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Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things

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"Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things" is the fourth episode of the first season of Game of Thrones. It is the fourth episode of the series overall. It first aired on May 8, 2011. It was written by Bryan Cogman and directed by Brian Kirk.



Tyrion Lannister stops at Winterfell on his way back to King's Landing and gets a frosty reception from Robb Stark, despite an act of kindess for Bran. King Robert Baratheon hosts a grand tourney for Eddard's investiture as Hand of the King, to Ned's discomfort. Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel stop at the Crossroads Inn on the way home and set a chain of events in motion which will have dire consequences.


Tyrion and Bran 1x04

Tyrion speaks with Bran.

In Winterfell, Bran Stark has a nightmare in which he sees a three-eyed crow. He wakes up to find his direwolf Summer by his side. Theon Greyjoy summons Hodor, the castle's dim-witted stableboy who can only say his name, to help carry Bran down to the great hall, where Robb is hosting a meeting with Tyrion Lannister, traveling down from the Wall to King's Landing.

Tyrion sympathises with Bran for being a cripple, which annoys Bran, but Tyrion simply says it is the truth, no less so for being a hard truth. He gives the Starks a diagram of a saddle which will allow Bran to ride even in his current state. He does it to repay Bran's half-brother's friendship and because he has a weakness for, "Cripples, bastards and broken things." Whilst preparing to leave the castle, Tyrion asks Theon why Lady Catelyn was not present to receive him and concludes that Catelyn is not in Winterfell. He also taunts Theon about how the son of the ferocious Balon Greyjoy has been reduced to playing lackey in Winterfell to his captors, leaving Theon furious. Tyrion and Yoren depart southwards.

Jon, Sam and Pyp

Samwell Tarly joins the new recruits at Castle Black.

At Castle Black a new recruit for the Night's Watch has arrived: Samwell Tarly, the son of the famous Lord Randyll Tarly. Samwell is fat, soft and pampered, and Ser Alliser Thorne has no time for his weakness. He directs the other recruits to attack 'Ser Piggy', but Jon Snow takes pity on him and fends off the attackers. Thorne tries to turn it into a game, goading the others to get past Sam's protector, but Jon is still better than them and fends them off. Whilst Samwell is grateful, he is also self-deprecating, claiming to be a coward and craven, to Jon's astonishment.

Khal Drogo's khalasar arrives at Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki city. Viserys is annoyed that Drogo has been taking 'his' army in the wrong direction. Later, he bathes with Doreah and tells her about how he was raised with stories about the Targaryen dragons and his own destiny.

In the Red Keep of King's Landing, Sansa Stark visits the throne room containing the Iron Throne. She and Septa Mordane discuss the expectation that Sansa will have to provide Joffrey with an heir. Sansa thinks the realm will hate her if she only has daughters.

Small Council

The small council meets.

During a meeting of the small council, Lord Eddard learns that the forthcoming tournament to celebrate his appointment is seeing the city swell with visitors, and has already resulted in a tavern riot, a brothel fire, three stabbings and a drunken horse race. After the meeting Eddard talks to Grand Maester Pycelle about Jon Arryn's last few weeks. Pycelle recalls that Arryn spent this time looking at a truly boring book about the lineages of the Seven Kingdoms, and his last words were, "The seed is strong."

At the Wall Sam tells Jon that he so disappointed his father that he offered him a choice on his 18th birthday: take the black, or risk a 'hunting accident'. Jon is shocked that a true born son of high birth should be treated worse than a bastard.

Eddard and Petyr 1x04

Petyr talks with Eddard.

In King's Landing, Littlefinger meets with Eddard and suggests that he keeps his investigation into Jon Arryn's death lower in profile. He also gives Eddard some interesting intelligence: Jon Arryn's squire has been knighted and will fight in the forthcoming Hand's tourney. Eddard decides that Littlefinger may be more trustworthy than first he thought. His investigation leads him to a smithy in the city, where he meets master smith Tobho Mott and his apprentice Gendry, whose work Jon Arryn was also apparently interested in. Eddard realizes that Gendry is one of King Robert's bastard sons, but can't work out why Jon Arryn would be interested in this: Robert has many bastard children and shows little interest in any of them.

