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A Golden Crown

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"A Golden Crown" is the sixth episode of the first season of Game of Thrones. It is the sixth episode of the series overall. It first aired on May 22, 2011. It was written by Jane Espenson, David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by Daniel Minahan.



In Vaes Dothrak, Viserys' frustrations at the constant delays before he can receive his crown boil over. In King's Landing, Eddard issues a decree that could splinter the Seven Kingdoms whilst King Robert goes on a hunt. In the Eyrie, Tyrion Lannister wagers everything on the greed of the sellsword Bronn.


Cersei and Robert

King Robert and Queen Cersei visit a recuperating Eddard.

Lord Eddard Stark wakes up after a long period of unconsciousness due to the injuries inflicted on him by Jaime Lannister's men. He finds both King Robert and Queen Cersei waiting. Cersei is furious with Eddard's acts in having her brother Tyrion arrested, but Robert refuses to condemn the action. When Cersei protests further he hits her and tells her to leave. Afterwards Robert restores Eddard to the position of King's Hand and tells him to fix the situation with the Lannisters before it spirals out of control. He is leaving on a hunt and wants the realm at peace by the time he returns.

Dany and the egg

Daenerys and one of her dragon eggs.

In Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys is studying her dragon eggs. Despite Illyrio's claim that they are now only stone, she ponders if they might be hatched by extreme heat, and places an egg on a brazier. Nothing happens, to her disappointment. She removes the egg, but Irri thinks she will scald herself and takes the egg from her. Instead, Daenerys is completely unharmed and Irri suffers scalding burns on her own hands.

Stiv and Osha

Stiv and Osha accost Bran near Winterfell.

In Winterfell, Bran has another dream about the three-eyed crow, in which it flies into the castle's crypts. He wakes up to find that Hodor has brought the finished saddle designed by Tyrion. He goes on a ride with Robb and Theon. They have had word from King's Landing about Eddard's injury, Jory's death and Tyrion's capture. Theon thinks that Robb should prepare the North for war, but Robb is determined to follow his parents' orders to remain in Winterfell. They note that Bran has wandered off on his horse and go looking for him. They find a bunch of wildlings are threatening Bran, trying to steal his horse. Robb kills one but another wildling holds Bran with a knife to the throat. Theon shoots him from behind. The remaining wildling, a woman named Osha, yields and begs for her life. Robb agrees to take her as a prisoner.

Tyrion and Mord

Tyrion's verbal skills are wasted on Mord.

In the Eyrie, Tyrion almost rolls out of his sky cell in his sleep, to his consternation. He tries to make a bargain with the jailkeeper, Mord, to no avail.

In King's Landing Arya has another 'dancing' lesson with Syrio Forel, but isn't in the mood due to Jory's death. Syrio tells her that she may need to fight at any time, not just when she's in the mood. He wisely recalls that in times of sadness fighting is much more of a necessity and being prepared is important, as opposed to in the peaceful times of happiness.

Jorah and Viserys

Jorah Mormont prevents Viserys from stealing Dany's eggs.

In Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys is summoned by the crones who rule the city, the dosh khaleen, the wives of khals slain in battle. She eats a stallion's heart and the crones read the omens. At first it seems Dany won't hold the raw meat down but to both her and Drogo's relief she is able to compose her self. The crones declare Daenerys and Drogo's son will be 'The Stallion That Mounts The World', a great conqueror whose coming is long foretold in Dothraki history. Daenerys says his name will be Rhaego, for her brother Rhaegar, slain by the usurper Robert Baratheon. Viserys is not impressed and storms out, to be intercepted by Ser Jorah Mormont when he tries to steal Dany's eggs. Viserys is disgusted that Ser Jorah would choose to serve his sister over him, and wonders if his motives are as pure as he makes out. Mormont puts the eggs back in Dany's tent.

Tyrion on trial

Tyrion on trial in the Eyrie.

Tyrion convinces Mord to carry a message to Lady Lysa Arryn, that he is ready to confess his crimes. Lysa summons him and he confesses to being a dwarf and a whoremonger, but not a murderer. Lysa is furious, so Tyrion demands a trial by battle and asks that his brother Jaime be sent to stand for him. Lysa refuses to wait that long and asks that he pick a champion from those present. After a brief pause, Bronn volunteers to fight for Tyrion.

Robert's hunting party

King Robert's hunting party.

King Robert is out hunting, accompanied by his brother Renly, Ser Barristan Selmy and Lancel Lannister. Robert, being supplied with wine by Lancel, becomes drunk and nostalgic, longing for the days of young knights trying to make a name for themselves. Renly calls him a fool and flounces off, whilst Lancel keeps up the wine supply.

In King's Landing, at a meeting of the small council, Eddard hears tales of a huge knight ravaging the Riverlands. Realizing it's Ser Gregor Clegane, "The Mountain", Eddard strips him of his knighthood, land and titles and sends Lord Beric Dondarrion with a retinue of one hundred knights to arrest and execute him in the king's name. He also orders Grand Maester Pycelle to send word to Casterly Rock, demanding Lord Tywin Lannister's presence in court to explain his bannerman's actions or be branded an enemy of the crown and a traitor to the realm. Littlefinger and Pycelle are startled by Eddard's boldness, but Eddard wants to see justice done.

