Thursday, June 07, 2012

Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis

Welcome to the final week of our Game of Thrones blog post! I’m once again joined by Christopher “I read the books so you don’t have to, but you really should because they are awesome” Lockett, who, well, reads the books and tells us how the adaptation deviates from them. We have a lot to cover this week, so let’s get started.

Oh, but first, THIS:

Cake of Thrones!!

Yes, if anyone’s looking to send something to Chris and me, that cake would be just dandy. ;)

Nikki: After last week’s unbelievable episode, this week’s was definitely a lot slower, serving the purpose of wrapping up this season’s many plot threads while setting us up for the next season. We covered off every house, every player, and pretty much every character we’ve seen this season. That’s not to say it was a bad episode — I’m starting to think that’s simply not possible on Game of Thrones — but just that it was a bit of a letdown after last week. And there were certainly some highlights.

What I really enjoyed from last night’s episode is that it almost felt like it was paying homage to every other show I watch on TV!
-Lost: We open on Tyrion’s eyeball, as if the key character for the episode is him.
-Revenge: Arya tells Jaqen that she’s going to spend years training and learning how to fight and get revenge on the people who killed her father. She’s like a little Amanda Clark.
-The Walking Dead: Duh. Was it just me, or was the final scene with the wight walkers set up exactly like the end of the penultimate season of TWD, with the legions of walkers stumbling towards Herschel’s farm, complete with the camera panning back to show how many of them there were?
-The Wire: Tyrion now sports the exact same scar as Omar Little. As if he wasn’t already a bad mofo, he’s probably going to be worse now.
-Buffy: Brienne the Douchebag Slayer!!

No, Jaime, I haven't had sex. Have you ever
had sex with a girl who wasn't your sibling?

Yes, for me, the best part was probably Brienne taking on the three Stark devotees in the forest. She saw the women strung up in the trees and even before the men entered the scene, she tied Jaime to a tree and moved to cut down the women so she could give them a proper burial. Like the previously mentioned Omar Little, Brienne lives by a code of honour, one that she will not sacrifice even when charged with a very important and time-sensitive mission. But before she’s cut the first one down, along come the louts who put them there in the first place. Jaime whisper-screams, “CUT ME LOOSE!!” when he sees them coming, which killed me because I actually shouted at the TV, “Kingslayer, Schmingslayer; she doesn’t need you, Jaime!!” And no. She so did NOT need him. At first she kept her head low and answered quickly, but asked a few questions of her own. Once she’d ascertained that these men did indeed kill these poor tavern women, and that one of them had been killed quickly and the third real slow, her mind was made up. With the flick of both wrists, she kills two of the three men and knocks over the third. Striding up to him with a grimace of pure venom on her face, she draws her sword and snarls, “Two quick deaths,” before making sure his death will be slow and painful. And then she unties Jaime, declaring, “I don’t serve the Starks. I serve Lady Catelyn.”

What this episode really highlighted was the ambiguity of the entire war. There are no good guys and bad guys, something that the Hound was trying to drive home to Sansa last week. There are only people doing what they feel they have to do. We cheer for Tyrion, even though we don’t want the Lannisters to win. Stannis is a brilliant fighter and probably deserves the crown more than anyone, but we’re not rooting for him, either. Brienne just killed the men that would have followed Ned Stark into battle and stood behind him, but they were bad men, and Ned made terrible choices and trusted the wrong people. Pycelle tosses a coin at Tyrion and sneers, “For your trouble,” in the same way Tyrion had given coins to Pycelle’s whore. We look at that as him being terribly cruel, but Tyrion acted first, and from Pycelle’s point of view, it was lovely vengeance. Jaqen opened the gates to let Arya out, but he killed men who had done him no wrong and probably had wives and children. Daenerys locks her favourite girl in a chamber with Xaro, where they will most likely suffocate to death before he’ll be able to rape her repeatedly and eat her corpse (I’m really hoping they run out of air).

These are not good people. But, like candidates in any Canadian federal election, they’re all we’ve got, and we have to find a reason to like one more than the others. Unlike a Canadian federal election, it’s much easier to find things I like in the GoT characters.

Now, my first question of the week that’s kind of driving me batty: I thought Sansa was leaving with the Hound last week. What was she still doing standing in Joffrey’s court? Did I miss something?

