Lord Snow

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"Lord Snow"
Game of Thrones
Season 1  —  Episode 3
Syrio and Arya.jpg
Original air date May 1, 2011
Directed by Brian Kirk
Written by
Episode chronology
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"The Kingsroad" "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things"
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"Lord Snow" is the third episode of the first season of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. It first aired on May 1, 2011. Its runtime is 57 minutes. Music by Ramin Djawadi. It was written by the show creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by series regular Brian Kirk.[1]The plot follows: Jon Snow's training at The Wall; Eddard's arrival at King's Landing, followed by Catelyn, looking for Bran's would-be murderer; Arya Stark reveals her desire to learn sword-fighting to her father; Joffrey Baratheon is given a lesson in ruling the Kingdom by Cersei Lannister, and Robert longs for the glory of his past. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen learns she is pregnant.


Across the Narrow Sea

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is beginning to gain confidence in her new role as the Khal's wife, and gains the respect of the exiled knight Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). But the relationship with her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) becomes strained when he angrily assaults her under the assumption that she is giving him commands. As punishment, he is choked and nearly killed by Daenerys's bloodrider Rakharo (Elyes Gabel) and forced to walk back to camp.Irri (Amrita Acharia) notices that Daenerys is pregnant, and shares the news with Jorah and Rakharo. Rather than be pleased, Jorah mysteriously departs for Qohor for supplies. In their tent, Daenerys reveals to Drogo (Jason Momoa) that their child is a boy.

In the North

With Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) now awake, Old Nan (Margaret John) tells him a tale of a long-ago endless winter, where the White Walkers first appeared riding their dead horses and raising Wights from the men they slaughtered. Her story is interrupted by Robb (Richard Madden) who sadly confirms to Bran that his injuries are permanent, and he'll never walk again. Bran, unable to remember a thing about his fall, wishes he were dead.

At King's Landing

Eddard's party arrives at King's Landing. Eddard (Sean Bean) is immediately summoned to a meeting of the king's Small Council. On his way through the throne room he encounters Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and it is revealed that Jaime killed the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. Jaime reminds Eddard that Aerys killed Eddard's father and brother; Eddard does not consider this grounds for Jaime to break his oath as a knight of the Kingsguard.

Eddard joins the Small Council, consisting of the king's brother, Lord Renly (Gethin Anthony), the eunuch Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), Grand Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) and the Master of Coin Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen). Littlefinger once dueled Eddard's brother for Catelyn's hand in marriage, and implies that he is still in love with her. Renly announces that Robert plans to hold a great Tourney in honor of Eddard's appointment as the hand of the king. Eddard learns that the crown is heavily indebted, especially with the queen's father Lord Tywin Lannister.

Catelyn has arrived in King's Landing, supposedly in secret. However, she is taken by a pair of city watchmen to a brothel owned by Littlefinger. He meets her there and tells her that he brought her there to keep her safe and anonymous. Varys is also there and reveals that he learned of Catelyn's arrival through his spies. The three of them and Ser Rodrik (Ron Donachie) discuss the attempted murder of Bran. Littlefinger shocks all of them by admitting that the dagger used by the assassin was once his own. He claims that he lost it in a bet with Tyrion Lannister; betting on Jaime Lannister to win a previous Tourney. Littlefinger arranges a meeting between Eddard and his wife, and Lord Stark reluctantly takes on Littlefinger as an ally who will help them find Bran's assailant.After Catelyn leaves the capital, Eddard returns to his keep only to find his daughters are arguing. Arya (Maisie Williams) is furious at Sansa (Sophie Turner) for lying to protect Joffrey. Ned reminds her that Joffrey is a prince, and will be king one day with Sansa as his wife. Learning that his younger daughter aspires to be a swordsman, and has a sword of her own, he hires a Braavosi "water dancer", Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) to teach her the art of swordsmanship.

At the Wall

Jon has joined the other recruits under the firm hand of Ser Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale), and easily beats every opponent sent against him. Ser Alliser berates them all for their poor performance, but has no kind words for Jon, dubbing him "Lord Snow" to mock his bastard heritage and telling him "You're the least useless person here." Disheartened, Jon asks Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) to take him in a several-month-long ranging north of the Wall, but his uncle shoots him down telling him, "Here a man gets only what he earns, when he earns it." Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) informs Jon that he isn't "better" than any of his new "brothers", but only more fortunate, as he was trained by a master-at-arms, while the others are all orphan boys or criminals, who have likely never held a sword before today. To make amends, Jon decides to teach his fellow recruits proper sword training. Later, Tyrion is beseeched by Lord Commander Mormont and the ancient, blind Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) to ask his sister and brother-in-law for more men for the Night's Watch. Before leaving the Wall, Tyrion fulfills his ambition to urinate off the top of the Wall and says goodbye to Jon, who finally accepts Tyrion as a friend.



