“Valar Morghulis”… This time on GAME OF THRONES, fan fav ARYA STARK arrived at BRAVOS by boat, travelling underneath the George R.R. Martin version of the Colossus at Rhodes. This was some truly epic imagery – the kind of stuff THRONES consistently delivers.
Arya is on a long term revenge quest. She’s still listing their names in her prayers. The stubborn young lady waits outside the secret assassin’s temple. She spends the whole day and night outside, through wind and rain.
She finally leaves the temple for the marketplace, navigating the back alleys to hunt pigeons. She swipes with Needle, slashing a feathered head clean off. Looks like Arya might have her own pigeon pie. These sequences were more previlant in the earlier books, and was something I missed in the series. Thankfully, we get to see our resourceful alley rat at work.
GAME OF THRONES, the series, is at the point where it’s passing what I have personally read. I think some scenes might be ahead of the books even. For me, the books got a little slow once they split the characters into separate novels. I really enjoyed the dense history of the books. But I enjoyed spending time with certain characters who wouldn’t appear anywhere in those pages.
At this point in my experience, the HBO series felt like a better avenue to explore these stories and characters. That’s not to say once the season ends I won’t go back and read the books to get the broader scope with a pseudo Director’s Cut.
Anyone else out there think the books lost some focus when they split into two?
I’ll touch on some storylines and explore some others in this review.
First, we have Sansa with Littlefinger. He’s still trying to weasel and worm his way into a dynasty. Since, ‘Finger isn’t noble-born he needs someone like Sansa to rule a kingdom. I enjoyed their scene in the tavern, where Brienne confronted him. She pleaded to the young Stark to no avail. Littlefinger is a big voice in her ear.
I hope Sansa has some plans of her own. It’d be interesting to see her slowly gain power but hide it from ‘Finger. I want to see this guy go down. I want Sansa to guide his demise.
This section of the episode led to a great battle and horse chase. Brienne (GWENDOLYNE CHRISTIE, she of STAR WARS: EPISODE VII !) took on a whole gang single-handedly. The best moment was when she sliced through an opponent’s sword with that Valaryian steel. Then pierced the armoured foe straight through the neck.
NERD ALERT 2000: This scene made me wonder what Christie could do with a lightsaber? Please make her a Dark Jedi, rather than a Chrome Trooper. That would be ‘king awesome.
Brienne of Tarth is so bad-ass she makes Robert E. Howard’s RED SONJA look like an aesthetician with a nail file.
Meanwhile, Cersei and Jaime argue about their kidnapped daughter. Jaime says he’ll travel to Dorne, but he won’t go alone. He seeks out Bronn, who represented Tyrion during that trial earlier. Bronn’s all Danny Glover from LETHAL WEAPON, he’s getting “too old for this shit.” He wants to settle down and rule a small kingdom. Jaime promises him a better wife and a better kingdom. Bronn will join Lannister for battle time. They’re going “as far South, as South goes” – Dorne.
Tyrion time… Our favourite “Imp” converses with Varys. They talk of keeping Tyrion safe from the head-hunters sent by Cersei. Varys is sick of it, saying, “Must we spend the whole journey talking of futility.” Tyrion dryly replies with sarcasm, “You’re right. What’s the point?” Hilarious! It’s futile to talk about futility.
There’s another great follow-up joke about how many dwarves can there be in the world, Cersei can’t possibly behead them all. Cut to: a severed dwarf’s head, placed down in front of Tyrion’s evil sister.
Across the Narrow Sea, in Mareen, DAENERYS deals with a slave rebellion. She freed them and the owners want them back. In a way, this parallels Khaleesi’s shackled and enslaved dragons. More on that in a minute…
First, Daenarys must enact justice as an example of her rule. A man was murdered by one of her own as he awaited trial. Daenarys addresses the gathered crowd, most of who wanted her as their ruler. Her brief speech was excellent.
I love how EMILIA CLARKE delivers these moments. She’s so magnetic. She has so much gravitas as she says, “Freedom and justice, one cannot exist without the other.” She follows through with the execution.
I like how there’s a difference here between ruling philosophies. If you look back to Season One, Ned Stark taught his sons that the judge should be the executioner as well. He preached nobility. I was wondering if Daenerys would follow in Stark’s footsteps. I was disappointed when she didn’t.
Parts of the crowd HISS. This really creeped me out.
It’s riot time. Daenarys’ troops shield her from the revolt. I wonder how long she can stay here? At least, the Mother of Dragons has some winged beasts for back-up.
The scene-stealing moment this episode was Daenerys with her dragon. This night-time reveal atop the pyramid was amazing. Daenarys’ dragon freed itself from its shackles. He isn’t imprisoned within the pyramid any more. He’s perched atop it, torchlight glowing through his translucent crimson wings. This beast is enormous. And glorious.
There was a beautiful silent moment as Daenerys examined this great creature before her. She was in absolute awe. She reaches out, hesitant. Her eyes wide with excitement. I got the impression she didn’t know if the dragon trusted her anymore.
Did shackling them up anger them? Will the beast bite the hand that feeds? It seemed like the dragon was just as curious about its Mother. Was he wondering if he’d be reprimanded for leaving the temple? Was she worried he would retaliate for his imprisonment?
So many questions flooded my mind in that brief moment as Daenerys reached out towards the dragon’s snout. The moment ends with subtlety. She isn’t in control any more, it’s more like acceptance. The great beast flies out over the city. Visually, this was very impressive. I love the look and feel of these CG creations.
For me, the visual effects work of the dragons on GAME OF THRONES is much better than THE HOBBIT’s SMAUG.
The designs of these dragons extend into the costuming, which is way above par for television AND feature films. I really love how the dragon-like scales of Daenary’s gown, and how the fabric draped across her arms looks like dragon wings. These little touches make a big difference in creating this imaginary world.
Meanwhile, at The Wall… The young girl with that scaly facial disease teaches Gilly how to read. while Sam reads his version of a comic book. The girl explains her disease, making me think of the White Walkers. This disease is normally lethal, with the scales spreading across the entire body.
I was thinking of how that White Walker took a baby before and initiated a sort of transformation process. Did the Walkers originally develop from some sort of birth defect or evolutionary benefit to adapt to the harsh winters North of The Wall?
#WETHENORTH… Jon Snow’s story saw him get elected to lead the Watchers. I like how Sam piped up and gave his speech. It was great. He should help write Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The bit that worried me about these scenes was Stannis’ offer to give Snow the Stark name, so he can be the rightful ruler of Winterfell. I’m just thinking of how this will benefit Stannis. This guy is ruthless and decietful, and himself a puppet to Melissandre. With her supernatural powers on the Throne, Winterfell and the North could be in big trouble.
The episode ends in Bravos with Arya finally meeting JAQEN, the face-shifting secret assassin. For a moment there, when he ripped away his disguise face, I was expecting to see TOM CRUISE underneath. 😉 I jest.
That was a great response he gave though. Arya asks, “Who are you?” He replies, “No one. And that’s what we must become.” Nice. I guess he followed Arya around town, as she made like ALADDIN in the marketplace.
GAME OF THRONES is so plot-heavy that this season’s storylines are still building. Soon enough, there will be several on-going quests. I’m not sure where it’s all headed, but I’m going along for the journey.
Tune in next week for another nerdy review. Let me know if you want a more in depth recap going over each plot-line.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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