert and Cersei fret over what to do if the Dothraki do invade, and the absolute PR disaster it would be. They then have a startlingly heart-felt conversation, toasting each other and 17 years' mutual resentment, and wonder whether they ever had a chance at making their marriage work. (The verdict: Lyanna says no.) As for Ned, he's distracted when Littlefinger offers to take him to "the last person Jon Arryn spoke with before falling ill." It's a whore, barely more than a child, who has borne Robert Baratheon's bastard baby. "She looks like him, don't she, m'lord? She has his nose, his black hair." Jon Arryn, when he came to visit, merely inquired into the health of the child; Littlefinger doesn't know why. But as they leave, a new problem emerges: the Kingslayer rides up with a score of Lannister guardsmen and demands the return of the Imp. While Littlefinger runs to summon the gold cloaks, Jaime has Ned's three guardsmen killed. Wil and Hewett go down on the instant; Jory gives a good account of himself, but he's no match for the Kingslayer. But Ned Stark is, and the wolf and the lion go at it in a furious Sword Fight that ends only when one of the Lannister guardsmen, on his own initiative, stabs Ned through the thigh. Jaime smacks him to the ground with the hilt of his sword for interfering, then the Lannister contingent rides away, leaving Eddard Stark in the street with his dead.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Loras has brown irises in the novels, but Finn Jones has blue eyes.
  • Afraid of Blood: Renly is squeamish around anything that is the least bit gory. Loras points out that if he wants to get anywhere in life, he's going to have to get over this, and inflicts a small cut to illustrate the point.
  • Agent Peacock: Ser Loras, the Knight of the Flowers, looks like a foppish parody of a Knight in Shining Armor... until he wins a joust through some underhanded tactics. According to Renly, however, Loras is already known as a skilled swordsman.
  • Agony of the Feet: Ned fights a one-on-one duel with Jaime only to be stabbed in the leg by a bystander, one of the Lannister soldiers who were standing around watching and saw a chance to avert Mook Chivalry.
  • Ascended Extra: Ser Loras Tyrell's screen time in this episode is larger than his very minor role in the A Game of Thrones novel.
  • Ascended Meme: In-universe example, the unofficial Lannister "words" (motto): "A Lannister always pays his debts." Tyrion says it, and in a later scene, Bran mistakenly says it when asked for the House Lannister words (which are "Hear Me Roar").
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: A Discussed Trope.
    • Renly muses that despite not being a good king, his brother Robert became king because he's very good at killing.
    • Cersei says that even if the Dothraki invade, they have no knowledge of siege warfare. But King Robert points out that if they hid in their castles while the Dothraki Rape, Pillage, and Burn it makes them look cowardly to the smallfolk, who may well hail Viserys king rather than see their country laid to waste.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Tyrion delivers one on behalf of his brother.
      Lysa: These men are knights of the Vale. Every one of them loved Jon Arryn. Every one of them would die for me.
      Tyrion: If any harm comes to me, my brother Jaime will see that they do.
    • And Arya delivers one to a pair of Gold Cloaks twice her size.
      Arya: My father is Hand of the King. I am not a boy, I am Arya Stark of Winterfell. And if you lay a hand on me my father will have both of your heads on spikes. Now, are you going to let me by, or do I have to smack you on the ear to help you with your hearing?
  • The Bear: One of the variations of this queer-themed trope is the thin, hairy guy, who is referred to as an "otter." Renly's nickname on this entertainment website aimed at gay men is the Otter King. The character has a hairy chest, but the audience never sees it because Loras finds him more attractive with a smooth torso.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sandor saving Ser Loras from Ser Gregor; Tyrion saving Catelyn.
  • Bling of War: Loras's gleaming and ornate armour.
  • Blood Knight: Just look at the smile on Jaime's face when he realises Ned can hold his own. He's angered when one of his men comes to his aid, spoiling his chance to find out if he could have defeated Ned himself.
  • Bromance: Cersei snarks to Robert about how his "marriage" to Ned Stark didn't work out.
  • Call-Back:
    • Arya is chasing cats, which was mentioned in the previous episode to be her next lesson.
    • Arya goes into a dungeon containing dragon skulls. In the previous episode, Viserys and Doreah pondered what happened to the dragon skulls that lined the Red Keep.
    • Robert brings up his discussion with Ned during "The Kingsroad" where he warned of the threat posed by Daenerys' Arranged Marriage.