Bronn defeats Vardis

Bronn kicks Ser Vardis Egen's corpse out of the Moon Door.

In the Eyrie, Bronn does battle with Lysa's champion, Ser Vardis Egen. Bronn fights defensively, waiting for Vardis to start to tire, and then cuts and kills him, sending his body rolling out of the 'Moon Door' that leads to a thousand-foot drop. Lysa complains that Bronn did not fight with honor, but the victory stands and Tyrion has proven his innocence in the eyes of the gods. Bronn and Tyrion are allowed to depart.

Prince Joffrey apologizes to Sansa for the incident on the Kingsroad, and they seem reconciled. Sansa is unaware that the Queen put Joffrey up to the apology some time ago.

Ros is departing Winterfell for King's Landing. Theon waves her off.

Eddard and the book

Eddard discovers the secret Jon Arryn died for.

In King's Landing, Eddard decides to send his daughters back to Winterfell. Sansa protests that she is going to marry Joffrey and have lots of golden-haired babies. This gives Eddard pause and sends him back to the book that Jon Arryn was looking at before he died. The book's entry on House Baratheon shows that every time a Baratheon has married the children have had black hair...right up to Cersei and Robert's children, who are all blonde.

Viserys' crowning

Khal Drogo gives Viserys a golden crown.

In Vaes Dothrak, a drunk, bitter and angry Viserys interrupts a feast for Daenerys and Drogo. He angrily demands his payment in return for giving Daenerys to Drogo. Then he draws his sword, which is considered an offense punishable by death in the sacred city, and threatens Dany and the unborn child while Irri translates to Drogo. Drogo responds that he will give Viserys a golden crown "that men will tremble to behold", and Viserys is pleased until Drogo's bloodrider Qotho kicks him to the floor. Drogo melts his golden belt in a pot and 'crowns' Viserys with it, thus killing him without drawing blood, which is forbidden in Vaes Dothrak. As Daenerys watches her brother die, she realizes that, having been killed by fire, he was no true dragon. But she is.


  • This episode covers approximately the material from Chapters 38-41, 44-45 and 47 (Bran V, Tyrion V, Eddard X-XI, Catelyn VII, Sansa III and Daenerys V) of the first novel.
  • The death of Viserys makes Daenerys the rightful Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne, and her son after her.
  • Joffrey mentions the northern and southern-most castles of Westeros as being the Last Hearth in the north (the seat of House Umber) and Saltshore (in Dorne) in the south. This is not strictly accurate: the northern-most castles in the realm are the castles at the Wall, most notably Castle Black. It is arguable that the southern-most castles are actually on the island known as the Arbor, but the maps do not reveal at what end of the island the castles lie. It is possible that Joffrey omitted the castles of the Night's Watch on the Wall due to their extra-legal status, and also he was speaking of the "lords and ladies" who would come to a royal wedding, which the Night's Watch doesn't have.
  • Eddard mentions several members of House Baratheon detailed in the novels whilst reading the house's entry in Pycelle's book: Orys Baratheon, the founder of the house; Lyonel Baratheon, the Laughing Storm, a great knight featured in George R.R. Martin's 'Dunk and Egg' stories; and Steffon Baratheon, the father of Robert, Renly and Stannis.
  • Viserys notes that Jorah Mormont is blocking him from leaving with the dragon eggs by saying "Here you stand", and Jorah stares him down by replying and emphasizing "Yet here I stand". In the books, the motto of House Mormont is actually stated to be "Here We Stand". Its not clear if this was an intentional reference.
  • Originally the meaning of the phrase 'make the eight' was unclear. However, it appears to be a reference to the fact that the Riverlands, having been under the occupation of the King of the Iron Islands at the time of Aegon's conquest, is not counted as one of the Seven Kingdoms in the TV series. In the novels, the term is considerably looser and more open to interpretation.


The Blu-Ray and DVD releases of this episode feature a commentary by director Daniel Minahan and actor Peter Dinklage in New York City, and Harry Lloyd and Emilia Clarke in London.

