Game of Thrones is trucking along rather nicely, as per usual. Last week’s episode, “You Win or You Die,” was probably the most brilliant of the season so far, and last night’s “The Pointy End” wasn’t so bad either.

Today, we have a short summary of the George R. R. Martin-scripted episode 8 and, more importantly, the video preview for episode 9 entitled “Baelor.”

As always, if you’ve yet to see episode 8 or don’t want to know a single solitary thing about episode 9, DO NOT continue reading. In other words: SPOILERS AHOY!

First, the recap (if you get confused, refer to our awesome Houses of the Game of Thrones infographic):

On last night’s episode of Thrones, things got more dire than ever for poor Ned Stark. Having been betrayed by almost everybody at King’s Landing, all of Ned’s men were murdered; his youngest daughter, Arya, is all alone and on the run; his eldest daughter, Sansa, is being prepped to wed the illegitimate “King” Joffrey. Worst of all? Ned, branded a traitor, is in prison and his chances of survival are looking bleaker by the minute.

The brave and bold Arya Stark

Northward, Ned’s oldest son, Robbert, receives a letter from Sansa – by order of Queen Cersei, of course – encouraging him to come to King’s Landing and swear fealty to the heinous Joffrey. Instead, Robb sends word to all the men and clans of the North who have sworn an oath to Ned Stark to prepare for war against the Lannisters.

Still further North, Jon Snow and company come across several dead members of the Night’s Watch (none of whom are his missing uncle) on the other side of the wall. These guys have been killed by the dreaded White Walkers (the boogeymen from the opening of the pilot), and like the little girl from the pilot, one of the dead Night’s Watch soldiers returns to life in blue-eyed zombie form to attack Jon Snow. Thankfully, Snow inadvertently discovers these zombies weakness when he kills one with a fiery oil lamp to the face.

Ned Stark’s bastard, Jon Snow

Somewhere between Stark and Lannister territory, Tyrion Lannister and his champion, the mercenary Bronn, run into a pack of tribesmen who threaten to kill Bronn and take Tyrion as a “half-man” clown for entertainment purposes. As is his way, Tyrion manages to convince the tribesmen to guide them to his father, Tywin (Charles Dance), in return for riches and weaponry. Unfortunately for Tyrion, Tywin does promise the tribesmen and Bronn riches and weaponry – if and only if they fight in the coming war against the Starks. They agree – if and only if Tyrion fights, too. Poor Tyrion.

Across the ocean, Princess Targaryen learns that the warring ways of the Dothraki aren’t so kind.

The previously insufferable but now mostly redeemed Sansa Stark

Lastly, Ned’s daughter, Sansa – who nearly redeemed all her errors (and annoyances) in this episode – begs her betrothed Joffrey to spare her father’s life. Joffrey agrees, but only if Ned will take back his claim that Joffrey isn’t rightfully king.

Though it was very good, the episode was definitely a transitional one. It moved all the pieces around the board – and did so pretty deftly – but we’re basically in the same position now that we were at the end of the last episode: Ned’s in deep trouble. The Starks are against the Lannisters. The White Walkers are coming to kill the world. And the dire wolves on this show (played by amazing Siberian Huskies) are some of the greatest dogs to ever grace my television screen.

Now, check out the preview for Game of Thrones episode 9, “Baelor”:

Here’s the official (and brief) summary for the episode:

Ned (Sean Bean) makes a fateful decision; Robb takes a prized prisoner; Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finds her reign imperiled. (Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; directed by Alan Taylor.)

Only two episodes left of season 1, people. Are you loving Game of Thrones as much as we are? Let us know in the comments.

And remember, if you’ve read the books – DO NOT DISCUSS THEM HERE! There are plenty of other places on the internet for you to do that, we assure you.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays @9pm on HBO.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.