The Kingsroad (TV)

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"The Kingsroad"
Game of Thrones
Season 1  —  Episode 2
GoT - Sansa and Lady.jpg
Original air date April 24, 2011
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by
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"The Kingsroad" is the second episode of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones, first aired on April 24, 2011. Runtime is 56 minutes. It was written by the show creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Tim Van Patten.[1] Music is composed by Ramin Djawadi

Nearly all the action of the episode happens while the protagonists are traveling: Eddard Stark and his daughters accompany the king's entourage to King's Landing to occupy the post of Hand, Tyrion Lannister joins Jon Snow in his travel to the Wall, and the newly wed Daenerys Targaryen goes with her husband's khalasar to the Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak. Meanwhile, in Winterfell, a grieving Catelyn Stark watches over her unconscious son Bran. From this episode, Vaes Dothrak is added to the Opening, while Pentos is removed.


Across the Narrow Sea

On their way to Vaes Dothrak with all the khalasar, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) reveals to Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) that he was exiled for selling poachers to slavers. Viserys assures him that he would not have been punished had he been the king, and demonstrates impatience for his new brother-in-law, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), to lend him his army. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has difficulty adjusting to the nomadic lifestyle of her adopted people. Her only comfort is three petrified dragon eggs that were included in her wedding gifts. Still, she asks one of her handmaidens to teach her how to please her new husband. Her determination leads the Khal to treat her tenderly as his wife and not a slave.

In the North

Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) has fallen into a coma since his fall from the tower. After slapping his nephew for refusing to give his condolences to the Starks, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) informs his siblings that despite Bran's fall, the boy will survive, much to the displeasure of the Lannister twins.It is time for farewells, with the Stark family having to split apart. Ned's two daughters journey with their father to the capital, while Jon Snow (Kit Harington) joins his uncle Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) at the Wall, along with Tyrion, who wants to see the "edge of the world". Before leaving, Jon gives a sword to his sister Arya (Maisie Williams) as a present. Lady Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) is devastated by her husband's imminent departure and has stood vigil beside her son Bran since his fall. She asks Jon to leave when he comes to say goodbye to Bran and chastises her husband Ned (Sean Bean) for leaving her and giving in to the demands of King Robert(Mark Addy). Before they part, Jon asks Ned about his mother, and he promises to talk about her the next time they meet. A fire breaks out at Winterfell, and during the ensuing chaos, a hired assassin tries to kill Bran. Catelyn is barely able to defend herself and her son, but Bran's direwolf jumps in and tears out the killer's throat. The murder attempt arouses Catelyn's suspicions, and after finding a strand of long blonde hair in the abandoned tower where he fell, she concludes that the Lannisters are somehow involved. After confiding with her most trusted advisers, her son Robb (Richard Madden), Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter), Master-at-Arms Ser Rodrik Cassel (Ron Donachie) and the Starks' ward Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), she decides to go to King's Landing in secret with Rodrik as her escort to warn her husband.

At the Inn at the Crossroads

On their way to King's Landing, the king's entourage has stopped to rest at an Inn. While the recently-promised Prince Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) are walking along the river, they run into Arya sparring with sticks with a butcher's boy. Taunting the boy, Joffrey draws his sword and demands a duel, under pretext of punishing him for accidentally hitting Arya, a member of the nobility. As Joffrey savors the butcher boy's pain and fear, Arya hits Joffrey while her friend flees. Enraged, Joffrey turns on Arya and is about to strike her with his sword when her direwolf Nymeria bites his wrist. Arya seizes his sword and throws it into the river before running away into the forest, where she drives away Nymeria and hides until dark.Afterward, Joffrey lies to the courtly entourage and accuses the boy, Arya and her direwolf of ganging up on him. Unwilling to lose favor with her betrothed by publicly exposing his lie, Sansa claims she doesn't remember anything. Sick of the petty bickering, King Robert chastises his son for allowing himself to be disarmed by a girl and declares that the fathers themselves will punish their respective children, dismissing the audience. However, Robert gives in to his wife Cersei Lannister's (Lena Headey) demands and orders the direwolf killed. Since Nymeria has fled, Sansa's wolf Lady is to be sacrificed. Unable to convince the king otherwise, Eddard takes responsibility for killing Sansa's pet himself. He kills the wolf and encounters Joffrey's bodyguard, Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann), who has ridden down the butcher's boy and brought in his bloody corpse for the prince.

Back in the north, in Bran's bedroom, Bran finally awakens and opens his eyes.



