Monday, May 19, 2014


With HBO choosing to take a break next Sunday for Memorial Day weekend, last night's Game of Thrones will have to tide us over for a couple of weeks. While the episode may not have packed quite as powerful a punch as Tyrion's brilliant speech at the end of the previous installment, it was still up to the task.

We picked up with that riveting plot line from last week, with Tyrion back in his cell. There was another wonderful scene between he and Jaime. (With the highlight perhaps being Jaime's droll "they'll be talking about it for days to come.") Even better was the later scene with Bronn. I loved that there was no lying or sugar-coating between the two men. Bronn laid out why he was refusing to take up Tyrion's cause again, and Tyrion could only be disappointed, not angry. In a way, it was a strange sort of relief for Tyrion; after a recent series of betrayals, Bronn's abandonment could hardly be seen as one. He was a sellsword from day one, and Tyrion knew and accepted that.

Ultimately, later in the episode, it's Oberyn who comes to Tyrion and agrees to fight for him. It's a wonderful scene. All Oberyn really needs to do is agree to fight. If he needs to provide reason to Tyrion at all, it's simply that the fight is against Gregor, the Mountain. But Oberyn goes a step farther, telling the story of meeting Tyrion as a baby. "You weren't the monster they said you were" is clearly intended to speak of the present situation too; Oberyn shows some kindness and understanding to the "Lannister who shares my enthusiasm for dead Lannisters."

Once again, the adventures of Arya and The Hound did not disappoint. After all their lying to everyone they meet, and to each other at times too, it was a great scene to have them come upon the dying man at the start of the episode. Since the man was as good as dead anyway, both risked nothing by telling the truth, Arya confessing her true identity and the Hound acknowledging that he was Arya's captor, not savior-escort. That would have been plenty to enjoy, but the episode delivered even more, with Arya's pithy dispatch of her brand of justice, and her bit of mercy to the Hound in trying to dress his wound.

Brienne and Podrick ran into Hotpie, getting a tiny clue as to Arya's whereabouts. (Well, a major clue, in learning that she's still alive!) The relationship between these two characters is growing more interesting as well. Podrick is such a good guy at the core that it's very interesting to have him cautioning Brienne to be more reserved and dissembling. Brienne proves herself the noble knight Jaime styled her as, in proving that (at least in this case) honesty really is the best policy.

A brief scene up at Castle Black shows Jon Snow trying to make his superiors do the smart thing, only to be shot down by Alliser Thorne. In the long while since I read book three, I'd really forgotten how infuriating the higher-ups at Castle Black were here in the last stretch of the book. Not that it's hard to root for Jon Snow really, but scenes like this certainly help.

Dany's scenes this week depict a fling with Daario, and the fallout with Ser Jorah. The positioning of these two scenes back to back is very interesting, driving home something that is maybe not so clear in the original books. Jorah is giving good council here, trying to keep Dany from sinking into a quagmire. But it really does come from a selfish place. Not only does Jorah have a personal history here (as he says, if Ned Stark had treated him as she would treat the slavers, he'd be dead), but he's jealous that Daario and not he got close to the queen. The track is laid for a rivalry between Daario and Jorah.

Melisandre. Well, there had to be some weak material somewhere in the episode, and here it was. Unless Melisandre's boobs are your sort of thing; at least there was that. I suppose it was illuminating (ha! Lord of Light pun!) to get insight into why Selyse lets this woman around her husband: she really is a true believer, more even than Stannis. Still, I'm just not that engaged. And yet, the show has "rehabilitated" characters I didn't find as interesting in the novels. Perhaps they'll do so later with Melisandre.

The episode finished up in CrazyTown, aka the Eyrie. I liked the touch of putting snow into the scenes (winter really is coming, you know). Poor Sansa. The one time she's finally able to stand up for herself, it's slapping around a little boy. And what does it lead her to? A creepy kiss from Littlefinger, and an up-close look at the Moon Door courtesy of Aunt Lysa. But it's Lysa herself who goes tumbling out, as Littlefinger continues his murderous spree. And not only does he kill her, he crushes her hopes first, by telling her he never loved her. Littlefinger's one cold dude.

Another great episode in a season of great episodes. An A-, the "minus" probably only for the boring Melisandre scene. (Excise that, and I'd call it an A.)

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