The Wolf and the Lion
|"The Wolf and the Lion"|
|Game of Thrones episode|
Jaime confronting Eddard
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Brian Kirk|
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Original air date||May 15, 2011|
|Running time||55 minutes|
"The Wolf and the Lion" is the fifth episode of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones, first aired on May 15, 2011. It was written by the show creators and executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Brian Kirk.
The events of the episode primarily deal with Lord Eddard Stark's investigations into the death of the previous Hand. In the city of King's Landing, the Tourney of the Hand comes to an end while the various factions that plot for power are revealed to the viewer. This delicate balance is undone when news arrives that Tyrion Lannister has been arrested by Catelyn Stark. The title of the episode refers to the fact that the Starks, whose sigil is a wolf, may soon be at war with the Lannisters, whose sigil is the lion.
With this episode the season hits its halfway mark and the action picks up considerably. Despite being a topic of discussion at King's Landing, Daenerys and Ser Jorah do not themselves appear in this episode. Jon Snow and all characters on the Wall are also absent, and Robb Stark does not appear in Winterfell scenes. Accordingly, Emilia Clarke, Iain Glen, Harry Lloyd, Richard Madden, and Kit Harington all have their names omitted from the opening titles. The Eyrie appears as a new location between King's Landing and Winterfell on the opening's map.
First airing viewership increased by approximately 80,000 viewers from the previous week's episode, continuing the series' upward trend. The episode was also particularly well-received critically, with multiple critics praising the omission of the Wall and Dothraki plotlines giving this episode a relatively more focused feel.
Like previous episodes, "The Wolf and the Lion" interweaves action happening in multiple locations within the Kingdom of Westeros. Most of the action takes place in the capital, King's Landing, while other scenes are located at the Starks' ancestral fortress of Winterfell and The Vale, ruled by Catelyn Stark's sister Lysa Arryn. Unlike previous episodes, none of the action involves The Wall at Westeros' northern border, nor the Dothraki across the Narrow Sea.
In the Vale
Lady Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) leads her entourage east through the Mountains of the Moon to get to the Vale, with Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) as her prisoner. However, they are soon attacked by barbarian tribesmen. During the fight, Tyrion saves Catelyn's life, attacking and killing a barbarian with a shield. The party arrives at the Eyrie, ruled by Lord Jon Arryn's widow, Lysa (Kate Dickie), who is also Catelyn's sister. However, when the two meet for the first time in five years, it becomes apparent that Lysa is mentally unstable and fears the Lannisters' power. Catelyn also meets her nephew, Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli), the heir to the Eyrie - an eight-year-old boy whom Lysa still breast-feeds. Tyrion is consigned to the Eyrie's version of a dungeon, the "sky cells," prison cells with an open wall and slanted floors that slope down to a precipice. Meanwhile Lysa prepares to pass judgment on Tyrion as an accomplice in her husband's murder.
In the North
At Winterfell, Theon (Alfie Allen) grows jealous of Tyrion after his favorite prostitute Ros (Esmé Bianco) taunts him that she prefers the dwarf because Tyrion is a better lover and from a richer family. Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is depressed over his paralysis and the fact that his mother left him while he was in a coma. To cheer him up, Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter) decides to teach Bran the Dothraki art of horseback archery.
At King's Landing
After Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) convinces King Robert (Mark Addy) not to join the Tourney, the crowd watches a jousting match between the fearsome Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, brother of "The Hound," and Ser Loras Tyrell, "The Knight of Flowers." The Mountain is a formidable opponent, but Tyrell cleverly defeats him in the joust by riding a mare in heat, distracting Clegane's stallion. Furious, Clegane beheads his horse and attempts to kill Loras. Sandor "The Hound" Clegane comes to Tyrell's rescue and defends him against his brother until Robert orders them to stop. Grateful for being rescued, Tyrell calls Sandor a hero when he is cheered by the crowd.
Later, Varys (Conleth Hill) reveals to Ned that Jon Arryn was killed for asking questions, succumbing to a poison called the "Tears of Lys." He also suggests that Lord Arryn's former squire, the recently slain Ser Hugh of the Vale, was the poisoner.
Meanwhile, Arya (Maisie Williams), as part of her training, chases a cat through the Red Keep and stumbles upon a secret conversation between two men (Varys and Illyrio), who appear to be plotting against the throne. Arya tries to warn her father, but is unable to identify the two plotters and fumbles her words. They are interrupted by the arrival of Yoren (Francis Magee), who informs Ned of his wife's arrest of Tyrion.
The news of Daenerys's pregnancy reaches the Small Council, delivered by Varys's spy, Ser Jorah Mormont. Fearing a possible invasion by the Targaryen/Dothraki alliance, Robert orders that she and her unborn child, along with Viserys, be assassinated. Ned refuses to obey such a dishonorable order since Robert's hatred for Targaryens is clouding his judgment and ordering such an assassination will make him no better than the Mad King. When Robert's mind is clearly made, Ned resigns the office of Hand of the King, much to Robert's anger. As Robert drinks in sorrow over his fight with Ned, Cersei (Lena Headey) visits Robert and he explains why he takes the Dothraki threat seriously. Meanwhile, Robert's youngest brother Renly (Gethin Anthony) is with his lover, Ser Loras. Loras convinces Renly that he should be king because Loras believes that Renly would be a better ruler than either his brothers or nephews.