"Lord Snow" 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. "Lord Snow" includes the chapters 18–23, what parts were not included in the prior episode, and part of chapter 24 as well (Catelyn IV, [[A Game of Thrones-Chapter 19|Jon III}}, Eddard IV, Tyrion III, Arya II, Daenerys III, Bran IV).The events in the series are notably faithful to the book. There are some differences in the presentation, Catelyn and Rodrik arriving from the Kingsroad rather than having taken ship to King's Landing, and the order in which she and Ned arrive. Some scenes were also created for the series, most notably a conversation between Joffrey and Cersei about what it will mean when he is king, and Ned's confrontation by Jaime in the throne room. There are also scenes that flesh out the characters of Irri and Rakharo.[2]


The third episode introduces a lot of new characters to the story, due to the expansion of the story to the new locales of King's Landing and the Wall.

In the capital city the members of the council are presented. Series regular Aidan Gillen, known for his roles in Queer as Folk and The Wire takes the role of Lord Petyr Baelish, the king's master of coin known as "Littlefinger". Gethin Anthony plays the king's youngest brother Renly Baratheon, and veteran actor Julian Glover, well know to science fiction and fantasy fans after appearing in films such as The Empire Strikes Back and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was cast as Grand Maester Pycelle after actor Roy Dotrice had to be replaced for medical reasons.[3] Author George R. R. Martin wrote on the casting of Conleth Hill as spymaster Varys: "Hill, like Varys, is quite a chameleon, an actor who truly disappears inside the characters he portrays, more than capable not only of bringing the slimy, simpering eunuch to life".[4] Ian McElhinney plays Ser Barristan Selmy, the commander of the Kingsguard, and Miltos Yorelemou appears as the fencing instructor Syrio Forel. McElhinney had previously played Gillen's father in Queer as Folk.The hierarchy of the Wall is introduced with James Cosmo as commander Jeor Mormont, Peter Vaughan as the blind maester Aemon, Owen Teale as the trainer of the new recruits Ser Alliser Thorne, and Francis Magee as the recruiter Yoren.This episode also marks the first appearance of the Welsh actress Margaret John: as Old Nan. 84 year old Margaret John died on 2 February 2011, few months after having finished recording her scenes in Game of Thrones which was her last role on television. With a 50-year acting career, she is remembered for her role of Doris on the BBC television show Gavin and Stacy. Executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss issued a statement grieving her passing. The episode "Lord Snow" is dedicated to her, with the last credit being "In the memory of Margaret John".[5][6]

Finally Robert Sterne, a member of the show Nina Gold's casting team, had a cameo role as the steward that greets Ned when he arrives at King's Landing. Guest star Gethin Anthony praised him for his skill as an actor.[7]

Guests Cast

The gate of Mdina doubles as the gate of the Red Keep.

Filming locations

To film the scenes at the Wall the production built a set on the abandoned quarry of Magheramorne, a few minutes north of Belfast. The composite set (with both exteriors and interiors) consisted of a large section of Castle Black including the courtyard, the ravenry, the mess hall and the barracks, and used the stone wall of the quarry as the basis for the ice wall that protects Westeros from the dangers that dwell beyond. They also made a real elevator to lift the rangers to the top of the Wall.[8]

For the streets of King's Landing, the production flew to Malta. The gate of Fort Ricasoli doubled as The King's Gate, shown at the beginning of the episode when the royal entourage enters the city. The entrance of the Red Keep used when Catelyn and Rodrik enter the fortification corresponds to Gate of Mdina,[9] and also in Mdina the Pjazza Mesquita is the location for the entrance to the brothel owned by Lord Baelish.


On the scene where Old Nan offers to tell Bran stories, she claims that his favorites are the ones about Ser Duncan the Tall. The tales of Duncan and his squire Egg are a series of novellas written by author George R. R. Martin, taking place about a hundred year before the events of Game of Thrones.[10]



"Lord Snow"'s first airing was seen by 2.4 million viewers, which represented a 10% increase in the ratings from the two previous episodes. Combined with the second airing it reached 3.1 million viewers, which were considered good results especially considering that the news of Bin Laden's death broke up in the West Coast during the airing of the series.[11]In the UK the viewership figures were in line with those obtained on the previous week, with around 510,000 viewers. Those figures are in the top end for the network, Sky Atlantic.[12]