Christopher:  Huh. Interesting. I never assumed she was going with him—it seemed clear to me that she was turning down his offer. But then, that might have been because I’ve read the book and know she doesn’t go with him (that would have been a BIG deviation from the story). Perhaps we should poll our readers and see who thought as you did?

I didn’t find this episode to be any sort of letdown, though the shift back to the usual form of storytelling was a bit jarring. One way or another, I don’t see how they avoid that in the aftermath of “Blackwater” (aside from not doing “Blackwater” to start with … and, well, that’s just silly-talk). But for all the slower pacing of the episode, there were some pretty spectacular moments: Brienne showing the Kingslayer she can handle a sword, Jon Snow killing Qhorin, the triumphant return of Daenerys as something more than a petulant girl—and running into Drogo on the way!—and burning creepy Abed the warlock to a crisp, Jaqen H’ghar changing his face after offering to train Arya to be a Faceless Man … and of course that chilling (ha!) final shot of the White Walkers and their army of snow zombies.

Snow zombies. Let me say it one more time: snow zombies. OK, I think I’ve geeked out enough over that now.

We need Herschel and his infinite supply of bullets.

I might as well start with that ending sequence. I’m interested to hear what other avid GRRM readers thought of it—do you think it does your own image of the wights and their masters justice? Our first really good “look” at an Other doesn’t happen until book three, but I certainly am not complaining here. I’m also a little relieved, as the one real glimpse we’ve had previously, in the prologue of the very first episode, made the Walker look like some sort of tribal savage (I seem to remember complaining about that). But here it looked more obviously like something born of winter. Here is how the Other gets described in A Storm of Swords:

A horse’s head emerged from the darkness. [He] felt a moment’s relief, until he saw the horse. Hoarfrost covered it like a sheen of frozen sweat, and a nest of stiff black entrails dragged from its open belly. On its back was a rider pale as ice … The Other slid gracefully from the saddle to stand upon the snow. Sword-slim it was, and milky white. Its armor rippled and shifted as it moved, and its feet did not break the crust of the new-fallen snow.

So we do have a vaguely primitivist conception of the Walkers on the show—the Others we see are milky white, as described in the book (or blue-white, at any rate), but are naked but for breechclouts, and they look something like frozen mummies, with gnarled and dessicated bodies. But they’re pretty terrifying one way or another, especially considering they seem to be shepherding a rather large army of wights.

I did wonder why that final scene looked familiar, and you put your finger right on it—it is TOTALLY reminiscent of The Walking Dead. I don’t imagine we can accuse Weiss and Benioff of ripping of TWD, given how closely in time both episodes would have been in production. I wonder if W&B watch TWD—if perhaps they saw that penultimate episode and thought, “Ah, crap.”

Probably not. There was a certain similarity, but then it’s not exactly an original shot, having been done in a variety of ways in a host of zombie films. But GoT does have one thing going for it: snow zombies!

Nikki: The snow zombies were awesome. And I’m not sure poor Sam can survive that (will all of them walk right by him and leave him alone? Not likely…) The mantra from the first episode onward has been “Winter is coming…” and it appears that the wights actually brought winter with them. The guy on the horse was absolutely terrifying, and you’re right: they DO look like frozen mummies! Well put. Craster’s daughter-wives had better have some more sons, quick. Looks like those wights will need some sacrifices soon.

Very strange on the Sansa thing! In my write-up last week I talked a lot about how her decision to go with the Hound was an awesome moment, and you didn’t correct me at all (in fact, I believe you said it was an excellent reading of the scene). You are one sneaky guy.

I was discussing this final episode with the people at work, and none of us read the books and all of us had assumed Sansa had gone with the Hound and were completely confused. Hm… That’s too bad. I really would have loved to see those two roaming the countryside together.

The OTHER two people who I’d love to see roaming the countryside are Arya and Jaqen. Last week I made a comment that I wish he’d have joined her, Gendry, and the fat kid. So when they looked up and saw him on a hill, I squealed with joy. My dreams had come true! He’s going to travel with Arya! He’ll be her mentor and we get to continue to hear him speak funny and give those strange sidelong glances at her and HOLY CRAP WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO HIS FACE??!!

