We returned to the Seven Kingdoms of GAME OF THRONES last night. The episode set-up several arcs for the season to follow. While there was a lot of drama, there was also some spectacle. I’m not talking about boobs either, I’m talking about Dragons.
The episode began in a daring way for this series. We don’t know it right away, but we’re watching a flashback. I realized this shortly before the reveal, so it’d be nice to watch the scene again from the beginning with a different context. There was some great insight into character and motivations, as we meet CERSEI as a young girl.
I love how her friend is scared of this witch but Cersei has no fear. She actually challenges the woman. Her true purpose for the visit is to have her future read. The witch delivers a great line, “Everyone wants to know their future… Until they know their future.”
I love how the witch draws blood, but doesn’t drop it into a bubbling cauldron over a fire. Instead, she sucks the blood from Cersei’s pricked finger – avoiding the genre cliches. It is GAME OF THRONES so maybe this witch can actually read the future. She prophecizes that Cersei will be Queen one day but wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy her Kingdom. Ominous foreshadowing indeed.
I wonder how this ties into the confrontation later with the young wine poisoner (of her husband, Robert Baratheon)?
The decision to utilize the flashback storytelling technique is bold because the series has established telling stories of the past. If the show continues to use flashbacks we can learn a bit more about our favourite characters. This should be carefully balanced, as some mysteries are better unsolved. Although I would love to see the legend of the Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, on screen.
I wonder if this is any indication of the novels employing more and more flashbacks in the future?
The rest of the episode takes place during the present day. I’ll skim over the plot points… Stannis Baratheon takes to the Wall with his sorceress, Melisandre. Jon Snow tries to convince Mance Rayder (leader of the Wildlings) to surrender and lead his factions against the coming White Walkers.
These scenes are photographed so beautifully with real sets. PETER JACKSON should take notice for the next time he returns to Middle Earth. My favourite set was the Church – from the intricate design to the atmospheric lighting.
Another great spectacle was the giant winged statue atop a pyramid. We think it’s being raised at first, but it’s torn down. This is our intro to DAENARYS’ (EMILIA CLARKE) world. Her best line was, “I’m not a politician. I’m a Queen.”
Her storyline with her lover continues. We get his backstory: a pit-fighter so good he earned his freedom. With him at her side she should be safe. Then again, she also has her dragons for protection. Their reveal this episode was truly EPIC. Yo, Peter Jackson, take note again. The dragons here look better than SMAUG.
For me, it comes down to the staging. Daenarys slowly searches the dark, scared of her pets. They’ve become dangerous and unruly. The atmosphere is thick. The tension boils. We don’t see these beasts until they breathe fire, lighting up the surroundings. These combined elements make the dragons seem even more powerful and frightening.
We don’t always need to see everything in crystal clear clarity with vibrant colours popping out. Even though it’s digital, it can look like FILM. Even though the camera can go anywhere in a CG environment, it doesn’t mean it should. Jackson’s HOBBIT films are perverted to the point of annoyance by constantly gliding camerawork floating through the air. These distracting movements are something that no actual cameraman could photograph.
GAME OF THRONES focuses on realism and ambience – to my great delight.
A touching moment during this storyline was when one of Unsullied warriors goes to a whorehouse. Since his member is removed I assume he seeks intimacy and nurturing. Is that what Tyrion did all those years? Or with his lover, Shae?
Let’s get into TYRION… I love how his introduction was filmed from his point of view, looking through a hole in a crate. With each edit we jump further into time. When he exits the crate with a full beard we get an idea of how long this journey across the sea was.
Varys has kept him well hidden, but I’m never sure how much I should trust him. I’m thinkin’ me and Tyrion are on the same page with that. It will be an intense storyline this season as Tyrion continues to evade capture for the murder of his father.
The episode ends at the Wall. Jon Snow pleaded with Mance Rayder to bend the knee for Stannis. #WINTERISCOMING so the Wall is going to need as much protection as it can get. Mance has influence not only over the Wildlings, but also giants.
Mance must decide if he will join the Nightwatchmen in battle or sacrifice himself in honour to his troops. I won’t ruin his decision here. But there is a touching conclusion to the scene.
I loved Mance’s dialogue near the end, “This was my home for many years. I wish you luck in the many wars to come.” Again, some ominous foreshadowing. Something GAME OF THRONES is masterful at.
Tune in next week for another nerdy review.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
There are so many intricate storylines weaving through each episode. Let me know if I missed your favourite character or moment. Let me know if you’d like a longer more in depth review.