Game of Thrones Season 1, Episode 9

Season 1, Episode 9


The shocking plot development in “Game of Thrones’” ninth episode, “Baelor,” reminds me of something the creators of “Lost” had in mind for the show’s pilot episode. Apparently Abrams and company wanted to cast a movie star — someone like Michael Keaton — to play Dr. Jack Shephard. The plan was that the pilot would establish Jack as the show’s protagonist, but in the final moments would be killed off pulling the rug out from under the audience, and setting up Kate Austen as the hero of “Lost.” Abrams and his writers received few notes from ABC, but one of them emphatically insisted that Jack should live. With Jack as a regular and not a one-off guest performance, the role went to Matthew Fox instead of bigger name actor.

Where ABC proved merciful to its audience, HBO stays brutally fateful to George R.R. Martin’s original novels. Having read the books, I’ve been dreading this moment all season. In fact, I’m still a little emotional about it — let’s talk of other things first.

The credits introduce a new castle, “The Twins” — towers at either end of a major bridge that provide the seat of Walder Frey’s land. Frey (David Bradley) proves to be a delightfully loathsome figure, and his “great” hall a dismal place, with galleries packed with pestilential-looking courtiers who are probably his butt-ugly offspring.