“The Pointy End” 1×8

This episode was a bit mish-mashy for me, but overall quality stuff.  I suppose they have to put off things for the finale.  Spoilers ahead:

 

To Arya: Oh, my poor, cursed, little girl.  So far my key to the series is working-the candidate you least liked is now king.  Your new best friend is killed.  I can’t wait to see where you got to!  Also, I need you to react to people so I can tell who’ll come out on top next round!

 

To Daenerys: See, when you listened to Drogo announce he was going to rape the women of your own people and just stood there in a happy daze, I’d have thought you’d be both prepared to see rape and less feeling about it happening to people who aren’t, you know, the ones you’re princess of.  Don’t get me wrong, it was marvelous to see you directly confrontational and demanding respect, but…perhaps a bit more circumspection would do. Especially where it directly concerns Drogo.  Don’t forget what will happen if he gets actually taken down, girlfriend.

On another note, it’s really precious how you two use the titles “moon of my life” and “my sun and stars.”  Are these terms you guys came up with or are they traditional to Dothraki?  Also, about this stallion who will mount the world business-is that a typical term for the son of a Khal?  Is there some prophecy about a stallion who will mount the world and you’re just claiming this is him to convince Drogo to attack the Seven Kingdoms?  What is happening with that?

 

To Robb: Not a bad showing.  I’m glad to know you’re not too proud to admit you’re scared, even to someone technically not outside the family.  It did take your direwolf to win the spat with the bannerman, but you did come up with the excuse to let him stay and laughed heartily enough to close that diplomatic part.  So, kudos for that.  Given that you’ve got a whole month before you reach King’s Landing I’m not sure the couple hours headstart you get from leaving in the middle of the night will really be any good, but at least it shows you’re aware and wary of spies and scheming-something Ned needed Baelish to drive home to him.  So, you’re already better than him.  Also, you actually talk to people about points, like Bran and Catelyn, so lots of points for that.  I was afraid Ned’s habitual lack of lines would be a hereditary thing.  I’m not sure about letting the scout go at the end, it’s unusual, but again-it’s not like they wouldn’t have just sent another that would’ve given them the info soon enough, so being merciful won’t actually hurt you much.  Overall, a major improvement on your father.  Well done.  I expect continued good showings.

 

To Jon: I’m glad you’re smart enough to pay attention to the direwolf in the first place.  Bit of advice: when you’re headed out to a probably dangerous position, DO NOT tell the wolf to stay.  There is danger-the direwolf comes with you.  This should not need to be said.  Getting Ghost locked outside was what you deserved for that.

 

To Sam: Hurrah!  You get to be helpful.  Am very glad you have reading and sense, it makes you a real character.  Carry on!  Now you’re past the trojan horse stage, things should go better for you.  (“We should burn it!” “Yeah, we’re not gonna listen to the useless one. Don’t burn it.”  And then the enemy attacks you.=Trojan horse in Troy with Sam as Orlando Bloom!)

 

To Rikkon: Hello!  Glad to see you’re alive, kid.  Wasn’t sure you existed.  Also, incredibly gratified to hear you talking realistically.  I expect you to help Bran when he comes into his mind powers.

 

To Sansa: Aw, your dreams were just coming back with Joffrey talking nice again, and now you have to go through the reality of this.  I’m proud of you-such an improvement in handling your reality troubles from last time!  Act up to the queen, beg for Ned in front of everyone…nice.  Joffrey does not seem on as tight a leash as Cersei would wish, now does he?  Interesting.  It’s your opportunity, Sansa!  Get into that chink!

 

To Cersei: Why did you not suggest Tywin for hand before?  You know you wanted someone in your family.  Plus, he’s the moneyman so if he pushed it Robert would’ve been hard put to say no.  I’m very curious.

 

To Tyrion: Please be more awesome.  I really want to be on your side, but the lack of stepping it up makes things difficult.

 

All right, then.  I think we’re ready to move forward.  Everyone, remember advice.  And HBO, show me what happened to Arya, already!

