“Fire and Blood” 1×10 finale

Why do I feel like things are just getting started?  Perhaps if the show had begun later and just had flashbacks?  Anyhow, first season is over, just as I feel things are picking up.  Good thing I’m so late that second season’s already over, eh?  Onward!  (Spoilers, ahoy!)

 

1. Arya’s going to the wall?  Hm.  I have no particular objection to that, but it does mess with my plan of Jon Snow and Bran at the wall, being the main things.

2. Speaking of Bran, I am pleased he is growing closer to the lady, like I told him to.  Also, he shares dreams with Rikkon!  That makes it MORE awesome!  In my head, anyway.  Again, not sure how it’s going to go if Arya’s also there.

3. Catelyn rubbed me the wrong way in her talk with Robb in the beginning.  The sword is ruined, making him stop now won’t help that.  He wants to grieve violently, he’s doing it safely, so leave him alone.  It just seemed like Cat’s only reason for stopping Robb was because she wanted someone to make her feel better, by grieving with her!  Just didn’t seem right.

4. Here is the episode where Joffrey falls, to me.  Previously, his reasons seemed fairly sound, or at least understandable for a boy in his situation.  Now he’s just devolved into the boring, cliche villain people always assumed he would be.  Sad.  I was on board with killing Ned, there were political reasons, but torturing minstrels is just petty and, frankly, uninteresting.  Moreover, his exchange with Sansa is not only clearly over the line as things that involve domestic violence are always wrong, but is the opposite of helping his cause.  Sending Sansa a message so he can live married life in peace is one thing-rubbing it into her face is both cruel and not going to help him.  As already shown, this added aggravation makes Sansa more likely to strike back and make his life hell, or you know to try to kill him.  *throws hands in air*  Why does Martin have this thing against boys who are the product of incest?  Girls seem to get a chance.  How unimaginative.

5. At least the Hound gets more depth.  That’s something.

6. Ned Stark’s head on a pike seems to have a larger nose.  Perhaps it grew because of his lying at the end?  (Pinocchio jokes are hard to ignore.)

7. I could totally support Robb as a king at this point.  On the other hand, I worry about economics.  I’m not sure what the trade is between the North and the other kingdoms, but I have a feeling there’s a lot that can’t be grown or gotten in the North all by itself.

8. Oh Theon, even at this moment you have to have your ass moment, don’t you?  Sure, I’ll support you as king-so long as I get to be the king’s brother!  Man, just stick to the moment.  You’ve got all the time in the world to bitch at him about your rights and bonds as his pseudo-brother.

9. Cersei, you’ve got a harem!  Continue to be Circe, my queen.  That is all.

10. I’m annoyed at Tywin for the first time for saying it was folly to kill Ned Stark.  Sure, he’d be useful now, but at the time he was killed everyone thought Robb would be easy to run over and really wanted him dead.  You can’t just go off using hindsight and blaming people for things that seemed good at the time.  On the other hand, sending Tyrion to rule as Hand seems like excellent TV.

11. Did we have to go into twisted babies?  I mean, the witch is clearly creepy enough at this point and, again, it feels like a cliche.

12. Jon Snow is such an angstbucket, he’d be perfect as the lead singer of a boy band.  And lookit, he’s got a group of boys who like to do things in unison and finish each other’s sentences right there.  Bingo!

13. So, as I understand it, Baelish’s biggest problem in ambition is what to do with Varys.  Baelish doesn’t trust Varys, and frankly doesn’t need him due to having his own spy network.  On the otherhand, it’s super hard to sneak up on a spymaster.  What to do?

14. Robert’s bastard is going to the wall, too?  Look, I cannot have everyone converge at the wall-it’s the least interesting and aesthetic set!  Stop that!  I’m curious, though.  Did the blacksmith have a notion of who the boy was, or at least that he was important, judging by the visits of past Hand’s, and therefore decided to get him out of the picture to protect himself now there’s a stern king?  Did he seriously just need more money?  Was it more specifically about his neighbors/customers being able to tell people that the boy was somehow connected to the traitor who just got killed?  It seems like there’s drama in that the show glossed over, which is not what I expect.  Of course, it could be that the kid just didn’t get it, but then who’s going to care about him?  Best case scenario: bastard does know what went down but knows better than to talk about it, and yon drama will come out later.  Good luck with that though, still, seeing as it’s the end of the season.

15. I do like the symmetry of “Winter is coming.”

16. Baby dragons are ALWAYS fun!  I can see why Drogo had to die off-can’t have a khal with his woman holding more power over him in her tiny shoulder-pet than he’s got in his whole following!  In any case, I look forward to interesting development next season!

“The Wolf and the Lion” 1×5

I really enjoyed the middle of this episode.  The times when Robert was on screen were really my favorite, as I recall.

 

Spoilers ahoy:

1. I wish my lessons were more like Bran’s.  Also, I wish there had been some kind of lesson like this for viewers somewhere on here-perhaps as an intro before each episode or something, like BBC did with Downton Abbey.