    • Jory catching Jaime's blade through his eye, after his discussion with Jaime last episode about how he nearly missed getting stabbed through the eye during the Greyjoy rebellion.
  • Cain and Abel: Sandor and Gregor. They even duel in this episode.
  • Camp Gay: Loras is a borderline example of this trope.
  • Carpet of Virility: Loras is shaving off Renly’s chest hair, to the latter’s annoyance.
  • Chastity Dagger: Catelyn draws a dagger when attacked by the Mountain Clans.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The necklace that Tyrion gave to Ros becomes significant in Season 2.
  • The Chessmaster: Varys is revealed to be plotting with Magister Illyrio over the Dothraki invasion. However events are proceeding too quickly in Westeros, because Khal Drogo won’t invade until he has a male heir. Varys has to play Xanatos Speed Chess to prevent war breaking out before they can take advantage of it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jaime catches Jory's sword in a Blade Lock, then stabs him in the eye with a dagger held in his other hand.
  • Conflicting Loyalties: As Bran points out, the words of House Tully (his mother’s house) are "Family, Duty, Honor." “Family comes first.” So why has his mother left him?
  • Cool Helmet: You can look at detailed images of the Knight of Flowers' helm here.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Lysa is distrustful of anyone coming to her husband's land, including her sister Catelyn.
  • Creepy Child: Lysa's son Robin. "Mummy... I want to see the bad man fly."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Jaime Lannister vs. Jory Cassel lasts no more than 5 seconds; Jaime gets Jory in a Blade Lock and puts a knife in his eye.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Varys says that Jon Arryn was killed because "he started to ask questions." Now Ned Stark is asking those same questions.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon
    Jory: If you threaten my lord again—
    Jaime: Threaten? As in, I'm going to open your lord from balls to brains and see what Starks are made of?
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Bronn. Tyrion approves.
      Tyrion: The Eyrie. They say it's impregnable.
      Bronn: Give me ten good men and some climbing spikes, I'll impregnate the bitch.
      Tyrion: ...I like you.
    • Renly, too.
      Renly: You have to give it to the Lannisters. They may be the most pompous, ponderous cunts the gods have ever suffered to walk the world, but they do have an outrageous amount of money.
    • Snark-to-Snark Combat when Littlefinger gets involved.
      Renly: Such a shame, Littlefinger! It would've been so nice for you to have a friend.
      Baelish: And tell me Lord Renly, when will you be having your friend? [in reference to Loras]
  • Death Glare:
    • Tyrion to the minstrel when he starts acting as The Narrator.
      Marillion: [singing] On that eve, the captive imp / downwards from his horse did limp / No more would he preen and primp / in garb of red and gold.
    • Littlefinger puts a hand on Sansa's shoulder while whispering in her ear, but quickly removes it when Ned glares at him.
  • Dirty Business: Varys and Littlefinger describe killing Daenerys and her unborn child as this.
    Varys: It is a terrible thing we must consider, a vile thing. Yet we who presume to rule must sometimes do vile things for the good of the realm.
    Littlefinger: When you find yourself in bed with an ugly woman, best close your eyes, get it over with.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Jory doesn't notice his boss is leaving Littlefinger's brothel because he's too busy staring at a topless whore who's showing off her breasts for him.
      Ned: Jory!
    • Ser Gregor's tempermental stallion was very distracted by Ser Loras' mare, who was in heat.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Don’t Call Me Ser — The Hound is no knight.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the previous episode Jory told Jaime Lannister his opponent in the Greyjoy rebellion missed his eye. Jaime doesn't.
  • Dress Hits Floor: A rare male version of this trope occurs when Loras removes Renly's pants (and any undergarment the latter may be wearing) in one swift movement and letting them drop to the floor.
  • Driving Question: After peacefully serving as Hand for seventeen years, why would someone have killed Jon Arryn now?
  • Due to the Dead: Because Ser Hugh has no family, Ser Barriston stands vigil over his body, which the Silent Sisters are shown making presentable.
  • Enemy Mine: Despite Catelyn and her retinue being his captors, Tyrion still fights alongside them against a warband of hill tribesmen, knowing the tribesmen don't give a damn about the quarrels of the great houses and will just kill them all irregardless.
  • Ephebophile: Littlefinger takes Ned to meet the mother of the most recent of King Robert's bastards, a very young whore.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • If you have any doubts about what kind of person The Mountain is, go watch the bit with the horse again. Sore loser, much?