“Kingsroad” 1×2

I am unhappy.

List of mostly complaints (and spoilers):

1. Arya and Dany seem to be the only characters with any intelligence this episode.  Arya knew what was going on with everything and did all that could be expected of her and more.  Dany’s life sucks and she’s still trying to grasp some sort of happiness, or at least more leverage.

2. My disappointment in Ned Stark is vast.  It’s like he’s still under the effects of the One Ring.  He doesn’t say anything to the point.  Walk in on your wife being a bitch to your son and don’t do anything to comfort either of them, ignore your comatose son, keep insisting that unpleasant things can’t happen even though they totally will, don’t say anything in defense of your daughter-bah!   Honor, my foot.  What he has is the pride and a will to see the world in familiar ways.  I think he was well served by having to kill Lady due to Robert’s unwillingness to stand up to his wife since, after all, Ned has the exact same issue when it comes to talking with his wife and arguing over what’s happening.  Both of them avoid it, and it will bite both of them in the ass, the frank king who at least knows there will be war, and the idiot pretending to be Honorable.  Nothing drove me so crazy tonight as reading all the people talking about how he acted honorably.  He’s a coward about facing unpleasant truths, about changing his ways, and about arguing with anyone he cares about.  Bring back Boromir, please.

3.  “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.” = “There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm.”  That is all.

4. Jon Snow seemed dumber by the line.  After last episode I was willing to let his slowness in failing to perceive the similarities between bastards and dwarves slip.   And what is my reward?  He wonders why people read, he boasts prematurely about his role, he still hasn’t learned that hearing ‘bastard’ must needs be all right in his world…

5. Cat needs to chill.  Jon Snow is leaving in a couple days, she couldn’t manage civility for a few minutes?  He’ll be gone FOREVER!

6. Ned’s goodbye to Snow=”Don’t make me have to behead you.”

7. What the hell was Jaime’s costume about?  Lapels and a longcoat seem hideously out of place with all the other costumes I’ve seen thus far.  Also, just generally they are the wrong era.  Is there a reason for this?  Perhaps the Doctor can be involved…

8. Joffrey is quite canon! Draco Malfoyish.  He makes the fanfic!Draco Viscerys seem wonderful.

9. I suppose I must allow that Cat immediately caught on to all the implications of the assassination attempt.  I suppose she can have some intelligence, too.  Hopefully her reunion with her husband will transfer some of that to him.  Geez, only the women have it in this episode.

10. On Cersei’s “black-haired prince.”  This is a lie?  This is about a child that Jaime killed out of jealousy and because he wanted his son to be king?  This is about a son that actually died naturally and her grief over him turned the king off of her and sent him back to the whores and things more zealously, thus pushing her back/into Jaime’s arms?  Whenever I hear her name I keep thinking of the Greek Circe who turned men into pigs and other animals.  So far she’s got a pig for a husband, a brother who’s selfishly pig-like over having sex with her, and a son who’s a cowardly swine.  I wonder if her cruelty would diminish and disappear if she could live in a matriarchal world?  It seems very directly, and justifiably, to stem from her hardships and turmoil over various men.

11. Tyrion puzzles me.  I like what I’ve seen, but so far what I’ve seen is so little.  I keep waiting to find him dazzling like all the other watchers seem to.  Slapping Joffrey does not a hero make, just a sensible prince.

12. Back to Ned-it’s not like he has no bargaining power!  If he’s going to run the kingdom for Robert, that means he’s got plenty of pull.  Why does he not start to exert it, if only in the name of the greater good and making sure his friend sticks to the principles of their mentor or whatnot?-that’d be actually honorable.

