Structurally the Game of Thrones series has deviated from the book; each chapter follows one characters’ perspective, and we never see certain interactions that are merely implied to have happened.
“The Wolf and the Lion” is full of such scenes of conversations that don’t necessarily happen in the novel; that said, they fit right in, and don’t feel out of place despite not actually happening in the book.
Seeing King Robert say “No!” when asked by his Queen whether or not they ever loved each other at all. It’s a melancholy conversation between two people that know they were married for political gain. Cersei’s face is so utterly emotionless it’s actually frightening at times. And Robert, well, Robert was once a great man, but it’s very apparent that he never wished to become King; he would have liked nothing better then to have married Lyanna Stark, Ned’s late sister, and never have sit the iron throne—in this case sword-spiked throne. Robert would have rather died gloriously in battle than become Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
Many aren’t able to choose their own paths in George R.R. Martin’s novels. Arranged marriages being a constant theme. You have an obligation to your house to sow the roots of the future and establish an alliance with another house to maintain prosperity—whether you want to or not isn’t up to you. Its just politics.
This episode was particularly bold. Not in its revel of man-wang, with the audience getting an eye-full of Theon Greyjoy’s package. Or even showing the oft implied, but never explicitly shown, homosexual relationship between Renly Baratheon, King Robert’s little brother, and Ser Loras—who is only a footnote of a character in the first book, but plays a bigger role in later novels.
No, where I was shocked was seeing an eight year-old child breastfeeding. Wow, sure that’s exact imagery from the novel, but I never thought they’d show such a taboo thing as a grown child sucking on a titty. It makes me go “ewww!”, and makes me laugh all at the same time.
Regardless it shows how poo-flinging insane Lady Lysa, Catelyn’s sister, has become. Her husband Jon Arryn, the former hand of the King was murdered, and because of that she’s secluded herself in a place called the Eyrie. Tyrion doesn’t know the crap he’s gotten into with this one, yet this is where the imp will show his cunning.
King Robert truly wants the world to be rid of the former “Mad King” Aery’s Targaryen’s children. Calling a council to decide whether or not to send an assassin to murder Daenerys now that she is said to be knocked-up with Khal Drogo’s child. Having a Targaryen at the head of massive Dorthaki army, one big enough to overthrow the Seven Kingdoms is something Robert will not allow.
Ned, with is unwavering honor—well there was that one time—refuses to be take any part in the murdering of someone half-way across the world and her unborn child. Even accusing Robert of being afraid of something he only thinks may happen.
Unable to changed his former friends mind on the issue. Ned gives up his position of Hand of the King, and chooses to instead return to Winterfell.
But, curiosity runs deep in Ned Stark’s mind, and Littlefinger still has more to show him in regards to his former mentor, Jon Arryn’s death.
This is the point of no return for Ned. And the choice he makes to stay in Kings Landing, this one moment, changes everything! Jaime Lannister found out that his brother had been captured by Catelyn Stark—enraged, Jaime, fearing no repercussions from the King, lashes out at Ned; Jaime kills Ned’s guards as the two duel in front of a brothel. The icing on the cake is Ned getting a spear through his leg. Everything, and I mean everything; will change from this point on!