    • Also serves as one for The Hound. The moment Robert roars out for their impromptu duel to the death to stop, the Hound immediately bows down in front of his King, loyal to the letter (while also making the Mountain look like a jackass by surreptitiously dodging his wild sword swing in the process). It also serves to establish how little the two brothers give a shit about each other, and how, when he has the authority to do so, the Hound would readily stop the Mountain from harming another person over a petty reason.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Jaime finds out about Tyrion's capture, he's furious and immediately starts making plans to get him back.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Subverted; Arya does overhear a vitally important conversation, but since she's only eleven and the speakers are both cryptic and talking about international politics, she barely understands most of it. When she tries to relay it to her father she can't remember most of what was said and the message ends up garbled beyond coherency.
  • Exposition: Bran is tested by Maester Luwin on his knowledge of the various Houses, laying out the factions of the upcoming crisis.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Jaime kills Jory by sticking a dagger into his eye and through the rest of his head.
    • Renly and Loras talk about a boy whose eye was dangling out of its socket after he fought in the melee.
  • Fan Disservice: Seeing Lysa's breast exposed should be Fanservice, but it's while her son is being breast-fed. And her son's eight, not to mention that Lysa herself isn't exactly attractive.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Yoren and Benjen, which is why he rushes to King's Landing to warn Benjen’s brother Ned that trouble is coming for his family with Tyrion’s arrest.
  • Flowers of Romance: Sansa believes the red rose Loras offers to her is a token of his affection. If only she had noticed that the Knight of Flowers was in fact googly-eyed over the Lord of Storm's End sitting behind her...
  • Flynning:
    • Averted. The Jaime/Ned duel is in deadly earnest, and Coster-Woldau/Bean/their stuntmen must have come away with at least a few bruises, when one of them missed a beat and the other did what you're supposed to do in a Sword Fight: hit the other guy with your sword.
    • Averted for the fight between The Mountain and The Hound. Having said that, the novel makes it clear that the Hound is more interested in protecting the unarmed Ser Loras than striking his brother; apparently, his televised counterpart takes the same attitude.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Lysa's (Catelyn's sister) mental state is foreshadowed.
      Knight: [Tyrion] doesn't look like a prisoner.
      Catelyn: My sister will decide what he looks like.
      Knight: [significantly] Yes, my lady. She will at that.
    • Robert mentions that the Seven Kingdoms might have a larger population and armies than Dany's Dothraki horde, but they're constantly at each other's throats. Cersei mentions that her marriage to him is what's holding everything together. We see exactly what that means in later episodes.
    • Loras's suggestion to Renly that he should make a claim for the throne becomes a major plot point in Season 2.
    • Yoren sees Arya in her Street Urchin clothes and mistakes her for a boy. This becomes important in "Baelor."
    • Littlefinger says he might have to choose between loyalty to a friend or loyalty to the Crown. In "You Win or You Die," Littlefinger betrays his promise to one of his alleged friends.
  • Get Out!: King Robert when Ned resigns, followed by Giving Someone the Pointer Finger.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Bronn tells Tyrion there's nothing like a woman after your first kill. Tyrion eyes Catelyn and mutters, "I'm willing if she is."
  • Guile Heroine: Catelyn tells everyone she’s taking the Imp to Winterfell, only to take the road to the Vale instead.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Ser Gregor Clegane's response to losing at a jousting match involves chopping off the head of his own horse and attacking the winner from behind before the King and hundreds of witnesses.
  • Hide Your Gays: Averted; in the novels the homosexual relationship between Renly and Loras is only hinted at. Here it’s full-on Yaoi fanservice.
  • Hobbes Was Right
    King Robert: I've got seven kingdoms to rule! One king, seven kingdoms! Do you think honor keeps them in line? Do you think it's honor that's keeping the peace? It's fear. Fear and blood!
  • Honest Advisor: Ned risks Robert's wrath (including an overt death threat) by delivering a What the Hell, Hero? to the most powerful man in the country.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ned refuses to join Robert and the Small Council's decision to kill Daenerys and her unborn child since doing so would make them no different than the Mad King they toppled 17 years ago.
  • Hope Spot: Robert and Cersei have a rare moment of bonding, only to admit they're both too burnt out with their marriage to bother fixing things. Robert's best friend going at swordpoint with Cersei's favourite brother ends any possibility of reconciliation.
  • Horse Archer: Maester Luwin gives Bran a Hope Spot by suggesting Bran could learn to do this with the saddle Tyrion designed him. Luwin also notes Dothraki boys learn to do so from the age of four.
