Game of Thrones Explainer: Week 5

This is our weekly feature where I clarify some of the people, places, and relationships covered in each week’s episode of Game of Thrones.  This is a dense world and a lot of information is being dumped on new viewers all at once, and I imagine that more than a few of you might be struggling to sort it all out.  I’m not going to spoil anything that’s upcoming, I’m just going to look at what we actually saw and clarify who is who and what is what, in case you missed it in the metric ton of exposition delivered by the characters.  After the jump, our new material in episode five, “The Wolf and the Lion.”

Characters:

Loras Tyrell  Ser Loras Tyrell: Known as the Knight of Flowers, he is most renowned of the young up-and-coming knights in Westeros.  Son of the ruling House of the Reach, a region in the central/southern part of Westeros.  In centuries past the Tyrells were stewards to the traditional Kings of the Reach, House Gardener, but the Targaryen conquest wiped out the Gardeners, and when the Tyrells bent the knee and surrendered the Reach to Aegon the Conqueror, he raised the Tyrells to rule in the Gardener’s place, giving them Highgarden as their seat.  The Reach is extremely fertile, making the Tyrells a very wealthy family, almost on par with the Lannisters.  Despite being the fantasy of many a young girl, Ser Loras has eyes only for Renly Baratheon.

Lancel Lannister  Lancel Lannister: Nephew of Tywin Lannister (the father of Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion) and squire to King Robert.

Brandon Stark  Bronn: Sell-sword extraordinaire.  Bronn has skill with a sword on par with any knight, but he’s poor, landless, and will fight for whoever has paid him most recently.

Lysa Arryn  Lysa Arryn: Widow of Jon Arryn, sister of Catelyn Stark and steward of the Vale until her son comes of age.  Lysa was never the most stable of people, but her husband’s death has driven her to full-on paranoia and smothering over protectiveness of her child.  She has retreated to the Eyrie, the impregnable fortress of House Arryn.

Robin Arryn  Robin Arryn: Son of Lysa and Jon Arryn.  Weak, sickly, and still breast-feeding at age seven.

Places:

The Eyrie: Seat of House Arryn.  The Arryns have long been the principle House in the Vale, a lush land ringed on all sides by mountains.  The Eyrie is accessible only by a steep climb along a narrow pass, and since the castle commands the entrance to the Vale, no army has ever successfully invaded these lands.  The Eyrie is famed for its dungeons, known as the sky cells.  Where there should be a fourth wall, there is instead a sheer thousand foot drop.  It is said that prisoners are welcome to leave whenever they like.

(all photo credits HBO, from their significantly more extensive and superior Viewer’s Guide)

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