I know the writers have to adhere to the books, but
couldn't they just have changed his hair and kept
the same actor? :( 

The… HELL?? He gives Arya a coin and tells her if she ever runs into a man from Braavos, to say “Valar Morghulis” to him, and she will find Jaqen. “Jaqen” is dead (perhaps because she used his name in vain two episodes ago by naming “Jaqen” as the third person she wanted dead?), and she must now use the name Valar Morghulis. Wasn’t Arya’s “dance instructor” from Braavos? If he and Jaqen are from the same city, I want to go to there. It’s clearly the city of awesome.

Is it possible that Jaqen and Arya’s dance instructor are the same person with different faces? Her instructor was left behind to defend himself, and we didn’t see him die, if I remember correctly.

And I’m not sure how much you can reveal at this point, but are we to assume he’s from a particular group of people who can change their faces, OR is that just something he can do, OR is it something that men from Braavos do?

I will miss the old red-haired/white-haired Jaqen. The new guy looked a little snarly.

Christopher: Huh. I just reread last week’s post, and I totally didn’t get that you meant Sansa was leaving with the Hound. It’s a good thing I’m not in a profession that values close reading or anything.

It never occurred to me that Syrio and Jaqen could be the same person—as you pointed out, we don’t see him die (we don’t see him die in the novel, either), and the three men in the cage with Yoren’s group all come from the dungeons of King’s Landing. It’s an intriguing thought … but as much as I like the idea, I don’t think it’s likely. The Faceless Men of Braavos are a secret society of assassins; Syrio was a master swordsman serving the Sealord. From what I know of those two groups of people in Braavos, it seems unlikely that the latter would moonlight as the former, or vice versa. Too bad, really …

Braavos DOES seem like a wicked cool place though, and I’ll be very interested to see how they render it visually for the series. It won’t happen until at least season four, though … five if they split A Storm of Swords into two. It’s described as being a lot like renaissance Venice.

(To be clear, I’m not giving anything away about Arya’s future: maybe she goes to Braavos, maybe she doesn’t. There are other characters who go there).

To shift to another part of the story: what did you think of Varys this week? I love how they’re developing his character. He’s so obviously out of sorts when Littlefinger is honored by the king that one wonders if his overtures to Ros are partly out of revenge. That scene with her was invented, by the way: and though it was a vindication of the principle that the writers can’t have Ros on screen for more than thirty seconds without getting her naked, I thought the entire sequence added a level of depth and nuance to Varys that, frankly, we don’t get in the novels. His reasons for approaching Ros are obviously complex: on one hand, he sees an opportunity to get a spy in Littlefinger’s camp, and exploits her abuse at Joffrey’s hands to that end. But unless he’s feigning concern (not out of the realm of possibility), he seemed genuinely upset at what she suffered. We understand that, however much his polite fencing with Littlefinger looks just like two old hands playing a game, he genuinely despises Baelish … perhaps as someone who has himself suffered grievously at someone else’s hands, he has the kind of empathy unavailable to Littlefinger.

"Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?"

Of course, I could be totally wrong, and that was all just an act. But my sense is that we’re supposed to see him as genuine in these moments, as we are when he thanks Tyrion and tells him that some people know he’s the city’s true savior.

Though not, apparently, his father or sister or nephew. He wakes in a slovenly little room, having been ignominiously kicked out of the Hand’s apartments by his father. He has had everything he built up taken away—Bronn relieved of command, the city guard in the pocket of either Tywin or Cersei, his hillsmen sent packing with a handsome recompense that takes them out of Tyrion’s debt and into Tywin’s. And to top it off, his sister’s pet Pycelle has been restored and he smugly throws that fact in Tyrion’s gravely scarred face.

Last week you said the following, apropos of Tyrion’s possible death: “I don’t think he could be dead. He’s important, he’s KEY, and Tywin just showed up. Tyrion and Tywin could be a serious force to be reckoned with … Tyrion — the ironically nicknamed ‘Half Man’ — has just proven himself to be the only worthy Lannister. Tywin should be pretty impressed, and I doubt they’d kill him off the show just when he’s finally about to prove himself once and for all to his father.” You noted that my response might be spoilery, and you were right … because I was sitting there, sort of flapping my hands, saying “Omigodomigod, you have no idea how bloody ungrateful everyone is going to be!” Tyrion can’t win with his family—his sister loathes him, his nephew is never about to forgive him his slights, and his father will never allow him to forget that he’s (1) a dwarf, and (2) not Jaime. Give him credit for, you know, saving the city? Not likely.