  • Implied Death Threat: Varys and Littlefinger both drop subtle hints that they know too much about each other, and it would be a shame if certain other parties found out what they know.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Sansa is charmed by Ser Loras Tyrell after he gives her a red rose, and is completely unaware that the gallant Knight of Flowers is staring at his boyfriend Renly.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Ned does this with his insignia pin when he resigns as Hand, after he disagrees with Robert about killing Daenerys.
  • Insistent Terminology: Littlefinger points out to Ned that Ser Jorah is a slaver, not a traitor. “Small difference to a man of honor, I know.”
  • I Owe You My Life: Loras says this word-for-word to the Hound after Sandor saves him from the Mountain, and Loras decides to repay the debt by forfeiting the final round of the joust and giving the championship title (plus the substantial award money) to the Hound.
  • I Warned You:
    Robert: I warned you this would happen. Back in the North, I warned you, but you didn't care to hear. Well, hear it now! I want 'em dead. Mother and child both...and that fool Viserys as well.
  • Jerkass: Theon becomes threatening towards Ros and refuses to pay for her services.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Subverted with the Knight of the Flowers who looks like this trope, but isn't above some underhanded means of winning the tourney.
  • Lady Macbeth: Despite being a male character, Loras essentially fulfills this trope by planting the idea into Renly's head that he should be king.
  • The Lady's Favour: It initially appears to be a gender inversion of this trope when Ser Loras gives Sansa a rose before his joust, but it's quickly subverted when it turns out to be an empty gesture. Lord Renly is his true sweetheart, but Loras obviously cannot offer his favour to another man in a homophobic society, so he simply hands the rose to the young lady who happens to be seated the closest to Renly in the stands.
  • Large Ham: King Robert chews on scenery like it was Rhaegar Targaryen's throat. “The WHORE is pregnant!”
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: It's clear that people consider the most dangerous thing about Tyrion to be his acerbic wit—then he picks up a shield and promptly beats the hell out of a Tribesman, before bashing his skull in.
  • The Lost Lenore: Lyanna Stark to Robert. Heavily overlaps with Loving a Shadow; he admits to Cersei that he can't even remember what Lyanna looked like anymore.
    Robert: Someone took her away from me, and Seven Kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left behind.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Invoked by Loras as the reason why Renly would be a superior monarch to either of his brothers or Joffrey; Renly would be loved and respected instead of hated and feared.
  • Meaningful Echo: King Robert echoes Jorah Mormont's statement, "Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in the open field." He does however go on to explain why it would be necessary to do so: if the lords hunkered down in their castles, impregnable to Dothraki weaponry, it would leave the smallfolk vulnerable to the Dothraki Rape, Pillage, and Burn ways, and the people would quickly turn against their lords and back the Targaryens.
  • Meaningful Look:
    • Loras and Renly share a lingering one at the Tourney of the Hand, and it's our first clue that these two characters are more than friends.
    • Later when Renly gripes that his brother treats him like a spoiled child, Loras wordlessly agrees.
  • The Mentally Disturbed:
    • Let's just say Lysa has changed much since Catelyn last saw her.
    • And her son seems to be a little unhinged himself—he's eight years old, is still being breast-fed, and shows an unhealthy level of enthusiasm for "making the bad man fly."
  • The Mole: Ser Jorah Mormont is a spy for Varys.
  • Morton's Fork: Robert really enjoys taunting his squire. When Ned tells Robert that he's too fat for his armor, Lancel nervously joins in the laughter. Robert angrily asks him if he thinks jokes about the king are funny. When Lancel says no, Robert accuses him of insulting Ned by not liking the joke.
  • My Beloved Smother: Lysa. Breastfeeding your kid when he's eight?! invokedSquickalicious.
  • Mythology Gag: Marillion's song is a quite funny nod to the books, which don't mention the specific lyrics, but do say that after a while, Tyrion was starting to getting pretty sick of listening to him trying to come up with more words that rhymed with "imp."
  • The Needs of the Many: Grand Maester Pycelle argues that it’s better to kill one girl to save thousands of innocents who’d be killed in a Dothraki invasion.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Ned resigns from the position of Hand right after his wife has angered the most powerful House in Westeros, leaving them both vulnerable to Lannister attacks.
    • Catelyn hauls Tyrion to the Vale, only to find her sister doesn't actually have any evidence of a Lannister conspiracy and is instead as crazy as a loon.