In the keep, one of Eddard's retinue, Jory Cassel talks to to Ser Jaime Lannister, who is angry that the king keeps him guarding his chamber whilst he cavorts with other women inside, flaunting his dishonorable treatment of Jaime's sister in his face.


Grenn yields to Samwell.

At the Wall, Jon convinces most of the other recruits to go easy on Sam. Rast refuses, so Jon uses his direwolf Ghost to intimidate Rast into playing along. Furious, Alliser Thorne tells Jon that this charity won't help Sam harden up to survive the winter that is coming.

Viserys becomes angry at Daenerys when he is invited to dine with Khal Drogo and Daenerys. He tries to strike her, but this time, Dany fights back, hitting her brother in the face with a belt and telling an astounded Viserys that the next time he tries to raise a hand against her will be the last time he has hands. Later, Daenerys confides in Mormont her realization that Viserys will never become King of Westeros. He couldn't command an army even if Drogo gave him one.

The tournament begins and Ser Gregor Clegane, the elder brother of Sandor Clegane, the Hound, takes the field. His first joust is with Ser Hugh of the Vale, Jon Arryn's former squire. However, the friendly joust turns nasty and Gregor kills Ser Hugh 'by accident'. Littlefinger tells Sansa that Gregor, the 'Mountain That Rides', has a fell reputation: he burned his little brother's face for stealing a toy of his when they were young. Littlefinger recommends that Sansa not spread that story around.

At the Crossroads Inn, Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel are enjoying the hospitality of the innkeeper and, more reluctantly, the attempts by the troubadour Marillion to ingratiate himself with them. They are surprised when Tyrion Lannister and Yoren arrive, and quickly gain the favor of a sellsword, Bronn, who agrees to give his room to Tyrion. Tyrion recognises Catelyn and is surprised at this meeting by chance. In return Catelyn tells the stunned inn that Tyrion tried to murder her son Bran twice and that she asks their help in bringing him to the king's justice. The inn is located in the Riverlands, in the territory controlled by her father, so the knights present owe him their fealty. Tyrion finds himself surrounded by half a dozen men with swords, and in Catelyn's custody.


  • This episode covers approximately the events of Chapters 25-30 and 37 (Bran 4, Eddard 5-6, Jon 4, Catelyn 5, Sansa 2 and Daenerys 4) of the first novel. This episode features a number of new scenes not in the books, including added backstory for Ser Alliser Thorne and notably more material for Jory Cassel. Catelyn's arrest of Tyrion is also moved to the end of this sequence for maximum impact and to provide the episode with a cliffhanger ending.
  • First mention of the Greyjoy Rebellion.
  • First mention of Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall.
  • First mention of Lord Walder Frey, Lord Jonos Bracken and Lady Whent of Harrenhal.
  • The scene with Viserys and Doreah in the bath discussing dragons was filmed for the previous episode but moved to this episode for timing reasons. Writer Bryan Cogman was unaware of this change until he saw the final episode. One of the dragons mentioned in this scene, Vermithrax, is a nod to the 1981 fantasy movie Dragonslayer[1].
  • Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner were not present for rehearsals during the tournament scene, so their reactions to Ser Hugh of the Vale's bloody death were not feigned. This was felt to add authenticity to the scene[2].
  • During the Tourney of the Hand, the banners of several noble houses are present. Besides the Stark direwolf, the Lannister lion and the Baratheon crowned stag, the black bear on green of House Mormont, the white sunburst on black of the Karstarks, the three black hounds of House Clegane and the counter charged black and white swans of House Swann can be clearly spotted


Writer Bryan Cogman and actor Kit Harington contribute a commentary for the episode for the DVD and Blu-Ray release.