13. The Stark son still at home does have some sense.  I repose hopes in him.

14. Sansa is a little fool, but she’s been repaid this week.  I shall withhold judgment til I see how she deals with it.

15. And now, the single greatest question of the entire episode: WHY THE HELL IS ARYA GOING TO THE CAPITAL?  It’s not like the family’s going.  It’s not like the Starks would encourage her tomboyhood by bringing her to see the world, experience life, or learn about anything.  Even the sons are not going.  It’s not like there’s no one to take care of her back at home.  I’ve seen no evidence that there’s an incredibly strong bond between Arya and Ned.  There’s no marriage prospects for her yet that have been mentioned, and surely if there were they could be dealt with later, after her older sister’s wedding, and more importantly-Ned would not be advocating and abetting it by dragging her along so soon.  So, what the hell?

 

Also: I’ve seen a lot of discussion over the Khal/Dany scenes.  As someone new to the story, my reactions are: As I said in my review of the first episode, the sex between them is far gentler and overall better than I would have expected.  It’s certainly more respectful than Lucrezia’s marriage in The Borgias.  As for this one-it does seem clear that Dany’s desire to please her husband stems from self-preservation, both physical and mental.  She needs to do something, she needs to be someone, she needs to do what she can become a partner with her husband, if only so life won’t suck as much.  It made a very powerful statement to me and all of the actress’s expressions brought it life, courage, and spirit as far as I’m concerned.  Furthermore, Khal’s reactions to her and particularly the way they played the eye contact at the end of their scenes in this episode, led me to see sparks of tenderness, or at least a personal connection.  So, for those upset by the rapist aspect of this story-it’s going gently enough for a new inductee, remarkably so, in fact.  For those confused by the lack of romance between the characters-I totally saw it in there, or at the very least clear foreshadowing for such a story between them, so calm down.  For those of you saying that this situation is always rape, totally agreed.  It clearly does not make impossible other storylines here, at least if you’re not looking for them in specific ways laid down in the books.  That is all.

“Winter is Coming” 1×1

So, I have finally joined the crowd of Game of Throne watchers.  I have not read the books, nor do I really intend to, but the show looks like worthy entertainment.  Thus far, in any case.  Having only seen the first episode I’m merely apprised of the situation, but nevertheless I have some thoughts.

List (spoilers apply):

1. No woman has a good life in this world-and it’s actually admitted.  Interesting.

2. The banished prince who think she’s the rightful king is TOTALLY what a prominent version of fanfic! Draco Malfoy would look like.  Also, I’ve definitely read him act like that, as well, in spite of not having a sister.

3. A king who is really up front about who he is?  This could be new.

4. The king’s guards’ helmets with the cat faces looked really intriguing until a closeup shot showed that the motion of riding makes it look like their cat teeth are clattering.

5. I think Illyrio should live.  His response to “Do you take me for a fool?” was absolute, hardcore, diplomatic brilliance.  “I take you for a king.”  Kings don’t use the same caution that ordinary men use.  Hah!

6. Honestly, I think the wedding night with Khal of Drogo could have been much worse.  She had a white horse and they rode off together pretty literally into the sunset!  It’s a bona fide happy ending! (Yes, I know, I know, but the point stands.)

7. I love the direwolf pups!

8. It was entirely annoying to me how in the beginning people just stood around saying that things didn’t happen or didn’t exist, even when clearly there was a direwolf below the wall.

9. On the white walkers, particularly their bright blue eyes: Don’t follow the lights!  Really, just all roads lead to Elijah Wood so far on this one.

10. I approve of Arya, overall.

11. I am unclear whether Jon Snow is really good at persuading people or if he just influences Boromir easily due to the guilt over bastardy.

12. Everyone is in love with doggie style for some reason?

13. I know we’re supposed to feel for Bran, but come on.  His lying tell was so simple he never would’ve survived on politics and he clearly didn’t have great physical prowess.  It was only a matter of time.

14. I’m betting Joffrey’s real father is the twin, yes?

15. It really was very considerate and well-mannered of the Dothraki to leave Illyrio and the prince-brother out of the expected fighting/three deaths expectations, considering their numbers, necessity, and the groom advantage.

16. “Winter is Coming” is apparently a very pithy and witty thing to say.