The second episode was written by the show creators and executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the original book by George R. R. Martin. "The Kingsroad" includes chapters 9, 10, 12 - 17, and part of 23. (Tyrion I, Jon II, Eddard II,Tyrion II, Catelyn III, Sansa I, Eddard III, Bran III, Daenerys III.)The events in the series are notably faithful to the book. There are some differences in the presentation, such as not introducing the council's delegation with Ser Barristan and Lord Renly, or the conversation between Robert and Eddard taking place during breakfast instead of while riding on horses. Some scenes were also created for the series, most notably a conversation between Catelyn and Cersei besides Bran's bed remembering a Queen's dead infant, and a confrontation between Jaime and Jon before the bastard leaves for the Wall.[2]


This episode marks the first appearance of regular guest star Roxanne McKee, best known for her role of Louise Summers the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks. Roxanne was chosen among a great number of candidates to play the part of Doreah, a slave serving as Daenerys Targaryen's handmaiden.[3]Also introduced in this episode is British musician Wilko Johnson as the executioner Ilyn Payne. The mute headsman of Game of Thrones is Wilko's first acting job.[4]

Guest cast

Filming locations

The principal shooting for the episode was done at w:The Paint HallThe Paint Hall studio. The scenes at the Inn at the Crossroads were filmed on location at the Redhall Estate, in Ballycarry, during the first days of September 2010.[5]


"The Kingsroad" has a significant number of instances where the direwolves appeared and had to interact with the main characters, which proved to add much difficulty to the takes. To stand in for the now extinct species the production team considered using real wolves, but the UK safety laws and the fact that they had to work with children made this unfeasible. Instead, they choose to use Northern Inuit Dogs due to their resemblance to wolves.[6]Working with the dogs proved difficult. Actor Sean Bean reported that for the final scene where he has to sacrifice Lady, the animal was too scared to remain still and ran away. They had to keep rehearsing the scene until the dog felt comfortable, making a shot that should have taken a few minutes about three hours long.[7]The particular dog that portrayed Lady, named Zanni, was adopted after the show wrapped by the family of Sophie Turner, the actress playing the direwolf's owner in the series, Sansa Stark.[8]



The second episode of Game of Thrones attracted the same viewing figures as the premiere, with 2.2 million viewers. The second repeat obtained 0.7 million, which was also similar to last week's figures. These ratings have been considered positive, especially considering that it was aired on an Easter Sunday.[9]

Critical response

The reaction of the critics was mostly positive, although comparisons with the series premiere are not in agreement. Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd considered the second episode better than the first one,[10] while TV Squad's Maureen Ryan gave "The Kingsroad" the lowest score from the first six episodes of the series.[11]Alan Sepiwall, from HitFlix, has described "The Kingsroad" as a transition episode and therefore "not as likely to excite as the premiere or some of the season's later episodes".[12] Maureen Ryan felt that the show lacked a thematic unity, and while it had some effective moments, in some ways "lacked emotional spark".[13] At Cultural Learnings, Myles McNutt admitted that having to move all pieces into place made the episode resemble a travelogue, but he considered the lack of cohesion to be very purposeful since it helped to emphasize the splitting of the Stark family and the different motivations and destines that awaited the protagonists.[14]

External links


  1. "Episode Guide". Win ter is Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  2. Garcia, Elio. "EP102: The Kingsroad". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  3. Martin, George R.R.. "You Guys Are Scary Good". Not a Blog. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  4. "Ilyn Payne cast". Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  5. "A Few Brief Production Notes". Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  6. Wolf, Alissa. "Dog Breed Profile: ‘Game of Thrones’ Canine Stars". Pet Shops Guide. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  7. "Throne of blood for Lord Sean". The Sun. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  8. Martin, George R.R.. "They're Not Siblings...d". Not a Blog. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  9. Hibberd, James. "'Game of Thrones' ratings steady for second episode". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  10. Hibberd, James. "'Game of Thrones' recap: Sex, Lies and Direwolves". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  11. Ryan, Maureen. "Review: With 'Game of Thrones,' HBO Attempts to Live the Fantasy". TV Squad. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  12. Sepiwall, Alan. "Review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'The Kingsroad: Lie down with dogs". HitFix. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  13. Ryan, Maureen. "'Game of Thrones' Season 1, Episode 2 Recap". TV Squad. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  14. McNutt, Myles. "Game of Thrones – “The Kingsroad”". Cultural Learnings. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 

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