Arya's loss of innocence continues. She can now add bird hunting to her impressive list of skills. Knifing stable boys? Check. Neck-snapping pigeons? Check. I don't know what's more disturbing, Arya's complete nonchalance at bare-handed killing or her struggle to stay alive in the ghettos of King's Landing. I suppose her desensitized analytical mind is a key to escaping traps like the fake Wind Witch, but it also means she'll never become the typical princess. Arya doesn't bitch or moan through injury, hunger, or despair, and the universe rewards her stoic endurance of hardship with a front row seat to Eddard's confession and stoning. Where is the karmic justice!? You won't find any in Westeros.
And just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, Arya actually witnesses her father's execution. The whole sequence was very Braveheart-esque, with Arya watching powerlessly from the crowd and Sansa begging for his life on stage. Didn't Cersei understand that when word of this reaches Riverrun, Jaime's head is going to roll as well? Maybe that's what Cersei wanted all along -- Jaime was the only other person who could definitively confirm Joffrey's parentage.
Did I see Eddard's death coming? Of course! I spotted it a mile away. I can't believe Martin would be so cliche and predictable. Just kidding. I had no idea. I thought Ned would confess, be sent to the wall, and happily lead some sort of revolt with Jon's help. He's the fucking main character. He has POV chapters. You'd think Martin would at least let him die in his own chapter. Instead, Eddard dies right in front of his two daughters and his final POV words to the reader consist of a dickless spider offering him a choice between painkillers or Sansa's head. Eddard Stark: honorable, stupid, and now deceased.
EDDARDSo I finally confessed. Time to go to the Wall. Wait. Why is the executioner coming? Why is he picking up that axe? Why is he swinging it? What the f-
Even after this Arya chapter, I believed the beheading was fake using sleight-of-head. But the next chapter confirmed it: Ned was dead. He was now dead Ned. Or Deaddard Stark. Or Beheaddard Stark. When the Northern army hears about this, they are going to be so pissed. Bossman Robb and Widow Cat are going to flip out. Also, Arya is kidnapped by some weirdo creepy child molesting black brother who keeps insisting she's a boy.
Bran watches the dregs of the North fight in their yard. Eddard and Robb took all the good men south so Ser Rod is left training the rejects. No legged Bran watches with resentful stoicism, aspiring to be a half-knight on Hodor's shoulders. But MC Luwin shoots him down, because unreachable dreams can break Bran's poor legless heart. This is the north, and winter is coming. It's physically impossible for Ser Santa to visit every Westeros castle in a single night. The Easter Bunny doesn't actually exist, as rabbits (even direrabbits) do not have the intellectual capacity to decorate and and deliver eggs. Babies are not brought by storks, but rather created when a knight repeatedly thrusts his penis into his maiden wife's vagina. Or when a Dothraki best man feels like mounting an unsuspecting female wedding guest.
Branstradamus wants to go to the crypts to talk to his father because he dreamed he talked to Eddard there last night. While most kids would go play games or watch a movie, the Stark children visit ancient tombs and dream about talking to ghosts. Osha comes too, because the North has a rehabilitative justice system, unless you're a black brother (racial profiling, it happens even in the North). In the crypts, they find little Rickon already there, waiting for Deaddard. Both Stark boys can see dead people. MC Luwin remains skeptical, until a bird from King's Landing delivers the news: like Bruce Willis, Maester Luwin is actually a ghost who died years ago and exists only in Bran and Rickon's imagination. Also, Eddard Stark is dead. That's no surprise though. The Stark boys already know because they can see the future. Can Bran and Rickon see if they'll survive the next book? I can't wait to find out.