  • Necessarily Evil: On the surface, this appears to be why most of the Small Council supports Robert's decision to kill Daenerys. It sucks, and is Dirty Business, but all but Ned agree it's necessary to save thousands of lives. In reality however, the council are either too cowardly to object or have their own agenda and are simply saying what their King wants to hear. Killing the Targaryens or even trying to would not actually do any favours for the Westerosi, as proven two episodes later.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The preview shows Tyrion talking about how his family will be looking for him, then the group getting attacked, and finally Tyrion smugly asking to be untied. In fact, the attack is a random group of barbarians, and that last clip happens before it, with Tyrion reasoning that he can't run away without dying in the wilderness.
  • Non-Action Guy: Renly's brothers look down on him because he's not a warrior.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The gold cloaks realising the street urchin they've been abusing (and who heard them commit lèse-majesté against the Queen) is the daughter of the King's Hand.
    • Catelyn's face when she realises that Lysa's off her nut (and Tyrion's isn't much better when he realises his fate is in the hands of someone blatantly off her rocker). Varys when Littlefinger reveals he knows about his meeting with Illyrio. Ned when the Kingslayer rides up with his men, whose numbers greatly outmatch his own.
    • Loras has a moment of terror when he realizes that the Mountain is about to attack him with a sword. Loras doesn't have a weapon at this point, only a shield to protect himself.
    • Renly gets rather nervous when his lover starts talking treason.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Tyrion's voice suddenly gets a couple of decibels louder when he mentions to Catelyn that his father will certainly HAVE MEN OUT LOOKING FOR HIM and will be OFFERING A VERY, VERY LARGE REWARD. You get the feeling he's talking more to the sellswords in the background than to her.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Varys and Littlefinger have a bare-knuckled throwdown without even raising their voices.
  • Perfect Poison: The Tears of Lys is an expensive poison that is as clear and tasteless as water, and leaves no trace.
  • Pet the Dog: Three moments where previously established Jerkass characters show that they're not quite as jerkish as might have been expected: Sandor Clegane saves Ser Loras from his brother, Tyrion decides to save Catelyn's life instead of fleeing, and the whole conversation between Cersei and Robert late in the episode—where they're almost affectionate to one another.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Ned is hobbled by a spear through his leg rather than his leg being crushed when his horse falls on it, which would have been far more difficult (and dangerous) to film.
  • Pretty Boy: Ser Loras Tyrell. Sansa has a crush on him because of his good looks.
  • Properly Paranoid: Varys doesn't approach Ned until he's sure Ned is on the King's side.
  • Pull the Thread:
    • Ned wonders how Ser Hugh could have afforded a brand new suit of armor, and whether him being paired with the Mountain was really just bad luck.
    • Tyrion asks Catelyn to consider why he’d be stupid enough to give his own dagger to an assassin.
  • Really Gets Around: Robert has fathered an awful lot of bastards throughout King's Landing.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer
    Renly: My brother thinks that anyone who hasn't been to war isn't a man. He treats me like I'm a spoilt child! [off Loras's look] Oh, and you're not? The Knight of the Flowers? How many wars have you fought in?
  • Relationship Reveal: The scene where Loras is shaving Renly's chest.
  • Resign in Protest: After Ned fails to dissuade Robert from having Daenerys assassinated, he resigns from his position as Hand.
  • Respected by the Respected: Sandor gets hit with this after saving fan-favorite Loras from Gregor's attack. He's clearly thrown by the crowd cheering him and doesn't seem to know how to react.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Lysa and Robin.
  • Secret Relationship: Renly and Loras try to keep their romance hidden due to the homophobia which exists in Westerosi society, but Littlefinger clearly knows that they're a couple.
  • Security Cling: Sansa clutches her father’s arm when Ser Loras faces the Mountain.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Loras drops down off-screen to give oral sex to Renly.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Varys and Littlefinger have an entire conversation like this.
  • A Shared Suffering: Robert and Cersei show a rare moment of bonding.
    Robert: Sometimes I don't know what holds [the Seven Kingdoms] together.
    Cersei: Our marriage. [both crack up laughing]
    Robert: So, here we sit, 17 years later, holding it all together. Don't you get tired?
    Cersei: Every day.
    Robert: How long can hate hold a thing together?
    Cersei: Well, 17 years is quite a long time.
    Robert: (raising his cup) Yes, it is.
    Cersei: (sadly) Yes, it is.
  • Shield Bash: Tyrion takes down a clansman with a shield.
