The hardest thing for a lot of people to do is step up. Yelling, screaming, making a lot of noise, these can happen in a moment and be forgotten. Conniving and slinking in the shadows, whispering, these can be done long term and come to nothing. Stepping up, however, requires a sacrifice and a forgiveness of self for the greater good, whatever that is. This episode of our show illustrates a bunch of fools setting in motion machinations that will destroy them and more fools stepping up.
As we do, Let's start as north as possible at the wall and make our way south. Sam gets the first on the list for stepping up followed by Jon. After Ghost the direwolf brought them a hand, the Night's Watch finds a couple of their members dead in the snow. Sam steps up, despite his fear of standing out, and talks about how the body's don't stink. Because of this, they drag the blue-eyed corpses back to Castle Black where they can wake up at night and try to kill the Lord Commander. Jon, fresh off learning his papa Ned has been captured, breaks his curfew after attacking Alliser Thorne and burns the ice zombie to after-death. Roll for sanity, as my old dungeon master would say, as Jon steps up and protects the Lord Commander and they both hold themselves to the notion that some weird shit is going on north of the Wall.
Now we're gonna skip around a little because of the events that happen, but you don't mind, right? Shit's going down in King's Landing, y'all! Lannister guards are killing everybody in the Stark camp and Arya is getting dancing lessons. Syrio Forel tells her "not today" and fights off guards while she escapes, stepping up to get his ass killed. Then she kills a kid because that's what you do. Sansa also has someone step up for her, the septum, who we never see again and I assume lives a great life. Cersei and her darling Joffrey then tell her to step up and mail her brother and say come on down. She doesn't understand, though, and loses some face because of it. Then Barristan Selmy gets fired and steps up as the last honorable man in King's Landing, throwing down his armor and bouncing. All the good folks are dead in this land of swords.
Back up in the North, the Stark boys are getting themselves into a heap of trouble. Bran and Rickon chatting, mad that Rob's leaving. Asha and Bran have a nice talk about the old gods with Bran having to step up as the only Stark in Winterfell after Rob leaves. Rob decides he wants to get his daddy, so he calls in his banners. The men of the North, especially the Karstarks, question being lead by a teenager until Rob has his direworld eat some fingers. He heads south and meets up with his mom. Small side venture as Catelyn tells him her sister is stepping up to protect her son by not sending any help.
As Rob heads south, Tywin Lannister is eager to meet him but meets up with Tyrion instead. Tyrion made his way down the road and made some friends of hill tribesmen, saving his hide and giving his father some fierce fighters. All he has to do is step up and fight with them like the fierce half-man he is.
We end this episode with some family friendly rape and pillaging across the Narrow Sea. Dany is shocked the Dothraki are attacking a seemingly peaceful people but gets told this is how they will be able to afford ships. She decides, however, to save the ladies. Her husband's men take issue, though, and one gets his tongue pulled out of his throat by Drogo. Drogo, stepping up and defending his wife's decisions, gets wounded, but it's okay because one of the victims promises to take care of him. Nothing bad gonna happen there.
So we see, stepping up can mean confrontation and holding on to the greater good. Sam and Jon bringing up the idea of White Walkers. Syrio and the septum putting themselves between the Lannister soldiers and the Stark ladies. Bran and Rob at opposite ends, one riding off and one staying put for the good of all. Too bad all these things lead to ruin, eh?