Nikki: And you have no idea how much I just laughed, picturing you bouncing up and down on your chair and squealing, “You are so wrong!!” That is hilarious. I don’t say this enough, but you deserve major kudos for letting me blather on week after week (and also letting the commenters say things in the comments below when they haven’t read the books, either) and never saying, “Oh, you think so? WAIT TIL YOU SEE!!” Instead you use some enigmatic words and I never glom on to what’s going to happen. (See Stark, Ned: execution) So thank you for that, my friend!

But yes, I was completely shocked that rather than finally being lauded as the One True Lannister, he’s locked up in an attic. I guess the hint was back in season 1, in the scene where Tyrion faced Tywin in his tent as Tywin was skinning a deer. I don’t remember much of what was said in the scene, since my eyes were fiercely trained on the ghastly nature of Tywin skinning a deer, but it was clear that he respected Tyrion’s mind, but Jaime was the beloved one.

Man's gotta have a code.

And while I’m watching the battle scene last week and thinking that Tyrion was a true hero, even in the moment where he appears to have vanquished the baddies, the others are yelling, “Half Man!” to cheer him on. Not exactly the chant any Lannister would want their house associated with. Tyrion might have won, but he made a grave error in Tywin’s eyes: he was seen. Tyrion’s mind is important, and Tywin wants him to use it, as long as he stays in the background and works out strategies so heroes like Jaime can execute them. Tyrion is NOT meant to be paraded in front of the world, reminding them all that Tywin’s sperm helped create a dwarf. Tyrion is supposed to be the brains behind the operation, and Jaime is the one to be lauded publicly as the true hero.

Tyrion is well fond of the phrase, “A Lannister always pays his debts.” And I’m thinking that, in his eyes, Cersei and Tywin have some serious repaying to do.

I, too, am really enjoying Varys this season. As you suggest, it’s not clear if he’s on the up-and-up – we’ve learned to question everything that man says – but he really does seem sincere when he speaks to Tyrion, and the scene with Ros was very interesting. (That actress doesn’t get enough credit for having to shed her clothing every time she’s on screen.) His vengeance really does seem to spring from his hatred for Baelish. They seemed like two sides of the same coin last season, but as that analogy would suggest, two sides of one coin would never actually see eye to eye, and while they smile at each other, there’s always a seething resentment that each man harbours toward the other.

It’s understandable that Varys would then align himself with Tyrion, since Baelish has already declared Tyrion his enemy. Baelish clearly seems to relish Tyrion’s comeuppance in this episode, when King Asshat Joffrey grants him Harrenhal. You’ll recall that a few episodes ago, when Tyrion was pulling the old trick of telling three different stories and seeing which spy would run to Cersei, he promised Harrenhal to Baelish. The smirk on Baelish’s face speaks volumes.

And then Queen Margaery steps up and expresses her desire to wed Joffrey, which Joffrey accepts. There’s so much to say about this I don’t know where to start, but while her move is definitely political, is she cunning enough to know what a sick bastard Joffrey is? Also, isn’t she about a decade his senior? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…) Will she know how to handle him, or will he shock her? She seemed to see right through Renly and was able to control that situation as best she could, so maybe Joffrey may have met his match. If that’s the case, I can’t WAIT to see what Queen Margaery has up her sleeve for season 3.

"I think you'd like me, Your Grace.
Just look at the cleavage I can offer you." 

Sansa, meanwhile, puts on the stricken face for the courts, but can’t contain her overflowing joy very long as she quickly shuffles out of the king’s court, a huge smile on her face and the relief palpable. At first she even had me tricked, thinking she was truly scared; I mean, if her father was executed for being a traitor, and Joffrey clearly loathes her and now she can’t offer him anything, couldn’t he just kill her and be done with the Starks? But Baelish is the smarter one – see, as far as they know, Jaime’s still a prisoner of Robb Stark, and Sansa must be kept close. That doesn’t mean Joffrey can’t do to her what he already did to Ros, and defile her in nasty, sick ways. What better way to get back at the traitor Ned Stark than to ruin his eldest daughter? She should have gone with the Hound…

Back over to Winterfell, which, sadly, is no more, here’s my next (possibly dumbass) question for you: Theon was bemoaning the hornblower outside, and was saying he was going to kill that guy and the 500 Stark men that were surrounding Winterfell. But when Bran and Rickon escaped with Hodor and Osha, there are no men. I was discussing this with people at work and this scene came up, and it had left people very confused: where did they all go? Did Theon’s men really beat them all?