2. I still want to say that Bran remembers what happened and is annoyed by his mother’s absence because he doesn’t trust telling anyone else, and he really wants to tell someone.

3. Still don’t care about Theon Greyjoy.

4. I love the Knight of the Flowers!  His armor is INTRICATE.  SHINY.  I will take that action!

5. Also, I totally called Renly/Flower boy the minute there was eye contact!  Offering to make this dude a king might be interesting.  I think I could get behind a kingship where this pretty knight calls the shots.  He knows what’s up and knows how to do things in style, plus he already has the love of the people.  It could work.

6. Sansa’s innocence and girlishness in loving the knight and defending his honor at the drop of a hat makes me like her better.

7. Whose bed do we think the horsehead winds up in?  I’m voting for the Hound getting it to the Mountain’s bed himself.  Brotherly rivalry!  Excellent!  Knight of the Flowers sharing the win with the common Hound!  THIS is more what this show should be about.  Love that part.

8. On Catelyn: When you’ve got a hot royal fugitive on your hands, running to Crazy McBreastymom is the last thing you want to do.  Particularly if she’s got cocky captains, which it seems she does.  On the bright side, there’s now interesting bonds between Tyrion and Catelyn that she seems to be aware of by proclaiming that he is not to be harmed.  I am now interested to see how this plays out.

9. Tyrion: Well played, sir!  That shield looked vaguely blunt and cardboardy for me even as a shield, but as a blundeon!-that was some work, man.

10. Okay, Ned-let’s get this straight.  Robert is a Warrior King and finally, there is some news that calls for a king always thinking about war.  Robert made the right. call.  This is what he knows how to do.  And this is where you completely stand up to him?  Not, you know, something understandable like your family, or anything?  Bah humbug.  If I were going along knowing I’m a fat fool and just wishing I didn’t have so many worries on the side, and then finally a situation arose where I knew the answer and could enforce it, and THAT’s what my friend opposes…I’d be riled and calling for their head, too.  Talk about frustrating!  In any case, who’s this innocent child you speak of?  Daenerys?  Cause the whole point of this lord system is that everyone is born with a purpose and her purpose right now is to be a threat to your people.  Therefore she is not innocent.  So, stop it.  Either point out the difficulties inherent in assassinating her (which would be legion), or man up and orchestrate an attempt.  In my opinion Robert showed great restraint at this fucking soldier refusing to follow orders about SOLDIERLY DUTIES when he swallowed them about politics right enough, by first allowing his other counselors to offer their arguments to him.  Foolish Stark.  On the other hand, if it’s Daenerys’ child, what the hell?  That kid is the single most dangerous threat to the kingdom.  Again-not innocent.  The end.  As I recall, I actually said, “This part is fun!” during the beginning of that scene, when Robert was front and center.  As soon as Ned and his agonized don’t-wanna face took over it was no longer fun.

11.  Also, the BEST argument for the Dothraki not being an immediate threat is that-“Winter is coming”.  Ned of all people should’ve thought to say that!  The horsemen with their lack of clothing, their need for horses, etc.-they’d be DOOMED trying to attack in winter.  And Ned didn’t even have the sense to bring that up.  (The answer is, of course, that then the next summer they’d be fully ready to attack wiht a prince who actually has the army and a claim on the throne, so it’s only an argument against immediate action and in that sense flaws for this argument, but still-if that’s what Ned’s goin’ for he should’ve busted this out.)

12. Robert continued to be my favorite character this time with his scene with Cersei-my favorite scene as of now.  It fully explained how Robert is forward thinking, it explains the dark-haired child, it fully fleshes out the dynamic between these two.  These are the interesting characters.  Robert’s made a rotten run of it, but at least he knows how to keep the machine moving.  Cersei may have massive personality flaws, but she has a good comprehension and the willingness to discuss matters when she needs to.

13. I’ve seen some people wonder that Cersei seemed to support Ned Stark-I am not surprised.  Ned Stark is a simple man, a follower, not someone who’d ever be able to out-scheme anyone or do something underhanded to get rid of their enemies.  Whoever the Hand of the king is, it will be Cersei’s enemy since Jaime won’t take the job.  Therefore she wants the best enemy-the one she knows, the one she can count on not to undermine her, or to do anything she can’t predict.  This sensible move endears the Queen of Pigs to me.

14. Arya out-facing the guards is a thing of beauty!  I really wish I could see the dragon skull better, though.  I couldn’t tell what it was til my friend informed me.

15. See?  Jaime totally improves when he has something to do!  The fact that what he had to do at the end of this episode was out of concern for his brother also helped his cause, to my mind.  I look on him much more favorably now.  (Also, man does the guy need a way to vent.  He lives between those who despise him for betraying his king, those who loathe him for following the orders of that king, those who hate him for both reasons, and the king who likes to make him hear whore-fucking and otherwise being unworthy of his sister.  I feel for him.)  The fact that this attack is against Ned in no way lessons the touching quality of going out hell-for-leather in reaction to his brother’s wrong.  He didn’t even take Ned captive or take advantage of a wounded man!  He does have a sense of honor.  I like him better!