  • Side Bet: Renly and Littlefinger bet a hundred gold dragons on the Loras/Mountain joust, while engaging in Snark-to-Snark Combat.
  • Snipe Hunt: Robert sends Lancel Lannister off to find a "breastplate stretcher," then chuckles about it with Ned.
  • Something about a Rose: The rose Loras carries hints that he is an Agent Peacock — beautiful, but dangerous. Considering that the Mountain had killed an opponent in the previous episode, viewers who haven't read the books might assume that the rather delicate-looking Knight of Flowers is destined to become Gregor's next victim. With a little Combat Pragmatism, however, Loras takes down the fearsome brute on his first jousting attempt.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Lord Renly makes a snide comment about the table rising every time Robert rants about killing the Targaryens.
  • Spoiled Brat: Renly reveals that his brothers consider him to be a spoiled child. Loras' facial expression and his silence strongly indicate that he agrees. Renly then points out that Loras is overly-pampered as well.
    Renly: Oh, and you're not? Loras Tyrell, the knight of the flowers? How many wars have you fought in? Oh, and how much did your father spend on that armour of yours?
  • Straight Gay: Lord Renly Baratheon has a more masculine appearance and demeanor than his lover, though Ser Loras is the fighter.
  • Suffer the Slings: Played realistically. When attacked by hill tribes, one of Lady Stark's men-at-arms finds the lower half of his face shattered (complete with visible blood and gibs) by a stone from a sling.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: An inadvertent version. Arya is dressed in breeches for her training and covered in dirt, so gets mistaken for a beggar boy by palace guards and for Ned's son by Yoren. She gets fairly irritated at having to keep telling people she's a girl. Ironically, she'll later depend on being mistaken for a boy to stay safe.
  • Swipe Your Blade Off: Strangely averted with Bronn, who puts a bloody sword back in his scabbard.
  • Tempting Fate: One minute after Tyrion mentions hill tribesmen will be attacking them soon. Guess who turns up momentarily?
  • That's an Order!:
    • King Robert orders Ned to unbend a bit and take some wine. "Your king commands."
  • Too Dumb to Live: In his rage, Ser Gregor Clegane tries to murder Ser Loras Tyrell, a member of one of the major Houses of Westeros, in full view of the Royal Court. If Sandor didn't stop his brother, he'd have killed the only male heir to the Lord of Highgarden. The Tyrells would be demanding Clegane's head from King Robert, and even Clegane's liege lord Tywin Lannister would be obliged to hand him over to receive the King's Justice for committing such a blatant crime during peacetime that reflects badly on the Lannisters.
    • Tyrion invokes this by protesting to Catelyn he'd have to be an utter imbecile to arm an assassin with a blade that could be traced back to him.
  • The Tourney: Is the setting for an important scene in this episode.
  • The Twink: Loras fits the physical description to a tee, but the trope is somewhat subverted with regards to his romance with Renly (who is an "otter" in gay slang) because Loras is the emotionally dominant partner in their relationship despite being a few years younger.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Marillion tags along with the party that has kidnapped Tyrion. From the song he uses to mock the Imp, he clearly sees himself as a Tagalong Chronicler.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ned calls out Robert on ordering a hit on a pregnant Daenerys.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When the party is attacked, Tyrion briefly considers fleeing, but then comes to Cat's rescue, despite the fact that she and the party had taken him prisoner. Made somewhat pragmatic by the fact that Tyrion reasoned he wouldn't have survived had he ran away.
  • Wham Line: A subtle one, gone so fast it can easily be missed. "Based on whose information?" "Ser Jorah Mormont's." Reveals that Jorah is spying on Danaerys for King Robert.
  • White Stallion: As befitting a Knight in Shining Armor, Loras rides a white horse, though it's a mare in heat, not a stallion.
  • Wise Beyond Her Years: Arya has become increasingly aware of how dangerous King's Landing is, and while she doesn't manage to interpret all of the coded conversation she overhears, does understand that someone is trying to kill her father. Her first thought afterwards is to find out how many guards Ned has and check that Jory will keep him safe. Highlighted by the fact Sansa still Thinks Like a Romance Novel and the adult Ned—although trying to be careful—keeps making naïve moves like openly pursuing Jon Arryn's investigations with little attempt at discretion.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ned Stark and Ser Barristan reflect on how they once fought on opposite sides during Robert's Rebellion, and praise each other's skill.
  • You Monster!: Loras calls Joffrey a monster, and it's one of the main reasons why he wants to crown Renly as king.