  • Bryan Cogman wrote his episode for the second season with the Season 1 soundtrack playing in the background.
  • The episode title came out serendipitously, as the theme of outcasts, cripples and bastards was not in Bryan Cogman's mind when he wrote the episode but emerged naturally.
  • Bryan Cogman was a big fan of Owen Teale from his work on stage in New York and was thrilled to see him cast as Alliser Thorne.
  • The relationship between Samwell and Jon Snow is Bryan Cogman's favourite in the whole series.
  • The Vaes Dothrak scenes were actually filmed in Northern Ireland (with some CGI enhancements, such as the large cliffs). This surprises Kit Harington, who assumed it was one of the scenes shot in Malta.
  • Bryan Cogman's take on the 'sexposition' scenes was that Doreah's line from the second episode, "Men like to talk when they are happy," is accurate, and the sex scenes expose characters when they are vulnerable and thus more open to show their true natures.
  • The episode is heavy on establishing backstory and mythology, which again was not planned in the writing but happened to turn out that way.
  • The small council scenes were among Bryan Cogman's favorite. They were filmed very close together over a period of several days.
  • Bryan Cogman wrote all of the legible pages in the Lineages book, to Kit Harington's surprise.
  • The scene with Sam and Jon on top of the Wall was filmed on a hot day in the Paint Hall, making it hard for the actors to pretend they were freezing.
  • Both Kit Harington and Bryan Cogman are huge fans of both Sharpe and The Wire, so they particularly enjoyed the scenes between Eddard and Littlefinger.
  • During Sam and Jon's exchange in the messhall, Kit Harington's idea was to jump over the table to playfully hit Sam. However, he 'totally stacked it' and ended up on the floor. The director drily suggested just shooting it as it was written.
  • Alliser Thorne's speech about being beyond the Wall is referred to by Bryan Cogman as the "Robert Shaw in Jaws" scene. It was written to give Owean Teale more material and also to establish Thorne's character as more multi-faceted than it first appears.
  • Kit Harington and Bradley John-West got stuck in the Castle Black lift for well over an hour when it suffered a mechanical failure. Kit started getting worried when a nurse was called on-set just in case they suffered injuries.
  • Bryan Cogman and Kit Harington are both fans of Sansa's character development and feel she gets a bad rap from some parts of the fanbase.
  • The tourney scene was much larger and more elaborate in the script, more like the scene in the book, but had to be trimmed back. Amongst the problems was a very tight schedule for filming the tourney scenes for both the fourth and fifth episodes which prevented too many shorts or montages.
  • Bryan Cogman acknowledges that it would have been better to have had Sandor tell Sansa his backstory in person (as in the books) but there were production reaons this was not possible. He reassures fans that the Sandor/Sansa subplot will still unfold, only differently to in the books.
  • The scene between Eddard and Cersei in the Hand's quarters was the first scene filmed for the series (aside from the pilot).
  • Cogman preferred not to change George R.R. Martin's dialogue or writing unless absolutely necessary for production, money or time reasons. His approach was, "Why mess with perfection?"
  • The scene where Catelyn arrests Tyrion was Michelle Fairley's audition piece.

Memorable quotes

Tyrion Lannister: "I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards and broken things."

Jon Arryn: "The seed is strong."

Daenerys Targaryen: "The next time you raise your hands at me is the last time you will have hands."

Alliser Thorne: "You are boys still. When the winter comes, you will die like so many flies."

Jorah Mormont: "The common people pray for rain, health and a summer that never ends. They don't care what games the high lords play."
Daenerys Targaryen: "What do you pray for, Ser Jorah?"
Jorah: "Home."

Eddard Stark: "I was trained to kill my enemies, your grace."
Cersei Lannister: "As was I."

Catelyn Stark: "This man came into my house as a guest and there conspired to murder my son, a boy of ten. In the name of king Robert and the good lords you serve, I call upon you to seize him and help me return him to Winterfell, to await the King's Justice."

First apperances


  • Ser Hugh of the Vale.

Image gallery



Also Starring

Guest starring

Cast Notes

  • Conan Stevens lobbied for the role of Ser Gregor Clegane, even going as far as auditioning for the pilot as Khal Drogo, knowing he wouldn't get it, but to put his name before the casting directors.
  • Lord Commander Barristan Selmy, Joffrey Baratheon, Myrcella Baratheon, Tommen Baratheon and Khal Drogo appear only briefly and do not have any lines of dialogue.


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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