Critical response

While the majority of the critics gave "Lord Snow" a positive review, many suggested that it suffered from having to introduce many new characters and locations. Therefore, while having many very good moments on their own, it felt like a collection of loosely connected scenes that did not build up to a climax. Myles McNutt wrote at Cultural Learnings that it was "perhaps the most narratively uninteresting episode of the first six", although he highlighted that it was "hardly a bad episode of television, filled as it is with satisfying sequences that capture many themes key to the series", and added that many issues introduced in this episode had a payoff in future installments.[13] Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd also thought that it was his least favorite episode of the first six, due to too much character development.[14] However, Alan Sepinwall from HitFlix, liked the "more rambling quality of "Lord Snow"", and while admitting it is heavy on exposition he felt it worked "because the stories are being told with such passion".[15]Some of the scenes were highly praised by reviewers. The closing scene with Arya taking her first lesson from the Braavosi Syrio Forel was highlighted.[15] Maureen Ryan from Aol TV stated that it was her favorite scene of the series so far,[16] and James Hibberd remarked upon the quality of all the child actors of the show and stated that Maisie Williams owned her role in this episode.[14] Other scenes that were noted by the critics were the father-daughter dialogue with Eddard Stark and Arya,[17] King Robert remembering with the members of his Kingsguard their first killings, and Eddard finding out the situation of the finances of the kingdom in his first session of the closed council.

External links


  1. "Episode Guide". Winter is Coming.net. http://winter-is-coming.net/features/episode-guide/. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  2. Garcia, Elio. "EP103: Lord Snow". Westeros.org. http://www.westeros.org/GoT/Episodes/Entry/Lord_Snow/Book_Spoilers/. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  3. Martin, George R. R.. "A Change on the Small Council". Not a Blog. http://grrm.livejournal.com/168109.html. Retrieved May 9, 2011. 
  4. Martin, George R. R.. "Along Came a Spider". Not a Blog. http://grrm.livejournal.com/163777.html. Retrieved May 9, 2011. 
  5. "Margaret John". Winter-is-coming.org. http://winter-is-coming.net/2011/02/margaret-john/. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  6. "We were deeply saddened to hear about Margaret's passing. She was a warm and wonderful person, and she was completely fantastic in her scenes with Isaac. We wish she could see them… but many people will, and they will love her. We will miss her terribly."— David Benioff and Dan WeissKlein, Jacob. "Game of Thrones Loses Treasured Cast Member". HBO Watch. http://hbowatch.com/game-of-thrones-loses-treasured-cast-member/. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  7. Garcia, Elio. "EP103: Lord Snow". Westeros.org. http://www.westeros.org/GoT/Episodes/Entry/Lord_Snow/Episode_Spoilers/. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  8. Cogman. "Dispatches From The Seven Kingdoms: Fresh Recruits". Making of Game of Thrones. http://www.makinggameofthrones.com/production-diary/2010/10/6/dispatches-from-the-seven-kingdoms-fresh-recruits.html. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  9. "More on Malta". Winter-is-coming.org. http://winter-is-coming.net/2010/11/more-on-malta/. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  10. Garcia, Elio. "Easter Eggs for the Fans". Suvudu. http://suvudu.com/2011/05/easter-eggs-for-the-fans.html?ref=twt_Suvudu_stream. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  11. Hibberd, James. "'Game of Thrones' ratings rise". Enterntainment Weekly. http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/05/03/game-of-thrones-ratings-rise/. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  12. Millar, Paul. "'Game of Thrones' still going strong in UK". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/s151/game-of-thrones/news/a317546/game-of-thrones-still-going-strong-in-uk.html/. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  13. McNutt, Myles. "Game of Thrones – “Lord Snow”". Cultural Learnings. http://cultural-learnings.com/2011/05/01/game-of-thrones-lord-snow/. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Hibberd, James. "'Game of Thrones' recap: Lord Snow, Littlefinger and Back Alley Sally". Entertainment Weekly. http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/game-of-thrones-episode-3/. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Sepinwall, Alan. "Review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'Lord Snow': War stories". HitFix. http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-alan-watching/posts/game-of-thrones-lord-snow-war-stories. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  16. Ryan, Maureen. "'Game of Thrones' Season 1, Episode 3 Recap". Aol TV. http://www.tvsquad.com/2011/05/01/game-of-thrones-season-1-episode-3-recap/. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  17. Poniewozik, James. "Game of Thrones Watch: Snow Job". Tuned In. Time.com. http://tunedin.blogs.time.com/2011/05/02/game-of-thrones-watch-snow-job/. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 

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