To be honest, when I watched it, I assumed they’d just tricked Theon the whole time, and there were no men. I thought one of them was blowing the horn to drive him insane, since we already know the Stark forces are far away. But other people didn’t read the scene that way, and a friend of mine reminded me that he was often looking out the window, as if he could see the troops. Can you shed some light on what happened, Chris?

Christopher: Really not, unfortunately.  Perhaps they blew their budget on “Blackwater,” and couldn’t afford to depict another siege. I don’t know. And as much as I’d love to share what happened in the novel, I’m afraid of inadvertently giving spoilers—suffice to say, what we saw of Theon’s fate this week is not how it happened in the book, but I have no idea whether they plan on re-merging with the original storyline in season three, or how. So I will remain frustratedly mum (not to be confused with comfortably numb) for the time being. Do you plan to read A Clash of Kings now? If so, we need to talk when you finish it about the way they ended Theon’s story this season, and perhaps offer a spoilery blog post. Of all the things they’ve done on this show, this was one of the most puzzling. I was expecting something very different, and those who have read the books will know what I mean when I say they’ve been preparing the groundwork for Theon’s story to follow the way it happens in the novels.

"What's that? Duck? But I don't see a du-"

But to return to King’s Landing: what did you make of Joffrey’s little pantomime about having sworn an oath to Sansa? That was pretty much exactly as it feel out in the novel, and I was never sure what I thought of it then, either. Was this a ritual series of denials before the king finally accedes to his new betrothal? Or is Joffrey really just being that truculent, reluctant to give up his plaything? As Littlefinger points out, he can pretty much do with Sansa as he pleases, but he might not know that just yet.

I am VERY curious to see what happens with Margaery and Joffrey now … their betrothal in the novels isn’t that surprising or odd, considering that she is just a year or two older than him there. But casting Natalie Dormer in the role means we have a much older and more worldly-wise Margaery, so I’m guessing we should expect some interaction between her and Joffrey in season three that we do not see in the books. Which, in the aftermath of her rather frank discussion with Renly, is quite promising …

But we’ve skirted two of the big events of the last episode: Jon Snow joining the wildlings, and Daenerys getting her mojo (i.e. dragons) back. His long side-journey with Ygritte was not in the novel. In the book, he lets her go and rejoins Qhorin; and when it becomes clear at a certain point that they are going to be taken by the wildlings, Qhorin tells Jon that he must join them in order to find out their intentions … and that to convincingly do so, he must kill Qhorin. I’m glad they kept that part—though we don’t see much of him, Qhorin is a great character, and his duel with Jon is a brilliant and heartbreaking moment of sacrifice.

I guess my final question to you is: what did you think of the Daenerys sequence? I wasn’t impressed at first … and then she walks into the snowy ruins of the throne room at King’s Landing. And then through the gate in the Wall, and into a tent to see … Drogo! Drogo, sitting there with their son! I do confess, I squeed a little …

Nikki: And I squeed a LOT. As I put it to my work colleagues, after kind of boring me all season long, the Daenerys story went out with a bang this season. Her dream walk through key landmarks on the show was fascinating — she walks through the burned ruins of the king’s court at King’s Landing; the doorway of the Wall; the tent where she and Khal had set up house (complete with baby and Khal!!). First, she’s never seen King’s Landing first-hand, so this is some sort of vision that’s showing her a possible future with her dragons, I’m assuming. (I hope in this scenario Joffrey’s death was even more slow and painful than the one suffered at the end of Brienne’s sword this week.) But the scene with Khal was astounding. I gasped aloud, I was SO HAPPY to see him again, but that scene was very painful to watch. Sitting before her are the two people she longs for more than anyone — her beloved husband, and the baby that never had a chance to be born. But her reaction shows just how determined this woman is: she walks away. We see the saddened look on Khal’s face as he’s left behind, less important to her than her destiny. She recognizes that he’s not real, but that the destroyed King’s Landing very well might be. So she’s going to make that happen.

