“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!

“You Win or you Die” 1×7

NOW I feel like we’re getting somewhere!  I do believe this is currently my favorite episode.  Expect spoilers.

 

1. Tywin is a much better character than I was expecting and the words vs. actions direction in his opening scene was hilarious.  “It wasn’t clean??”  Forget his kids, this is the man to be reckoned with.  I’m considering becoming a Lannisterian.

2. I have officially given up on Ned, but without frustration this time.  He’ll be paid back for being a fool and well-that’s his business now, I guess.  I find him much easier to deal with when he’s not actually in control of his other family members.

3. Cersei did exactly what I expected of her this episode, and she pulled it off beautifully!  I am pleased.

4. I excuse the Starks from neglecting their peasants as it turns out Bran’s attackers were from beyond the wall.  I shall hope the actual peasants have better hair situations.  I’m glad that this woman is speaking up and making her mark.  I shall expect her to be fully on Bran’s side in the future, when I anticipate he gets more shamanistic.

5. Ah-there are jobs at the wall where you don’t have to do much fighting!  That is a great relief to know, and explains the sense behind protecting Sam.  Previously it’d seemed like, with such a shortage of men, it’d be the type of place where everyone pitches in to helping with food, etc. AND must act as ranger.  I don’t know how efficient not doing it like this will be considering the man shortage, but at least it makes them not fools about Sam.

6. Lookit Joffrey’s scared expression as his father dies!  I like that kid more every episode!  The remaining Draco shall live!

7. The whole scene with Dany in the market brings up questions for me.  How did the assassins know she would come there?  To leave things for her and Jorah both indicate they were pretty sure.  Does the horde frequent the market?  If the Dothraki don’t believe in money, and also are constantly given gifts or raiding places, surely the market is kindof the last place they’d buy stuff.  Also, if they don’t believe in money, how would they buy stuff?  I didn’t see servants carrying stuff to barter-and again, it would be wasteful and unnecessary for them.  So much for my first problem.  Second problem: why would the messenger boy know what was in that missive for Jorah?  That’s not normal.  Also, who the hell had time to remember Jorah and send him a pardon, unless it was on condition he ensure Dany’s death?  Plus, if he was a bannerman for Ned and Ned banished him, why is it a royal pardon?  Wouldn’t he still be unable to go home without Ned’s permission/a royal decree to Ned who would then be the one who ought to recall him?  That man continues to make no sense.

8. Also, I had some problems with Dany.  I love her arc to owning the khalessi in her and her growth, but…you keep talking about your home and returning to save the people.  Drogo’s declaration to take you home included specific phrases about raping the women and taking the children slaves.  Shouldn’t Dany’s expression have changed or something?  That doesn’t seem like the thing she’d want to do.  My only guess is that right now the thought of home and the knowledge her husband cares this much about her is too overwhelming for her to listen to the individual words.

9. Drogo’s gift to Jorah worries me.  Wouldn’t all the horses the Dothraki have already be claimed by someone?  They don’t seem like communal property type people.  So, in order to take his gift-to avoid rudeness to the Khal it must be received-Jorah will have to lay claim to someone else’s horse.  The khal gives a foreigner one of his own men’s horses.  This…does not bode well.  Why is this not a thing here?

10. Good old Renly!  The more I see him, the more sensible he seems.  “Do you still think good soldiers make good kings?”  Touche!  Also, very spot on for so many histories.  I like him and his knight of the flowers!  As I said, Tywin makes me approve more of the Lannisters, but as of now Renly still has more of my support.  Foolish Ned.  Also, what the hell is up with this Stannis?  Everyone seems to agree about him as not a great leader.

11. Baelish is intense!  I continue to like him.  I award him long life and applaud his maneuverability.

12. FINALLY things seem to be happening!

“A Golden Crown” 1×6

It struck me that this episode showed people mainly just protecting their own interests and acting as sensibly as their personalities will let them.  No diatribes about people being idiots this time!  I almost don’t know to react to this episode, what to do with myself.  In any case, here are some thoughts-and spoilers, of course!

 

1. The story about men trying to sleep with a woman from all 7 kingdoms and the Riverlands to “make the eight” gives a whole new meaning to pieces of eight.  I really hope they use pieces of eight in this world, for this reason.

2. If being obsessed with a hooker is all they’ve really got to give Theon scenes, why even bother trying to make us care about him right now?  Surely he does something more worthy of notice later?  Right now I still say he’s just a little brat.

3. Robert actually took charge against Cersei and did his job!  Granted, he ran away to hunt right after, but still!  I love it whenever Robert decides to actually do something!

4. Sean Bean gets to be called Boromir again-he finally broke out of his rut!  Granted, it took Baelish right there leading him by the nose to actually do something that works both honorably and with proper political consequences, but still.

5. What is Baelish’s deal here?  I suppose the involvement of Boromir’s wife’s family gives him strong motive to help him in this instance, but I don’t trust the man.  I love that.  The question is-was it really ‘The Mountain’ who did this?  Did Baelish have something to do with it so he could prod Boromir into making such a move against the Lannisters?  I am excited!