16. Varys and Baelish clearly know too much to be such minor characters thus far.  I expect more action on this front!  Especially from Baelish.  So far he’s given Ned “help” in breadcrumbs and pebbles.  It’s time to get to the candy house or the wicked witch already!  Or both!  Both is traditional.

17. Was that Illyrio Arya overheard?  I liked Illyrio!  If he’s up to something I want in!

18. In short, there seem to be a lot of people whose sides I am currently willing to consider, but if I’m going to actually join sides and get a real interest in this “game of thrones” then someone is going to have to step it up and do more!  (But Ned is right out!)

19. Also, I love the vines on those columns in the throne room!

20. Why is it always so dark?  Are there vampires showing up?  (Were these mysterious dragons…VAMPIRE DRAGONS?)

“Lord Snow” 1×3

Well, this episode slowed down a bit.  Necessarily so, since so many new characters showed up and they apparently didn’t come up with clever ways to introduce them to us like the writers did in the pilot.  As, again, a non-book reader, my thoughts ran thusly (with spoilers):

On Daenerys: Wow, she became a Khaleesi mighty fast.  I have no issue with her clear closeness with her husband in contrast to the past episodes, simply because pregnancy is known to bring couples peace.  What I found a bit fast for me was Dany’s sudden Dothrakian outlook on life.  Her clothes changed right from the start of this episode, her command changed, etc.  If it was simply the stopping of the horde, that’d be one thing.  But that she did so with no apparent reason and then had a servant who made her brother walk, seemed a bit much.  The violence is nothing-the Dothraki are violent, it’s been pounded into our heads.  But having everyone follow her into the woods like that, and again, particularly the clothes-costumes are such important clues on TV…trifle fast, people.

On Jon Snow: So he wanted to go to the Wall so he could lord it over people for once.  This fits in with all the reasons I disliked him last episode.  Granted, he does get better.  Choosing to learn is excellent, but I am still aggrieved that the motivation from it came entirely from Tyrion.  Tyrion has the sense to see and point out what’s really happening, while it never even occurs to Snow.  He’d better change that fast if I’m not to cheer on the white walkers when they show up.  Conversely, my respect for Tyrion has grown.

On Jaime: Why is he always just hanging out waiting to be snarky about past events?  He seems like the most contrived thing in this series.  Somebody give that guy something to do other than eavesdrop on Robert being an ass and lust after his sister.  The man needs employment.

On the Council: New characters are much more confusing this episode.  Baelish, God bless him, is sticking out.  He’s certainly adverse to being pleasant when he could be easy-going-with-a-hint-of-brimstone though, isn’t he?  I am glad I watched with someone who’d read the books so they could tell me why the hell a duel for Ned’s wife was fought between Ned’s brother and this Littlefinger.  Show totally dropped the ball on that.  Meanwhile, I fail to see why debt is surprising.  Ned remains more of a fool than I took him for since he apparently somehow failed to observe over hte last MONTH of riding with Robert that the king doesn’t listen to advice.  I’ll talk to the king alone and talk sense into him-uh-huh.  And Lady’s still alive and Cersei has no say.  Riiiight.

On Joffrey: The boy has some SENSE.  Color me amazed!  The fact is that in order to consolidate statehood and really keep various kingdoms together, the nobles shouldn’t really have their own armies, as Richelieu taught France.  The king SHOULD, in fact, have his own army.  This is true.  The problems Cersei points out are extremely practicable ones against the people she was thinking of whereas for a moment it seemed Joffrey was speaking of political theory instead of a certain hatred.  As a theorist, he actually has some sense.  I jot it down officially and honor him for having this in the face of blatant opposition by his mother’s absurd ideas of power and his father’s absurd negligence of power.  Put him in different tutelage-Tyrion’s, let’s say-and based on this episode he could be a decent king.  Why, he even grew a sense of shame!  He no longer wishes to marry Sansa simply because he knows that she sees him as the coward he feels himself.  If that part of him was encouraged, he could easily improve-he’s young enough.  I pronounce Joffrey officially off my list for the time being.  I blame things on his parents.

On Sansa: I consider her also forgiven, for the time being.  She has realized her awful situation.  She’s facing reality now.  She’s going to have to LIVE with Joffrey for the rest of her life, who she’s had the sense (again, sense!  amazing!) to realize now dislikes her.  Her cup is full and she’s trying to deal with things gracefully as she can.

On Syrio: Arya has a worthy friend!  I am officially on his side.  Everything about him-his meaning to Arya, the way he talks, the way he moves, what it implies about Ned, the depth it gave Ned’s character to see Arya and Syrio work….all of it.

This episode had more stories about the winter, about how people in this world because of history and lore.  Those are so far my favorite part of the series.  They make something real that can’t be ruined by stupidity anymore.

“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.