I wasn’t surprised when her dreamwalk ended with evil Abed chaining her up, since I knew that wasn’t going to last very long. The SFX on the dragons was amazing. They reminded me of a cross between my daughter’s geckos (their heads and faces) and our cats, in the way they cock their heads and their movements.

Note to HBO: You want to get fans to pony up and pay a ton of money on merchandising? Make us some dragons. I WANT ONE.

I was literally cheering when the dragons blew the fire through Daenerys and killed the warlock, and the way she triumphantly walked out of there with all three of them hanging off her. What she did next was shocking (I’ve already covered that above) but it shows that she has gone from an innocent girl to a nasty force to be reckoned with.

And so, we move to season 3:
-Daenerys is coming, and she’s on the hunt with dragons that now know how to breathe fire.
-Joffrey is still a little shit, and yet one I don’t want to be killed off right away because I’ve realized just how much I enjoy hating him.
-Theon, on the other hand, I can no longer stand, and wish someone would just off him. And those teeth of his, which look like they belong in The Big Book of British Smiles from The Simpsons
-Sansa is no longer betrothed to Joffrey (oh, and to answer your question, I believe that he was being overly dramatic on purpose, pretending that he was being talked out of something, but basically humiliating Sansa in front of the court, which seems to be his only mandate these days). Now she must find a way to escape King’s Landing.
-Arya is on the road, minus Jaqen H’ghar, but she does have a direct line to him should she ever need him. She’s filled with vengeance, and could be the one Stark who finally manages to make the Lannisters pay their debts.
-Tyrion is locked up in a tower with the ever-loyal Shae at his side (oh, how I loved that scene between them!) and the control he’s had over his sister and her son all season has been snatched from him. I’m worried about the comeuppance he’s about to face.
-Tywin is back, and seems to have put his own pride in his virility over common sense.
-Cersei will continue to drink herself stupid and be generally miserable until Jaime returns.
-Jaime’s on his way back, but he’s been a disgrace and I wonder if anything will change when he gets there. Or… is it possible he won’t get there?
-Brienne continues to be totally awesome
-Catelyn is under house arrest by her son, Robb, who feels betrayed by her. As he spits at her in this episode when she questions him breaking his betrothal vow: “Father is dead, and the only parent I have left doesn’t have the right to call anyone reckless.”
-Robb has just married Talisa and broken the vow Catelyn was talking about, which will destroy a very powerful alliance.
-Baelish has just been given more power, which is always dangerous.
-Margaery is betrothed to Joffrey, which could turn out to be bad for her, or bad for him. But one of them is going to trump the other, and I’m thinking Joffrey doesn’t know what’s coming.
-Rickon and Bran are wandering through the countryside with Hodor and Osha. Winterfell is gone, so they have to find Robb.
-Jon Snow has effectively joined the wildlings.
-Stannis has retreated from the battle despite his amazing fighting skills, and he’s angry with Melisandre for tricking him into thinking he was going to win (he almost chokes her to death). However, when she reminds him that her god is inside him, he steps back, and realizes maybe he’s got to come at things a different way. She tells him he’s the warrior of light, and he will be king. Between him and Daenerys, the Game of Thrones might come down to just who wants it more.
-Oh, and to bring it all back to where we started, TERRIFYING SNOW ZOMBIES ARE ON THE WAY!!!

Wow. And all that in 10 episodes. Game of Thrones is starting to make 22-episode network TV look ridiculously inefficient.

Thank you, once again, Chris, for being our eye into the book version of this. Last season I said I would definitely read book 1, and then I didn’t because I didn’t want to affect our banter, but now that we’re two seasons in, I might just give in. I don’t think it’ll affect our banter much, it’ll just mean we can both speak on a similar level, but bringing two perspectives to everything.

And thank you to everyone who has been reading along. We will see you again in season 3! 


Anonymous said...

Great write-up as always you two - I look forward to them every week.

A few thoughts...

I thought it was clear that Sansa turned the Hound down last week.

Theon - WTF? I took it to mean that his guys set the castle on fire and escaped throught the tunnels & left Theon to the Starks.