Before he can leave the capital, Littlefinger offers to take Ned to the last person Jon Arryn spoke to before his death. It turns out to be a prostitute Mhaegan (Antonia Christophers), the mother of a baby daughter, who is another of Robert's illegitimate children. Littlefinger reveals Jon Arryn had been searching for Robert's bastards for an unknown reason. When Ned and his guards try to leave, they are ambushed by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his men, who want answers for Tyrion's arrest. Ned claims responsibility for Tyrion's arrest, which leads to a brutal fight between his and Jaime's men. In the end, Ned's guards are killed, including his captain Jory Cassel (Jamie Sives), whom Jaime stabs through the eye with a dagger. Ned duels with Jaime but is speared through the leg by one of Jaime's guards before Stark and Lannister can finish the fight on their own. Jaime knocks out the guard who interrupted the fight and decides to let Ned live but warns that he wants his brother back. Jaime storms away, leaving Ned bleeding in the dirt.
"The Wolf and the Lion" was written by the show creators and executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the book by George R. R. Martin. The episode includes chapters 31 to 36 of the book (Eddard VII, Tyrion IV, Arya III, Eddard VIII, Catelyn VI, and Eddard IX).
The adaptation to the screen has continued with the trend of including new scenes to flesh out characters that in the book are only superficially seen through the point of view characters. These include the dialectical confrontation between Littlefinger and Varys, and the conversation between King Robert and Queen Cersei, and the young lovers Renly and Loras. The show's writers used this opportunity to make explicit Loras and Renly's ongoing assignations, which were only hinted at in the books.
Finn Jones makes his first appearance as Ser Loras Tyrell, the young jouster known as "The Knight of Flowers." The casting was one of the first to be announced, being confirmed by author George R. R. Martin in June 2010 after it had been leaked before the contract was to be signed. The actor had initially been considered for the role of Jon Snow when the pilot was being filmed.
The new location of the court is also introduced: Scottish actress Kate Dickie was cast as the Lady of the Eyrie, Lysa Arryn, also making her first appearance in this episode. Although Dickie does not resemble the physical description of Lysa given in the books, Martin stated that her acting in the auditions was excellent. The role of her son (renamed Robin in the series to avoid confusion with King Robert) went to Lino Facioli, and the knight of the Vale Ser Vardis Egen was played by Brendan McCormack.
Lingerie model Emily Diamond has a role as a prostitute who teases Jory Cassel during the visit to the brothel. Diamond was initially hired as a body double to one of the main stars, but the producers liked her so much that they decided to give her a role. Also appearing in this episode is the casting team's Robert Sterne, who reprises his cameo role as a page in King's Landing.
The interiors for the episode were filmed at The Paint Hall studio. The conclusion of the Tourney of the Hand that had begun in the previous episode continued to be filmed in Shane's Castle. Production moved to Malta to film many King's Landing exteriors: the dungeons of the Red Keep where Arya is lost while chasing cats were the dungeons of Fort St Angelo, in the Maltese town of Vittoriosa.
For the CGI compositions of the Vale of Arryn, as seen in the establishing shot of the Eyrie and from the sky cells, the visual effects team used images and textures from the Greek rock formations of Meteora. Initially they had been considering the Zhangjiajie Mountains in China, but because the landscape base plates were being shot in Ireland, using Meteora was a better option.
In keeping with the transition of the series from exposition to action, each episode shows more fight scenes, and "The Wolf and the Lion" has a large number that had to be choreographed. Fight co-ordinator Buster Reeves designed all the moves and then taught the cast how to make them and give a sense of real aggression. Reeves commented on the ambush by the Hill men as one of the most difficult as he had to show many people fighting on screen at the same time making every one look original and exciting, and also noting how intimidating it could be for the actors to have 20 stuntmen running through their midst with axes and swords.
The episode is dedicated "to the memory of Caroline Lois Benoist," a 26-year-old animal trainer who had been working on the production for six months, mainly training the dogs that doubled as the series' direwolves. She fell ill at her home on 18 December 2010, a few days after filming had finished, and died on 29 December from swine flu.
The episode's viewership increased to 2.58 million for its first airing, continuing the increasing trend of the last weeks. Combined with its encore, the show was up to 3.3 million viewers for the night.
"The Wolf and the Lion" was met with highly positive reception by the critics of the show, and many regarded it as the best episode yet. Maureen Ryan of AOL TV gave it a 90 out of 100, noting the exceptional work by the cast and excellent writing. Both Todd VanDerWerff and David Sims, from the A.V. Club, rated the episode an "A."
Reviewers agreed that after four episodes presenting the setting and introducing the main characters, the story started to move forward faster and raise the stakes. David Sims considered it "the point at which all of the scheming and conversing and table-setting began to lumber forward and gain some real momentum." James Poniewozik wrote for Time that the episode "began to let the swords do the talking," and "while there were some very significant scenes of talk, the dialogue went beyond Westeros History 101 to take the story in some very interesting directions." IGN's Matt Fowler wrote that this was "the best episode of the series so far" even though fan-favorite characters like Jon Snow and Daenerys did not appear.
Maureen Ryan believed that one of the reasons the episode worked so well because it left out the storylines with the Night's Watch and the Dothraki and focused in a single location. VanDerWerff agreed, and added that with each episode the writers got bolder in the sense that they added new scenes not included in the book to round out the source material.
Other aspects of the show that were highlighted by the critics were the effectiveness of the action scenes and the visuals, especially the views of the Eyrie and its sky cells, and the dragon skulls.
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