"Game of Thrones," Season 1, Episode 4

Season 1, Episode 4


  • Nick Briggs/HBO
  • A MAN-FUR FOR ALL SEASONS: John Bradley and Kit Harington

When I watch the King’s Landing skullduggery on “Game of Thrones,” I almost wish the show had a title like “Eddard Stark, Medieval Detective.” Isn’t “Ned Stark” a great name for a hard-boiled 1940s gumshoe? Part of the fun of this phase of the show comes from watching an old-fashioned murder mystery unfold amid the really old-fashioned power struggles and courtly intrigues.

As the current Hand of the King, Ned wonders if his predecessor, John Arryn, died of a suspiciously fast-acting illness or was poisoned. His sleuthing turns up some curious details. Arryn spent his last days reading the kingdom’s most boring book, a tome about the lineage of the great houses, and repeated, “The seed is strong” on his deathbed. Clues also point to a recently-knighted squire who refuses to speak to Ned’s trusted helper, and a young, humble smith with an unmistakable face: “He’s King Robert’s bastard,” Ned declares. (Dramatic sting!)