“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.