  • The scene where Robert forces Eddard to become the Hand again was Mark Addy's last scene shot for the series.
  • Peter Dinklage points out that Mark Addy is not as big as Robert in the books, but Mark's larger-than-life performance sells the role.
  • The costume and make-up designers worked hard not to make Harry Lloyd look like Legolas from the Lord of the Rings movies.
  • Emilia Clarke was charmed when Isaac Hempstead-Wright gave her half his Fudge bar.
  • Harry Lloyd is a fan of Natalia Tena's band.
  • There was some debate about using CGI breath for the really cold scenes filmed in warmer weather, but it was decided it looked too fake.
  • Peter Dinklage was unaware that Maisie Williams used her off-hand for the sword-fighting scenes to match Arya in the books, and was impressed. Maisie cried on cue during the read-through of the scene where she has to drive Nymeria away, impressing Harry Lloyd.
  • The scene where Daenerys eats the horse's heart is Peter Dinklage's wife's favorite scene of the entire series.
  • Emilia Clarke has a fondness for Gummi bears so was happy to hear that the horse's heart was made of a similar substance. Unfortunately, it tasted disgusting and the retching required no acting.
  • The scene between Viserys and Jorah was discussed between the two actors and David Benioff to get the right tone to the scene.
  • Peter Dinklage had no padding for the scenes where Mord beats him in the sky cell, so ended up with some bruises at the end of the day.
  • Some actors were given prosthetic scars whilst others had real scars that were highlighted with make-up.
  • The throne dais in the Eyrie had no safety rail, so actress Kate Dickie was directed to keep hold of Lino Facioli when he stood up as a safety precaution.
  • The Moon Door actually led to a pit filled with cardboard boxes.
  • Harry Lloyd likens the Vale to Wales, so finds the fact that Ser Vardis Egen has a Welsh accent very appropriate.
  • Peter Dinklage was a fan of Kate Dickie's from some of her British film work and was looking forwards to meeting her.
  • Originally the episode opened with Ser Gregor Clegane sacking a village in the Riverlands, but this was cut for time and budget reasons.
  • Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke only read the books once they have finished filming, so as to be surprised by the process as it goes along. Bryan Cogman also tracked down scenes from later books that gave more info about the characters and their motivations and recommended them to the actors.
  • Harry Lloyd looks at fan art online, and particularly enjoyed a fan map of Braavos he found on the Internet.
  • Emilia Clarke was disappointed that the elaborate and lengthy climb to the Eyrie was not in the TV series.
  • Peter Dinklage noted the name similarity between Jack Gleeson and comedian Jackie Gleason and found it amusing.
  • Peter Dinklage debated with his wife whether it was realistic for there to be only one prostitute in Winterfell. However, she pointed out in a small community there was only likely to be one, or at least one popular one.
  • The coin Ros catches from the back of the cart was CGI. (Harry Lloyd mishears the comment, however, and momentarily thinks they said Ros's "flash" was CGI).
  • According to Peter Dinklage, the CGI budget for Season 2 will be 'huge'.
  • Harry Lloyd studied a lot of 'drunk walking' videos on YouTube for his final scene.
  • The sword Harry Lloyd used in the final scene was very sharp and had to be handled carefully.
  • Drogo's gold belt melted far too quickly. Lloyd deadpans this is because it is 'Dothraki hybrid gold' that melts much more quickly than normal and then solidifies again.
  • The final shot of Daenerys required multiple takes as it was tricky to keep the camera in focus as it zoomed in close on her face.
  • The raw horse's heart Daenerys has to eat was actually a gelatinous construct which the crew told actress Emilia Clarke would taste like gummy bears. However, the foodstuff was extremely unpleasant to eat, especially as the crew had to keep injecting it with moisture for it to keep its gelatinous look. Emilia Clarke did not have to fake her scenes of disgust in this scene.[1]
  • For the scene where Viserys is 'crowned', the prop department attached smoke machines to Harry Lloyd's back and front and placed a bald cap over his head to make it look like his hair and skin was being burned. They also created a gold-looking (but cold) liquid to pour over his head. Due to the complexity of the scene, the scene had to be nailed in one take, which was successfully achieved.[2]
  • For the scene where Eddard Stark was lying wounded in bed, Sean Bean was actually suffering from the flu, which added to the effect of him being wounded and ill.[3]

Memorable quotes

Syrio Forel: "There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we can say to Death: Not today."

Bronn: "I'll stand for the dwarf."

Daenerys Targaryen:(about her brother) "He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon."

First Appearances


Image gallery



Also starring

Guest starring

Cast Notes

  • Starring cast members Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane) are not credited and do not appear.
  • Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) is credited as 'also starring' in the closing credits of the episodes.
  • Richard Madden is credited before Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams having being credited after them in the previous five episodes.
  • Natalia Tena is notably younger than her character, Osha, is in the books. George R.R. Martin was skeptical when seeing her casting tape, but was impressed and convinced by her performance, saying it may affect how he writes Osha in future novels.
  • This episode is the final appearance of starring cast member Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen) due to the death of his character.
  • Although credited Finn Jones does not appear in this episode.
  • Patrick Rocks is credited as a guest star but no name is given for his character. His book counterpart, the first one to offer himself as a champion to Lady Lysa, is identified as a member of House Lynderly but his name is not revealed.
  • Barrington Cullen is credited as a guest star but no name is given for his character. His book counterpart is Lord Eon Hunter, who speaks the exact same lines but is described as being older than Jon Arryn and half-crippled by gout. He's also one of the many suitors that seek Lady Lysa's hand.


Game of Thrones Season 1
#01 Winter is Coming#06 A Golden Crown
#02 The Kingsroad#07 You Win or You Die
#03 Lord Snow#08 The Pointy End
#04 Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things#09 Baelor
#05 The Wolf and the Lion#10 Fire and Blood

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