6. Also, good luck to the man sent to bring down The Mountain and confiscate all his stuff.  He’s gonna wind up with some horse heads/possibly his own severed skull in his bed some night soon!

7. Now I’m feelin’ me some Tyrion!  Good on you, little man!  After getting past that whole attempting to explain to Mord “possession is an abstract concept” thing.  Perhaps it would’ve worked out with less beating for you if you’d lead off with some stories about donkeys, honeycombs, and whores.  Just sayin’.

8. The Eyrie is such a cool set!  Let us have more scenes there, please!

9. I get the feeling that we’re supposed to have feelings about Jorah by this time, but it just confuses me.  If his dad’s at the wall and the wall guys don’t get families, how does he even exist?  If his dad went to the wall after having him that’s both the weirdest retirement plan ever and also surely it means his dad abandoned him?  Not Jorah should now worry about dishonoring his dad?  Also, about this slavery business and what Ned has to do with it…I don’t feel this was adequately explained.  There must be more going on with that.  Plus, this pledging to Viserys is just weird.  Is he a spy?  Is he in league with Illyrio for intrigue?  Is till miss Illyrio.  Is he really just hanging out there for Daenerys?  How does he know so much about the Dothraki, anyhow?  I just find him extremely confusing.

10. Of all the pathetic moves Viserys made this episode, I found the saddest to be giving Jorah permission to fuck Daenerys.  Like it’s HIM that’s keeping others from Daenerys’ bed.  There’s also the whole leader of a savage horde who will kill you thing.  There’s that.  But then, Viserys seems to completely not grasp that in all his other actions, as well.  Of course he died.  Riding along with a horde and disrespecting them, threatening their queen.  Either they kill him or he winds up on his own-and that little brat won’t find any other help, so either way he’s dead meat.  It was good that he got such an interesting death, though.   The moment he said “they can’t shed blood in their Holy City” my mind answered “Plenty of ways to kill without shedding blood.”  It was a good one, although I shall miss him.  His presence always amused me on this show.

11. Drogo got LINES!  One even in ENGLISH, finally!  Hurrah!  It helps so much.

12. My favorite scene is the one with eating horse-heart.  I found it the most moving.

13. God bless Sansa’s bitchy little heart, she made me laugh out loud.  We went from picturing 13/14 year old girls as sweet innocents who can still count as adults e.g. Juliet to teenage angsty fools like Sansa.  This is a measure of how deeply the concept of teenagerhood has embedded in our society, in spite of being pretty new.  Even in fantasy worlds that emulate older worlds and times, the teenagers be teens.  Hah.

14. I know Joffrey is a cowardly, lying toad, but the man’s got some style.  He knows how to playact a bit, at least if he’s practiced in advance.  Also, given that he’s engaged to Sansa, winning her over is all to his advantage.  Also, he might actually want his marriage to work out.  He’s been living with Robert and Cersei’s marriage, for goodness sake.  He must know how uncomfortable and grating that would be.  Any way you look at it, his being able to creditably pull off that scene with Sansa, who he feels embarrassed about, makes me like him.  If it’s sincere-he has good parental reasons.  If he’s not-you’ve gotta respect good acting, and honestly I think a good ruler needs it.  If he means it now and quickly goes back on it-well at least he won’t end up in a rut of only seeing the same things, like Ned Stark over there denying everything he doesn’t want to think about.  I like him here.

15. Who were these folks with Bran, the normal northerners?  Cause in that case, the Starks are not doing their job.  Standing around saying “there isn’t this thing” doesn’t work on people inside the show, either.  There’s a panic abroad-that’s your job to fix, fellas!  Or at least focus on sometimes.  Also, Ned-your people need hair stylists.  Please import.

16. Is Bran’s dream with the raven indicative of him having a sideline in magic?  Cause if the white walkers attack and Bran can influence them WITH HIS MIND then that will be awesome.  I call shaman!

17. Syrio is always allowed.

18. People Arya feels close to have a bad habit of dying-or having to be driven away to avoid death, if they are canine.  Is the girl cursed?  Micah, Jory…good thing she’s got sword practiced.  She has so much to vent.  Perhaps it’s a good thing she doesn’t get any closer to Ned.  I bet the second they really connect will directly precede his death.  Bran survived the fall because they were competing against each other.  Sansa will no doubt live to enjoy being queen since Arya dislikes her.  What candidate for the throne does the girl most dislike?  That’ll be the one who gets it….so, Joffrey will sit next on the throne, yes?  Key to the series, right here!  If she ever meets some new character older woman she immediately takes a dislike to, I’m gonna say it’s Snow’s mother.

19. By this world’s genetics my older sister must have a different father.  Also, she must have cheated on my brother-in-law cause the niece’s hair does not match his.  I totally called Jaime being Joffrey’s dad, but really-we had to follow around pretending to be shocked that the whoring king had bastards and look at a freaking lineage book to figure this out through….hair color!?!? *gasp*  I find this to take up too much screentime and, you know, rely too heavily on hair color.  I’m incredibly glad it is now out of the way.

20. Whenever it showed Boromir on the throne in his brown, segmented outfit it looked to me like chocolate bars for a minute.  Then the light would shift on it and show little metal parts, but still.  Chocolate tunic!

“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.