I thought the whole throne room scene was just a play set up by the Lannisters to convince the population that Joffery had sufficient reason to dump Sansa. I thought that Tywin's horse crapping meant we were about to see a bunch on bullshit.

My top five favorite characters:


Least favorite

Jon Snow (so boring)

I think we we're all expecting Daryl Dixon to ride by on his bike and take out a few Snow Zombies.

BTW Nikki - I'd like to see a blog post on the past few episodes of Mad Men - so awesome!

-Tim Alan

The Question Mark said...

Thanks to Nikki and Chris for yet another fun episode recap!

-I liked the little touch of having Tywin's horse take a dump whilst approaching the throne. That happened in the books as well and I think it's a hilarious little reminder that even though these people are obsessed with kingship and nobility, they're still living in incredibly primitive times and thus most of them probably smell really REALLY bad.

-What can I say about this stunning season that hasn't already been said? Daenerys continues to be the sexiest badass this side of Westeros. Joffrey and Margarey are about to become the msot interesting couple on the show. Arya is slowly morphing into a capable and dangerous young woman. And f***ing SNOW ZOMBIES are coming.

Fun side note: my friend and I were discussing the show last night, and we were theorizing what would happen if Melisandre used her smoke monster powers to somehow control the White Walker army. What we came up with, "Vagina Zombies", could be a show unto itself. :P

@ CHRIS: You had me at "Renaissance Venice". I love both Venice AND the Renaissance (I'm a die-hard Assassin's Creed fan). You've just made me mega-excited for Book 4!

KathyT said...

loving the recaps, as usual! It was these that made me break down and actually watch the show. I caught up with the first season in 3 days of intense viewing- just in time for the second to start. Then I started in on the books. I'm halfway through the Clash of Kings right now.
It's fascinating to read them AFTER watching since I can readily picture the characters doing their thing.
snorting outloud on "snow zombies"

Aeryl said...

The character that has grown so much has to be Sansa.

Littlefinger is totally creeping on her(it was that "so much like your mother" line that gave his pedo game away), and was just waiting for her to state that she wants to escape King's Landing, so he has enough on her to blackmail into marrying him(and start getting those sons and grandsons he just spoke about).

I'm so proud of her for denying him that chance, and hope she can stay out of Joffrey and Littlefinger's lecherous hands.

Everyone else's development has been great, it was wonderful seeing that smirk wiped of Jaime's face when Brienne dispatched the two Stark men in a flash, and brutally and tortuously killed the other Stark man. Arya continues to be a badass, and I too hope Valar gets a better face the next time he shows up. And it'll be good to see Jon get more to do, now that he is in with the Wildlings(how many vows will he have to break to truly fit in with Wildlings,? Maybe we'll get to see the other sexy Stark boy get nekkid too!) And Oh I Hope Samwell Makes It(I think the Crows are about to find out what dragonglass is really used for!).

And Jason Momoa for ALL the awards, that little break in his voice as he tells Dany he will kill whoever tries to wake him from this dream, while speaking a fake made up foreign language. Incredible!

This season was great and I can't wait for the next. I've been holding off reading the books, like I did with Lord of the Rings, but the films looked so good I didn't want to get caught up in nitpicking what was "wrong", but I don't think I can hold off much longer.

JJ said...

And lo, it came to pass in the first year of the reign of KING JOFFREY THE GOOD that HIS GRACE'S wicked uncle STANNIS THE FALSE KING did attack the city, and did attempt to deprive the realms of their true leader. GOOD KING JOFFREY was in grave peril, until the arrival of TYWIN THE GREAT, HIS GRACE'S grandfather and mighty councillor, with THE KNIGHT OF FLOWERS, the greatest warrior in the kingdoms.

Upon dispatching the armies of THE FALSE KING and rescuing the city, THE KIGHT OF FLOWERS asked as his reward a marriage between HIS GRACE KING JOFFREY and THE KIGHT'S beautiful maiden sister MARGAERY. THE KING was enchanted by MARGAERY'S obvious moral uprightness and generous spirit, but had pledged to marry the daughter of EDDARD STARK THE FAITHLESS ere he had revealed his treachery.

Oh, how noble and righteous was that KING, who knew not the evil that hatched in the hearts of the wicked, and so could not see how SANSA OF THE FROZEN HEART wished to help her brother, THE THIEF OF THE NORTH, bring about HIS GRACE'S downfall. However, HIS loyal councillors were BY THE GRACE OF THE GODS able to convince KING JOFFREY to follow HIS HEART and pledge HIS TROTH to MARGAERY THE FAIR.


SenexMacdonald said...

Nik and Chris - well done once again.

Justin and I were watching the finale with his brother and wife at our place on Sunday. All I can say to begin is when I saw that white walker on the horse, I had to restrain myself from yelling at the tv "Where's Carl?"

After they left, I looked at Justin and did just that. His response "He's in the house!" ... of course. lol

This was a less hectic episode than the previous one but I really enjoyed it as much. I am very curious that the Wildlings could have such a massive city deep in the mountains. Thought for a moment that it was Shangri-La. Not sure why that came to my mind. hmmmm ... I will think on that a bit and get back to you. :)

I did not think that Sansa was going with the Hound. The shot ended with him about to open the door and looking back at her with the focus point being the doll in her hand. Could she be thinking that staying means an opportunity for her own revenge on Joffrey for her father's death? She is not immune to what happened or to what Joffrey is. She knows. Perhaps she is waiting like a black widow to strike ... ? Now that chance is gone or has it? Sansa is not stupid.

And is it not interesting that this whole business of Margaery came up just moments after Tywin left? I wonder what he might have had to say if he had still been there?

I am of a similar mind to Tim that the men with Theon burned down Winterfell and took him. To the men sent by one of Robb's advisors? Or back home as his sister had wanted? They were in a no-win situation and this might have provided the cover they needed to leave.

Daeny - wow! For a season short on great things from her (after last season), this episode made up for all that big time! That whole sequence - especially seeing Drogo again. I started to cry watching that. It was so well done from the transitions from one place to the next. Everything just was so great. I do hope that she gets to travel to that "world" again to see him and their child. It was a very touching point in the show. A complete juxtaposition to her channeling the fire from the wee dragons. Well done, indeed.

I read book 1 after the 1st season ended. Now I will begin book 2 so I have something until season 3 starts. Even knowing that things from different books are being moved around, I am looking forward to reading George's words and comparing them to the screen images in my summer re-watch.

And for good measure - ZOMBIES!!!!

screenshotter said...

Gonna miss your recaps - Nikki and Chris, I hope that the time between now and new seasons flies by quickly. I might even read the first novel so I can have more coherent picture.

I just hope that they will shed more light on Melisandre's background in next season, she seems like an important character but there's not much info on her.

And damn... Sansa should have gone with Hound.

Blam said...

I'm late but I wanted to chime in with my thanks for and congratulations on another enjoyable run of these reviews.

At the most I thought that it was open-ended as to whether Sansa left with the Hound in the previous episode. I didn't really expect her to go; I did expect to find out one way or the other the next week, which we did.

My WTF moment in the finale was Jaqen suddenly peppering his dialogue with mundane "you" and "me" as he spoke to Arya. I can't say that he's never done that before, and he did switch back to "a man" shortly, yet it jumped out at me enough for me to wonder if it was really him — which, given what was about to transpire, was kind-of funny for a whole other reason.

Not quite WTF but still surprising in terms of pure plotting, and pleasantly so, was what transpired with Daenerys. Her rejection of Drogo and the child that they never had, be it truly him in some way or merely a fever dream, was just wrenching; glad as I was to see her strength of will used for something more than just conviction in her cause/quest, however, as Teebore pointed out over on his blog the actual point of her trials in the tower is a bit fuzzy, because she only ended up in chains at the end (albeit briefly, thanks to mommy's little dragons). And way to go on
locking Olly Olly Oxen Free or Niko Niko Kuma-san or whatever his name is in the vault that was as empty as his promises!

So do you think that Cersei moves for Joffrey to wed Margaery purely because it's a good deal politically, maybe a bit just to stick it to Sansa, or because she can't stand having been so open to Sansa while drunk and awaiting death during the siege last episode?

The best unexpected laugh of the episode came with Varys's line to Tyrion: "The Gold Cloaks are now in the hands of your father — or your sister... It varies from Cloak to Cloak."

Blam said...

PS: Are you planning to do episode reviews of True Blood, Nik?